The Impact of FoAA Restrictions on Sustainable Development: Consultations with UN Rapporteur Voule in Johannesburg

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On the 30th and 31st of May, BCSDN participated at the consultation meeting with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association (FoAA), organized jointly by CIVICUS, ICNL and OHCHR in Johannesburg, South Africa. The consultations addressed the Special Rapporteur’s coming report to the UNGA where – following up on the noted importance of creating an enabling environment for civil society as a key component of the implementation of the Agenda 2030 – the SR seeks to highlight the effects of global phenomenon of shrinking civic space on the achievement of sustainable development.

The consultation brought together representatives of CSOs, social movements, trade unions and academics from the global South, who are working on a diverse range of issues, to explore the relationship between freedom of assembly and association and socioeconomic development, to exchange experiences on the intersection between development and human rights, and to discuss how civic space restrictions impact on sustainable development. BCSDN’s Policy and Advocacy Officer, Anja Bosilkova-Antovska, participated to discuss the state of civic space in the Western Balkans and the impact of FoAA restrictions on sustainable development based on the experiences from the region. BCSDN members also participated, namely Civic Initiatives (Serbia) and FDSC (Romania). Based on the interactive discussions, participants produced recommendations for multiple stakeholders and presented them to the UNSR, as well as provided feedback to the draft UNSR report.

The outcomes of the consultation will be included in the thematic report of the SR, which will be presented to the UN GA74. In addition, the SR will hold a side event in NY to ensure broader dissemination of the report’s findings. The SR will also seek to present and disseminate the findings of his report in relevant specific forums during 2019-2020. The SR is particularly interested in using this report to promote a positive narrative and foster dialogue and understanding across all stakeholders interested in ensuring the achievement of the SGDs.

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