CoNGO Statements

NGO Committee on Language and Languages Elects New Executive Board

Photo: IYIL 2019

New York, USA | 24 May 2022 (CoNGO InfoNews) – An NGO Committee on Language and Languages has been established in New York under the auspices of CoNGO, the Conference of Nongovernmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.  Some 23 NGOs have joined as founding members of the committee, which aims to give greater attention to language issues in the policies, practice and outreach of the United Nations, especially as these relate to the overall importance of language, linguistic justice, and linguistic non-discrimination.

The by-laws of the new committee were approved at a May 18 meeting and an executive board elected. The meeting featured briefings by UNESCO personnel on the organization’s programmes in the field of languages, particularly multilingual education, the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, and the new World Atlas of Languages.

Francis M. Hult and Humphrey Tonkin, representatives of the Universal Esperanto Association to the UN, were elected as chair and vice-chair respectively. Francis Hult is Professor Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and Humphrey Tonkin is President Emeritus of the University of Hartford.

Elected as secretary was Linda Fitchett, former president of the International Association of Conference Interpreters. Hans E. Becklin, of the Esperanto youth organization TEJO, was elected as treasurer. Daniel LeBlanc, of VIVAT International, and Allison Rodriguez, of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) were elected as at-large members of the board.

The work of the committee actually began before the formal May 18 meeting: in December 2021, the committee founders sponsored a briefing meeting with the UN Coordinator for Multilingualism, Under Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management, H.E. Mr. Movses Abelian, the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh, H.E. Ms. Rabab Fatima, and the Deputy Director of the News and Information Branch of the Department of Global Communications, Ms. Mita Hosali. The committee, along with a number of other organizations, also sponsored a symposium on “Multilingualism and COVID-19: Lessons Learned and Looking Forward” on May 3 and 4, 2022.

_________________

For information about this statement and the work of the NGO Committee on Language and Languages, email its Chair, Francis M. Hult (fmhult@umbc.edu). Visit www.ngocongo.org to learn more about the work of CoNGO and its substantive committees.

Draw up and enforce legal and moral redlines on crimes against the environment, NGOs urge ongoing CCPCJ session in Vienna

Photo: @CCPCJ Twitter

Vienna, Austria, 18 May 2022 (CoNGO InfoNews) – Close to 50 non-governmental organizations in consultative relationship with the United Nations Economic and Social Council have joined to endorse a statement that asserted “the imperative for the international community to strengthen the international legal framework and international cooperation in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice”.

The statement was drafted under the leadership of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development in Vienna (NGO CSD Vienna). It was submitted to the thirty-first Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) now meeting in Vienna, Austria,  from 16th to 20th of May. Accredited NGOs participate in meetings of CCPCJ. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participation in person remains severely limited. Side events to the ongoing session are only online.

In the statement, civil society leaders asserted that “criminal law has a crucial role to play in drawing up and enforcing the legal and moral ‘red lines’ upon which the global population’s very ability to thrive and survive in its planetary home may well depend.”

Ingeborg Geyer, Chair of the NGO CSD Vienna, described the work of the committee, saying that “it started two years ago  on topics of crimes that affect the environment and followed up with resolutions which were tabled in previous sessions of UNTOC, Crime Congress and CCPCJ sessions.” This statement reinstates and spotlights once more the need to develop the international legal framework and cooperation in preventing what the statement calls “ecocide”.

The Conference of NGOs (CoNGO) and the NGO CSD Vienna collaborated in gathering endorsements of the statement by NGOs around the world. Many NGOs, including CoNGO members, engage the agenda of CCPCJ through the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. See their event here. To learn more about the work of CCPCJ, visit https://twitter.com/CCPCJ. Watch the 31st session live, here.

 

FULL STATEMENT

NGO Statement to the 31st Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Vienna, Austria, 16-20 May 2022)

Strengthening the international legal framework and international cooperation in the context of crimes that affect the environment

“If crime crosses borders, so must law enforcement. If the rule of law is undermined not only in one country, but in many, then those who defend it cannot limit themselves to purely national means.” (Kofi Annan, address to the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 2000).

In the context of crime prevention and criminal justice as they pertain to the environment, the international community faces two major challenges. The first challenge relates to the urgent need to respond forcefully to the rapid rise in crimes affecting the environment. Eurojust,1 the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation, ranks environmental crime as the fourth largest criminal activity in the world – on a par with drug-trafficking. Most regrettably, law enforcement in this sector remains pitifully low and out of all proportion to the threat it poses. The reasons are manifold. The most significant factors are: (i) the failure of the criteria set out in the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime2 to categorize numerous environmental crimes as ‘serious’; and (ii) the inadequacy of training in the law enforcement agencies, whose staff frequently lack the all-essential investigation and prosecution capabilities.

The second challenge relates to the absence of legal provisions addressing the many and varied instances of severe widespread or long-term harm to the environment. All too frequently, the environmental damage caused is a deleterious side-effect of industrial practices which, though patently dangerous, are nonetheless permissible under law. Similarly, those outcomes represent all too common a breach of civil environmental regulations or are attributable to sheer negligence with regard to safety protocols. In many cases, the environmental damage qualifies as a transnational offence as set out in article 3.2 (a) (b) and (d) of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

An offence is transnational in nature if:

(a) It is committed in more than one State;

(b) It is committed in one State but a substantial part of its preparation, planning, direction or control takes place in another State;

(d) It is committed in one State but has substantial effects in another State.

Both of the above challenges arise in the highly perturbing context of the critical global interlinkage between climate change, pollution and nature (biodiversity) loss. Furthermore, recent international reportstell us that these crises must be addressed with immediate urgency if we are to maintain the ability to support human civilization without severe, even irreversible loss and damage, mass migration and food crises.4

Moreover, the two challenges above relate both directly and causally to the current global crisis. The destruction or removal of carbon sinks and keystone species (e.g. via deforestation, poaching and trafficking), as well as severe soil, water and atmospheric pollution are all factors that inevitably exacerbate ecosystem collapse and climate change.

In the light of the foregoing, the imperative for the international community to strengthen the international legal framework and international cooperation in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice could not be clearer. Criminal law has a crucial role to play in drawing up and enforcing the legal and moral ‘red lines’ upon which the global population’s very ability to thrive and survive in its planetary home may well depend.

What form should this strengthening of frameworks and cooperation take? Recent meetings of this Commission have pointed in some useful directions, as indicated in the Chair’s summary documents of November 2021 and February 20225. Themes that emerged from those meetings included: ‘a robust legislative framework’; ‘measuring the impact of crime prevention’; and ‘treating environmental crimes as serious crimes.

The types of cooperation suggested are noteworthy in that they involve both international and cross-sector cooperation. They include the need for: ‘alternative sustainable livelihoods’, ‘the involvement of the private sector’; and ‘consideration of a crime prevention and criminal justice perspective within the broader “nature agenda”’.

Public perception and understanding are acknowledged as key elements in the successful enactment of criminal law: impunity was mentioned as a factor that undermined trust and perception of security, while a number of speakers noted that a culture of integrity was of crucial importance to crime prevention.

Inclusion was also a recurrent theme. Emphasis was placed on the importance that ‘governments and the international community as a whole, including the UN, listen [to] and support youth voices and recommendations.’

In this context it is worth focusing on the consistent demand for the recognition of ecocide as a crime before the International Criminal Court that the young as well as citizens’ assemblieshave voiced in recent years. Criminalizing ecocide would serve several purposes: to hold to account the leaders of criminal organisations and key decision-makers in government and industry alike; remove impunity; and to deter dangerous practices that incur environmental damage, thus strengthening the efficacy of current civil regulations.

We note that an independent expert panel convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation reached consensus on the legal definition of ‘ecocide’ in 20217. The definition has since gained significant political traction around the world, while the European Law Institute, for its part, is moving ahead on a related EU- specific definition8.

In the light of the foregoing, the undersigned non-governmental organizations in consultative relationship with the United Nations urge the participants in the 31st Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, in particular the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, to strengthen the international legal framework and international cooperation in the context of crimes that affect the environment.

We call on Member States to:

(a) strengthen the sanctioning of crimes incurring severe environmental effects, especially transborder effects, and treating them as ‘serious’ crimes as defined in the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime;

(b) encourage international cooperation between law enforcement agencies so as to improve awareness-building and training related to investigation into and prosecution of transnational offences that affect the environment;

(c) encourage consideration of criminal law frameworks in the context of the broader ‘nature agenda’;

(d) assess current international legal frameworks in the context of the global ‘triple crisis’ and their impact on climate change, pollution and nature loss;

(e) acknowledge and support the recommendations of civil society, in particular the voices of the young, with respect to the international legal framework in the context of the ‘triple crisis’;

(f) ensure participation of local populations and stakeholders in the scope of the Aarhus Convention and Escazú Agreement;

(g) support expansion of existing international legal frameworks for combating crimes affecting the environment, including hazardous legacies, abandoned sites and zones afflicted by war and other belligerent activities;

(h) recognize ‘ecocide’ as a new international crime;

(i) enact policies and enforce legislation with the highest integrity, as well as investigate and punish corruption with respect to crimes that affect the environment;

(j) encourage consideration of the relationship between economic factors and environmental neglect, and its impact on criminal activities;

(k) secure the support of the private sector by providing a reliable framework for combating the destruction of nature and the persistence of corruption, thus enabling those concerned to proceed without incurring existential risks;

(l) strengthen communication with and cooperation between secretariats of the relevant UN agencies so as to sharpen the focus on crimes affecting the environment; and

(m) cooperate with the relevant UN agencies in the implementation of reporting systems so as to facilitate assessment of the impact of crime prevention measures.

______________

ENDNOTES

1   Eurojust, Report on Eurojust’s Casework on Environmental Crime, January 2021
UNCTOC Article 2 (b)
3 IPCC WGII & WGIII, 2022
4 In the context of preparations for Stockholm+50 conference, there have even been references to the current mindset of humanity as “war on nature”.
5 https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CCPCJ/session/31_Session_2022/docu mentation.html
6 Citizens Climate Assembly, France 2020; Global Citizens Assembly, Glasgow 2022
7  See https://ecocidelaw.com/legal-definition-and-commentary-2021/
8  See https://www.europeanlawinstitute.eu/projectspublications/current- projects/current- projects/ecocide

_____________________________

Endorsing organizations as of 11 May 2022 were gathered under the auspices of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) and its NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna which drafted this statement. Endorsements for purposes of showing continued collaboration among NGOs on the issues raised in this statement are still welcome. To endorse the statement, send an email to the CoNGO President at president@ngocongo.org.

  1. African Action on Aids (AAA)
  2. American Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (AAPR)
  3. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP)
  4. CGFNS International, Inc.
  5. Credo-Action (Lomé, Togo)
  6. Criminologists Without Borders
  7. Fracarita International
  8. Graduate Women International (GWI)
  9. Imam Mahdi Association of Marjaeya (I.M.A.M.)
  10. International Alliance of Women (IAW)
  11. International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
  12. International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
  13. International Council of Psychologists (ICP)
  14. International Council of Women (ICW)
  15. International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW)
  16. International Federation of Women Lawyers (IFWL)
  17. International Federation of Women in Legal Careers (IFWLC)
  18. International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
  19. International Inner Wheel (IIW)
  20. International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
  21. International Progress Organization (IPO)
  22. International Women’s Year Liaison Group, Japan (IWYLG)
  23. Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW)
  24. Japan Asia Cultural Exchanges, Inc. (JACE)
  25. Le  Comite Francais des ONG pour la Liaison et l’ Information des Nations
  26. New Humanity
  27. Organization for Defending Victims of Violence (ODVV).
  28. Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA)
  29. Pax Romana | ICMICA
  30. Servas International
  31. Sisters of Charity Federation (SCF)
  32. Socialist International Women (SIW)
  33. Soroptimist International
  34. Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (OSMTH)
  35. Teresian Association
  36. United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society (UMC-GBCS)
  37. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
  38. Universal Peace Federation International (UPFI)
  39. Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung
  40. VIVAT International
  41. WUZDA Ghana
  42. Women’s Federation for World Peace International  (WFWPI)
  43. Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO)
  44. World Circle of the Consensus (CMDC-SPOC)
  45. World Society of Victimology  (WSV)
  46. Zonta International

_________________

For information about this statement and the work of the  NGO Committee on Sustainable Development–Vienna, email its Chair, Dr. Ingeborg Geyer (http://ingeb.geyer@gmail.com) and visit the Committee’s website (https://ngocsdvienna.org/). Visit www.ngocongo.org to learn more about the work of CoNGO and its substantive committees.

Toward a just, inclusive, and peaceable digital society: promises and perils, ethical and moral considerations

Presentation by Liberato C. Bautista, President of CoNGO, at the WSIS Forum 2022 Special Track on “Opening of the ICTs for Industry 4.0 and Emerging Digital Technologies for Sustainable Development”

 

11 April 2022 | Geneva, Switzerland | Hybrid

Toward a just, inclusive, and peaceable digital society: promises and perils, ethical and moral considerations

Excellencies, esteemed UN officials, NGO colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:

Thank you Ms. Sah for inviting me to this panel in my capacity as the President of CoNGO—the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations. The collaboration between WSIS and CoNGO is alive, I want to claim from the outset.

Please allow me to respond to the two questions you asked me to address from the vantage point of a civil society and faith-based NGO leader and as social ethicist. You asked me about what concerns come to mind when today we discuss the matter about emerging digital technologies, especially in relation to sustainable development? 

You also asked me about specific moral and ethical concerns important to consider when talking about emerging digital technologies. On this point, I will focus on WSIS Action Line 10, which is about the ethical dimensions of the Information Society, dealing with the common good, with ethics, with human rights, the prevention of the abusive uses of ICTs and shared values.

Given five minutes to respond, let me attempt a few responses. 

In 2009, during my first term as President of the Conference of NGOs, we entered into a memorandum of agreement with the ITU Director General, for CoNGO to be a  civil society focal point for the WSIS Forum. From the WSIS Summits in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005), CoNGO has taken a lead role in organizing civil society presence unprecedented in many ways at a major UN conference. 

The CoNGO President during the WSIS Summits, Renate Bloem, later reflected about her experience in the summits, and her comments then remain our assessment even today. Ms. Bloem recounted that  “the substantial and procedural nature of WSIS have been a major step forward in building a new model for global governance and a constructive way of engaging civil society into the process.” 

Looking back, Ms. Bloem reflected that  “WSIS was a successful test of the capacity of the multilateral system to find alternative and innovative ways to integrate a wider range of actors, including NGOs, academic institutions and local authorities, in a long-standing political process. The stronger involvement of civil society was therefore a very relevant factor in dealing more adequately with the specific challenges raised by the Information Society.” 

Almost 20 years later, civil society participation in the WSIS process remains crucial. CoNGO Presidents Ms. Bloem, Mr. Cyril Ritchie, or I, have spoken annually at these Forums with the message that civil society voice is crucial in elaborating for what makes, among other values, a just, inclusive, solidarious, participatory and sustainable, information society. 

“Competent and responsible civil society input enhances coherent and implementable governmental output”. We remain committed to this enterprise every time we as NGO representatives claim a place at the table, just like this WSIS Forum and this panel.

On the second question, I would like to say that the digitization of knowledge and the digitalization of information—in all its applications, but especially in industry and commerce, are fraught with moral and ethical considerations. These moral and ethical considerations point to digital divide and inequalities already raised earlier, including their intersections with larger economic, political, social and cultural divides.

These moral and ethical considerations are even more crucial as we deal with digital communications technology like the “Internet of Things” (IoT), cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital twin, and the like. 

Knowledge is indeed power. We must therefore strive for an information society—including its technologies—so that knowledge is produced and shared justly, equitably, and peaceably. If the magnetic pull of the moral compass were to point to the common good, are these communications and information technologies close to being common good, indeed common public goods? 

Because communication is intrinsic to our humanity and the relations we build, the right to communication and access to it are “basic human rights, essential to human dignity and to a just and democratic society.” Nothing in our pursuit of new technologies should derogate the dignity and human rights of peoples.

Building a future with technologies changing by the second and besieged by intersecting pandemics, including health, economic and social pandemics, is fraught with both promise and peril. It could spell the leaving behind of many that would then frustrate the achievement of the SDGs.

Alarm is already sounded in places where analogue services are going to be cut in favor of digitalized streaming even as more than three billion people coming from developing countries remain dependent on radio for their information source.

Two NGOs that I represent at the UN—CoNGO and United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society—has invariably asserted in their advocacy work that a strong moral compass is needed to direct digital communication and technology to the ethical true north whose elements must contitute respect for peace and the upholding of the fundamental values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, shared responsibility, and respect for nature and its sustainability.  

These are values of moral significance in the crafting of normative multilateral  frameworks. At the core of these ethical values are the voice and agency of human beings who must be conscious rather than passive producers and consumers of digitalized knowledge and information.

Crucial to the principle of access to and stewardship of information communications technology is the recognition that vulnerable and marginalized peoples, especially migrants, indigenous peoples, internally displaced peoples, older persons, people with disabilities, and refugees will have varying difficulties accessing such digital technologies. 

For indigenous peoples, two concerns about digitization of indigenous knowledge and the digitalization of information they have produced have to do with whether the principle of free, prior and informed consent has been recognized or not, and whether indigenlous peoples will the technology to access back what is digitally stored. 

Nothing in the storing of knowledge and information should alienate these from their owners and producers. Speaking of perils, digital technologies must refuse to be the purveyor of the evil of systemic racism, xenophobia and racial discrimination. Digitalization must be the handmaiden of transborder solidarity and global citizenship. These and more are concerns related to the achievement of what is called digital justice which also includes free and equitable access by people to information communication technologies, respect for privacy, freedom from being manipulated, misinformed, and from undue appropriation of people’s information by digital media.

The Digital Society we ought to foster must be peaceable and secure—for the people and the planet. This is in keeping with a global ethic already inscribed in Agenda 2030, and the 17 SDGs. We must ensure that technologies of digitization and digitalization do not diminish but rather enhance and flourish human,  social and planetary connections. 

Thank you for your kind attention.

________________

The Rev. Dr. Liberato C. Bautista is President of CoNGO–the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations and represents the United Methodist Church–General Board of Church and Society at the United Nations.

Synthesis Report of the Civil Society Summit on Substantive Issues

Download report.

  1. The October 2021 Civil Society Summit, conceived and organized by the President of CoNGO, Liberato Bautista, surpassed expectations. Its title was challenging: “Shaping the Future: The UN We Need for the World We Want”. Panelists and participants contributed their experience, their competence, their doubts about the world we currently have, their aspirations and proposals for the world we want and must achieve. This Outcome Document highlights some of the Summit’s key thoughts, some key concerns, some key intentions. It is made available to all participants, and will form the basis for a follow-up discussion at the CoNGO 27th General Assembly being held on November 29-30 and December 1, 2021.
  2. The Summit’s Panels touched upon almost all the major issues confronted on a daily basis both by innumerable Civil Society Organizations and by the United Nations System: Human dignity and human rights; Sustainable development and humanitarian action; Peace and threats to security of people and the planet; Social justice, including migration, racism and health; Gender justice, youth and intergenerational solidarity; UN-NGO relations — enhancing multilateralism, ensuring access, protecting civic space and discourse. The Summit became all too aware of the importance of communication—both communication in languages people understand and internet accessibility and connectivity, especially in the developing world. The Summit took into account the inspiring words and proposals of the UN Secretary General in his document “Our Common Agenda”, and also the well-thought-out texts that CoNGO and its members have issued in the recent past to pinpoint what needs to be done to strive towards the UN we need for the world we want. The Civil Society Summit was rich in outlining concepts and actions needed to shape the future. An initial selection of principal points is set out herewith, not in an order of priority, but rather grouped in relation to several of the questions posed in the Summit Concept Note. They take account of further inputs from Summit Chairs and Rapporteurs. The submitted statements and panel reports are available on the CoNGO website (www.ngocongo.org).
  3. What must we understand about today if we are to contribute to building tomorrow?
    1. Some 3.7 billion people still do not have access to the internet: this needs investment today in existing technology and also in skills directed towards achieving a technological breakthrough. Specifically, the development in recent years of Information and Communication Technologies has created opportunities to use innovation for better inclusion of women and protection of their rights: this must be pursued by all actors. Much of the UN’s communication with its publics is in languages they do not understand: far more attention needs to be paid to multilingualism and to linguistic justice generally.
    2. Public information is increasingly lacking in integrity: fake news abounds. The UN and Civil Society have to unremittingly uphold and advance the highest information standards and convince governments and media conglomerates to do the same.
    3. Ancient repugnant practices and attitudes are still extant and even being reinvigorated: slavery, colonialism, racism, militarism, xenophobia, homophobia, ageism, patriarchy, misogyny. They are historic injustices that must be combated, and their intersecting complicities have to be exposed. We must multiply our efforts at eliminating structural and systemic racism.
    4. The world counts some 274 million migrants and 16 million Internally Displaced Persons: inadequately resolving such issues is a sure cause of instability, increased vulnerability, and perpetual conflict. We heard migrants assert their voice and agency, saying, “For a long time others spoke on our behalf. Now we speak for ourselves.” Indeed, migrants and refugees must be at the table when their human rights, needs and concerns are at stake. Both the Global Compact on Migration and the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, inadequate as they are to protect the rights of migrants and refugees and their families, remain short on implementation. The same holds true for the Global Compact on Refugees.
    5. The shrinking of civil space and the rollback of fundamental freedoms has grown to proportions threatening democracy, human rights and the Rule of Law. This also harms human development and the security of the entire population. The UN and Civil Society must push back against the pushback on human rights and fundamental freedoms.
    6. Delayed and/or inadequate action by governments and big business on the threats posed by climate change are leading inexorably to climate chaos, imperiling the future of humanity. Climate change is a key driver of poverty and an inhibitor for sustainable development, exacerbating population displacement and conflicts. Action today, not promises today, are what the world needs.
    7. The creation of “new” money to respond to the CoVID-19 pandemic has not resolved inequalities in the availability of vaccines, still less led to the preparedness of nations and communities to meet future pandemics. The CoVID-19 situation is a further illustration of the interests of the few taking precedence over the needs of the many. A cardinal principle should be prioritizing people and the planet over profit.
    8. If there are lessons for world peace and security to be learnt from today, we need look no further than Afghanistan, Haiti, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen. Or to our collective responsibility for managing climate change, the health of the oceans, or the control and distribution of water. Contrary to governmental and military power ploys, civil society actors are the conscience of the world, and the last line of defence that separates us from catastrophe and extinction or the survival of humanity, flora and fauna, and the planet. Their sustainability are intricately linked to human and planetary security.
  4. What values must we engender and what actions must we take, both to anticipate future expectations and to build the world we want ?
    1. Quality education, including education for global citizenship, is of capital importance. It must provide choices for people, and be based on a culture of peace, of dialogue, of ethics and of respect. Education at all levels must also specifically foster the appreciation of cultural diversity, promote self-determination towards emancipation, and be delivered in the languages the learners understand.
    2. The UN and Civil Society must raise up solidarity as an essential universal standard, proclaiming it a global public good. We need a new social contract that is not about economic recovery alone, but an approach based on broad consensus and not on special deals, and brings to the fore the voices of civil society and impoverished and marginalized communities. This ties in with the undisputable assertion that all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are equal and on par. The defence of human rights is a necessary and noble mission of solidarity, to be carried out everywhere by and for all of humanity. The UN and Civil Society must also work more closely together on disaster risk reduction, strengthening community resilience, livelihoods and climate change adaptation.
    3. Peace is not only the absence of war but the presence of justice in society. It is peace derived from the weight of reason and democratic suasion and not by the force of arms and military arrangements. Sustainable peace and human security reinforce each other. We must cultivate peace with each other, and with nature and the earth. Gender equality and justice foster conditions that make peace possible for all.
    4. The climate-gender-youth intersection requires our full engagement, recognizing that women and girls consistently carry the main social burdens. In all current and post-pandemic economic recovery efforts, macrolevel finance policies with a people-centred approach are crucial to address the existing inequities in access to health, education, social protection and employment. Financing must also be gender-transformative.
    5. Security must be defined as human security of the individual and of peoples and their communities, rather than the security of the state or of its elite. Human security includes protection for the vulnerable, gender justice, redress for victims, empowerment for rights holders and accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations. Human security is closely linked with Agenda 2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
    6. While preserving undiluted human rights standards and law, new instruments must be adopted, such as a Convention on the human rights of older persons.
  5. What role for the United Nations System (and therefore also for member states)?
    1. There must be much greater national recognition, ratification, and implementation of international law, conventions and treaties. National implementation of Declarations and Programmes of Action from all UN Summits and World Conferences is also weak. All these commitments are equivalent to promises made by governments to their population and as such must be fulfilled, without backtracking because of political self-interest or short-term electoral goals.
    2. To achieve its intended purposes in fostering human rights, social justice and the rule of law, the UN needs more resources for the training both of UN and government officials, and of judges, lawyers and police forces.
    3. Governments are called on to endorse (and fund) the Secretary-General’s intention to appoint a Special Envoy for Future Generations. (It is recalled that the 2014 CoNGO General Assembly supported a similar proposal, then entitled Ombudsman for Future Generations). CoNGO must engage its membership in the shaping and empowerment of future generations as envisaged by the UN SG’s “Our Common Agenda”, including the proposed convening in 2023 of a Summit of the Future. A robust, responsible and responsive UN – and multilateralism itself – must invest in our children and youth.
    4. The UN – and therefore member-states – must take more practical steps to extend political and physical access to responsible civil society organizations, including youth, indigenous peoples, feminist and community voices, defenders of the environment, technical bodies, and others engaged in liaison with the UN. These are valuable partners for the UN, bringing knowledge and experience that enhances governmental deliberations and policy-making. (References were made to some UN entities that offer good practices in this area, for example OHCHR, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women, WFP, WSIS). UN notifications to civil society of opportunities to attend UN Conferences must be timely and effective, and ensure transparent and accountable registration processes. Whatever steps are needed or taken (or not taken…) to improve UN access, the work of Civil Society will continue unabated and with intense commitment to human values, including UN Charter values. It behooves the UN to take maximum advantage of the links to “the peoples” of the United Nations.
    5. e. Before UN summits or major conferences, the UN should continue to encourage, facilitate and support inclusive civil society fora, to bring people’s pressure, voice and recommendations directly to the UN body. (It is recalled that CoNGO has inestimable experience in organizing such fora.)
    6. There can be no relaxation of determination to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in full and on time. Multilateral collaboration must be reinforced, as key to achieving the 2030 Agenda, based on human rights approaches. This effort naturally requires cooperation engaging the widest range of civil society. Nothing short of these will achieve peace and prosperity for people and the planet.
    7. The budgets of the United Nations System are miniscule in relation to the tasks assigned to it in the UN Charter and by governments. Member States must substantially increase unrestricted funding for the UN, especially to its core budget, on a predictable and timely basis.
  6. What role for CoNGO?
    1. Since a major role for so many civil society organizations is in monitoring governments and holding them accountable on as many fronts as possible, CoNGO’s experience and facilitation services need to be built up. CoNGO must be ever more a bridge-builder, and be visible as such, including in underserved parts of the world. CoNGO’s collective memory on UN-NGO relations is unrivalled.
    2. In working together – more and better – the role of CoNGO Substantive Committees is central: this NGO committee system requires competence, efficiency, outreach, reliability and democracy.
    3. One of CoNGO’s current initiatives merits full support. A “Compendium of Principles for NGO Good Practice” has been drafted by CoNGO and will be submitted to the upcoming General Assembly for approval. This guidance document should be a valuable tool for the wider civil society community when drawing up internal and public standards.
    4. The strength of international laws and agreements lies in their incorporation in national law and implementation at the local level so that they matter to peoples and communities on the ground. CoNGO must foster and demonstrate the relevance of NGOs in underserved parts of the world, where alternate representation at the UN can become meaningful, lest the international community is bereft of local grounding and consigned to irrelevance to peoples and their day to day struggles.
    5. All organs of CoNGO – all members of CoNGO – must spread the word about the extraordinary good the UN System does throughout the world every day, preserving and improving the lives of ordinary people.
    6. CoNGO also requires a more solid financial base that will enable it to be proactive in promoting consultation, collaboration, and cooperation.
  7. Some felicitous “take-away” phrases from the Summit:
    1. In regard to UN access and to dealing with migrant or refugee issues: “Nothing about us without us”. For migrants and refugees, “For a long time others spoke on our behalf. Now we speak for
      ourselves.”
    2. In regard to shrinking of civil space and to protecting human rights defenders: “We must push back against the pushback” and “Transformational and sustainable development is about acting
      so that all peoples’ human rights are upheld”.
    3. In regard to peace, and indeed to civil society’s role in the world: “We in civil society are the foot soldiers of peace” and “The UN Charter’s ‘We the Peoples’ are the ones to take decisive and
      forward-looking actions towards a more inclusive, sustainable and cohesive humanity”.
    4. In regard to military interventions and to civil wars: “Silence the guns”. “Global ceasefire now”.
    5. “There is no Planet B”. The planet we now live in is all we got. We must ensure it to be livable, peaceable, and sustainable.

Summit Chair
Liberato C. Bautista, CoNGO President

Chief Rapporteurs
Cyril Ritchie, CoNGO First Vice President
Martina Gredler, CoNGO Second Vice President
Humphrey Tonkin, CoNGO Board Member

NGO access to and at the UN is also UN’s access to the voice, expertise and support of civil society to the multilateral body, CoNGO President asserted at a meeting called by the ECOSOC President

New York City, 7 April 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) – The United Nations and non-governmental organizations are each the poorer without the other. Grassroots, national, regional and international diplomacy have benefited from UN and NGO consultation and collaboration in addressing wide-ranging issues and problems confronted by governments, peoples, and humanity’s shared habitat.

This is the gist of the presentation by Liberato Bautista at the February 1, 2021 joint meeting of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the Chairs of its functional commissions and expert bodies. Bautista, the president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations, was invited  to address the meeting by the ECOSOC President, Ambassador Munir Akram.

“It was a laudable gesture by Ambassador Akram to invite me to address the meeting, and calling me to speak in the middle of a crowded two-hour schedule, when all participants were still online to hear what the sole NGO representative had to say,” Bautista recollected.

“Engaging in dialogue and maintaining accessible lines of communication is critical to the consultative relation between NGOs and the UN System. NGO support for robust multilateralism entails access by NGOs to and at the UN, which in the same measure, also means UN’s access to the voice, expertise and support offered by civil society,” Bautista stated.

Bautista, addressing the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected NGO access to and at the UN, asserted that NGOs, like CoNGO, “stand ready to secure together the public space so that inclusive, participatory and democratic institutions thrive and prosper” rather than curtailed and pushed back during the pandemic.

The challenges that lay ahead for both the UN and NGOs for which their consultation and collaboration are needed were laid bare by Bautista. “It is time that the multistakeholder actors of our collaboration, including us NGOs, are put to work to address this coronavirus pandemic and the intersecting pandemics resulting from climate change, from hunger and poverty, from forced migration, from racism and xenophobia, employing every principle and approach, not the least of which include whole-of-government and all-of-society.”

Advocating for robust consultation and collaboration between the UN and NGOs is at the core of CoNGO’s key aims and objectives. And addressing the ECOSOC at this meeting is not CoNGO’s first time. Before this February meeting this year, Bautista also addressed the briefing for civil society organized by the ECOSOC presidency of Norway on May 4, 2020.

At the May 2020 meeting, Bautista maintained that “policy-making in a time of pandemic must strengthen our resolve to work together to address underlying fundamental inequalities in our society that hinder the full realization of the SDGs. In this important task,  a genuine engagement of civil society at the national and global levels is primordial.”

Are women making any progress in participation in leadership and decision-making? Three NGO leaders ask on the eve of 2021 International Women’s Day

New York, 5 March 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) – “Women enable a just, equitable and peaceful world,” said the presidents of Soroptimist International (Sharon Fisher), International Alliance of Women (Cheryl Hayles), and Associated Country Women of the World (Magdie de Kock) in a joint statement they issued on the occasion of the 2021 International Women’s Day on March 8.

“Women and girls of all ages deserve a seat at the table in public life, leadership and decision-making. Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. To make that a reality, all states, the private sector, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders must work in collaboration,” the women leaders asserted.

The statement also called on the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) to take leadership in the development and implementation of new laws, regulations and social justice programmes that respond to women’s and girls’ under-participation and under-representation in leadership. The theme of CSW65 is focused on women in public life and equal participation in decision-making.

The joint statement was warmly received by Liberato Bautista, the president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), who helped produce it. The three organizations issuing the statement are full members of CoNGO. Soroptimist International and International Alliance of Women are current members of the CoNGO Board.

“Joint statements are an effective means of conveying to the United Nations our collective understandings of, and agreements and unities, as segments of civil society, on substantive issues that are on the UN agenda,” Bautista said. “Consultation and collaboration are valued good NGO practices,” he added.

Other CoNGO members that have issued statements on the International Women’s Day include the International Council of Women and the Universal Esperanto Association.A statement issued on November 15, 2020 and submitted to the CSW65 by members of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women Vienna, underscored many of the points raised by these statements.

NGO concerns on the overall agenda of gender equality, equity and justice are highlighted once again this year at the NGO CSW FORUM65 with varied program offerings starting on March 14 and ending on March 26.

See related story by International Alliance of Women here and by Soroptimist International here.

Commitments made 25 years ago in Beijing not matched by action, investments and accountability, NGO Committee on Status of Women Vienna asserts in a statement

Vienna, Austria, 28 January 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) – “Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls are inextricably linked to achieving sustainable development for all. We acknowledge the recognition by global leaders that the commitments made 25 years ago in Beijing have not been matched by action, investments and accountability. We welcome the commitment of governments to significantly accelerate concrete actions towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal #5, Gender Equality,” says the opening paragraph of a statement by members of the NGO Committee on Status of Women Vienna submitted to the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW).

Twenty-two non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council who are members of the NGO Committee joined to submit the statement (E/CN.6/2021/NGO/16).

This year’s session is a follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and to the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly entitled “Women 2000: gender equality.” It will meet from 15 March 2021 and closes on 26 March.

Among the Committee’s fifteen calls to UN member states is the enactment of  “policies and commit funds to enable women’s full participation in public life, including: elimination of all discriminatory laws, structural barriers, social norms and gender stereotypes; strengthening institutions to promote gender equality; providing child care and parental leave to enable the redistribution of care work in households; recognizing the value of women’s unpaid care work in gross domestic product or income account indicators.”

The NGO Committee on Status of Women Vienna is one of 37 substantive and regional committees of CoNGO.

Open here for the full statement.

NGO Access to and at the United Nations in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic

NGOs reaffirm role at the UN, but worry about access restrictions especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic

New York, 30 November 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) – More than a hundred NGOs related to the United Nations have joined CoNGO—the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations—in a statement reaffirming the importance of NGO access to and at the United Nations. More NGOs are expected to endorse the statement according to Liberato Bautista, CoNGO President, who welcomed the big number of endorsements in the first thirty-six hours since the call to sign on was sent to NGO leaders. (List of endorsements is found at the end of this story).

CoNGO issued the statement on the eve of two important meetings at the United Nations this week, the UN General Assembly Special Session in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on 3 to 4 December 2020 and a panel discussion on 4 December dealing with strengthening participation, protection and participation of civic space.

The statement asserted that “NGO access to and at the UN is a major channel through which NGOs assert their voice and exercise their agency throughout the UN System, contributing their expertise, commitment, energy,  and substantive input to policy-making processes. CoNGO has constantly striven to ensure and defend the free exchange of ideas among all parties at the United Nations, including in relation to UN Summits and Conventions.”

A November 18 consultation convened by CoNGO provided the latest assessment by nongovernmental organizations of the state of access experienced by their representatives, especially in UN Centres like New York, Geneva and Vienna. Many participants agreed that the “current coronavirus disease pandemic restrictions are a serious, though unavoidable, handicap to regular NGO contacts with UN officials and government delegates.”

An earlier dialogue, also convened by CoNGO, held 5 March 2020, between NGOs and the acting chief of the civil society branch of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Marc-André Dorel, and the chair of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, Mr. Mohamed Sallam provided the opportunities for NGOs to illustrate their determination to reinforce their “long-term engagement in promoting and enhancing NGO access to and participation in the United Nations System”.

The full statement may be viewed here.

NGOs related to the UN may endorse the Statement here.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Organizational Endorsements as of 09 January 2021, 12:00 PM EST New York

  1. The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)

and the following NGOs in consultative status with the UN, plus others in associated and observer relations (*) and other arrangements (**), have joined together to endorse the Statement on NGO Access to and at the United Nations in  the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic:

  1. AFEW International
  2. African Action on Aids (AAA)
  3. Africa Network of People Who Use Drugs (AfricanPUD)**
  4. Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth**
  5. Alcohol and Drug Foundation
  6. Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice*
  7. American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)*
  8. American Psychological Association
  9. Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS)
  10. Appui Solidaire pour le Renforcement de l’Aide au Developpement
  11. Arab Society for Academic Freedoms (ASAF)
  12. Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)**
  13. Asociación Latinoamericana de Derechos Humanos (ALDHU)**
  14. Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  15. Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD)
  16. Association for Promotion of Sustainable Development
  17. Association Montessori Internationale*
  18. Basel Peace Office**
  19. Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
  20. CGFNS International, Inc.
  21. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  22. CREDO-ACTION
  23. Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI)
  24. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  25. Centre for Social Research (CSR), India
  26. Childhood Education International (CEI)*
  27. Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI)
  28. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
  29. Observatory of Crops and Cultivators Declared Illicit (OCCDI Global)**
  30. Congregation of the Mission
  31. DRCNet Foundation, Inc
  32. Dianova International
  33. Dominican Leadership Conference
  34. Drug Policy Australia
  35. Election Network in the Arab Region (ENAR)
  36. End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT-USA)
  37. Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI)
  38. European Union of Women (EUW)
  39. Families of the Missing
  40. Fédération Internationale des Associations de Personnes Âgées (FIAPA)
  41. Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO)
  42. Feminist Task Force**
  43. Fondazione PROCLADE Internazionale-Onlus*
  44. Fondazione Villa Maraini**
  45. Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)**
  46. Fundacion Latinoamerica Reforma (LAR)
  47. Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer
  48. Fundamental Human Rights & Rural Development Association (FHRRDA)
  49. Global Distribution Advocates, Inc.
  50. Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD)
  51. Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime*
  52. Grupo de Mujeres de la Argentina – Foro de VIH Mujeres Familia
  53. Guild of Service, The
  54. Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation, Inc. USA
  55. Initiative for Peace and Innovation (IPI)**
  56. Institute for Research and Development “Utrip” (UTRIP)**
  57. Inter Press Service (IPS)
  58. Intercambios Asociación Civil
  59. International Alliance of Women (IAW)
  60. International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
  61. International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG)
  62. International Association of Judges (IAJ-UIM)
  63. International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development (ICENECDEV)
  64. International Council of Nurses (ICN)
  65. International Council of Women (ICW-CIF)
  66. International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
  67. International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW)
  68. International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers
  69. International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
  70. International Federation of Women in Legal Careers (IFWLC)
  71. International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
  72. International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
  73. International Inner Wheel
  74. International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
  75. International Peace Research Association (IPRA)
  76. International Public Relations Association (IPRA)
  77. International Presentation Association (IPA)
  78. International Real Estate Federation, The (FIABCI)
  79. International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA)
  80. International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)
  81. International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS)
  82. International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN)
  83. Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air (KRuHA) (People’s Coalition for the Right to Water)*
  84. Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)
  85. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
  86. Make Mothers Matter (MMM)
  87. Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Inc.
  88. Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA)
  89. Middle East & North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA)**
  90. Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI)*
  91. Moms Stop the Harm**
  92. NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, Inc.
  93. Narconon Nigeria Initiative
  94. National Campaign for Sustainable Development, Nepal**
  95. New Future Foundation, Inc.
  96. New Humanity
  97. Nonviolence International
  98. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF)
  99. Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA)
  100. Passionists International
  101. Peace, Education, Art, Communication (PEAC) Institute
  102. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
  103. Planetary Association for Clean Energy, The
  104. Red Dot Foundation
  105. Salesian Missions Inc.
  106. Save Cambodia
  107. Servas International
  108. Seventh Day Adventist Church
  109. Sisters of Charity Federation
  110. Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
  111. Socialist International Women (SIW)
  112. Soroptimist International (SI)
  113. Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (OSMTH)
  114. Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council (SSMWPC)
  115. TalentPlus Resources International (TRI)**
  116. Tanzania Peace, Legal Aid and Justice Center (PLAJC)**
  117. The Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Conservation
  118. Tinker Institute on International Law and Organizations
  119. To Love Children Educational Foundation International
  120. Tribal Link Foundation, Inc.
  121. Tripla Difesa Onlus
  122. Trust for Youth Child Leadership (TYCL)
  123. UNANIMA International
  124. UNIDOS – Rede Nacional Sobre Droga & HIV**
  125. Union of International Associations (UIA)
  126. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)*
  127. United Methodist Church—General Board of Church and Society (UMC-GBCS)
  128. United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA)
  129. Universal Esperanto-Association (UEA)
  130. Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
  131. VIVAT International
  132. Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (DBA Women First International Fund)
  133. WUZDA Ghana
  134. West Africa Drug Policy Network*
  135. Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative*
  136. World Development Foundation (WDF)
  137. World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)
  138. World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
  139. Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa
  140. Yayasan Wadah Titian Harapan (Wadah Foundation)
  141. Young Global Leadership Foundation, Inc. (YGLF)
  142. Youth Foundation of Bangladesh
  143. Zenab for Women Development
  144. Zonta International

Photo courtesy of Globalt Fokus.

________________

The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) is an international NGO founded in 1948. It has general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. For more information about this story, the Statement, and CoNGO, contact Liberato C. Bautista, CoNGO President at president@ngocongo.org.

CoNGO Statement on COVID-19 Recovery: Building Back Better

 

12 May 2020

Seventy-five years ago, the world was in a deep crisis after the devastation of World War II.  Negotiations between governments began that resulted in the founding of the United Nations in 1945 and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Common efforts to fight poverty and illiteracy, protect human rights, strengthen cooperation, and maintain peace have been steps towards a vision of the world “free from fear, free from want” imagined in the UN Charter.

In 2020, the international community honors the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. We embarked on a Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals to accelerate sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges. However, we now live in a world struggling to address the coronavirus pandemic which has dramatically affected political, economic, and social life across the globe.

During a crisis, global cooperation and solidarity are urgently needed, but nationalism, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, and border closures have too often prevailed. Measures to fight the pandemic have led to restrictions of long-established civic rights and democratic structures. An effective global response will require building consensus and strengthening concerted action to mitigate the multiple challenges we all face.

The pandemic is casting a shadow on hopes for sustainable development, achievements in the status of women, and other human and environmental concerns. The impacts of the virus magnify existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, making us painfully aware of gaps in social protection systems. Before COVID-19, over one billion people were without access to basic human needs, and 700 million were living in extreme poverty, mostly women and children. In many countries, health and social protection systems are inadequate, revealed by the lack of provisions to protect and test medical staff and treat the infected. Older persons are particularly vulnerable to the disease and face increased discrimination.

The pandemic has led to significant restrictions on people’s freedom of movement and peaceful assembly; the misuse of emergency measures may further erode human rights. We have seen authoritarian forces seize the opportunity to expand their power, which has adverse impacts on civic space and the ability of communities and individuals to exercise their rights. The prospects of a long- term global recession raise serious concerns over how long and to what extent restrictions will be in force. After the public health crisis recedes, we must ensure that measures curtailing civil liberties are fully lifted to protect democratic institutions and citizen participation.

We representatives of international NGOs in consultative relationship with the UN fear that while attention is focused on the global health crisis, efforts to address the ongoing climate crisis, achieve sustainable development and gender equality, protect human rights and promote peace are being neglected.

We continue to work in partnerships to develop a global plan of action to address the multiple challenges we all face, while promoting human rights, democracy, climate action, gender equality, justice, peace and security, and sustainable development.

We are determined to emerge from this crisis and build a better world for all.

We call on the 193 UN Member States to renew their commitment to the UN and to turn this international crisis into an opportunity, using it as a starting point to rebuild economies that are inclusive, and based on sustainable production and consumption:

  • to accelerate climate action by rebuilding economies, transport, and industries in a carbon neutral manner;
  • to recognize and address the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on women, children, older persons, and vulnerable and marginalized groups;
  • to change the militarized discourse of war and threat to one of care and solidarity, within countries as well as between Member States;
  • to provide universal access to and funding for health and social protections for all people;
  • to reallocate military spending and increase investments in meeting human needs to create a healthier and more peaceful planet and achieve Agenda 2030;
  • to support non-governmental community organizations, human rights defenders, and women’s groups, and include them in national and global recovery and reconstruction efforts;
  • to strengthen the UN System and provide the necessary funding to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure inclusive societies and economies, a sustainable environment, and a more peaceful

Only if we continue to work in partnerships and promote human rights, democracy, rule of law, climate action, gender equality, sustainable development, peace and security, can we emerge from this crisis and build a better world for all.

____________________________________________________________

Related matter: UN General Assembly Special Session in Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disease Pandemic

 ____________________________________________________________

ENDORSEMENTS OF THE CoNGO STATEMENT ON COVID-19 BY NGOs IN RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED NATIONS (as of 29 January 2021)

Fill out this form to endorse the CoNGO Statement on COVID-19 Recovery: Building Back Better

    1. AFEW International
    2. African Action on Aids
    3. Agewell Foundation
    4. Agrenska Foundation
    5. Alliance Sud
    6. American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)
    7. Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS)
    8. Appui Solidarité pour le Renforcement de l’Aide au Développement (ONG ASRAD-Mali)
    9. Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession
    10. Arab Society for Academic Freedom (ASAF)
    11. ARISE® Network
    12. Armenian Assembly of America
    13. AsapAfrique-JICS
    14. Asia South Pacific Association for Basic Adult Education (ASPBAE)
    15. Associated Country Women of the World
    16. Association Camerounaise pour la Prise en charge des Personnes Agées (ACAMAGE)
    17. Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD Georgia)
    18. Association for Promotion Sustainable Development (India)
    19. Association Internationale des Charités (AIC)
    20. Association for Farmers’ Rights Defense (AFRD)
    21. Awaz Centre for Development Services (ACDS)
    22. Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)
    23. BirdLife International
    24. Brazilian Harm Reduction and Human Rights Network (REDUC)
    25. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network)
    26. Centro de Culturas indígenas del Perú (CHIRAPAQ)
    27. Centro de Información y Educación para la Prevención del Abuso de Drogas (CEDRO)
    28. CGFNS International,
    29. Colonie des Pionniers du Développement (CPD)
    30. Comité français des organisations non gouvernementales pour la liaison et l’information des Nations-Unies
    31. Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI)
    32. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
    33. Congregation of the Mission
    34. Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute
    35. Council General, International Confederation of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP)
    36. CREDO-Action
    37. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,
    38. Dianova International
    39. Diplomatic Society of Gabriel, The (DSSG)
    40. Dominicans for Justice and Peace
    41. Dominican Leadership Conference
    42. ECPAT-USA
    43. Election Network in the Arab Region (ENAR)
    44. Emmaus International
    45. Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI)
    46. Environmental Protection & Conservation Organisation (EPCO)
    47. European Federation of Older Students at Universities (EFOSU)
    48. European Union of Women (EUW)
    49. European Youth Forum (EYF)
    50. For Alternative Approaches to Addiction, Think & Do Tank (FAAAT)
    51. Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO)
    52. Fondazione Proclade Internazionale-Onlus
    53. Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE)
    54. Fundación Mexicana para la Planeación Familiar, C. (MEXFAM)
    55. Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer (FEIM)
    56. Global Distribution Advocates,
    57. Global Family NGO (New Delhi, India)
    58. Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD)
    59. Graduate Women International (GWI)
    60. Guild of Service
    61. Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation USA
    62. Institute for Research and Development “Utrip”, Slovenia (UTRIP)
    63. Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Loreto Generalate
    64. Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS)
    65. International Alliance of Women (IAW)
    66. International Association for Counselling (IAC)
    67. International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
    68. International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
    69. International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG)
    70. International Association of Judges (IAJ)
    71. International Association for Media and Communication (IAMC)
    72. International Bureau for Epilepsy (IBE)
    73. International Center for Environmental Education & Community Development (ICENECDEV)
    74. International Council of Psychologists (ICP)
    75. International Council of Jewish Women
    76. International Council of Women (ICW)
    77. International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW)
    78. International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
    79. International Federation on Ageing
    80. International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
    81. International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE)
    82. International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW)
    83. International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
    84. International Inner Wheel (IIW)
    85. International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
    86. International Presentation Association (IPA)
    87. International Progress Organization
    88. International Public Relations Association (IPRA)
    89. International Real Estate Federation, The (FIABCI)
    90. International Servant-Leadership Exchange Association (ISEA)
    91. International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)
    92. International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS)
    93. International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN)
    94. Juan Somavia, Presidente, Foro Permanente de Política Exterior (Chile) and Director General, ILO (1999-2012)
    95. Johan Galtung | Transcendence International
    96. Kolping International
    97. Le Project Imagine
    98. League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS)
    99. Lucis Trust—World Goodwill
    100. Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (CFMSA)
    101. Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic,
    102. Medical Women’s International Association
    103. Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
    104. Murna Foundation
    105. New Humanity
    106. Non-Violence International (NI)
    107. Ordo Supremus Militaris Templi Hierosolymitani (OSMTH)
    108. Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association-International (PPSEAWA)
    109. Pax Christi International
    110. Pax Romana
    111. Peace Boat
    112. Poverty Elimination and Community Education (PEACE) Foundation
    113. Servas International
    114. Shine Africa Foundation-Teso
    115. Shirley Ann Sullivan Educational Foundation (SASEF)
    116. Sisters of Charity Federation
    117. Socialist International Women (SIW)
    118. Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries (Medical Mission Sisters)
    119. Society for International Development – Vienna Chapter (SID)
    120. Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI)
    121. Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
    122. Somali Help-Age Association
    123. Soroptimist International (SI)
    124. Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council (SSMWPC)
    125. Sulabh International Social Service Organization
    126. Teresian Association
    127. Tinker Institute on International Law and Organizations (TIILO)
    128. Tripla Difesa Onlus Internazional
    129. Trust for Youth Child Leadership (TYCL)
    130. UNANIMA International
    131. Union of International Associations (UIA)
    132. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
    133. United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society (UMC-GBCS)
    134. United Methodist Women (UMW)
    135. United Religions Initiative
    136. Universal Esperanto Association (UEA)
    137. Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
    138. Verein fuer Foerderung der Voelkerverstaendigung
    139. Villa Maraini Foundation
    140. Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (Women First International Fund)
    141. VIVAT International
    142. Women for Water Partnership (WfWP)
    143. Women´s Federation for World Peace International (WFWPI)
    144. Women’s Ordination Conference
    145. World Federalist Movement – Institute for Global Policy (WFM-IGP)
    146. World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women (WFMUCW)
    147. World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)
    148. World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
    149. World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ)
    150. Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB)
    151. Young Global Leadership Foundation (YGLF)
    152. Youth for a Better World | Montessori Model UN (MMUN)
    153. Zonta International (ZI)
1 2