3C: Dialogue with Civil Society

Statement by First Secretary Birgitte Wessel in the Third Committee dialogue with civil society, 3 February 2020.

| Third Committee

I will be brief so as not to take time away from the civil society participants gathered here. But, I must start with a word of thanks to you for your initiative to convene this meeting today.

We hope this will be the first of future annual dialogues with civil society on the work of the Third Committee.


We know that we need the input of all stakeholders to implement the SDGs. And this certainly includes civil society.

They bring fresh perspectives and valuable expertise and experience from the ground to our work. Also, as my Prime Minister has underlined, human rights defenders are an important corrective in any society. 

Dialogues such as this one with our civil society partners- and subsequent follow up to these discussions- are an important check to  ensure that all our hours of dedicated work, and late nights during the committee session are indeed producing better outcomes for the human rights of people in communities across the globe.

Ultimately, if we fail in our obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, we cannot succeed in our efforts to ensure sustainable development and peace.

This is why Norway supports the broad and diverse participation of civil society and human rights defenders in our work. And why in future dialogues, we would welcome that they are open also to non-ECOSOC accredited NGOs.

We need more voices, more participation- not less as we enter the Decade for Action and Delivery.  

Let me provide a concrete example. Every second year Norway facilitates a resolution on Human Rights Defenders in the General Assembly. The core of this work is to ensure a safe and enabling environment for civil society actors that engage in the promotion and protection of human rights. As such, their input and active involvement in the process is critical to ensure that our discussions are dynamic and relevant, and addressing the most critical issues at hand. We need their input and voices in our work.

Finally Chair, if you will allow me, I also wanted to pose an additional question to civil society representatives present.

What more can we do to involve civil society in the work of 3C?