Conference of NGOs (CoNGO) and COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery

CoNGO Statement on COVID-19 Recovery: Building Back Better

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. Joint 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 honored 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.

Global cooperation and solidarity are urgently needed during a crisis, but nationalism, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, and border closures have too often prevailed. Measures to fight the pandemic have restricted 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 lived in extreme poverty, primarily women and children. Many countries’ health and social protection systems are inadequate, as 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 significantly restricted 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 relationships 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 world.

“Only if we continue to work in partnerships and promote human rights, democracy, the 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



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    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)