[WSIS CS-Plenary] Re: Next GFC meetings
rbloem at ngocongo.org
Sun Jun 26 23:26:42 BST 2005
I had it in a first draft. But then in cooperation with members of the Task
here we decided to take it out and have it completely focused on the GA and
the September Summit. It would have some what watered down the historic
precedents of the Hearings. (BTW, what we are asking here we have already
for some time - and far beyond- in the WSIS! Governments would have been
deprived of feeling good about entering into a genuine positive dialogue.
And most of the CS present at the Hearings having no clue about WSIS
would not have associated themselves with it)
But next week at the High-level Segment of ECOSOC, (and that is why I am
still here) and particular during a Round Table on Science, Technology and
Innovation to meet the MDGs, including the ICTs, I have plenty of
opportunity to promote WSIS multi-stakeholderism.
From: plenary-admin at wsis-cs.org [mailto:plenary-admin at wsis-cs.org] On Behalf
Of Wolfgang Kleinwächter
Sent: dimanche, 26. juin 2005 09:03
To: plenary at wsis-cs.org
Subject: AW: [WSIS CS-Plenary] Re: Next GFC meetings
Tahnks renata for the NY statement which is very balanced and clear. Only
one question: Was there one reason why NOT mentioning experiences from WSIS?
Von: plenary-admin at wsis-cs.org im Auftrag von Renata Bloem
Gesendet: Sa 25.06.2005 21:01
An: bureau wsis; Plenary at wsis-cs.org
Betreff: [WSIS CS-Plenary] Re: Next GFC meetings
I agree with all of you, but just before we send out a letter (s) let us
recall the facts:
The GFC was established with the objective to help the President with the
Drafting of the Tunis Outcome Document, or rather getting the elements
together for this document. Real negotiations will only take place at
PrepComs. As a restricted body, the GFC -other than the WGIG- was created
without the participation of CS, but also without the participation of many
governments and other stakeholders. Modalities for its operations were
therefore: To have a number of open meetings for all stakeholders and a
number of closed meetings (in which only other governments were allowed to
sit in as silent observers).
In the two open meetings the GFC held between PrepCom1 and PrepCom2, CONGO
each time deplored the fact that this was the only WSIS body not in line
with the multi stake holder approach. President Karklins, as his predecessor
Samassekou, is very open to CS input, but is nevertheless bound to look
always for consensus. (And apparently some members of the Governmental
Bureau want to keep some prerogatives for Governments) Therefore CS was
invited along with other stakeholders to send their input to these open
meetings or in writing (by deadline) to be included in the compilation of
contributions which were to be considered at PrepCom2. (CONGO and NGLS had
sent out each time notes to the Bureau and Plenary to these effects)
At PrepCom2 we had the opportunity to speak to the then draft Outcome
Document. (Agenda of PrepCom2). At the end of PrepCom2 there was some sort
of agreement that the GFC would not meet any more before PrepCom3, but that
all stakeholders were allowed to contribute once more in writing until the
deadline of 30 May (on Chapter 1 and 4) which would then be compiled by the
Secretariat for PrepCom3.
However, during the ITU (so-called open) Consultation on follow up on 2 May
(not officially part of the WSIS process) those of us who were there
demanded quite strongly to have official consultations within WSIS on follow
up for all stakeholders. The Governmental Bureau then decided to have
another round of the GFC, beginning with the open meeting on June 13 (you
all have received our notes), followed by three closed meetings June 27,
July 4, July 11 and another open meeting if needed on July 18.
When at the end of the June 13 meeting Karklins announced the next closed
round on June 27, he mentioned that (as established for the GFC) other
Governments could sit in as silent observers and (!) he would not throw out
any silent CS representative, should any be there. Apparently there was
another Bureau meeting during which this last part was revoked.
So in general what we are now facing is not a new situation (throwing CS
out) but rather the rebuke for Karklins who had tried his best to be more
open to CS.
In light of the new (more open) developments we have just experienced here
in New York during the UNGA CS Hearings, we have better positions. It will
be good to use them wisely.
FYI below the Opening Statement
Official Press Releases for the two day Hearings can be found on
Fifty-Ninth General Assembly Plenary
105th and 106th Meeting
GA/10359 23 June 2005
GA/10361 24 June 2005
General Assembly Hearings with Civil Society
New York, 23-24 June 2005
Opening Statement by
President of the Conference of NGOs (CONGO)
Madam Deputy Secretary-General
Colleagues and friends
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a historic moment in time: for the first time ever,
since the founding of the United Nations, the General Assembly is holding
hearings with civil society and the private sector. These hearings represent
a significant step forward for the United Nations itself, and for all of us
in civil society which overall is such a constant supporter of the
principles of the United Nations and of Multilateralism. At the Opening of
the hearings my own emotion is strong since the Conference of NGOs (CONGO)
has for 57 years worked intensively to enhance the participation of civil
society in UN fora.
This moment was long awaited by NGOs that have advocated for decades to have
a special relationship with the General Assembly, the highest deliberative
body of the Organisation. Our appeal has been heard by the Secretary General
himself who, following the Cardoso report, in his report "In larger freedom"
agrees that "the goals of the United Nations can only be achieved if civil
society and Governments are fully engaged" and that "prior to major events,
the Assembly could institute the practice of holding interactive hearings
between Member States and Civil Society representatives that have the
necessary expertise on the issues on the agenda". This moment has now come,
and I welcome all Governments who are here to interact with us.
The Summit in September does indeed constitute a "major event" that will
take place in this very Assembly Hall. The seats will be occupied by world
leaders who have the capacity to make decisions that will affect not only
the future of the United Nations, but the kind of world we and our children
will be living in. It is time for all of us to speak up for what we believe
in and for the voices of the world's peoples - particularly women, youth,
the elderly and indigenous peoples - to be heard. We come from a great
diversity of backgrounds, traditions, interests and values, but we do share
a profound conviction that the United Nations is essential and that its
effectiveness depends on giving operational reality to the interdependence
of development, security and human rights in all its programs.
If today is indeed a crucial moment in history, it builds on a long history
of growing interaction between governments and civil society. The founders
of the United Nations themselves have granted to NGOs, through article 71 of
the Charter, a consultative relationship with the Economic and Social
Council. The extraordinary cycle of the UN World Conferences held before and
especially throughout the 1990's and the process of democratization has in
turn led to a remarkable growth in the number of NGOs and civil society
movements and the scope and the diversity of their activities. The 2000
Millennium Forum and the activities of the Millennium+5 NGO Network have
further enhanced communality through diversity.
When on 26 June we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the
Charter of the United Nations we should never forget that it is proclaimed
in the name of "We the Peoples". We mark the evolution of international
relations and the emergence of a global civil society which at this time as
never before rallies around the Millennium Development Goals and the
Campaign and Global Call to Action against Poverty.
So it is vital that the General Assembly will listen to these voices and we
are grateful to you, Mr. President, and to you Madam Deputy
Secretary-General, for your leadership in making this happen. However, the
September 2005 General Assembly is very close, and these hearings constitute
one of the last moments to take our input into consideration.
Representatives of NGOs, civil society and the private sector have come
prepared to offer their ideas and recommendations, often based on first hand
experience of the issues they are going to address: on poverty and
development, on human rights, on peace and security and on the need to shape
a more democratic system of global governance by reforming and strengthening
the United Nations.
This civil society experience and competence in real-world issues is surely
what led the Cardoso Panel to call for greater integration of civil society
viewpoints at all levels of the United Nations policy discussions.
Responsible civil society input enhances responsible government output!
We thus hope that in 2005 our voices will not only be listened to but heard,
so that we may have a substantive impact on the document to be submitted to
the Summit in September. We have the draft of this document to hand and we
are therefore in a position to assess the extend to which our contributions
to the negotiations are valued by member states. We shall be watching very
closely to see which of our recommendations will be reflected in the final
Let me also express the hope that this hearing will not constitute an
isolated event, but that it will help us to move from an historical
precedent to a more formal institutionalized way of Civil Society
interacting with the work of the General Assembly. We think these hearings
are a good beginning and could be repeated at the start of each General
Finally, Mr President, I want to pay tribute to you for setting up a Civil
Society Task Force to assist you in preparing for the Hearings and to thank
the members of the Task Force for the tremendous amount of work they have
done in a very short time.
We have come to a point in time where multi stake holder
partnerships between governments, international organizations, civil society
and the private sector, are not an option any more, but a vital necessity
for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
We are entering a new era when governments and civil society must work hand
in hand to relegate wars, poverty and violations of human rights to the
dustbin of history. That is the new Millennium the world needs!
President of the Conference of NGOs (CONGO)
11, Avenue de la Paix
Tel: +41 22 301 1000
Fax: +41 22 301 2000
E-mil: rbloem at ngocongo.org
The Conference of NGOs (CONGO) is an international, membership association
that facilitates the participation of NGOs in United Nations debates and
decisions. Founded in 1948, CONGO's major objective is to ensure the
presence of NGOs in exchanges among the world's governments and United
Nations agencies on issues of global concern. For more information see our
website at www.ngocongo.org
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