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Freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and the right to participate in public affairs, are human rights that enable people to share ideas, form new ones, and join together with others to claim their rights. It is through the exercise of these public freedoms that we make informed decisions about our economic and social development. It is through these rights that we can take part in civic activity and build democratic societies. To restrict them undermines our collective progress. This is the sixth in OHCHR's series of human rights practical guides for civil society, and should be seen within the context of 'Widening the democratic space', one of OHCHR's current thematic priorities.This Guide highlights issues related to the work of civil society actors (CSAs). It begins with a working definition of the terms 'civil society' and 'civil society space'. It then provides an overview of the conditions and environment needed for a free and independent civil society, including relevant international human rights standards for freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and the right to participate in public affairs.
The High Level Panel's (HLP) report on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, "A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development", calls for eradication of extreme poverty by 2030 and delivering on sustainable development. It also emphasizes that the new development agenda must be universal -- applying to countries in the global North and South alike -- and built on a broad and inclusive partnership.The report calls for the new post-2015 goals to drive five major transformational shifts: move from "reducing" to ending extreme poverty, leaving no one behind; putting sustainable development at the core of the development agenda; transforming economies to drive inclusive growth; building accountable institutions, open to all, that will ensure good governance and peaceful societies; and forging a new global partnership based on cooperation, equity and human rights.It proposes a set of illustrative goals and targets to show how these transformative changes could be expressed in precise and measurable terms with 2030 timeframe: (i) end poverty; (ii) empower girls and women and achieve gender equality; (iii) provide quality education and lifelong learning; (iv) ensure healthy lives; (v) ensure food security and good nutrition; (vi) achieve universal access to water and sanitation; (vii) secure sustainable energy; (viii) create jobs, sustainable livelihoods and equitable growth; (ix) manage natural resource assets sustainably; (x) ensure good governance and effective institutions; (xi) ensure stable and peaceful societies; and (xii) create a global enabling environment and catalyse long-term finance. The cross cutting issues include peace, inequality, climate change, cities, concerns of young people, girls, and women, and sustainable consumption and production patterns.The UN Secretary General in a statement said that as the global consultations continue, "I trust that today's report will help us move closer to a new framework that can build and expand on the MDGs, as well as the progress made in Rio, and make a difference for generations to come." The UN SG who established the Panel in July, will draw on the report's recommendations for his own report to the UN General Assembly that will be presented on 25th September.
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