Endorsed: Feminist Concerns with the SOTF Impact Coalitions

Open Letter to UNCSC and UN Leaders and Decision-Makers

Dear Civil Society Conference Leaders and United Nations Decision-Makers,

We, the undersigned global, South-led, intersectional feminist, human rights, Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, gender equality, youth-led, women’s rights organizations, and others, working across justice movements, would like to express our deep concerns with the formation of Impact Coalitions, which have become the focus and main outcome of the United Nations Civil Society Conference (UNCSC). We are disappointed to see this UNCSC  process become the primary way in which civil society, including feminists, can feed into the upcoming Pact and Summit of the Future (SOTF), the drafting and negotiations of which have been ongoing since December. We find that the purpose of the Impact Coalitions, including their conception, implementation and impact beyond this conference, remains unclear and do not truly advance a multilateral, multi-stakeholder, participatory and inclusive process as originally promised. In this regard, we would like to share the following concerns and reject the Impact Coalitions extending beyond the UNCSC. We propose that instead, time, energy, and resources be focused on strengthening, resourcing, and increasing the access of existing civil society engagement mechanisms, such as the Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) and multi-stakeholder platforms, such as the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) Action Coalitions and the Compact on Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action (WPS-HA Compact).

Our concerns include:

  1. The Impact Coalitions lack adequate and transparent information around their role, formal positioning in the UN structure, resourcing, and sustainability. We are overwhelmingly concerned about the lack of clarity and transparency on the purpose, structure and positionality of the Impact Coalitions within the UN system. Specifically, we remain unconvinced that the Impact Coalitions will have any long-term impact on UN processes or existing civil society advocacy efforts. The UNCSC organizers and Impact Coalition leaders have not adequately or transparently defined the onboarding or engagement process for stakeholders. The Impact Coalitions do not have a funding mechanism to remunerate civil society’s leadership and participation in these coalitions, which further risks limiting civil society access and participation in the SOTF process — while they rely entirely on the free labor of our organizations. The selection process for the themes and participants of the Impact Coalitions has been characterized by a  concerning lack of transparency. This has led to duplicative, overlapping mandates, and no clarity on who has convened or joined the Coalitions. This gives rise to significant concern surrounding a lack of participation, leadership and representation from diverse civil society, including inter alia, youth and feminist stakeholders from the Global South. We note that this confusion will create a structure where Impact Coalitions work in silos, rather than coordinating together, on intersecting and similar issues. Further, we remain unconvinced on the intended long-term impact of these Impact Coalitions post-SOTF, and have yet to see the sustainability  of these Coalitions in a post-2030 accountability mechanism. The lack of transparency on the roadmap of work shifts the burden to civil society to protect against backsliding on human rights and gender equality indefinitely. 
  2. The Impact Coalitions duplicate, delegitimise, and undermine existing civil society engagement mechanisms, such as the MGoS, and multi-stakeholder coalitions, such as the GEF Action Coalitions and the WPS-HA Compact. Not only are these existing mechanisms underfunded and overstretched, but they are also struggling with shrinking civic space at the UN. More broadly, the Impact Coalitions risk diverting attention away from the wider issues of shrinking civic space and civil society access at the UN. By creating and asking civil society to join Impact Coalitions, we divert our already limited and critical time, technical and financial resources from existing, established civil society mechanisms and coalitions. This leads us to work in silos rather than in community, and duplicates our work without applying lessons learned and moving towards more efficient and meaningful participation within the existing processes and spaces. 
  3. The Impact Coalitions are not set up as inclusive and safe spaces and risk worsening the corporate and anti-rights capture of the UN, including strong backlash on gender equality and women’s rights across all UN processes. We are already facing increasing backlash from anti-rights organizations who seek to undermine the mandates and participation of the MGoS and Action Coalitions in UN processes. We must ensure that our resources are combined to work in unison to uphold all human rights and to prevent the regression of all human rights. Because the selection of chairs and participating organizations has not been transparent, there is no oversight or accountability structure for their implementation to ensure that all Impact Coalitions are based on the values of equality, justice, and human rights. Similarly, there is no accountability or repercussions for Impact Coalition participants that do not respect the human rights for all individuals and who use the Impact Coalitions to promote an anti-rights agenda. 
  4. The Impact Coalitions critically lack meaningful participation and leadership of Global South feminist and women’s rights organizations, including in the broader SOTF process, and the lack of response to the concerns already raised by some Action Coalition leaders on establishing separate processes.
  5. The Impact Coalitions do not clearly articulate their intention or strategy to influence the Pact of the Future, the Declaration for Future Generations, or the Global Digital Compact, given that many negotiations have already begun and several iterations of the text have been shared. The strategic value-add of the Impact Coalitions and how they will engage with Member States remains unclear and can distract from the effort that is needed to ensure the meaningful and inclusive participation of CSOs in the SOTF processes.

We therefore urge that you: 

  1. Refrain from creating new structures that lack purpose, impact, or resources; that further drain resources and effort from already capable and existing CSO engagement mechanisms; and that divert attention away from broader issues related to shrinking space for diverse civil society participation. We urge you to instead support, strengthen, and resource existing civil society-led mechanisms, including the MGoS, the GEF Action Coalitions and the WPS-HA Compact, who have official stakeholder status in the 2030 Agenda and Beijing processes, all of which the SOTF is meant to accelerate.
  2. Strengthen the existing mechanisms through which CSOs input into UN processes, including the MGoS, the GEF Action Coalitions, and the WPS-HA Compact, by having these groups monitor, integrate, and implement the outcomes of the UNCSC. Built on the pillars of mutual trust and intergenerational and cross-regional expertise, the MGoS serve as a mechanism to enable broad, diverse, and autonomous self-organisation by the widest range of recognised constituencies. As a formally recognized mechanism by Member States, the MGoS should persist in facilitating diverse stakeholder engagement in this process. Similarly, GEF Action Coalitions are global, multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize governments, civil society, international organizations and the private sector to catalyze collective action, create intergenerational and cross-regional dialogue, and increase investments to advance gender justice. Likewise, the WPS-HA Compact serves as a multistakeholder process that drives transformative action for sustainable and inclusive peace through monitoring and assessment of progress on gender equality and peace processes, focusing on financing and advocacy. The work of the MGoS, the GEF Action Coalitions, and the WPS-HA Compact must be further resourced, strengthened, and made more accessible to all civil society, especially those from structurally excluded communities in the Global South. We therefore recommend that the MGoS and GEF Action Coalitions are better resourced and supported to lead the conversations and outcomes related to the SOTF, including by sharing the key outcomes from this conference.
  3. Clearly articulate how the UNCSC recommendations will be incorporated into the formal SOTF outcome documents–the Pact of the Future, Declaration for Future Generations, and Global Digital Compact–and how these outcomes will be centered at the September SOTF meetings in New York. We call for a formal presentation of these outcomes to Member States, and the transparent and comprehensive incorporation of civil society’s demands into future iterations of the SOTF negotiated documents.
  4. Establish and communicate clear accountability mechanisms with practical steps from the outcomes of the UN Civil Society Conference leading up to the Summit of the Future. Meaningful engagement of CSOs and feminist movements cannot be an afterthought and tokenistic. It must be included in the design phase from the onset of the process.

We thank you for your consideration and remain committed to working with all UN and UNCSC leaders and decision-makers, including the co-chairs and the expert and planning sub-committees, to strengthen the outcomes of the UNCSC to reflect and amplify the real needs and demands of feminist movements and organizations. We look forward to jointly building the UN we need, for feminist futures towards and beyond the SOTF.

Sincerely, 

  1. A+ Alliance for Inclusive Algorithms
  2. AbibiNsroma Foundation
  3. ACCEDER
  4. Acción Ciudadana por la Democracia y el Desarrollo
  5. Action Group for Health, Human Rights and HIV/AIDS (AGHA)
  6. ActionAid 
  7. Advocacy for Change Foundation
  8. AFAP
  9. AFDA Familias Diversas
  10. Africa Center for Health Systems and Gender Justice
  11. Africa Organisation for Youth African at UN
  12. African Diaspora Workers Network (ADWN)
  13. African Forum and Network on Debt and Development
  14. AFRICAN INITIATIVE OF WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS (WHRD INITIATIVE)
  15. Afrihealth Optonet Association (AHOA)
  16. Agenda Ciudadana por la Educación
  17. Aid Organization
  18. Aidos
  19. AIHMS-Global
  20. Akili Dada
  21. Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA)
  22. AMPLIFY Girls
  23. Appui Solidaire pour le Renforcement de l’Aide au Développement (ASRAD-BURKINA FASO)
  24. Arab Campaign for Education 
  25. Amref Health Africa 
  26. Armstrong Women Empowerment CBO 
  27. ARROW
  28. Asia Dalit Rights Forum
  29. Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights 
  30. Asia Pacific Regional CSOs Engagement Mechanism (APRCEM)
  31. Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  32. Asociación Ciudadana por los Derechos Humanos
  33. Asociacion por ti mujer
  34. Association d’Aide à l’Éducation de l’Enfant Handicapé (AAEEH)
  35. Association d’Entraide Médico-Sociale AEMS-asbl
  36. Association des Jeunes Filles pour la Santé de la Reproduction (AJFSR)
  37. Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD)
  38. Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE)
  39. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development
  40. Association Goo Bi Yazura (AGBY)
  41. Association of Voluntary Actions for Society (AVAS) 
  42. Association pour la Conservation et la Protection des Écosystèmes des Lacs et l’Agriculture Durable 
  43. Association pour la défense des droits des aides ménagères et domestiques (ADDAD Burkina Faso)
  44. Association pour une meilleure insertion socioprofessionnelle des filles et femmes du Cameroun
  45. Athena Network 
  46. AVAS 
  47. Batonga Foundation
  48. Belmont BEC Inc. & TCFWA Inc.
  49. Beyond Beijing Committee (BBC) Nepal
  50. Binti Network 
  51. BlueNet Solutions Ltd
  52. BOXGIRLS KENYA
  53. BPW Australia
  54. BRAC
  55. Brave Movement
  56. Bureau de Recherche en Genre et Développement 
  57. Business and Professional Women Western Australia 
  58. Bustop TV
  59. Campaña por el Derecho a la Educación en México
  60. Carboneguinee
  61. Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir Argentina
  62. Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir México
  63. CEDAW Committee of Trinidad and Tobago
  64. Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)
  65. Center for Reproductive Rights
  66. Center for Rights Education and Awareness 
  67. Centre for Accountability and Inclusive Development (CAAID)
  68. Centre for Environment, Human Rights & Development Forum (CEHRDF)
  69. Centre for Health Rights Community Based Organization 
  70. CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality
  71. Christian Action for Development and Support
  72. Citizen Network For Rural Development Kenya
  73. CLADE 
  74. Coalición Colombiana por el Derecho a la Educación
  75. Coalition for Action on 1325
  76. Coalition For Grassroots Human Rights Defenders-Kenya
  77. Coalition for Sustainable Development of Russia
  78. Coast Sex Workers Alliance
  79. CommonHealth
  80. Community Care Collective
  81. Community-Led Solutions CBO 
  82. Congratulation Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
  83. Conserve Initiative 
  84. Consortium of Women Empowerment
  85. Corporación Miles Chile
  86. Delete Nothing 
  87. DHEWA (Development for Health Education Work & Awareness) Welfare Society Chakwal Pakistan
  88. DISABILITY PEOPLES FORUM UGANDA
  89. Diverse Empowerment Foundation 
  90. Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality
  91. Dr Uzo Adirieje Foundation (DUZAFOUND)
  92. ECE-RCEM
  93. Echoes of Women in Africa 
  94. Education and Academia Stakeholder Group
  95. Education as a Vaccine 
  96. Elimu Yetu Coalition
  97. Elite LBQ 
  98. Empathy for Life Integrated Development Association (ELiDA)
  99. Equal Voices
  100. Equality Bahamas
  101. Equality Rights Alliance
  102. Equally Unique Initiative 
  103. Equipop
  104. ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration)
  105. Ethiopian Women Rights Advocates
  106. Fahari ya jamii
  107. Family Organization for Empowerment (FOREM)
  108. Federation of Deaf Women Empowerment Network- Kenya (FEDWEN)
  109. Federation of Free Workers (FFW)
  110. Feminist Humanitarian Network
  111. Feminist Manch
  112. Femme Forte Ug
  113. FEMNET African Women’s Development and Communication Network 
  114. Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM)
  115. Fiji Youth SRHR Alliance
  116. For Equality 
  117. Forum for Women in Development, Democracy and Justice
  118. Fòs Feminista
  119. Framework Convention on Global Health Alliance
  120. Frontline AIDS
  121. Fundacion Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual
  122. Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM)
  123. Galck+
  124. Gatef Organization 
  125. GDMR
  126. Gears for Change Initiative
  127. Gen Africa Foundation
  128. Gender and Economy Research Center NPGE
  129. Gender Links
  130. GESTOS – Brazil
  131. Girl Concern 
  132. Girls Education Mission
  133. GIRLxGIRL
  134. Global African SHEROES Union
  135. Global Campaign for Education
  136. Global Digital Inclusion Partnership (GDIP)
  137. Global Health Awareness Research Foundation (GHARF)
  138. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR)
  139. Global Network of People Living with HIV
  140. Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
  141. Global South Coalition for Dignified Menstruation 
  142. Gramin Punarnirman Sansthan
  143. Green Hill
  144. Greenspring Development Initiative 
  145. GROOTS KENYA 
  146. Groupe de Réflexion et d’Initiative pour l’Avancement de la Grand’Anse (GRIAG)
  147. Helga
  148. Hope Beyond Foundation
  149. Hope For Future Generations 
  150. Hope Single Mothers with Disabilities
  151. HRC RIGHT TO INFORMATION TRUST NGO
  152. ILGA World
  153. Inclusive Voices of Intersex Transgender and Queer Foundation
  154. Indian Crisis & Support Agency
  155. Indian Social Action Forum
  156. Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development 
  157. Initiarive Pananetugri pour le Bien etre de la Femme (IPBF)
  158. INITIATIVE FOR EQUALITY AND NON DISCRIMINATION 
  159. Initiative for Right View (IRV)
  160. Interconnected Justice Kenya
  161. International Community of Women Living with HIV Southern Africa ICWSA
  162. International Council for Adult Education
  163. International Disability Alliance
  164. International Network of Liberal Women
  165. International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR)
  166. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
  167. International Trade Unions Confederation
  168. International Women’s Fund Azerbaijan
  169. Inuka Women foundation
  170. Ipas
  171. IRDAS
  172. IYAlliance
  173. Journalists for Human Rights
  174. Jóvenes Redlac 
  175. Kamukunji Paralegal Trust (KAPLET)
  176. Karachi Research Chair 
  177. KEFEADO
  178. Kenya Female Advisory Organization 
  179. Kenya Human Rights Commission 
  180. Kenya Sex Worker’s Alliance 
  181. Kenyan Peasants League
  182. Key Watch Ghana / Intersex Movement Ghana
  183. KIASWA
  184. Kisleb Lbq Organization
  185. KP Consortium 
  186. KuchuTimes Media Group
  187. Ku.Sal Marginalized Women Organization 
  188. Lake Region Womxn Health and Equal Rights 
  189. Lanka Fundamental Rights Organization
  190. LARWHER 
  191. Last Mile4D
  192. Launch Girls
  193. LEDESER, Strategic Litigation on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Civil Association
  194. LEHA KENYA
  195. LIFE HEALTH EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT FOUNDATION TRUST 
  196. Linda Mazingira Initiative Kenya
  197. Love To Help Organization
  198. Madhira Institute
  199. Make Mothers Matter
  200. Mapinduzi Community (MACO)
  201. Men2men
  202. MenaFem Movement for Economic development and Ecological Justice 
  203. MenEngage Alliance
  204. Most at Risk Young Mothers and Teenage Girls Living with HIV Initiative (MOYOTE)
  205. Mother and Child Rehabilitation Center
  206. MOVMIENTO UJERES DOMINICO HAITIANA (MUDHA)
  207. MSWHARI C.B.O
  208. MWA
  209. NairoBits Trust
  210. Nala Feminist Collective 
  211. Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA)
  212. National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal
  213. National Foundation for Australian Women
  214. NAWO
  215. NETRIGHT
  216. Network for Community Development 
  217. New Women Connectors 
  218. Nexus Youth Initiative
  219. Ngao Inclusive Hub
  220. NGO Federation of Nepal
  221. Nguvu Collective
  222. Norsaac
  223. North American Climate, Conservation and Environment (NACCE)
  224. NTBC-K
  225. ODRI- Office against Discrimination, Racism and Intolerance
  226. Okogun Odigie Safewomb International Foundation 
  227. ONG Plus de Sida dans les Familles
  228. Organisation des Jeunes la Voix du Social pour le Développement (OJVSD)
  229. Organisation Yinéyinédian pour la Nature et le Développement Durable (OND) 
  230. Pakistan Development Alliance
  231. Pan African Positive Women’s Coalition-Zimbabwe
  232. Participatory Development Action Program
  233. Pathways for Women’s Empowerment and Development/ Integrated Agricultural Training Center (PaWED-IATC)
  234. Pathways Policy Institute (PPI)
  235. Patiska Platform – New Technologies and Older Women
  236. Peace Track Initiative
  237. Peperusha Binti CBO 
  238. Programme d’Actions pour le Développement au Congo asbl (RDC)
  239. PROMSEX, Centro de Promocion y Defensa de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos
  240. Psychological Responsiveness NGO, Mongolia
  241. Purple Royale: Trans Voices Amplified
  242. Pussy Power Movement
  243. Q-Initiative CBO
  244. Queerprism256 podcast
  245. Radha Paudel Foundation
  246. Rainbow Women of Kenya
  247. Raise Your Voice CBO
  248. Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice (RESURJ)
  249. RECODEF Sénégal 
  250. Red de Defensoras del ambiente y el buen Vivir
  251. Red de Salud de las Mujeres Latinoamericanas y del Caribe/ Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network 
  252. Red Ecofeminista Latinoamericana y del Caribe
  253. Reproductive Health Network Kenya 
  254. Réseau Africa Volontaire (RAV)
  255. Réseau Femme et Développement au Nord Kivu
  256. Réseau MUSONET
  257. Resource Center for Women and Girls
  258. RFSL
  259. Rural Woman Empowerment Initiative
  260. Rutgers
  261. Sahaj
  262. SEDRA Extensión, Desartollo Rural Agricultural
  263. SERAC-Bangladesh
  264. Siaya LBQTGNC Feminist Community
  265. Sinatsisa Lubombo Women and Girls Empowerment organization 
  266. Smartladies Women Group 
  267. Society for Conservation and Sustainability of Energy and Environment in Nigeria (SOCSEEN)
  268. Society to Heighten Awareness of Women and Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA)
  269. Sonke Gender Justice 
  270. Soroptimist International
  271. Soroptimist International Perth Club
  272. SRHR Africa Trust (SAT)
  273. Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities
  274. Stonyhills Africa 
  275. Success Capital Organisation
  276. Sukaar Welfare Organization
  277. Sustainable Development Foundation
  278. Sustainable Research Foundation
  279. Swop Ambassadors 
  280. Tag a Life International (TaLI)
  281. Tanga Community of Feminists 
  282. Temple of Understanding
  283. The Amazon Leadership Initiative TheALI
  284. The Eagles for Life Kenya
  285. The Gender Lab
  286. The Grail
  287. The Hummingbird Grassroots Centre
  288. The Iridescent Family
  289. The Lotus Identity 
  290. The Organisation for Young Women’s Dignity (TOFYWD)
  291. The Populace Foundation International (TPFI)
  292. The Queer Republic
  293. The YP Foundation 
  294. Together 2030
  295. TransHuman Project
  296. Tribeless Youth 
  297. Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH)
  298. Twaweza Community Development Agenda
  299. Ubuntu Law and Justice Centre
  300. UHAI EASHRI
  301. Unathi Children’s Network
  302. Union Women Youth Center Azerbaijan
  303. United Youth Social Symposium for Education and Development and Development (UYSSED)
  304. University of the Witwatersrand 
  305. Utu Wetu Trust
  306. Uzalendo Afrika Initiative
  307. Vecinas Feministas por la Justicia Sexual y Reproductiva de América Latina 
  308. Vikas Adhyayan Kendra
  309. VIKASH-SAMUKHYA
  310. Vision for Children and Youth Forum
  311. Vision GRAM-International
  312. VSO Make Way Program 
  313. VWA FANM AYISYÈN (VFA)
  314. Wangu Kanja Foundation 
  315. We Believe Community Organization 
  316. We Women Lanka
  317. WECF International
  318. WEDO
  319. Wemos
  320. Western Kenya Lbqt Feminist Forum (WKLFF)
  321. WHRD
  322. WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform
  323. Womankind Worldwide 
  324. Women and Modern World Social Charitable Center
  325. Women and Rural Development Networks 
  326. Women Can Do It
  327. Women Collective Kenya
  328. Women Deliver
  329. Women Empower and Mentor All (WEmpower)
  330. Women Empowerment Against Poverty of Nepal (WEAPoN)
  331. Women Enabled International
  332. Women for a Change
  333. Women Human  Rights Defenders Hub (Kenya Hub)
  334. Women Human Rights Defenders Network in Malawi
  335. Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE)
  336. Women in Global Health Niger (WGH-Niger)
  337. Women of the South Speak Out (WOSSO)
  338. Women Working Group (WWG)
  339. Women’s Development Innovators
  340. Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights
  341. Women’s Health Initiative Ghana
  342. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
  343. Women’s International Peace Centre
  344. Women’s Leadership Centre
  345. Women’s Major Group
  346. Women@TheTable
  347. WOMENLINE 
  348. World Health Improvement Program Rehabilitation Organization – TB Care and Control Jammu and Kashmir
  349. WUNRN-Women’s UN Report Network
  350. Y+ Global
  351. Youth Empowerment Movement Kenya (YEM Kenya)
  352. Yesaid Society
  353. Young Feminist Europe
  354. Young Feminist Network (YFemN)
  355. Young Voluntary for the Environment
  356. Youth Advocacy Development Network
  357. Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka 
  358. Youth and Women for Change in Eswatini 
  359. Youth Changers Kenya 
  360. Youth Coalition For Sexual and Reproductive Rights 
  361. Youth for Sustainable Development 
  362. Youth Fraternity for Change
  363. Zamara Foundation 
  364. Zambia National Traditional Counselors Association
  365. Zipcare Women Initiative