News

CoNGO President joins heads of IPPNW and PEAC Institute in welcoming entry into force of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

New York, 16 November 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) – Three heads of organizations, including the president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), join to welcome the imminent entry into force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. “The TPNW fills a gap in international law that for far too long saw the most destructive weapon ever invented, the only weapon which poses an acute existential threat to all humanity and to the biosphere, as the only weapon of mass destruction not expressly prohibited under international law”, they said.

Together with Liberato Bautista of CoNGO, the statement was signed by Michael Christ, executive director of the 1985 Nobel Peace laureate International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and Rebecca Irby, president of Peace, Education, Art, Communication (PEAC) Institute. IPPNW and PEAC Institute are partners of the 2017 Nobel Peace laureate International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons. They are both full member organizations of CoNGO.

The full statement is available here.

Related stories:

PEAC Institute press release.

IPPNW

 

NGO Committee on Ageing and UN DESA mark the International Day of Older Persons, stress human rights of the ageing

New York City, 31 October 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) – “Older persons must be a priority and we must expand opportunities for their involvement,” according to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, speaking at the opening of a meeting on October 1, 2020, to mark the UN International Day of Older Persons.  Organized by the NGO Committee on Ageing (New York) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the on-line meeting addressed the question “Pandemics:  How Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”

Set in the context of the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and its Decade of Health Ageing 2020-2030, the meeting, viewed online by some 3500 people, was hosted by the International Federation on Aging and co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations in collaboration with the Group of Friends of Older Persons.

President of the UN General Assembly Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, in his video message to the meeting, pointed out that the seventy fifth anniversary of the United Nations will forever be remembered as the year of COVID-19.  Calling on all member states to reach out to older persons, he added: “We are only as safe as the most vulnerable members of society.”

Also addressing the meeting, the chair of the UN Commission on Social Development, Argentine ambassador Maria del Carmen Squeff stressed the need for added protections for the human rights of older persons.

Cynthia Stuen, chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing (New York) and UN representative of the  International Federation on Ageing, provided a historical overview of the UN’s attention to ageing issues, paying tribute to the late Julia T. Alvarez, known as “the Ambassador of Ageing”  to the UN, and to those UN agencies and NGO Committees which had helped put the issue of ageing on the UN agenda. Among the highlights: the First (1982) and Second (2002) World Assemblies on Ageing, the adoption of the UN Principles for Older Persons (1991), the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (2002), the International Year of Older Persons (1999),  International Year of Older Persons (1999, and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015).

“This pandemic,” Ms. Stuen concluded, “is a human rights issue.” The Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) must be “one of action and a reminder that older persons’ rights are human rights,” she added.

Also featured on the programme were an address by Elizabeth Iro, Chief Nursing Officer at the World Health Organization, on the four actions called for in the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030), and an interactive dialogue among five panellists, moderated by Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing. In the panel were Peggy Hicks, of the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights; Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the Institute of Health Equity, University College London; John K. Shakpeh, Director of Nursing at Redemption Hospital, Monrovia. Liberia; Jean Accius, of AARP International, and Ritu Sadana, from the World Health Organization.

Concluding remarks came from the First Lady of Chile, Cecelia Morel Montes, on behalf of the Group of Friends of Older Persons, and Masumi Ono, on behalf of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). The programme was chaired by Martha Bial, with co-chair, Bette Levy, both leaders of the NGO Committee on Ageing (New York). Generous contributions from IFA, AARP and M&T Bank made this observance possible.

The NGO Committee on Ageing in New York is one of more than thirty substantive committees of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO). There are also counterpart committees on ageing in Geneva and Vienna.

View entire programme.
See UN story about the event.
See flyer and program schedule of the event.
See postcard of event.
Download HelpAge International’s communication toolkit.

CoNGO President congratulates the UN World Food Programme for receiving 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

New York City, 12 October 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) — The president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with the United Nations (CoNGO) issued today a statement congratulating the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for receiving the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

The full statement of President Liberato C. Bautista, is as follows:

On behalf of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), I congratulate the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on its receiving the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition both of its many years of action to  alleviate hunger across the world and of its relief work during this time of pandemic.

The award to the WFP is a yes to food security and a no to “the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” In their announcement of the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated: “The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle: war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence. We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict.”

Funded by the voluntary contributions of UN Member States and of civil society worldwide, the World Food Programme is a shining example of cooperation between government on the one hand and civil society on the other. Much of its work is dependent on partnership with non-governmental organizations of the kind that the Conference of NGOs is proud to represent.

At this time of crisis, when many governments are struggling to feed their people, and in which the incidence of poverty is rising because of economic disruption, CoNGO calls on UN Member States to support the global work of the World Food Programme, on nongovernmental organizations to work increasingly together to redouble their efforts to achieve the same goals, and on people of goodwill everywhere to play their part both in supporting the World Food Programme and in urging their governments to do the same.

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For a printable version of the statement, visit www.ngocongo.org
Visit WFP for more information.
For more information on the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, visit the Nobel Prize.

Language and languages to get greater attention by NGOs at the UN

New York City, 30 September 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) — The formation of an NGO Committee on Language and Languages is underway under the auspices of CoNGO (The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations). The full text of the proposal is available here.

The Committee will be based in New York and will accept membership from NGO representatives from around the world. Its proponent, Humphrey Tonkin, propounds that “Fundamental to the work of the United Nations is the spoken and written word. The United Nations is a place of negotiation and action in which language and communication underlie everything that it does.”

“The UN Secretariat works in two languages; the General Assembly works in six; the various members of the UN family have their own language policies, intended to promote inclusion. Beyond its official languages, the United Nations interacts with the public in a host of other languages. “

Tonkin is on the board of directors of CoNGO. He represents the Universal Esperanto Association as an NGO representative at the United Nations. He is President and University Professor of the Humanities, emeritus, of the University of Hartford In Connecticut.

Tonkin and Chuck Mays recently penned an opinion piece about linguistic equality and justice, including Esperanto opposition “to discrimination on grounds of language, the suppression of minority languages” and how they “favor the promotion of linguistic rights as part of those rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Liberato Bautista, the president of CoNGO, welcomed the move to form the NGO Committee. “I look forward to constituting the committee and welcoming it as an important addition to the 35 NGO committees under CoNGO’s umbrella.”

NGO Committees are either based in New York, Geneva, or Vienna, and four that are focused on women and gender operating out of four political regions in the world.

The establishment of an NGO committee is guided by the CoNGO Rules, in particular Rules 38 to 48 (see sidebar). Twenty (20) NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status are needed to start the process of constituting the committee.

NGOs interested in becoming inaugural and constituting members of the NGO Committee on Language and Languages must send an email to Humphrey Tonkin (tonkin@hartford.edu) and Liberato Bautista (president@ngocongo.org), indicating their desire to join in forming the committee. Once twenty NGOs have formalized their request to form the Committee, the CoNGO president will call for a constituting meeting.

Excerpts from the Rules of CoNGO 

COMMITTEES ON SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES:

38. Committees may be established under the auspices of the Conference in order to promote and facilitate collective work among NGOs on the substantive issues related to programmes, policies and activities of the United Nations system. These committees may organize activities which provide opportunities for NGOs to debate such issues, to articulate their views, to advocate positions with respect to UN resolutions or programmes, and to mobilize public opinion.

39. Committees may be established either by the General Assembly or by the Board at the request of twenty (20) or more Members, which shall specify whether the committee is to be a standing or fixed-term committee. When a decision has been taken to establish such a  committee, the Board shall notify the Members of the Conference and invite all Members to an initial meeting.

See  CoNGO Rules 38 to 48 here that govern NGO substantive committees.

CoNGO President Issues Statement Honoring United Nations Charter Day

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.”

New York City, 26 June 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) — The president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), Liberato C. Bautista, today issued a statement honoring the United Nations Charter Day. The organization pleaded and demanded that governments “recognize that the civil society organizations in their countries and internationally are a powerful force working for the public good,  acting selflessly to promote and expand those same causes for which the United Nations was established.”

This statement from the CoNGO President follows two other statements by CoNGO. On October 12, 2019, it issued the “CoNGO Declaration on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations”, emphasizing that “the 75th Anniversary…be an occasion for strengthening the United Nations, expanding its role to more effectively engage civil society everywhere.” It also urged “all governments to strengthen their commitment to the United Nations not only morally but also financially and materially.”

On May 12, 2020, it issued the statement “COVID-19 Recovery: Building Back Better.” In the statement, CoNGO called for “global cooperation and solidarity”, especially noting that “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.”

Together, the declaration and statement compose CoNGO’s contribution to global dialogue,  conversation, and stock taking around the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations this year.

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View a documentary here about the UN Charter’s past, present and future.

For more information about CoNGO and these statements, visit www.ngocongo.org.

CoNGO Issues Statement Ahead of the United Nations 75th Anniversary; President to Hold Briefings in Geneva, Vienna and New York

For full version, see:  English, Esperanto, French and Spanish.

Geneva,  9 December 2019
Vienna, 11 December 2019
New York, 18 December 2019

(New York, 22 November 2019) President Liberato Bautista ​of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) will be holding presidential briefings in Geneva, Vienna and New York this December.

The briefings will focus on CoNGO’s Declaration on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. This thoughtful and challenging document was adopted by the CoNGO Board when it met in Geneva this past October.

The Declaration was a product of intense​ ​consultations involving many CoNGO members and leaders of CoNGO Substantive Committees​ worldwide. ​

The Declaration honors the United Nations System​ ​as the essential multilateral mechanism that the world needs to mobilize, coordinate and manage solutions to ​the planet’s​ ​”Problems without Borders”.

CoNGO calls for the 75th Anniversary to be the occasion for the United Nations System to be strengthened, better structured, better used by​ ​governments,  and considerably better financed.

CoNGO calls for the UN System to make greater use of the competence and experience of NGOs and the broader Civil Society as essential partners in ensuring a peaceful and just world built upon achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

President Bautista will hold ​these ​Presidential ​B​riefing​s​ to expound upon the Declaration, and to seek further input and participation in conveying the central messages to Civil​ ​Society worldwide, to all governments, ​t​o all elements and entities​ ​of the UN System, and to the people of the planet.

​President Bautista will make use of the occasion to discuss CoNGO’s invitation to other NGO and civil society groups with similar initiatives of revisiting the 75 years of the UN and proposing visions of the “world we need”, the world we want” and the UN that is responsive, accountable and well-funded to meet these needs and wants.

Bautista hopes for the development of he calls “CS75 at UN75”. These 75 unities that will be developed through NGO and civil society consultations will be short statements on agreed issues and concerns that shall be conveyed to all entities within the UN ​System and its member states as the UN approaches its 75th anniversary next year and plan for the years ahead.

The CoNGO Declaration is for use throughout the whole Anniversary Year, and in all UN and Civil Society fora. It is available in English, French and Spanish versions.

Your presence and active participation ​in any of these three  briefings is most welcome.

 

PRACTICAL  INFORMATION

December 9 Briefing in Geneva, Switzerland
15.00 to  17.00 | John Knox International Center | Room 3
27 Chemin des Crêts de Pregny, Grand Saconnex

(The John Knox Center has two free parking lots. Room 3 is downstairs in the main building. Tea and coffee will be available in Room 3 from 14.30. Please confirm your presence to Cyril Ritchie at firstvp@ngocongo.org)

December 11 Briefing in Vienna, Austria
15.00 to 17.00 | Vienna International Center | Room C0213
Wagramer Str. 5, 1400 Wien, Austria

The Presidential Briefing will be part of a special event organized by CoNGO’s Second Vice President, Dr. Martina Gredler, together with leaders of NGO Committees in Vienna. The theme of this special meeting is “Working Effectively Within the CoNGO Committees: Present and Future”. The event will include reports from the CoNGO committees in Vienna and a brief introduction to CoNGO—its history and activities. Please confirm your presence to Martina Gredler at secondvp@ngocongo.org or zahnaerztin@yahoo.com.

December 18 Briefing and Holiday Celebration in New York, USA
15.00 to 17.30 | Church Center for the United Nations | 10th Floor Conference Room
777 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017 USA

This Presidential Briefing will include a discussion by a panel of reactors to the CoNGO Declaration. Panelists will come from civil society, the UN system and UN member states. The event will also serve as a holiday celebration for NGO leaders in the area. Please confirm your presence to Liberato Bautista at president@ngocongo.org.