Conference of NGOs (CoNGO) and civic space

INVITATION TO CIVIL SOCIETY SUMMIT ON SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES

New York City 20 October 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) – A civil society summit on substantive issues will be held on October 25, Monday, on the occasion of United Nations Day 2021. The summit is organized by CoNGO—the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.The summit is open to the public and registration is ongoing.

The summit brings to a virtual conference some 45 UN, NGO and civil society leaders from all geographic regions of the world, from grassroots to international arenas, and from a cross section of fields of focus and expertise, leading seven thematic panels that will address the overall theme “shaping the future: the UN we need for the world we want”.

CoNGO president, Liberato Bautista, emphasized the word “for” in the theme. “It addresses the coherence needed between the UN we need and the world we want. That coherence happens only if the multilateral infrastructure is built around the true and urgent needs of the world, not just for today, but into the future, both immediate and long term.”

There are other renditions of the same theme, Bautista said, but many use the word “and” rather than “for”. The “UN for the world” provides a necessary if urgent orientation for this multilateral institution called UN, and for civil society organizations to be decisively organized and working in the service of people, the planet and their futures, Bautista asserted.

Impetus for the summit partly came from the report of the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, Our Common Agenda. A high-level opening panel will explore the subtheme “the future in the present tense”. This civil society summit is not unlike Mr. Guterres’s concern for the future, Bautista opined, and hence the SG’s expressed desire to convene a Summit of the Future in 2023.

CoNGO’s declaration on the seventy-fifth anniversary of the UN called this global body and its Member States, “to enter into a dialogue with civil society to create innovative partnerships” and to recognize “the vast potential of civil society as an essential element of the international system, defining the present and shaping the future.”

The year 2023 will be CoNGO’s seventy-fifth anniversary. CoNGO since 2008 has had for its organizational theme, “defining the present, shaping the future”. Today’s UN undertaking has been more than a decade-old theme for CoNGO.

Moving into its seventy-fifth year, CoNGO is poised to join the UN and civil society worldwide in shaping the future. What kind of future(s) and what actions to undertake to achieve a just, peaceable, and sustainable world is an undertaking the civil society summit will try to elicit recommendations for from participants.

The summit on Monday will inform the work of CoNGO. A synthesis report will be submitted to the upcoming twenty-seventh CoNGO General Assembly scheduled for November 29 to December 1.

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.”

The UN and Civic Space: Strengthening Participation, Protection and Promotion

VIEW A RECORDING OF THE PANEL DISCUSSION HERE. 

TO NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS – Ce message est disponible seulement en anglais

Dear NGO partners and colleagues,

The United Nations invites you to a virtual panel discussion, The UN and Civic Space: Strengthening Participation, Protection and Promotion, at 10:00am to 11:30am (ET) on Friday, 4 December 2020 on Zoom. The panel discussion will focus on the UN’s role to promote and protect civic space under the Secretary General’s Call to Action for Human Rights and the UN Guidance Note on Civic Space. Further information can be found here.

Please register your attendance here: https://unwomen.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0vY8R6mLSd-kgrFWFcmbzg

We look forward to your participation.

 

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NGO Liaison Unit

Political Affairs and Partnerships Section
Office of the Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
Palais des Nations
T: +41 22 917 1304 / 2178 | F: +41 22 917 0583
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unog.ngo@un.org
www.unog.ch/ngo