Historic UN Gathering in Salt Lake City Attracts Thousands
Global Civil Society Representatives Adopt Outcome and Youth Climate Compact
(Salt Lake City, 28 August 2019)
At a first-of-its-kind UN gathering in the western United States, representatives of non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, educators, students and individual activists from Utah and around the world today adopted an outcome document outlining a global vision to achieve inclusive and sustainable cities and communities by 2030. Youth themselves drafted and adopted a stand-alone climate compact.
President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés addressed participants at the closing plenary session, remarking, “In our increasingly interdependent world, where shocks in one country can affect the lives and livelihoods of people across the globe, it seems clear that we need more cooperation, not less. It is a great honour to be the first President of the General Assembly to receive a UN Civil Society Conference outcome document. And you can count on me to be your advocate.”
The conference was a milestone moment to build momentum leading up to the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, and the high-level week of the UN General Assembly in September, where the status of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals will also be a focus.
Conference Chair Maruxa Cardama, Secretary-General of the Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transportation (SLoCAT) said, “Safe and sustainable cities and communities are not a dream but wholly within our grasp if we work together as a global community and empower civil society. There is no contradiction between embracing global goals to promote prosperity for all and protect our planet and maintaining local traditions and national sovereignty. The Outcomes of this conference demonstrate the resolve of civil society across the world to play an active role in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 in their vision for government and private sector accountability, and concrete suggestions for individual action.”
The 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference theme, “Building Inclusive and Sustainable Cities and Communities” reflects the fact that over half of the world’s population, some 55 per cent, now live in urban areas, with that figure expected to rise to 68 per cent by 2050. The track record of Salt Lake City on inclusion and sustainability, as well as its experience hosting international events, were factors in support of bringing the conference here.
Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said, “Salt Lake City’s track record for defending individual human rights, taking action to address the global climate emergency and protect the health of our people and our environment is undeniable. I am so grateful that the world has come to Salt Lake City for this important conversation and I am honored at the opportunity to highlight our achievements on an international stage. As Mayor, I offer you my unwavering commitment to the ongoing work of our vibrant civil society and to the inspiring youth who play a central role in mitigating the effects of climate change and building a sustainable world.”
Dozens of representatives from civil society organizations based in New York, Utah and elsewhere came together to plan and organize this massive endeavor in partnership with the United Nations. NGO