UNITAR Workshop Multilateral Negotiations: Sustainable Development and Peaceful and Inclusive Societies

26 - 27 March 2015, New York, USA – The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) New York Office carried out a workshop on Multilateral Negotiations, focusing on Sustainable Development and Peaceful and Inclusive Societies. A two-day workshop was organized in a framework of the "UNITAR Levelling the Playing Field Negotiations series". This workshop aimed to widen the understanding of links between peaceful and inclusive societies and the sustainable development goals, particularly Goal 16. The workshop involved presentations from experts, interactive panel discussions and simulation exercises and provided a forum for diplomats and other participants to prepare to discuss the role and importance of peaceful and inclusive societies in regards with sustainable development.

The workshop started with Mr. Ephraim Leshala Mminele, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of South Africa to the United Nations, provided an overview of the evolution of the post-development agenda, emergence of issues and the current stand in terms of shift from MDGs towards SDGs.  He mentioned inter alia that South Africa was particularly concerned with SDG Goal 16, peaceful and inclusive societies.

During the Sessions II and III, experts from various UN bodies discussed the nexus of Sustainable Development and Peaceful and Inclusive Societies: Dr. Nikhil Chandavakar from United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Ms. Yamina Djacta from UN Habitat, and Mr. Anton Santanen from  Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) overviewed roles of their respective UN agencies as well as the specific thematic areas and their relevance to the SDGs.

The Session IV adopted a participatory approach with simulation exercises to discuss the essential role for democratic governance for peaceful and inclusive societies and its link to sustainable development. Mr. Lee Edward Miller from Negotiations Institute, started with presenting the fundamentals of the productive negotiation towards the win-win collaborative goals and later facilitated a role playing exercise for the practical negotiation skills over key concepts including 3C negotiation model and U-Perspective.

At the Session V of the workshop four representatives from NGOs and academia explained their perspectives on sustainable development and peaceful and inclusive societies. Mr. Matthew Scott (World Vision International) on peacebuilding efforts in post conflict environments and Mr. Galymzhan Kirbassov (Peace Islands), on Guiding Principles of Children, role and activism of children and youth in peacebuilding, concept of ‘social contract”, mistrust and migrants. Prof. William Rodgers talked from academic perspectives on inclusive society, mentioning the experience of protection of the indigenous people in the United States. Ms. Elizabeth Burleson stressed the importance of access to information, justice and public participation for the sustainability to next generation, particularly to tackle the climate change. The final session of the workshop was an interactive session with case studies and simulation exercise led by Dr. Zheng Wang (Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Seton Hall University).

This workshop was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden and Olof Palme Memorial Fund