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Outcome Narrative - Pre-Conference Draft


Building Inclusive and Sustainable Cities and Communities

68th United Nations Civil Society Conference

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America

26-28 August 2019

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We, the participants of the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference, adopt this document to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on our focus on education and global citizenship in Gyeongju (2016) and the concept of people-centered multilateralism we developed in New York (2018). This year, we concentrate specifically on Sustainable Development Goal 11: “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable by 2030.” We underscore the need to understand cities and communities as place-making, social cohesion, equitable prosperity and environmental spaces central to the achievement of all SDGs and not only SDG11. We uplift the importance of inclusivity, peace, education, and the youth; explore the ethical development of economy, infrastructure and technology needed to support sustainable and balanced rural and urban growth; and highlight the collaboration of governments, civil society, and the United Nations in this work. We stress the urgency for climate action. For each of these, we affirm our beliefs, urge others to partner with us, and commit to action in order to uplift the human spirit, create humane cities for people to flourish and enhance the quality of life for all.

Without active recognition of the challenges we face in the quest for sustainable and inclusive cities and communities , we will accomplish nothing.

Therefore, we affirm:

  • The importance of inclusivity and respect for human rights, recognizing that sustainable cities and communities must foster opportunities for all, regardless of age; gender; race; sexual orientation; religion; socio-economic status; disability; or any other factor, including societal or individual traditions, and value.
  • The need for immediate and effective action in response to the climate change crisis, noting that it poses a grave threat today, not only to the sustainability of human society, but to life itself, especially in coastal communities and other vulnerable places. Furthermore, the window for effective action is rapidly closing.
  • The need to recognize peace as a fundamental component of sustainable societies, defining it not just as the absence of war and civil strife, but as the active presence of justice, security, social stability, inclusivity, accessibility, and lives lived in harmony with one’s neighbors and the earth’s ecosystems.
  • The essential role of civil society in global and local governance and especially in the achievement of the SDGs. Furthermore, the need to ensure good governance and transparent institutions at all levels of government; and guarantee the rule of law and access to justice for all.
  • The significance and potential of youth and the need for families and, more broadly, for societies to empower all generations with education, skills, and opportunities that will allow them to sustain themselves individually; contribute to the health, well-being, growth, and resilience of society overall; and thereby enable successive generations to thrive.
  • The importance of adequate, affordable and accessible housing, public services, transport, infrastructure and land management to serve, equitable economic prosperity, the connectedness,  human and environmental health, and the equitable development of rural and urban communities.
  • The potential for the ethical use and development of technology to address the critical challenges and harness the opportunities cities and communities face, envisioning new ways of living and meeting the needs of our planet.
  • The need for targeted, community relevant goal-oriented investment by both the private and public sectors at every level of society.  
  • The pivotal importance of education, including digital literacy, to raise awareness of the SDGs and build implementation capacity, especially Goal 11.
  • The central role of cities and communities in the localisation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. These global agendas are only as good as the positive transformation they trigger for people, planet, prosperity and partnerships. None of this can be accomplished without working with and for communities and cities.

Without stakeholders actively working toward solutions, simple problem recognition goes nowhere. Stakeholders can be individuals, families, NGOs, governments at all levels, corporations, educational institutions, faith communities, philanthropies units, or other organizations. Accordingly, we encourage all stakeholders to formulate integrated goal-oriented action plans that are tailored to the unique circumstances of their cities and communities

Therefore, we urge all stakeholders:

  • To enhance inclusivity and respect for human rights by removing systemic barriers to individuals’ success. We note that bias and discrimination marginalize and segregate large segments of society and especially call out racism and religious intolerance.
  • To recognize the severity of the climate change crisis and to protect our planet by reducing the destructive impact of our human footprint. Specifically, we urge the use of clean, renewable sources of energy as well as low carbon mobility systems as a means to mitigate green-house gas-emissions by cities and protect our air, our water, and our ecosystems in order to sustain biodiversity; and the replacement of unfettered consumerism with a conscious ethic of balanced production, consumption, reuse, and recycling. We recognize that countries and cities will experience climate and environmental challenges differently and will also have different resources with which to address them.
  • To build and sustain safe, peaceful, and just societies, free from war, civil strife, human exploitation, and other rampant crime by resolving conflicts and respecting the values and traditions of all individuals and cultures.
  • To ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for our youth through formal and informal educational, vocational, and mentorship experiences that develop skills needed to create or access local socio-economic opportunities and jobs through effective, inclusive, participatory processes that allow intergenerational dialogue.
  • To invest in housing, public services, mobility systems and infrastructure accessible to all citizens that enable the resiliency and prosperity of cities and communities, ensuring that development minimizes environmental harm; efficiently connects people with jobs, services, commerce, and each other; and focuses on regions and communities that face the most challenges.
  • To develop appropriate technology, whether old, new, or future, to address the broad range of challenges to sustainable cities and communities, including human security, inequality, accessibility, human and environmental health, education, climate change, communication, commerce, and sustainable development.
  • To provide legal and institutional frameworks that enable the impact of community and business investments on every level of society and every social and economic group.
  • To make sure local bodies, councilors, municipalities, neighborhoods, and others account for the needs of people and the environment while addressing societal, economic infrastructural, and administrative issues.
  • To encourage and support community groups, non-governmental organizations, labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations to collaborate with other actors and stakeholders to collect, maintain, and monitor relevant SDG data with adequate levels of disaggregation by socio-economic groups and at the adequate territorial scales.
  • To incentivize universities, colleges, schools, training institutions, research centers and other educational, vocational, and technical training organizations to offer courses that encourage pluralistic mindsets, emphasize the role of civil society and the importance of civic engagement in local and national institutional and political processes, and contribute practically to achieving the SDGs.
  • To support and enable the elaboration of local strategies that embrace the shared universal vision enshrined in the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, while addressing the challenges and harnessing the opportunities of the given city or community they serve.

As stakeholders, our affirmations and commitments need to be embodied in concrete actions and accountability mechanisms ordered toward economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable cities and communities.

Therefore, as global citizens, we commit individually and collectively:

  • To apply conscious inclusivity and respect for human rights in our daily lives; our corporate and organizational efforts; our governmental laws, regulations, institutional and political processes and practices; and our economy. To include marginalized, vulnerable, and deprived members of society, especially in underserved areas and across the most vulnerable groups
  • To practice environmental stewardship, proactively mitigating climate change and its adverse environmental impact through individual and collective action, including the active sharing of best practices from most deprived groups and those living in informal settlements.
  • To promote sustainable peace as the presence of harmony, respect, and inclusive collaboration in our communities, within and among countries.
  • To inspire, encourage, and support youth in their visions and to aid their preparation for, and access to, a robust future.
  • To urge governments at all levels and community partners to build, upgrade, and repair housing, public services, mobility systems and infrastructure in ways that maximize its sustainability, improve accessibility, minimize its adverse environmental impacts, and ensure its ability to withstand the impact of climate change and other natural disasters.
  • To use appropriate technologies that ensure inclusivity, accessibility, peace and human and economic security while mitigating climate change and other adverse environmental effects.
  • To engage in activities, businesses, initiatives, and projects that transparently raise funds,  increase domestic resources mobilisation by local governments and provide means for implementation of SDG11 targets for  housing and basic services and slums upgrading; sustainable transport systems; participatory and integrated human settlement planning and management; protection and safeguard of world’s cultural and natural heritage; disaster risk reduction and resilience; reducing the adverse environmental impact of cities; green and public spaces; as well as for links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas, integrated policy making  and supporting Least Developed Countries in building sustainable resilient building utilizing local materials.
  • To collaborate and form civil society partnerships with other stakeholders, as well as public-private partnerships to formulate policies, mechanisms, and regulations that foster peaceful, prosperous, inclusive and sustainable cities and communities that track progress via key performance indicators.
  • To make wise, thoughtful, and productive use of social and conventional media to inform public opinion, build consensus among stakeholders, and bring together the common interests of policy makers, businesses, families, and individuals for the common good.

To accelerate the ideas and principles expressed in this document:

We urge UN Member States and UN system entities:

  • To engage and collaborate with ECOSOC and Department of Global Communications accredited organizations[1] in strategic actions that support and advance the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • To facilitate and enable robust inputs and interactive discussions with UN Major Groups & Other Stakeholder representatives at each of the Leaders Dialogues featured at the upcoming SDG Summit on 24-25 September 2019. We call on the Secretariat of the SDG Summit to provide a visible platform and modalities for the public dissemination of relevant analyses and reports produced by UN Major Groups & Other Stakeholders.
  • To establish robust monitoring mechanisms for the Transformative Initiatives that will be showcased at the upcoming UN Secretary General Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019; in connection with existing mechanisms under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • To provide meaningful spaces and mechanisms for the sustained engagement of civil society in the dialogues that mark the 75th anniversary of the UN. We underscore that this anniversary provides a much-needed opportunity to reflect on the direction of the UN and ensure it is built to address the global challenges of the 21st century experienced by people in their communities.

We call on governments at all levels and all other stakeholders:

  • To commit on the occasion of the SDG Summit to “acceleration SDG Actions” that enable the localisation of the SDGs and the elaboration and deployment of people-centered local strategies. Furthermore, we underscore the need to understand cities and communities as place-making, social cohesion, equitable prosperity and environmental spaces central to the achievement of all SDGs and not only SDG11.
  • To report on follow-up to their “acceleration SDGs actions” through Voluntary National Reviews and UN Major Groups & Other Stakeholders reports.
  • To actively support and engage in the tenth session of the World Urban Forum (WUF10), convened by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) on 8-13 February 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, which will bring together thousands of stakeholders to share practices and knowledge on how cities are built, planned and managed.

We have only 11 years to deliver on the promises we made through the Sustainable Development Goals. We have less than 11 years to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Therefore, be it resolved:

We, the participants of the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference, will continue to actively contribute to our respective communities individually and work in multi-stakeholder approaches to further the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as we move toward the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary in 2020.

We endorse and support the Youth Climate Compact [a quotation from, and a reference to, the Youth Declaration will be included in the final draft once both this Outcome Document and the Youth Declaration are finalized during the conference].

We thank the people and the Government of the United States of America, the State of Utah, and the City of Salt Lake City for the kind welcome and gracious hosting that they have given to the 68th United Nations Civil Society Conference and for their efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


[1] ECOSOC accredited organizations can be found online at

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