For the 2030 agenda process of the UN ECE region

Institutionalisation of participation of civil society at all stages of follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda at the regional level of the UN ECE.

Recognizing the importance and value of civil society contribution and its role in the implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review of the 2030 Agenda, Member States have agreed that sustainable development requires the participation of all sectors of society. Furthermore, they have agreed to institutionalise civil society organisations’ participation in the processes of implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. Acknowledging that 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 CSOs’ participation in the regional 2030 Agenda processes is formalised through the ECE-RCEM. 

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 2030 Agenda. ECE-RCEM will assist in coordination and preparation of such regional and/or sub-regional reports and support the review process within the region.

The main role of ECE Regional Civil society Engagement Mechanism (ECE-RCEM) is to foster stronger cross-constituency coordination and ensure that voices of all its constituencies in each sub-region of UN ECE are heard in intergovernmental processes at regional and global level. ECE-RCEM was initiated, and is currently owned and driven by CSOs. It has been set up under the auspices of UN ECE and has been formally acknowledged by the UN ECE as the main facilitator of civil society input at the regional forums on sustainable development.

ECE-RCEM engages with UN agencies and Member States on the 2030 Agenda as well as other development related issues/processes. It is a constituency of the Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS). Through which ECE-RCEM facilitates the active and meaningful participation of civil society at global 2030 Agenda processes, such as the High Level Political Forum. As an open, inclusive, and flexible mechanism, RCEM is designed to reach the broadest number of CSOs in the region and currently consists of 18 constituencies and 4 sub-regions in ECE, but not limited to as any constituency can self-organise and apply for membership.

Goals and objectives of engagement

  • Committed to promote inclusive, just and democratic societies, to ensure the full realisation of all human rights, to ensure full realisation 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
  • Linking global with regional, sub-regional, national and local agenda in the 2030 Agenda processes in the region
  • Increase of regional, sub-regional and national knowledge and ownership of the 2030 Agenda
  • Increase effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda in our countries and communities by strengthening multi-stakeholder approach, while ensuring meaningful CSO participation
  • Increase of accountability, monitoring and evaluation by all stakeholders on the implementation and upscaling of the 2030 Agenda. Institutionalisation of civil society organisations’ participation in the process of planning, implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda in the region and sub-regions
    • Enhance partnership between national and local CSOs representing different constituencies in the region and subregion with the regional, sub-regional, national, local CSOs and grassroot organisations with UN bodies and agencies, private sector, and governments
    • Ensure that voices of all sub-regions and constituencies of ECE-RCEM are heard in intergovernmental processes at regional and global levels
    • Increase effectiveness of civil society contribution and its role in the planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review of the 2030 Agenda 2030.

Principles of engagement

  • Respect and priority for rights-holders human rights are the foundation of our common positions.
  • No discrimination – we do not accept any form of discrimination. We seek to tackle systems of discrimination. We recognise that everyone experiences varying levels of structural barriers and/or privileges. That means I will keep an eye on my own privileges. 
  • Inclusiveness, Transparency, Accountability 
  • Respect and promote diversity, gender equality, and inclusion. Leave no one behind.
  • Respecting planetary boundaries, sustainability, climate and environmental justice.
  • Mutual responsibility: Regional, sub-regional, national and local co-ownership of our space.
  • Institutionalised participation of CSOs in all stages of the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.
  • Learning from each other’s national work and structural analysis, our constituencies bring a breadth of knowledge.

Structure of ECE-RCEM

Governing body:

The Governing body’s primary mandate is

  • The facilitation of the harmonious engagement of all constituencies and to facilitate decision making, based on recommendations of constituencies and sub regions,
  • Coordination on behalf of their larger constituencies with the UN ECE 
  • Facilitation of the engagement in the regional SDG process (CSO forums, speaking slots, expert panels, travel grant allocations etc.)
  • Lead on the development of policies and annual action plans. 
  • Take decisions on the strategic direction of the ECE-RCEM.
  • Fundraising, reporting and communication including maintaining the website.
  • Liaise with the UN ECE on a regular basis, as well as coordinate membership meetings with decision-makers and other UN bodies
  • Facilitate the process of drafting joint advocacy demands, proofread and finalise our collective demands. 

The Governing body’s constitution:

  • Consists of one representative (and one alternate) from each thematic and sub-regional constituency;
  • Each representative will have a 2-year mandate with max. 2 consecutive mandates. The first term can have a different length depending on its start.
  • Elections are aimed to take place in October / November to allow the new governing body to prepare for the annual Forum in March.
  • Representatives will be selected through general elections coordinated by the RCEM. Thematic constituencies nominate their candidates for election, to represent them for the region. Only candidates which have been endorsed by the thematic constituency can run for elections. Once nominations are in from the thematic and sub-regional constituencies, an election is hosted by RCEM. If the constituency misses the deadline to nominate a candidate, then they will have to wait until the next election to nominate a candidate for the governing body. RCEM can agree to have an independent election supervisor. To be elected, the candidates need a majority vote. Meaning candidates need to mobilise their constituency to vote. If candidates do not get a majority vote, or constituencies fail to submit a candidate on time, then that seat will be empty until the next round of elections, for when the constituency can nominate candidates again. 
  • Members have two votes per organisation – one vote for sub-regional constituencies and one vote on thematic constituencies. If an organisation belongs to several constituencies, then they need to select in advance which thematic and sub-region they wish to vote for.

Thematic Constituency Groups: 

Constituency groups self-organise and select their candidates for the Governing Body elections. The below list of constituencies reflect those that exist globally, but is non-exhaustive. Meaning other constituencies are welcome to mobilise and apply for membership.  

  • Civil Society Financing for Development Mechanism
  • Education & Academia Stakeholder Group
  • Farmers’ Major Group
  • Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group
  • LGBTI Stakeholder Group
  • Major Group for Children & Youth
  • Migrants
  • NGO Major Group
  • Persons with Disabilities Stakeholder Group
  • Science & Technology Major Group
  • Sendai Engagement Mechanism
  • Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Stakeholder Group for Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent
  • Stakeholder Group on Ageing
  • Urban Poor
  • Volunteers Stakeholder Group
  • Women’s Major Group
  • Workers & Trade Union Major Group

Subregional Constituency Groups: 

The main mandate of the sub-regional representatives is to map out structural barriers and gaps for participation and mobilise civil society from this subregion to engage in the regional 2030 Agenda process. As well as to facilitate discussions among ECE-RCEM members from that sub-region.

  • Region 1: Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
  • Region 2: Balkan States: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia.
  • Region 3: European Union: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
  • Region 4: Others: Andorra, Canada, Israel, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America. 

Working groups:

  • ECE-RCEM achievements are due to the collective hard work of our members. The way we currently coordinate our joint work is through working groups. These are announced at the beginning of each calendar year.
  • Their main responsibility is to respond to operational issues, thematic/cross-cutting issues, logistics, and implementation of agreed action plans. 
  • Groups have included, but are not limited to: Advocacy & position paper; VNRs; Communications; CSO Forum & side event preparations; Fundraising; Youth pre-meeting; Coordination; Safe space team.
  • These groups are nominated by the members of the governing body.

Membership coordination

The purpose of ECE-RCEM is to ensure wide civil society participation which is inclusive and accessible to diverse national and local civil society groups. 

Financial support for participation and speaking slots in the ECE-RCEM are to be allocated with priority for civil society organisations that work on issues under review, or underrepresented groups, including sub-regional groups. A transparent selection process shall be set up for the fair selection of candidates to represent ECE-RCEM. 

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