Realising Inclusivity: Operationalising global normative frameworks at the country level

30 March 2021
This interactive roundtable brought together representatives from international civil society organisations, working primarily at the global policy level, to share their reflections on efforts by the UN in supporting inclusivity. Discussions also explored entry points for collectively advocating at the global policy level for greater inclusion in UN peace and development efforts.

Key takeaways:

  • International NGOs and civil society are often too reliant on the UN infrastructure, engaging with the UN using the organisation’s own jargon and tokenistic language – and speaking with one voice rather than in nuanced dialogue representative of the diverse experiences and perspectives of civil society. In engaging with the UN, international NGOs and civil society should reflect on their own role in contributing to exclusion and ensure that they practice meaningful inclusion, for example by using more inclusive language in engaging with the UN. There needs to be more focus on accessing innovative inclusion practices at the country level and finding ways to make them influence policy.
  • Greater clarity is needed on the purpose of a given normative framework – who it’s for (the UN or more broadly?) and what it’s meant to accomplish – and how the UN at the country level should integrate said framework in programming.
  • Beyond the normative – where inclusion is shaped by compliance – there is a need to shift attitudes towards an understanding that inclusion strengthens the UN’s work. There is also a need to prioritise inclusion concretely, including through funding.
  • It is important to identify intersectional levels of exclusion and develop strategies and programming that take these intersections into account in a meaningful way (beyond listing out different groups).
  • Creative mixed method approaches to monitoring and evaluating how the UN works to support inclusion should be encouraged. Quantitative data can for example be used to expand the discussion on participation and deepen inclusion – including in defining the progress or success of initiatives.