Regional Civil Society Engagement Mechanism (RCEM) for the SDG / Agenda 2030 process of the European and North American region

Institutionalization of participation of CSOs in all stages of follow up and review of the SDG at UN ECE – Economic Commission for Europe – regional level

Recognizing the importance and value of civil society contribution and its role in the implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review of the Agenda 2030, Member States have agreed that sustainable development requires participation of all sectors of society and to institutionalize civil society organizations’ participation in the process of implementation, follow up and review  of the Agenda 2030. Besides, CSOs have the diversity of expertise which can improve policy making, advocacy and awareness raising towards addressing the development needs of citizens.

The global level is only effective if regional and national processes are set up. Civil society and regional CSOs’ participation is formalized through the UN ECE RCEM. This work requires adequate partnership between CSOs from the region and UN ECE bodies to ensure that CSOs are well engaged in discussions and involved in UN ECE task force and working group work to be able to express their positions at global or regional levels.

Member States in the UNGA resolution 67/290 called upon major groups and other stakeholders to report on their contribution to the implementation of the Agenda. UN ECE regional RCEM will assist in coordination and preparation of such regional and/or sub-regional reports and support the review process within the region.

ECE-RCEM is a civil society platform aimed to enable stronger cross constituency coordination and ensure that voices of all these constituencies in each sub-region of UN ECE are heard in intergovernmental processes at regional and global level. The platform is initiated, owned and driven by the CSOs. It has been set up under the auspices of UN-ECE and seeks to engage with UN agencies and Member States on Agenda 2030 as well as other development related issues/processes. Its modality mirrors that of the Major Groups and Other Stakeholders mechanism that supports civil society input into the follow-up and review process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and High Level Political Forum process. As an open, inclusive, and flexible mechanism, RCEM is designed to reach the broadest number of CSOs in the region and works with 14 constituencies and 5 sub-regions in ECE.

Goals and objectives of engagement (for States, UN, CSOs)

  1. Committed to promote inclusive, just and democratic societies, to ensure the full realization of all human rights, to ensure full realization of women’s rights and gender equality, to tackle inequalities, ensure the realignment of our production and consumption models with our planetary boundaries and intergenerational responsibilities
  2. Linking global with regional, sub-regional, national and local agenda in Agenda 2030 processes in the region
  3. Increase of regional, sub-regional and national knowledge and ownership of the Agenda 2030
  4. Increase effective implementation of Agenda 2030 in our countries and communities by strengthening multi-stakeholder approach, while ensuring meaningful CSO participation
  5. Increase of accountability, monitoring and evaluation by all stakeholders on the implementation and upscaling of Agenda 2030
  6. Institutionalization of civil society organizations’ participation in the process of planning, implementation, follow up and review  of Agenda 2030 in the region and sub-regions
    1. Enhance partnership between national and local CSOs representing different constituencies in the region and sub-region with the regional, sub-regional, national, local CSOs and grassroot organisations with UN bodies and agencies, private sector, and governments
    2. Ensure that voices of all sub-regions and constituencies of UN ECE are heard in intergovernmental processes at regional and global levels
    3. Increase effectiveness of civil society contribution and its role in the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review of the Agenda 2030
Principles of engagement

Human Rights framework, respect and priority for rights-holders,  inclusiveness; transparency; accountability; diversity; gender equality; partnership, sustainability; equality; mutual responsibility; regional, sub-regional, national and local ownership; wide cooperation within CSOs and constituencies; institutionalized participation of CSOs in all stages of follow up and review of the SDG; leave no one behind

Structure UN ECE –  RCEM
  •   Facilitating Committee:
    • 1 representative (and alternate) from each constituency and sub-region (19 in total);
    • Each representative will have a 2-year mandate (max. 2 consecutive mandates)
    • Representatives will be selected through general elections coordinated by the RCEM, (nominations and elections self-organised by each constituency and sub-region based on principles of proper governance, including transparent systems of elections in place and shared) with each constituency and sub region nominating their representative(s). RCEM can agree to have an independent election supervisor.
    • In order to ensure consistency and efficiency, 50% of the first governing body’ representatives will have a 3-year mandate;
    • It’s primary mandate is the facilitation of the harmonious engagement of all constituencies and to facilitate decision making, development of policies and annual action plan, based on recommendations of constituencies and sub regions, annual report – financial and activity, and how these will be communicated and approved
    • responsible to communicate with constituencies and sub-regions, as well as defining a communication strategy within the region
    • responsible for resource mobilization for the UNECE RCEM
  • Constituency Groups: Constituencies that engage in MGoS mechanisms as well as other rights-holder and other constituencies can participate. Currently identified and willing to participate in mechanism: MGoS (Women, Children and Youth, Indigenous Peoples, Non-Governmental Organizations, Workers and Trade Unions, Scientific and Technological Community, Small scale Food Producers, persons with disability, diaspora/migrants, LGBTIQ, urban poor, older persons, small and medium enterprises, civil society FfD group). Other interested constituencies can apply.

  •      8 Sub-regional groups :

The initial articulation of sub-regions will be based on the UNECE river basins.

  1. Baltic Sea
  2. Black Sea
  3. Caspian Sea
  4. Caucasus
  5. Central Asia
  6. Eastern Europe
  7. Mediterranean/South Eastern Europe
  8. USA, Canada, Israel

Where countries are listed under 2 sub-regional groups, they should make the choice for joining 1 group only. In case the above division does not seem adequate for RCEM in the future, it could be subjected to change if agreed by RCEM.

  •      Working groups:
    • Can be nominated by the members of the Governing Body
    • responsible for operational issues, thematic/cross-cutting issues, logistics, and implementation of agreed action plan.

To ensure wide CSOs’ participation that is inclusive and opens more diverse entries for national and local civil society groups,  it is suggested to set up sub-regional engagement bodies.

Financial support for participation and speaking slots in the UNECE RCEM to be allocated with priority for civil society organizations that work at regional, sub-regional, national and local level.

RCEM with such structured institutionalized process will ensure that diversity of European and Eurasia civil society is able to engage with and influence national, sub-regional, regional and international intergovernmental processes and activities within the Agenda 2030.

Civil society organizations at regional, sub-regional, national and local levels in the region may and will play significant role in the success of the Agenda 2030 implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review, if they are effectively engaged from the beginning in the implementation of the agenda.