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First Global Commemorative Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of CoNGO

28 April 2023 @ 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM UTC-5

First Global Commemorative Celebration of the

75th Anniversary of CoNGO

(Conference of Non-Governmental  Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations)

APRIL 28, 2023 | 14:00 – 16:45 CET

Venue: Vienna International Centre |  Conference Room 1 | Wagramer Str. 5, 1220 Wien



Those with a UN Vienna grounds pass: Register Here

Those with no UN Vienna grounds pass: Register Here

Zoom Link to the Live Stream Register Here 

Program Invitation


TimeAgenda itemNameTitle
13.57MusicDidier Louis Bagpiper
14.00Opening WelcomeMartina Gredler CoNGO Second Vice President
14.02Opening Video AddressH. E. Ghada Fathi WalyDirector-General, United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV)
14.07Video MessageH. E. Peter Launsky-


Secretary General, Foreign Ministry of Austria
14.13MessagesPermanent Missions to the United Nations and Other International Organizations at Vienna
14.15MessageShams Asadi Human Rights Commissioner | Head, Human Rights Office, City of Vienna
14.19Music: Jacques Castérède (1926-2014) Flûtes en VacancesFlutists: Katarina Göbel, Ágnes Tóth, & Chiara Zoccola2. Satz Flûtes Joyeuses
14.24Presidential Address Liberato C. BautistaCoNGO President
14.34GreetingsGillian Sorensen (Co-Chair of CoNGO 75th Anniversary Commemoration)Former UN Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations
14.37GreetingsPatrick Rea (Co-Chair of CoNGO 75th Anniversary Commemoration)International Grand Master Emeritus, OSMTH
14.39In MemoriamIlona Graenitz, Marlene Parenzan, and Maria JonasFormer CoNGO Leaders in Vienna
14.42Music:  Jacques Castérède (1926-2014) Flûtes en VacancesFlutists: Katarina Göbel, Ágnes Tóth, & Chiara Zoccola1. Satz Flûtes Pastorales  
14.47Keynote IntroductionMartina Gredler CoNGO Second Vice President
14.50Keynote 1: Re-Imagining and Re-Narrativizing Multilateralism: Why NGOs and Civil Society Truly MatterNikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director UN Institute for Training and Research
15.05Keynote 2: Gender Justice and Multilateralism: Achievements and Unfinished AgendasHelga KonradFormer Austrian Federal Minister of Women’s Affairs
15.20Keynote 3: The Multilateral Human Rights Regime: Civil Society and NGOs in the Development and Promotion of Human RightsManfred NowakSecretary General, Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice

Jacques Castérède (1926-2014) Flûtes en Vacances 

Flutists: Katarina Göbel, Ágnes Tóth, & Chiara Zoccola4. Satz Flûtes Légères 
15.40Greetings and Invitation to the Vin d’honneurOmar Al-RawiMember of Vienna City Council and Provincial Parliament
15.44Closing RemarksMartina Gredler CoNGO Second Vice President

A Vin d’honneur follows the program at the Coffee Corner, Building C opposite Conference Room 1, thanks to the hospitality of the City of Vienna and Regina Wialla-Zimm (International Relations Officer, Chief Executive Office for International Relations, City of Vienna)


CoNGO: 75 Years and Beyond (1948-2023)

“Defining the Present, Shaping the Future, Making the Change Now”

In its 75th year since its founding, CoNGO (Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the
United Nations) continues the legacy of advocacy for the voice and agency of civil society to be presenced at multilateral meetings at
the United Nations systemwide. Since its founding in 1948, CoNGO has been a significant interface between NGOs, now the broader
civil society, and the United Nations System. CoNGO has consistently promoted, defended, and boosted civil society access—both physical and political—to deliberative and decision-making processes throughout the United Nations System. CoNGO has encouraged and facilitated competent NGO inputs across the whole spectrum of local to planetary issues that constitute the daily and yearly agenda of the United Nations.

CoNGO has often spoken out in defense of the values that the UN and civil society share and has addressed governments with the plea—indeed the demand—that the financial underpinning of the UN is substantially reinforced to enable the Organization to adequately respond to the needs of the planet and its people. The 50+ entities, agencies, commissions, institutes, and other bodies comprising the United Nations System are coping with world, regional, and local aspirations and crises. Civil Society’s engagement with the United Nations is critical to the fulfillment of its mandate and its work, and CoNGO is a persistent and informed advocate of that cause. The depth and breadth of CoNGO’s knowledge of the United Nations System and NGO access to the system are unique.

CoNGO marks its 75th anniversary in 2023, with a look back, of course, but substantially with an eye to the future. The anniversary theme is “Shaping the Present, Shaping the Future, Making the Change, Now.” CoNGO will make the Anniversary a significant milestone on the road of cooperation and interaction between Civil Society—international, national, and grassroots—and the United Nations System. By motivating and galvanizing the entire CoNGO constituency and the United Nations System, CoNGO will build bridges to the future of multilateralism, cutting through the fogs of populism and short-termism. Together, the United Nations and Civil Society can—and must—work to enable future generations to enjoy healthy lives and sustainable livelihoods in greater peace, social justice, democracy, and the rule of law.

The CoNGO 75th Anniversary Committee and the CoNGO Board are undertaking ambitious but realistic goals—all forming part of the vision and direction that the presidency of Liberato Bautista has set to do. They constitute the backdrop to the following activities and events, which will be organized during the 75th Anniversary year and followed through for consolidation in 2024 and 2025: A) Four Anniversary Commemorative celebrations at UN Centres in Vienna (April), Bangkok (May), New York (October), and Geneva (December). Where possible, the events will include lectures and, where appropriate, cultural and hospitality events. B) Production of an anniversary book recounting the 75 years of CoNGO’s interactions among its members and with the UN System. The booklet will honor the giants of CoNGO’s past and present leaders and open a perspective into CoNGO’s future work. This shall include profiles of CoNGO presidents and vice presidents, the NGO substantive committees, and pages about CoNGO member organizations that may want to be featured. C) Six global thematic webinars will follow up on the themes that emerged from a CoNGO Civil Society Summit held in October 2021 with over 1,000 participants in person and online. The six thematic clusters are:

1. Social justice: Migration justice, racial justice, and health justice (March)
2. Pursuing Global Justice: Agenda 2030, sustainable development, and humanitarian action (May)
3. Gender Justice, youth, and intergenerational solidarity (June)
4. Peace and threats to the security of people and the planet (August)
5. UN-NGO relations: enhancing multilateralism, protecting NGO access, civil space and democratic discourse (October)
6. Human dignity and human rights (December)

To achieve CoNGO’s purposes for the 75th Anniversary, CoNGO has the structural benefit of a diverse and multidisciplinary membership of more than 600 organizations, solid and committed global officers and board members, 37 substantive NGO Committees, 37 Substantive Committees worldwide, and high-level 75th Anniversary Committee that provides advice and guidance. Through the involvement of international and national civil society organizations, all of the activities of CoNGO’s forward-looking 75th Anniversary Year will contribute to the achievement of the UN Agenda 2030, the advancement of the UN Secretary General’s “Our Common Agenda,” and the success of the UN 2024 Summit of the Future, including its follow up.

SPONSORSHIP: This program and other events scheduled throughout 2023 in celebration of CoNGO’s 75th anniversary are made possible through the generous contribution of The Mulchand and Parpati Thadhani Foundation, the STUF United Fund, and individual donors.


Keynote Speakers

Please be at the VIC gate no later than 13:30 to go through security and arrive in time for the opening of the event at 14:00.

Event Flyer


28 April 2023
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM UTC-5
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Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)
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