Audio archives of Mandat International
World Civil Society Forum - Geneva, 14-19 July 2002
President of the Councilof State of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, 2002-07-14
Monsieur le Président du Comité d'organisation, Monsieur le directeur général de l'office des Nations-Unies à Genève, Monsieur l'ambassadeur, Monsieur le maire de Genève,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
Au cours de son histoire, Genève a défendu vaillamment ses libertés, mais le canton a toujours aspiré à une influence spirituelle plutôt que territoriale. Cette affinité avec le progrès des idées, cette volonté d'ouverture, ont fait de notre cité un haut-lieu du protestantisme, le laboratoire des révolutions du XVIIIème siècle, le berceau de la Croix-Rouge et des organisations internationales.
Métropole de l'espérance, cette Genève multiculturelle, qui aime la différence et qui sait l'accueillir est un symbole fort dans un univers qui peine à trouver le chemin du dialogue. Le Forum Mondial de la Société Civile s'inscrit donc, avec une certaine logique, ici, à Genève. Je tiens à remercier ses organisateurs et je lui souhaite, au nom du gouvernement genevois, une solennelle et cordiale bienvenue.
Le Forum Mondial veut intensifier la coopération internationale, notamment au sein des organisations de la société civile des différentes régions et domaines d'activités, mais aussi, avec l'ensemble du système des Nations Unies. Droits humains, développement durable, promotion de la paix, de la santé, droit à l'alimentation et à l'éducation, société de l'information, le Forum mise sur une approche transversale de ces thèmes cruciaux pour l'avenir de l'humanité.
Cette plate-forme inédite ouvre un espace de dialogue entre les acteurs de la scène internationale, et c'est à la question Comment faire mieux ensemble? que veut répondre le Forum Mondial en approfondissant la connaissance mutuelle, en élaborant des stratégies et des projets communs. Ce rapprochement devrait permettre à la communauté internationale, mais aussi aux autorités, aux secteurs public et privé, de gagner en efficacité et en cohésion. Pour mieux collaborer, pour mieux participer, les acteurs de la société civile veulent comprendre d'avantage le monde des organisations internationales, ses mécanismes, son agenda, ses travaux, et ses préoccupations.
L'impulsion du Forum en faveur de la communauté internationale est d'autant plus utile à l'ère de l'ouverture accélérée qui suscite des remous et de vives inquiétudes dans les populations, ouvrant la porte aux slogans simplistes et démagogues. Avec la mondialisation, l'ouverture des frontières est brutale, certains déséquilibres économiques et sociaux s'aggravent, les barrières tombent, les habitudes et les certitudes vacillent. Nous éprouvons le besoin de quelque certitude, d'un socle de valeurs fondamentales et partagées, de réflexion approfondie, et de moyens d'interventions concrets en faveur d'échanges plus équitables.
Le Forum Mondial de la Société Civile ne souhaite pas débattre pour le plaisir du verbe, il veut au contraire défricher les routes pour les rendre praticables, surmonter les obstacles, ouvrir de nouveaux territoires de compréhension. Il fait appel aux responsabilités individuelles et collectives, il est une chance d'éloigner de nos collectivités le désenchantement qui les menace, et de changer les choses. En s'engageant résolument pour la mise en commun des expériences citoyennes, et la réalisation de projets d'intérêt public concrets, il investit le terrain pratique au-delà des dogmes, il souhaite devenir un passeur d'idées sans préjugés, un facilitateur, un contributeur de solutions, un facteur d'équilibre dans un monde marqué par les inégalités.
Dans cet esprit, la cohérence est un objectif prioritaire. Or, actuellement trop de divergences minent la crédibilité. Si l'on affirme que l'éducation est un axe incontournable du développement, alors, les montants d'aide à l'éducation ne devraient pas diminuer. Si l'on plébiscite les droits humains, alors, on ne peut prôner la privatisation de services publics quand cette dernière revient à mettre en danger la possibilité de se nourrir pour certaines populations du monde.
Garantir le droit à l'alimentation, à l'éducation, à la sécurité suppose des politiques concertées, nécessite de veiller à ce que les actions s'accordent aux discours, le contraire finit par jeter le discrédit sur l'action de la communauté internationale tout entière.
Or, la défiance et la suspicion engendrent le désarroi et la rancur, parfois, même la douleur des peuples. Et la douleur collective conduit toujours au désespoir et à la révolte.
Mesdames et Messieurs, progresser vers davantage de justice entre les peuples, rapprocher les points de vues, capitaliser les expériences et les faire fructifier au bénéfice de la solidarité et de la justice dans le monde, le Forum vise haut, et il vise loin. Il a une haute idée de l'humain, et du progrès, et je lui souhaite plein succès sur cette route de l'espérance.
President of the Councilof State of the Republic and Canton of Geneva
French - 2002-07-14
Mayor of the City of Geneva, 2002-07-14
Aujourd'hui s'ouvre le Forum mondial de la Société civile.
Jusqu'au 19 juillet, ateliers, groupes de travail thématiques, sessions d'informations et de discussions se succéderont, pour permettre aux participants de partager leurs expériences, développer des contacts directs, lancer des projets de partenariats et améliorer leurs capacités personnelles et leur connaissance du système des Nations Unies.
Comme vous tous ici réunis, j'espère que ce forum atteindra ses objectifs: renforcer la coopération internationale entre les Nations Unies et les multiples groupements qui constituent la Société civile, c'est à dire les institutions non gouvernementales, les populations autochtones, les centres de recherches et les ONG. Plus globalement, le but est d'ouvrir un espace de dialogue entre les divers acteurs de la scène internationale, toujours plus nombreux, gouvernements et municipalités, mais aussi la Société civile dans son ensemble.
L'organisation d'un tel forum à Genève démontre, une fois de plus, le rôle capital de notre ville sur la scène internationale. Siège de nombreux organismes internationaux gouvernementaux et non gouvernementaux, Genève est tout naturellement destinée à contribuer activement au développement des relations internationales et de la coopération, notamment par la mise à disposition d'infrastructures et de moyens logistiques et par la participation concrète à l'organisation de conférences internationales.
Voilà déjà plus de vingt ans que la Ville de Genève s'est engagée dans la coopération internationale, qui constitue désormais un volet de son action dans le domaine social. L'enjeu est essentiellement de mettre en oeuvre un réel partenariat avec les pays en développement afin de créer les conditions pour une répartition équitable des ressources. Plus concrètement, cela implique l'élaboration de projets sur le plan social, sanitaire et de la formation.
L'action de la Ville de Genève en matière de coopération s'appuie sur deux axes majeurs: le respect des droits fondamentaux et la notion de développement durable.
Ces deux dernières années, la Ville de Genève a mis sur pied des structures destinées à développer son action à l'extérieur et en matière de coopération. Un Service des relations extérieures a notamment été créé.
En matière de coopération, il existe actuellement deux structures spécifiques. II s'agit, d'une part, de la Délégation à la coopération, qui est responsable, pour la Ville de Genève, de l'ensemble des projets dans ce domaine. D'autre part, un Fonds international de solidarité des villes contre la pauvreté a été créé, en mars 2001, sous l'impulsion des villes de Bamako, de Lyon et de Genève. Cette fondation a essentiellement pour mission de développer la coopération de municipalité à municipalité, un moyen de collaboration concret et efficace.
En outre, la Ville de Genève soutient financièrement la Fédération genevoise à la coopération, une organisation faîtière qui réunit diverses ONG et centralise leurs projets.
Les projets de coopération entre la Ville de Genève et les pays en développement actuellement en cours s'inscrivent dans la perspective d'une "coopération décentralisée", très souple, fondée sur le contact et l'échange entre deux municipalités et, parfois, deux services homologues. Hormis les municipalités, les autres partenaires de la Ville de Genève sont des associations locales, des ONG ou des fédérations. La majorité de ces projets concernent la santé, l'éducation et la formation.
Plusieurs projets de coopération sont conduits par le Département des sports et de la sécurité, dont j'ai la charge, dans des pays d'Afrique noire francophone. II s'agit notamment d'une formation à l'utilisation de matériel technique et en matière de prévention des catastrophes. Le Service d'Assistance et de Protection de la Population est actuellement impliqué dans deux projets, l'un au Mali, l'autre au Burkina Faso. En collaboration avec l'association "Anitié Mali", le S.A.P.P. soutient la construction d'un dispensaire et de structures pour le pompage et le traitement de l'eau, dans le village de Kani Kombolé, dans un but prophylactique.
En outre, des collaborateurs du S.A.P.P. se sont rendus au Burkina-Faso afin de former la population autochtone à l'utilisation de motopompes données par le Service d'Incendie et de Secours et de compresseurs PC. Le S.A.P.P. entretient également des relations suivies avec l'Organisation Internationale de Protection Civile et le CICR. Des cours de prévention des catastrophes sont dispensés dans le cadre de l'OIPC et aux délégués du CICR.
Quant au Service d'Incendie et de Secours, il fournit, depuis 1995, une aide en matière de formation et de matériel aux sapeur-pompiers de Conakry en Guinée. Grâce à cette coopération, l'efficacité du corps de sapeurs-pompiers de Conakry a pu être notablement améliorée.
Sous la responsabilité de la Délégation à la Coopération, trois projets relatifs à la formation et à l'éducation des jeunes sont actuellement en cours. Le premier projet concerne une coopération entre la Ville de Genève et la Ville d'Abomey, au Bénin. Des apprentis et des collaborateurs de la Ville de Genève se sont rendus à Abomey, fin juin 2002, afin de fournir des livres et du matériel informatique et de comparer les différents modes d'apprentissage dans les deux pays.
Un second projet de coopération concerne les jeunes de la rue à Rio de Janeiro. La Ville de Genève finance actuellement la formation de 200 jeunes dans les métiers de l'hôtellerie. A l'issue de cette formation, un emploi est proposé à ces jeunes. Notre partenaire est une association locale en contact avec la ville de Rio, qui fournit l'infrastructure.
Le troisième projet intitulé "Jardin de la paix" concerne la ville de Jérusalem. En collaboration avec la Fondation de Jérusalem, la Ville de Genève soutient la création d'un jardin d'enfants multiconfessionnel réunissant des Musulmans, des Juifs et des Chrétiens.
Enfin le dernier projet placé sous la responsabilité de la Délégation à la coopération concerne le domaine médical et la ville d'Asuncion au Paraguay. Grâce à l'action, sur place, de collaborateurs du Conservatoire et Jardin botanique, les connaissances traditionnelles de la population autochtone en matière de plantes médicinales ont pu être préservées et valorisées. La Ville de Genève a donc pleinement conscience de la nécessité de développer et de renforcer la coopération internationale. Le principe d'une "coopération décentralisée", portant sur des objectifs modestes mais atteignables, dont les partenaires sont essentiellement d'autres municipalités ou des associations locales, doit être poursuivi.
Enfin j'espère que ce Forum Mondial de la Société Civile sera l'occasion de nouer des contacts fructueux et de trouver de nouvelles solutions en matière de coopération. Je vous souhaite à tous, Mesdames, Messieurs, une excellente fin de journée.
Mayor of the City of Geneva
French - 2002-07-14
Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva, 2002-07-14
Monsieur le Président,
Monsieur le Directeur Général de l'Office des Nations Unies,
Madame la Présidente du Conseil d'Etat,
Monsieur le Maire,
Mesdames et Messieurs, chers participants au Forum
Je suis très heureux de prendre la parole à l'ouverture du Forum Mondial de la société civile pour vous souhaiter la plus cordiale bienvenue en Suisse au nom des autorités fédérales.
La Suisse se réjouit d'accueillir sur son territoire une grande manifestation qui a pour objet de favoriser la coopération internationale, renforcer l'impact des organisations non gouvernementales, faire mieux connaître le système des Nations Unies et y intégrer les peuples autochtones. A quelques jours de l'entrée formelle de la Suisse aux Nations Unies, voulue par le peuple et les cantons, votre présence ici prend une valeur symbolique accrue que je me plais à relever.
Les buts que vous allez poursuivre au cours de votre séjour en Suisse ne sont pas entièrement inédits dans mon pays, siège de l'un des mouvements non gouvernementaux parmi l'un des plus anciens au monde. Je veux parler du Mouvement international de la Croix rouge et du Croissant rouge et des organismes qui la constituent dont le CICR. Voilà une ONG exemplaire pour la société civile, qui incarne l'idéal et la force de l'apport de simples citoyens aux relations internationales.
C'est bien de cela qu'il s'agit: comment définir le rôle croissant que jouent les ONG dans l'action concertée des Etats, telles que nous les rencontrons dans la campagne contre les mines antipersonnel, la lutte contre le SIDA, l'engagement en faveur du développement durable, les droits de l'homme, l'éducation?
Les Etats demeurent les acteurs de la vie internationale et les facteurs de paix et de sécurité dans un monde caractérisé par l'insécurité, les inégalités et les bouleversements dus à la mondialisation. Comme le relevait ici même M. Kofi Annan, Secrétaire Général de l'ONU, le mois dernier, dans son discours à l'Institut universitaire des hautes études internationales, les Etats se doivent d'être forts, ce qui ne veut pas dire qu'ils doivent être coercitifs; les Etats doivent être forts pour relever les défis que leur imposent les déséquilibres issus du processus de la mondialisation et faire échec à l'agression, assurer la protection de leurs citoyens et leur fournir des services sociaux. Mais il ajoutait: "Les Etats doivent s'imposer à nouveau en tirant légitimité et vigueur de nouvelles sources. Nombre d'objectifs que l'Etat s'assigne aujourd'hui ne peuvent être atteints qu'en associant d'autres acteurs non pas tant à leur corps défendant que comme véritables partenaires. Le secteur privé, les organisations bénévoles et les groupes de pression, les universités" et d'autres institutions contribueront à la "satisfaction des besoins de la collectivité pour autant que l'Etat les inspire, les persuade, négocie avec eux et bien entendu, les écoute au lieu de chercher à les contraindre.
Il en va encore plus ainsi au niveau international où les Etats doivent également s'allier tous ces différents acteurs non étatiques et travailler avec eux la main dans la main."
La Suisse est bien consciente de cette exigence de la vie internationale contemporaine. Elle pratique ce dialogue qui est fondamental et institué entre ses diverses composantes et les associations de droit privé qui sous-tendent la vie publique. Les groupements d'intérêts divers peuvent manier des instruments tels que l'initiative ou le referendum et leur inclusion dans des mécanismes établis de consultation leur garantissent un accès à l'administration et une influence sur la décision politique, par exemple dans le secteur de la politique étrangère, qui a sans doute peu d'équivalent au monde. Ce sont les forces vives de notre démocratie directe.
La société civile n'est donc pas en quête de sa légitimité mais elle recherche les moyens d'intégrer mieux sa voix dans les délibérations des Etats.
Elle les trouvera à la condition de veiller avec rigueur à répondre elle-même aux critères les plus élevés de la transparence, de la démocratie interne et de l'indépendance. Une ONG qui se veut partie prenante de la vie internationale doit pouvoir rendre des comptes, respecter ses statuts et faire fonctionner ses organes sans heurts. Elle doit également tendre vers l'efficacité, élargir son impact et son autorité morale, ce qui signifie souvent coordonner son action avec d'autres et aborder les problèmes avec objectivité. Les Etats sont fondés à demander aux ONG ce qu'elles représentent vraiment.
Lorsque ces conditions sont remplies, la société civile participe pleinement à la préparation et à la mise en uvre des politiques de coopération internationale et son apport est reconnu. Il deviendra vite indispensable. C'est aujourd'hui un partenaire majeur et incontournable des états et des organisations inter étatiques mais qui ne saurait se substituer à eux.
Vous allez vous attacher au cours de ce Forum à "ouvrir un espace de dialogue entre les organisations de la société civile, les organisations internationales, les Etats et le secteur privé" et je vous félicite d'avoir choisi de le faire en Suisse. Le terrain y est prédisposé, et nous sommes fiers d'accueillir avec l'Office des Nations Unies, les institutions spécialisées du système des Nations Unies et l'OMC le centre le plus important de négociations diplomatiques multilatérales.
Un des moyens les plus modernes qui vous permette de faire entendre votre message, échanger vos vues, vous informer, alerter l'opinion et correspondre avec les gouvernements et les organisations internationales s'est développé à partir d'une découverte effectuée à Genève: les Nouvelles Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication sont l'illustration d'une coopération bien maîtrisée entre secteur public, secteur privé et société civile. Elles mettent à votre disposition un instrument unique, et j'observe sur mon écran que vous y recourez avec aisance. Genève, où a été mis au point ce qui est devenu le World Wide Web à partir de recherches accomplies au CERN - Centre européen de la Recherche Nucléaire- s'apprête à accueillir la première phase du Sommet Mondial de la Société de l'Information en décembre 2003.
Le gouvernement suisse s'est engagé en faveur de cette conférence internationale non seulement parce qu'il mesure le potentiel sociologique, technique, politique de ces nouvelles technologies mais aussi parce qu'il y voit une voie privilégiée pour accélérer le développement, notamment dans les domaines des communications, de l'éducation, de la santé publique et du commerce. Mais si la diplomatie suisse s'est montrée très active autour de ce projet, c'est également parce qu'elle veut saisir cette occasion pour associer de façon optimum tous les acteurs des réseaux que forment aujourd'hui les Etats, l'ONU et les Organisations Internationales, les ONG, la société civile au sens large et le secteur privé. Avec son effet multiplicateur, c'est une chance unique à exploiter dans une problématique qui nous concerne tous et c'est un exemple que je voudrais livrer à votre méditation.
Je vous réitère les vux chaleureux de bienvenue pour vos assises sur le sol suisse de la part du Conseil fédéral et je forme mes vux les meilleurs pour que vos débats renforcent la coopération entre tous ceux qui portent la responsabilité de la vie internationale.
Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva
French - 2002-07-14
United Nations Under-Secretary General, 2002-07-14
Madam President of the Conseil d'Etat
Mr. Permanent Observer of Switzerland to the United Nations
Mr. President of Mandat International
Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Geneva and to the World Civil Society Forum. It is a privilege to join you today.
The World Civil Society Forum offers all of us a welcome opportunity to reflect upon the achievements of civil society in global affairs. The Forum will allow us to assess our progress in involving civil society representatives in all aspects of our work. At the same time, it is an important occasion for considering the potential and prospects of future collaboration. Together, we can identify possible pitfalls and formulate comprehensive strategies for strengthening our alliance.
The United Nations and civil society have a common vision of a world where all individuals can fulfil their potential in peace and prosperity. It is our joint mission to transform our ideas into practice. We can only do it in close, constructive and transparent co-operation.
The high turnout at this Forum testifies to the dynamism and vitality of NGOs across the globe. The wide-ranging agenda for the coming days illustrates the broad interest and firm commitment of participants here. The diverse items on the agenda are also vivid examples of how in the era of globalization, local concerns require universal responses. As economies and peoples grow ever more connected and interdependent - for better and sometimes for worse the remedy for community problems is not to disengage from the wider world. On the contrary, development in the neighbourhood, in the district, or in the region depends on international initiatives. Our partage challenge is to find creative and viable solutions at the global level that have a definite and lasting impact in the local sphere. Your presence here demonstrates that you recognize this, and that you direct your advocacy and actions accordingly.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I strongly believe that international peace, security and development can only be achieved through strong, innovative partnerships between all stakeholders. To ensure that our partnership grows even more effective and influential, I see two main challenges ahead: integrating the increasing numbers of governmental representatives in our work, and encouraging NGO expansion in developing countries.
Statistics speak plainly of rapid growth in the civil society sector. For example, the Rio Earth Summit ten years ago gathered 1,400 accredited organizations with 20,000 participants. At the forthcoming follow-up the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, it is expected that over 3,000 organizations with almost 40,000 representatives will be present. These figures present a positive challenge to both the UN and the NGO community. It is imperative that growing numbers do not lead to fragmentation, division and duplication of efforts. Instead, the widening ranks of NGOs should lead to consolidation and reinforcement of activities. Co-ordination and collaboration is needed at all levels to make the most of the enlargement of civil society. This Forum is an essential platform for a thorough debate of how to maximize the capacities of all civil society associations. Statistics, however, mask pronounced disparities between civil society involvement in the developing and the developed world. Our common objective is an inclusive, tolerant international society where all individuals can participate and contribute. To achieve this aim, the process of reaching it also needs to be as inclusive as possible. Galvanizing NGOs in developing countries to become catalysts for change in their regions is, therefore, of concern to the UN. It is in everybody's interest that civil society participation is as broad as possible. This is crucial to fulfilling the ambitious and necessary goals of the Millennium Declaration. Civil society is indispensable in attaining sustainable development, instituting good governance and combating HIV/AIDS and terrorism.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is commonly recognized that non-governmental organizations are powerful advocates for change. They highlight pressing issues; they focus the public's sometimes fleeting attention; they prompt government into action. NGO efforts in connection with the Ottawa Convention on Anti-Personnel Mines and the establishment of the International Criminal Court are just a few, prominent examples. But NGOs are much more than successful lobby groups. At a very practical level, they empower people to take charge of their own destinies and to make a real difference to their own communities. They are living models of democracy.
It is my hope that this Forum will help promote and intensify both aspects of civil society activity. I wish you great success in your discussions and deliberations.
Thank you for your kind attention.
United Nations Under-Secretary General
English - 2002-07-14
President of the Organisational Committee of the World Civil Society Forum and President of Mandat International, 2002-07-14
We are very pleased to welcome you here, in Geneva, to this World Civil Society Forum.
At a time when we face a lot of major problems around the world, be it environmental problems such as desertification and climatic changes, or poverty, AIDS, malaria, as well as other huge and increasing problems, we need to join our efforts. We hope this Forum will provide an opportunity to bring together organizations both from civil society and the UN, working in different fields of activity and different regions of the World, in order to strengthen their links of cooperation.
Civil society and UN organizations have a lot in common and much to share. They all work for a better world and try to solve problems with limited resources. Civil society usually bring their field-based expertise to the UN agencies. They root decisions taken at the international level. They also contribute to implement those policies adopted at the international level. On the other hand, the UN offers a rich variety of opportunities to civil society organizations, including the possibility to define common and international policies that can be implemented on a universal basis.
We hope this Forum will provide an opportunity for you to meet other organizations, to share knowledge, experiences, eventually to develop joined projects or initiatives, and to learn from one another.
Finally, I want to thank all those who made this Forum possible. First of all, You, who came here to Geneva. We know that for some of you it was not easy, especially for those coming from developing countries. We thank you for joining us.
I also thank:
- all the volunteers who have worked and will continue to work during this week;
- the two hundred organizations that contribute to the programme, providing panellists, expertise and sharing their experiences;
- the organising team;
- the Steering Committee;
- the International Conference Centre of Geneva;
- the UN agencies and other international organizations that have supported our efforts and contribute to the programme of this Forum;
- and the financial partners among which are the Swiss and Geneva authorities and foundatio
Be welcome and have a fruitful conference. Now, I am pleased to give the floor to the Mayor of Geneva, Monsieur André Hédiger.
President of the Organisational Committee of the World Civil Society Forum and President of Mandat International
English - 2002-07-14
UN Secretary-General, 2002-07-15
Civil society organizations are vital partners of the United Nations. You give life to the concept of `We, the Peoples', in whose name the United Nations Charter was written. You are indispensable allies in pursuing our common agenda for peace and development. And you know that as we pursue that mission, we must put people at the centre of everything we do. I am heartened that you have chosen to devote this gathering to promoting the role of civil society in international cooperation and to exploring how you can work better with one another, and with the United Nations. And I am delighted that you are meeting in Switzerlandwhich will soon be formally admitted as the first new Member State of the United Nations in the new Millennium.
This is a crucial time in the life of our United Nations, as we pursue our overriding mission to meet the Millennium Development Goals and work for freedom from fear, freedom from want, and protection of the resources of this planet. The agenda of peace and development set out in the Millennium Declaration is no less pressing today than when it was adopted in September 2000. On the contrary, it has taken on new urgency. The number of people in this world living on one dollar or less per day, in hunger and without safe water, has not decreased. The numbers dying of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other preventable diseases have not decreased. The factors that cause the desert to advance, biodiversity to be lost, and the earth's atmosphere to warm, have not decreased. And in the many parts of the world afflicted by the scourge of war, innocent people have not ceased being murdered or mutilated, dragged or driven from their homes.
It was national leaders who adopted the Millennium Declaration. It is up to them, above all, to see that it is put into practice. But Governments cannot do it alone. They will need to work in partnership with civil society - with people like you. I know that at this forum, you will be looking for ways to make that partnership as fruitful and effective as possible, in pursuit of our common cause to build a more equitable, healthy and peaceful world.
I send you my best wishes for a successful session, and add the hope that many more will follow your example.
English - 2002-07-15
Secretary General of International Organisation La Francophonie, 2002-07-15
Monsieur le président,
Monsieur le Directeur général de I'ONU à Genève,
Monsieur le Secrétaire général de la CNUCED,
Mesdames et Messieurs les Délégués,
C'est un grand plaisir, pour moi, d'être, aujourd'hui, parmi vous, pour I'ouverture de ce premier Forum mondial de la société civile.
Ce n'est pas un hasard si Genève, - où se côtoient chaque jour organisations intergouvernementales et organisations non gouvernementales, - a pris I'initiative de ce grand rendez-vous de la société civile.
Et je voudrais, en commençant, féliciter très chaleureusement les organisateurs, et plus particulièrement M. Sébastien ZIEGLER entre nous connaissons tous I'engagement actif, I'engagement généreux en faveur des organisations non gouvernementales.
Si j'ai tenu à être des vôtres, aujourd'hui, c'est d'abord pour vous dire combien la place et le rôle de la société civile dans la coopération internationale ont toujours été essentiels a mes yeux, tant comme Secrétaire général des Nations Unies que comme Secrétaire général de I'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie.
C'est pour vous dire, aussi, combien le rôle de la société civile, dans le contexte de la mondialisation, est devenu déterminant. Car la mondialisation nous oblige de revoir, en profondeur, nos modes de réflexion et d'action. Elle nous oblige, en particulier, repenser les liens entre le local et le global.
C'est là, vous le savez, une perspective qui s'inscrit dans le puissant mouvement de reconnaissance du rôle de la société civile sur la scène internationale, tel qu'il s'est dessiné, depuis les années 1990, a la faveur des conférences mondiales des Nations Unies, puis a la lumière de la redéfinition des enjeux de la mondialisation, a la suite de la Conférence de I'OMC a Seattle.
Vous constituez, bien sûr, des liens privilégiés entre les instances politiques et les peuples. Vous avez, a ce titre, un rôle indispensable de médiation, de relais, de courroie de transmission à jouer.
Bien plus, le travail de terrain que vous accomplissez au niveau local, dans tous les domaines, ce travail, vous êtes souvent les seuls à pouvoir I'accomplir, à vouloir I'accomplir et à savoir I'accomplir. A cet égard, vous êtes des acteurs incontournables de la coopération internationale.
Mais vous êtes, aussi, I'expression de I'inventivité, de la créativité, de la réactivité de la société face à des états et a des Nations souvent dépasses par l'évolution des idées et des relations internationales.
Vous êtes sans doute, à I'heure actuelle, parmi les acteurs non étatiques les plus innovants de la société internationale.
Vous êtes enfin, et avant tout, le gage de la participation effective des citoyens, le gage du fonctionnement démocratique a l'échelle internationale.
J'ai eu I'occasion, à maintes reprises, de dire tout I'importance que j'attache à I'impératif de démocratisation, non seulement à I'intérieur des états, mais aussi entre les états.
Nous sommes entres, aujourd'hui, dans l'ère d'une société tout à la fois globale et transnationale. Et la mondialisation de l'économie doit aller de pair avec la mondialisation de la démocratie.
II nous faut donc réfléchir à un monde qui prenne en compte, non seulement la volonté des états, mais aussi les aspirations des acteurs économiques, culturels et sociaux.
Vous avez, dans cette perspective, un rôle essentiel à jouer comme nouveaux acteurs de la vie internationale.
Et il nous faut, dans cette même perspective, imaginer, tous ensemble, de nouveaux modes de concertation et, en particulier, une nouvelle génération d'organisations internationales. Des organisations qui englobent à la fois des acteurs gouvernementaux et des acteurs non gouvernementaux, des acteurs publics et des acteurs privés.
A cet égard, la Francophonie offre un exemple original d'une relation forte et évolutive entre les états et la société civile. Sans la Francophonie des militants et des mouvements associatifs, la Francophonie des états et des gouvernements n'aurait pas vu le jour.
La plus ancienne organisation internationale non gouvernementale de la Francophonie, -I'Union internationale de la presse francophone-, est née il y a plus de50 ans. Elle tiendra ses 34 e Assises e Genève, au début du mois de septembre prochain.
Aujourd'hui, I'Organisation internationale de la Francophonie comprend effectivement, à été de son Agence intergouvernementale, plusieurs opérateurs non gouvernementaux: I'Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, I'Université Senghor d'Alexandrie, I'Association internationale des maires francophones et même une télévision internationale, TV5 Monde, qui est actuellement la seule télévision fondée sur une base multilatérale.
La Francophonie s'est également dotée d'une Assemblée Parlementaire qui s'est d'ailleurs réunie à Berne, la semaine dernière, à I'initiative du Parlement suisse.
Parallèlement à cet effort d'intégration harmonieuse de la société civile à I'OIF, notre institutiona une longue et forte tradition de partenariat avec les ONG, qu'elles soient locales ou internationales.
C'est vrai dans le cadre de la concertation internationale. C'est le cas actuellement, par exemple, pour la préparationdu Sommet de Johannesburg sur le Développement durable ou pour celui de Genève- Tunis sur la Société de I'information.
C'est vrai, aussi, au plan de la coopération. C'est ainsi que nous collaborons avec nombre d'ONG dans ces grands domaines d'intervention de la Francophonie que sent: la diversité linguistique et culturelle, le développement socio-économique, la promotion de la justice et des droits de I'homme, l'éducationet la formation, I'appropriation des technologies de I'information et de la communication.
C'est dans cet esprit, également, que nous avons mis en place un mécanisme de dialogue et de relations institutionnelles avec la société civile. Ce mécanisme repose, en particulier, sur une conférence biennale et sur un comite permanent de suivi des ONG internationales.
C'est dire combien nous serons attentifs à vos débats, à vos travaux, à vos propositions.
Cela étant, j'ai bien conscience que votre tâche n'est pas toujours aisée. Car les moyens financiers et logistiquesdont vous disposez sont souvent insuffisants.
Que votre coopération avec les gouvernements et les organisations internationales reste, parfois, en deçà de vos aspirations.
J'ai bien conscience, aussi, des questions fondamentales qui se posent à vous, en termes de représentativité, d'équilibre Nord-Sud, d'indépendance, de cohérence.
Car ce sont les conditions essentielles à I'affirmation du rôle original de la société civile dans un monde qui soit, à la fois, véritablement solidaire, démocratique et pluriel. En effet, que vaudrait une société civile internationale qui tendrait à refléter les inégalités entre les nations et à reproduire les modèles dominants ?
Mais je sais, dans le même temps, la force, la conviction et la détermination qui vous animent, I'enthousiasme, la spontanéité et I'altruisme qui vous caractérisent.
Bien des grandes causes internationales -de I'environnement au développement, des droits de I'homme à la promotion des femmes- se sent imposées grâce à votre action.
Je sais, également, la force de coalition et de mobilisation que vous représentez.
Je sais la capacité que vous avez de conjuguer les exigences de I'unité et de la diversité.
Vous avez donc vocation à nous donner une plus exacte mesure, une plus juste conscience des grands enjeux contemporains.
C'est pourquoi je me réjouis vivement d'être à vos côtés, aujourd'hui. Et je voudrais former le vu que votre Forum; ouvre la voie à une participation, à part entière, de la société civile à la concertation et à la coopération internationale.
Une participation qui soit, non seulement pleinement acceptée, mais plus encore souhaitée par les uns comme par les autres.
Une participation propre à enrichir un dialogue des civilisations fonde sur de nouvelles formes de civilité.
Car, à I'heure où les nations entendent se mobiliser contre le terrorisme, I'intolérance et les guerres, il nous faut puiser, dans la philosophie des ONG, cette aspiration commune à vivre ensemble, à agir ensemble, à coexister dans un dialogue harmonieux.
Je vous souhaite donc le plus grand des succès dans vos travaux.
Secretary General of International Organisation La Francophonie
French - 2002-07-15
President of the Conference of NGOs, 2002-07-15
Distinguished Representatives of the United Nations,
dear Colleagues and Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I feel honoured and privileged having been invited to say a few words on behalf of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) at this opening session. Let me start by congratulating all who have been involved in organizing this Forum, for the excellent work done, for the range of topics announced and for the sheer wealth of expertise brought here together. I would like to give particular credit to Sebastian Ziegler (Mandat International) for his drive and vision to make this Forum happen.
The aims of the Forum:
- to facilitate cooperation between civil society and the United Nations system,
- to promote cooperation among civil society organizations and
- to create a platform for increased dialogue among the different stakeholders of the international scene,
are also and since long part and parcel of the CONGO mandate and activities. We therefore almost naturally support the objectives of this Forum.
For those who do not yet know us: we are an independent membership/umbrella association of national, regional and international NGOs, associations and networks from North and South in consultative relationship with the United Nations. Our mission is and has been for more than 50 years to work for NGOs to ensure that they are present and have a voice whenever substantive issues are being discussed at the UN. The second part of our mission is and will be to go out to assist, train and empower organizations to enable them to take their seats and have a voice at the decision-making table of the UN. We at CONGO represent NGOs, but today we are here as civil society.
What is civil society?
Civil society is everywhere.
Although the term still lacks a common definition, today a very large and representative segment of civil society has gathered in Geneva in order to discuss its contribution to the aims of the United Nations Charter and to improve its working relationships with the UN system.
This Forum offers a unique occasion to reflect upon the evolving relationships between the UN and the entities it intends to consult. NGOs fall under the denomination of civil society, but also other segments of civil society such as community-based organizations, academia and research institutes, trade unions, political parties, members of parliaments, religious movements, opposition groups, journalists, etcand last not least: the private sector.
The audience of this Forum very well reflects this rich variety and I would like to warmly welcome all of you and suggest that we listen to each other and explore innovative working relationships and partnerships, both between ourselves and with the UN family.
I see three major challenges to address:
- Civil Society, democracy and good governance
- Civil Society and globalisation
- Civil Society and its relation to the private secto
1. Civil Society as one of the key elements of good governance and democracy
In the last decade the world has once more changed dramatically. With the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the sterile rhetoric that had divided East and West for 45 years, we have entered into a new phase of history where democracy seems to roll all over the world and good governance has become a strong leitmotiv of the new world order. Civil society is one of the essential pillars of this common endeavour.
Good governance can be defined as an interaction between the state, civil society and the private sector that facilitates a participatory and transparent management of public affairs and creates an enabling environment where citizens can ensure their development and assume their rights and obligations.
Democracy is one of the main elements of good governance and we all know that one of its essential features is the existence of a vivid and vibrant civil society, able to ensure a pluralistic exchange of ideas, to foster multiparty-ism, to create and maintain an independent press, promote independent unions, etc.
Civil society and NGOs are expected more than ever to play their traditional role of advocacy and lobbying governments, by reminding them of the commitments taken, both towards the people that have democratically elected them and the international community to which they are bound by agreements they have voluntarily signed.
2.Civil Society and the challenges of globalisation
During this same time span and the beginning of this third millennium our world is marked by other rapid and profound changes, which are taking place with the speeding up of the globalisation process. While globalisation offers promising avenues for spurring growth and reducing poverty, unbridled economic forces have so far only widened the economic, social, cultural and digital gap between have and have-nots, between the rich and poor countries.
During the UN World Conferences of the 1990s, NGOs helped to shape an ambitious word-wide agenda from Conference to Conference, including on children, environment, human rights, population, social development, women, food and habitat. This agenda culminated in the Millennium Forum and Summit Declarations and the resulting Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs), which crystallized previous commitments of governments into measurable, time-bound targets. The number one target is: eradication of extreme poverty.
Civil society has a crucial role to play in the achievement of these goals and this may be one of the main reasons why we are all here. As CONGO, our aim is to communicate these targets and goals on the ground by organizing regional consultations and assist in building necessary structures that assess the contribution of regional, national and grass-root NGOs to the achievement of the MDGs. We also want to strengthen civil society and enable it to accomplish its task of being a real partner to the UN.
In the past, NGOs have been at the forefront of political and social reform. Now, they can become the connector, the social/human glue, to add the social, human and spiritual dimension to the current globalisation process. They can help to connect the local to the global and develop this New Social Architecture based on equality, social justice, tolerance, respect and partage responsibility, as expressed in the Millennium Summit Declaration.
3. Civil Society and its relation to the Private Sector.
Finally, NGOs /Civil Society have to consider their relations to the private (for profit) sector, in particular regarding that sector's participation in UN meetings and World Conferences. Semantically, civil society includes everything not governmental, including business (for profit) entities. However, UN Charter based rights for consultation refer to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of the non-profit nature. For these the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has established elaborate criteria, rules and procedures which govern NGO participation in the UN system. Likewise each Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for World Conferences establishes such rules and procedures for NGO participation. Recently, such PrepComs for the World Conferences in Monterrey and Johannesburg have (slightly) opened the door for business (for profit) to come in as NGOs. The even more recent PrepCom (held 10 days ago here in Geneva) for the next World Summit on the Information Society has greatly widened this opening.
NGOs', or at least our position is that only through involving all stakeholders will we reach the goal of equitable and sustainable development. However, what many NGOs do claim (e.g.CONGO asked last week to the coordination segment of ECOSOC) is that parallel procedures be established for the business sector participation in the United Nations. This would more clearly delineate their role as distinct from other civil society actors. In this way we hope to better cooperate and negotiate as partners on an equal footing and avoid unnecessary frustrations.
I wish all of us lively and constructive deliberations and a successful outcome of this Forum, and I thank you for your attention.
President of the Conference of NGOs
English - 2002-07-15
Director General Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, 2002-07-15
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Yes, the Civil Society does play a very important role in international cooperation.
And there are challenges that civil society organisations have to meet in order to assume their role.
The role of Civil Society
Many important achievements and breakthroughs go back to Civil Society initiatives. Please allow me to recall some of the examples:
The UN Convention on the Rights of Children: It all started in the First World War. The English Quaker Eglantyne Jebb – the founder of the Save the Children Movement – and other English women & peace activists chose to work for war-victimised children in Hungary, Austria and Germany (all countries with which England was at war). This, however, was considered as an act of hostility in Britain and Eglantyne Jebb was convicted and fined for her activities. But Eglantyne Jebb continued her struggle; and in 1923 she formulated the rights of children in the Children’s Charter. This charter became the basis for the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child that was adopted by the League of Nations in 1924.
Today the UN Convention on the Rights of Children constitutes a universally recognised reference. Save the Children and Terre des Hommes have become internationally well-respected advocates of the rights and protection of children.
The Anti – Landmine Convention: This Convention (that bans the use, storage, production and proliferation of landmines) is the result of the Anti-Mine-Campaign, that was launched in 1992 with strong civil society impetus. The Campaign today comprises 1300 Organisations in some 90 countries. It has also created a broad - civil society based – information network that plays a crucial role in monitoring of the convention and the landmine issue. The campaign has created and facilitated a dynamic that Governments would not have been able to generate on their own. Today, NGOs, Governments and international organisations have joined their efforts in their efforts to promote implementation on the convention.
Debt relief: In the late 80’s, a coalition of Swiss NGOs launched a national debt relief campaign and presented to the Swiss Government a Petition “Development needs debt relief”, signed by 250 000 citizens. It was thanks to this campaign that debt relief became a important element of Swiss development cooperation policy. It also contributed significantly to the breakthrough of the concept of compensating remission of debt with a counterpart fund in local currencies for socio-economic and poverty alleviation programmes, both among bilateral and multilateral agencies. Later in the 90’s, the Jubilee 2000 campaign (that was launched by British NGOs in response to the HIPC initiative) received worldwide civil society support and culminated in the submission of a petition for multilateral debt relief at the G 7 summit in Cologne in the year 2000. Without these two civil society based campaigns, debt relief programmes would most probably not be politically as high on the agenda of Governments and development agencies as they are today. Especially the recognition of the importance of civil society participation in development and poverty alleviation programmes has received a decisive boost from these campaigns. Civil society participation is now also a key issue in the participative elaboration of the World Bank launched PRSP process.
If international cooperation is meant to promote sustainable development:
it needs openness to civil society initiatives.
critical and constructive dialogue;
transparency on interests and contradictions;
checks and balances.
We are strongly for open debates and not for violence to address issues.
The Civil Society and its organisations are nowadays generally recognised as major stakeholders in international development co-operation:
for mobilising public awareness and support
for the elaboration of international conventions;
for policy formulation;
and for operational implementation of programmes and projects.
This applies as much at international as at national levels.
Much trust has been placed in civil society at the Social Summit and other big international UN conferences before and after. One can certainly be of different opinion in taking stock of the experience that has been made. But the type of paralysis that is more and more characterising international negotiations (e.g. the recent Rome Summit on Hunger, or the Bali PrepCom and hopefully not the forthcoming Johannesburg Summit) may indicate that the voices from civil society might even have to play a stronger role in future international negotiation.
Many European governments and development agencies, including Switzerland, have strategies and policies for cooperating with NGOs and for validating them in policy debates and development cooperation.
The Globalisation calls for new international governance and rules. The roles of State, Civil Society and Corporate Sector are changing, implying a greater sense of partage responsibilities.
Challenges for Civil Society Organisations
As much as the role for civil society in international cooperation is of crucial importance, as much we must not take it for granted. There must also be open debate about this role.
The Civil society organisations (CSOs) and NGOs have to meet some challenges. I would like to point out but a few of them that appear of particular importance:
Legitimacy: Civil Society is in itself heterogeneous. CSOs/NGOs have to be clear about who’s interests they are representing. Whereas CSOs such as trade unions have democratic representativity, NGOs generally cannot claim such legitimacy. NGOs cannot replace parliaments and the role of popular representation of constitutional bodies. CSOs/NGOs must respect the scope and limits of their legitimacy.
NGO’s should avoid of becoming GONGO’s (government organised non government organisations). They have to remain independent.
North – South CSO/NGO competition: Northern NGOs must not substitute the role or hamper the emergence and strengthening of southern CSOs/NGOs. There is a certain risk of protectionism among the northern NGOs and NGO networks. They should not refrain from critically reviewing their activities against the background of this question.
Impact and value added: CSOs/NGOs have to ensure that they can provide genuine value added and provide evidence for their being able to present workable solutions. CSOs/NGOs have to prove their analytical capacities, their potential for innovation and their policy competency. They do good to measure their work in line with clear objectives and to be equipped with a functioning system of quality management. Lobby and advocacy must be guided by their mission statement.
Governance and transparency: CSOs/NGOs must ensure organisational accountability. There is to be transparency with regard to their interests, objectives, procedures and funding. Only well governed CSOs/NGOs are credible in their role for advocating for new forms of international policy governance and for highlighting conflicts of interests or wrong doings by other actors.
Stakeholder relationship: Strong CSOs/NGOs are indispensable. But their role can only materialise in the interplay with the other stakeholders. CSOs/NGOs have to contribute to sustaining sound and strong State structures and bodies.
(This is also crucial in countering trends of privatised violence).
Effectivity: The last twenty years have witnessed a proliferation of NGO. In the context of their own globalisation, there is need for a new division of labour and for streamlining among CSOs/NGOs at the international level.
I am aware that each of these challenges is of much greater complexity and would merit a debate on its own.
The role of Civil Society cannot only manifest itself in the form of more and more professionalising CSOs/NGOs but also in the form of social movements and of different forms of protest and political articulation. CSOs/NGOs must also ensure that they can build bridges between social movements and the institutionalised mechanisms of policy making and decision taking.
The challenge for us all is to ensure:
not only effective cooperation between stakeholders;
but genuine partnership and alliances between State, Civil Society and Corporate Sector.
This implies a common notion of partage responsibility.
However, there are conflicts of interests and there must and will be debate, controversy and confrontation. Some of the most controversial issues at international level – with strong repercussions at regional, national and local levels – are:
global governance and power relationships;
avoidance of failing states through privatised violence
global public goods;
cultural and spiritual livelihood
advocacy to use and protect natural resources
international trade and property rights
I am sure that the discussions and deliberations during this World Civil Society Forum will provide the space for reflection and progress on these issues and will bring us closer to an answer of the key question:
What vision do we have for the Civil Society of 2010?
What civil society this world will be in need of in 2015 to achieve the Millennium goals?
I wish you a fruitful forum and successful networking activities.
Thank you for your attention.
Director General Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
English - 2002-07-15
Secretary general of CIVICUS, 2002-07-15
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My dear brothers and sisters,
In the South African liberation movement when you were the speaker that followed many other distinguished and eloquent speakers, you started by saying "most of the points that I was going to make, have been already made". However, he spoke for 2 hours, but I'll try to be brief and many of the points have, in fact, been made.
Let me just focus on four points and the first one is the question and challenge of definition, and the question of accountability which I am rest at frustrated.
While on the positive side, we can say that, because the discourse on Civil Society has gained such prominence and that many international leaders, including certain national political leaders, these days, cannot give a major policy speech without the term Civil Society rolling rapidly off the tongues of the speeder for BOEING 747.
Does that mean that today we can rest assured that the notion that citizens have a role to play in public life beyond simply costing a vote once every 4-5 years?
Whether that has been established, still remains a question for us to address.
It is true that many political leaders have accepted the notion of Civil Society having a role around the delivery of various social services to peoples in need.
I would argue that we still have a major journey to travel before Civil Society can say to itself, that our national political leaders as well as the international political establishment have genuinely accepted that Civil Society also has a role to play around the question of input into policy making.
On the one hand, we can say that Civil Society discourse has got so popular that, in fact, today it has become all things to all people and it has also become blend.
Based in the United States for the last three and a half years, I was quite horrified, when I first arrived, somebody suggested me that he Ku-Klux-Klan was part of Civil Society. I asked how is the Ku-Klux-Klan part of the Civil Society and they told me, it is non-profit, it is non-governmental, it is membership based, it is reasonably internally democratic and it works passionately on a voluntary basis to advance the interests of its members.
One of the challenges that Civil Society has to face today is the question of the values that we propagate. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides us with a consensual set of values that we can lobby around. The question is also about what is our value base. And this is the question that we have to address in Conferences like this very important one that we are at. Particularly, since increasingly, there are challenges that have been made on the accountability and the questions of legitimacy of the non-profit sector.
The arguments sometimes go like this, it says: "Well, we in government are elected by the citizens of the country", you folks in Civil Society are well-meaning do-gooders who did not derive your legitimacy in the right to speak other than the fact, out of the goodness of your heart, you organise and take public positions.
This does raise a question for us. There's no question about it that civil society has gained status, influence and power over the last 20 years. We have to recognise that with increasing influence and status, also comes increasing responsibility. That, much as we might have reservations about some of the intentions behind those that raise the question of accountability, whether those criticisms were they or not based on our own sense of ethics, we need to be ensuring that we are able to perform with the highest levels of ethics, standards and accountability, and to ensure that every cent that we raise in the names of people living in poverty, is used in the ethical ways in which we say we will.
We also need to recognise that some of the challenges around the legitimacy, does not only come form national governments but also comes from within the international system itself. At the World Economical Forum in January this year, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Mike Moore, said, at a breakfast session, that the WTO will only engage with Civil Society Organisations that are transparent, accountable and elected by a defined constituency. That would be a quite good thing if in fact that criteria was applied to all the member governments of the WTO for starters, but that having been left aside we need to recognise that the question of accountability and public legitimacy is a very complicated one in the current world that we live in.
Firstly, let's understand that Civil Society and practically the non-profit sector, has an accountability mechanism built into it. It is a simple one. It is not sufficient, but it is a powerful one. It's a simple, logic of perform or perish. Not one single non-profit organisation receives any source of funding on an obligatory basis.
Whether the money comes from an individual, a government, a business, a foundation. These are sources of funding that are honest on a completely voluntary basis.
While, we do know of course, governments have the luxury that, even if they are performing disastrously, they can still guarantee a resource flow from taxation on an annual basis until they get voted out in the next election.
But let's also look then at the second question and that is the challenge of democracy. Today, one of the problems we face is that even in countries with long standing democratic traditions, political processes have become completely inaccessible to the vast majority of citizens, in some countries, even those that see themselves as exporters of democracies.
Today there are only three types of people that can run successfully for national political office: the rich, the very rich and the extremely rich. Political parties have become intensely undemocratic institutions even though they are supposed to be the bedrock of functioning electoral democracies. To get access and to participate effectively in political parties is becoming increasingly an impossible task for the ordinary citizen.
Today, we see a lack of trust in the political leadership of many countries. The declining numbers of voters should not simply be seen as "well the people are pathetic!"
That might be so in some instances, but I think we have to address the real issue that many people are making an inform judgment that unfortunately, voting does not change anything and to recognise that we have to do so much more to enrich our political cultures, to enrich our democratic institutions, is, as has already been pointed out a challenge that both Civil Society and government face.
The other issue we face is a question of social exclusion.
Quite often when Civil Society, ourselves are guilty, when we talk about social exclusion, we talk about it as if social exclusion affects the minority of people on the planet.
But let's think about, today: who are socially excluded? When we talk about young people in social societies, about women in many social societies, about all the persons, about indigenous peoples, about cultural, religious, ethnic and racial minorities, talking about people living with HIV, Aids and disabilities, we find that in fact we are not talking of minority of mankind, we are talking about the majority.
So it does raise the question of a real crisis of democracy.
Democracy has to serve the majority of the people on the planet and unless we can ensure that the scandalous situation that women, after so many years of activism by the Women's movement, still less than 10 % occupy leadership positions in government, business and in Civil Society Organisations. Unless we can reverse that statistic drastically, we are not getting anywhere. Unless we recognise that young people, for example, are not simply the leaders of tomorrow, but in Africa, where I come from, with the designation of HIV, AIDS, today young people demographically are not simply the leaders of tomorrow, but the leaders of today, as well, because they have a crucial role to play in securing the social fabrics in our different society.
The third point I want to quickly make, is that of globalisation which has been made.
Let me jus add few things to it.
One is the real Civil Society activism that we have seen, has often been called anti-globalisation movement.
Firstly I would like to say that anti-globalisation movement is probably the most globalized movement of all.
Secondly, that it is really, if we think deeply of the discourses that are there, it's about social, it's a movement for greater social and economic justice. What people are concerned about, it's not only that globalisation is unstoppable process, but globalisation has come with growing inequality in every single country, the gap between rich and poor is growing at a disastrous rate, between the rich and the poor countries, that gap is growing at an equally disastrous rate and if the current trends continue, the challenge is that we are sitting here in this hall all today, 20 to 30 years from now, we'll look like a Sunday morning pick-nick.
The other issue is that, we also need to recognise that globalisation is much beyond economic globalisation and one of the challenges for us is also dealing with the question of what we might call the mono-collateralisation of the world. That, in fact, many cultures of the world are under threat.
My last and final comment that I want to make is one of the challenges we face at global meetings like this, with Civil Societies trying to come together, is the challenge of what we might call the curtailment of international Civic mobility.
What I'm talking about here, is that one of the things that globalisation was supposed to bring was an unhindered movement of goods, capital, technologies and so on. But we have never lived in a moment of world history where the movement of people from poor countries to rich countries, has been as restricted as it is right now.
In my job I am an African travelling on an African passport where I have to travel to many countries. If I have to write an autobiography at the end of my time at Civics it will be called "Visas, Bloody Visas".
An irony, historical irony, just listening to my sister form the indigenous people's movement is, it would be very interesting if the indigenous peoples of the Americas, New Zeeland, Australia and the people of Africa were able to discover visas, many many centuries ago and effectively implemented, how different the world we would look today.
But it is a question, quite often we say simply September 11 th .
Of course September 11 th has made it worse, but we have to recognise that this poses a major challenge for us because the equity that we need to build in Global Civil Society, will already facing the challenge of resources and so on, As Walter Fust very brilliantly put it earlier. But added to that is just an inability for people to be able to get access.
So I want to say, to round them up, that there are three levels in which Civil Society engages with the UN system and International Community and we need to just separate that and recognise that all three are important.
Firstly, increasingly, many Civil Society Organizations are engaged at a micro-programming-delivery level that many good relationships exist between UNDP; UNICEF and so on, and Civil Society Organisations. Much more needs to be done on that level to see how we can do it more professionally and we will recognise some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Civil Society Organisation.
This middle level where Civil Society are engaging in the global policy making processes around various world conferences, is far form a perfect exercise but we have to engage with it, to try to ensure that we try to get the best short outcomes in the short term, and also to ensure that we change the very structures of way that engagement happens. But is also a macro level and that is the very governance of these international institutions. The UN itself was formed at a point in 1945 at the end of the 2 nd World War, when the world was a completely different place.
It was driven by the victims of the 2 nd World War, those who had nuclear power and so on.
Most of the world was in colonial bondage if we can try to just remember the moment of 1945. Today we live in a world that is vastly changed that was appropriate in1945 but totally inappropriate today.
Why should certain nations have the VETO power at the UN when in fact they have relatively small population sizes. Should not if democracy is a major determinant of governance of global institutions that we should give more weight to countries, that have a greater population size not simply those who have greatest military and economic power.
So let me live you with the thought that these are 3 levels that we need to intervene and if I can live you with the words of the indigenous people of New Zeeland, when the Maoris were asked: "What is the most important thing in the world?" and they answered "It is people, it is people, it is people."
Secretary general of CIVICUS
English - 2002-07-15
Chair of the WFUNA Executive Committee, 2002-07-15
We meet here in Geneva at a decisive time when the people of Switzerland have chosen to become a member state of the United Nations. This provides us with a vivid example of the great potential of the people's voice and at this Forum, thanks to the great vision and determination of the organizers, we have a wonderful opportunity to explore ways of deepening the relationship between the people and the United Nations.
Although there are many who still think of the United Nations as an intergovernmental body, limited to and defined by the interests of Member States - there are just as many who believe that the United Nations is in the process of being enlarged to embrace the world's people. We hope that it will therefore be transformed into an instrument which is more democratic and more responsive to people's needs.
Such a new phase would complete the original dream of the United Nations. We should not forget that the preamble of the UN charter says "We, the people", participants and actors for a better world. We now have a chance to put in motion this original vision.
The governments and international institutions alone are unable to create the needed change for inclusive globalization because of the decision making trap they are living in. So it is very much up to the local and global civil society to get together and start these changes to create governance by the people for the people.
I think the challenge of this meeting is to develop practical ideas for making this happen. How can we deliver the potential of this World Civil Society Forum to make the UN a more effective instrument at the hands of the world's people?
I think we have at least four interlinked tasks ahead of us, stemming from these questions:
How are the UN structures to be changed so that they are more responsive to the NGO community? How does the NGO community itself enhance its creditability and work better together? How do we use the existing structures and organizations more effectively?
And fourthly, how do we create financing mechanisms to enable all parts of the NGO community to be beneficiaries of funding and technical mechanisms?
Today, I would like to share four ideas with you.
First - Let us actively encourage the UN to reach out to civil society - to us the people.
The relevance of UN global policy making depends more and more on the openness of the consultative process to bottom-up' insights and ideas from NGOs working at the local level. We therefore see a great need to strengthen the links between the UN and NGOs, especially in developing countries and countries in transition.
In partnership with WFUNA and CONGO, the NGO Section of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs is now developing informal regional networks of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC to enhance NGOs' capacity building. Networks have been set up in Latin America and Africa; the next region will be East Europe.
We encourage the UN to be more proactive in identifying and encouraging youth groups to qualify for NGO consultative status and to participate in these regional networks.
The recent experiences of many NGOs involved in the preparatory processes for the Monterrey and Johannesburg Conferences has been one of high expectations being eroded. The time has come for the UN to establish the minimum standards and to streamline the basic accreditation procedures for civil society participation in global conferences.
The UN has to strengthen the consultative status of the accredited NGOs in its permanent activities, including the General Assembly.
Let me emphasize a simple yet focal idea: We are more effective when we act together in coalitions, combining our strengths and minimizing our limitations. This is the way forward and will increasingly become the way of working with the UN.
The challenges we face in order to create more effective civil society outreach are: How do we get the voices of civil society groups in developing countries, women, youth, environmental organizations, different language groups, minority groups and others of the large variety heard; how do we learn to work better together with our growing numbers of active people in NGOs, networks, and diversities of initiatives; and how do we resource the people to participate'?
There is a question about whether this World Civil Society Forum should be established on a permanent basis. Our response is to welcome all civil society initiatives that are transparent, inclusive and democratic - and that provide an opportunity for NGOs to demonstrate that they are accountable for the work that they do. The issues of NGO codes of conduct, self-regulation and peer review are complex and merit serious consideration. These issues would need to become an integral part of any such Forum.
With regard to the proposal to create a fund for partnerships, my question to you is how can we best ensure that any such fund serves to extend NGOs' capacity to support and strengthen the United Nations.
But we also need organizations that can act as a connecting point between the UN and NGOs. Organizations that have a concrete basis within the UN and within NGO networks, familiar with the working methods of both and thus able to conduce the flows between them. Much work needs to be done. We need to build additional channels and develop existing ones further.
I would like to invite all NGOs represented here to join the UNAs or establish a new one in your country.
The role of the WFUNA and UNAs is to inform and facilitate the work of the local civil society and NGO community with respect to the decisions and work done by the UN and in the multilateral arena. But even more, they have to serve the civil society so that they can have their voice better heard and be more effective in global decision making and in influencing the national UN policies. The WFUNA and UNAs can fulfill this task only if the NGOs and active people join us, take ownership of this organization and make it their platform and link for cooperation.
We invite you to join in our efforts to work for a more inclusive and democratic form of global governance, taking into account the diversity of the emerging civil society and our partage commitment to realizing the vision and goals of the UN Millennium Declaration, particularly for social justice, poverty eradication and sustainable development.
My fourth and final point is a request for your support. I ask everyone here to join in a global survey about the role of civil society in implementing the Millennium Declaration. The questionnaire is in three languages - French, Spanish and English -and can be found on our website - www.wfuna.org - So please, everyone take ten minutes during this Forum to go to one of the computers here in the Convention Center and join in the survey.
Chair of the WFUNA Executive Committee
English - 2002-07-15
UNCTAD Secretary-General, 2002-07-15
Ladies and gentlemen:
The fantastic image of people demolishing the Berlin Wall with their bare hands or makeshift tools was to become the visual symbol of the exhilarating promises of the 90's. It was an era to abolish all barriers barriers dividing people, by ending apartheid and the ideological confrontation of the Cold War, and barriers dividing economies, through globalization and liberalization. But 12 years later, the barriers are returning, with statesmen discussing how to erect legal and political walls against economic refugees and poor immigrants. Governments planning fences against suicide terrorists and rich countries raising new barriers to steel, agricultural and other sensitive imports.
Of course, not all walls are alike. They can form a prison or a cage, as in Berlin, or they can provide necessary defence or protection. But whether justified or not, they are almost always an admission of failure to find lasting solutions to the problems at hand.
One of the most insidious types of walls are the barriers we build inside our minds against unpleasant realities and immovable problems. Some of us in Monterrey last March tried to draw the world's attention to the despair and suffering of the millions of innocent Argentineans who are being punished by the misdeeds of their Governments. Many of us urged prompt action to avoid the contagion. But now, more than three months later, the disease has spread, to Uruguay; Paraguay; my own country, Brazil; and other Latin American countries. In Argentina, the sense of hopelessness and abandon is fast evolving into dark and chaotic agony. I know there are no simplistic, miraculous cures, and I am not playing the blame game. But in the face of such manmade catastrophes, our first and most urgent action should be to relieve the suffering and contain the damage.
Even after several episodes of painful crises in emerging markets, the international community still lacks a realistic strategy for dealing with financial instability and the debt problem. Just muddling through cost Latin America a lost decade in the 1980s; and a similar lack of orderly procedures for handling international debt has now been exposed in Argentina. Uncertainty continues to surround the modalities of official intervention in the financial crises, adding to volatility in market sentiment. Current arrangements appear to encourage pro-cyclical policy responses, which risks only deepening the crises. It is time to end such ad hoc approaches and to get on with a genuine reform of the international financial architecture. Only multilateral action under IMF leadership can effectively deal with the debt problem; only cooperation among the major economic powers can deliver the degree of currency stability needed by developing countries to ensure that trade and financial flows complement their domestic efforts.
Trade has always been one of the channels for transmitting recessions in the industrial countries to the developing countries. We saw a recurrence of this phenomenon just last year, when the United States economic slowdown was the central reason for the sharpest contraction in trade performance worldwide since 1982. The loss in value was three times higher than the reduction in volume, hitting the commodity-exporting developing countries particularly hard. More than ever, the international community as a whole, and not least the developing countries, needs a strong multilateral trading system and the successful delivery of the Doha promises to inject as much growth and development potential as possible into the negotiations. This is why we were dismayed by recent threats to those promises arising from a disturbing sequence of protectionist measures. I once wrote in a book edited by Professor Jagdish Bhagwati in honour of Arthur Dunkel that, after the Uruguay Round, we were living in a paradoxical situation. Developing countries had finally persuaded themselves that they should be among the staunchest defenders of multilateralism, because they needed it more than the others. But the same reason why they needed the system their vulnerability and lack of power was also why they could do little to save it on their own. This is as true today as it was then. We must all resist protectionism everywhere, but it is only the major trading powers, which account for the largest share of world trade, that can really make a difference, by exercising responsible leadership.
Among the main victims of the shortcomings of the trading system are the commodity-dependent LDCs. These are the nations caught in a poverty trap in which pervasive poverty ends up perpetuating itself. UNCTAD's recent LDC Report 2002 , the first comprehensive analysis of poverty in the least developed countries, has shown that the proportion of the population living on less than a dollar a day has been underestimated in the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, and that the number of people living in extreme poverty has actually doubled in the past 30 years. But the report also demonstrates that there is a golden opportunity to radically change the situation because at very low levels of income per capital, a doubling of average household incomes can rapidly slash $1-a-day poverty rates. The way forward is with national policies that are development-oriented and outward-looking, in that they seek to manage integration with the world economy through trade and investment. But to be successful, these policies need to be complemented by increased debt relief; more, and more effective, aid; a renewal and recasting of international commodity policy; and greater South-South cooperation.
In each of these three challenges financial crises in Argentina and Latin America, the negotiation of a more development-friendly trading system, and achieving the Millennium Development Goal of slashing extreme poverty in the poorest countries we need the decisive and responsible leadership of those who have the power to create a tolerant, pluralistic and generous multilateral agenda. It is much better to take this road than to put up more walls and fences, however strong and invulnerable they may look for, as Gildor the elf tells Frodo in The Lord of the Rings : "The wide world is all about you: You can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out".
Thank you, Mr. President.
French - 2002-07-15
Guy Olivier Segond
Special ambassador for WSIS, 2002-07-15
Monsieur le Président,
Monsieur le Directeur général,
Messieurs les Secrétaires généraux,
Mesdames et Messieurs.
A l'occasion de cette cérémonie d'ouverture du Forum Mondial de la Société Civile (FMSC) j'ai le plaisir et l'honneur de vous apporter le salut des responsables du sommet mondial sur la société de l'information et en particulier de son président, son excellence Monsieur Adama Samassecon qui était dans ces dernières années le Ministre de l'éducation du Mali, et de son Secrétaire général Monsieur Yosso Utsumi, Secrétaire général de l'Union Internationale des Télécommunications.
Excellence, Mesdames et Messieurs, chacun de nous le voit et le sait. Au cours de ces dernières années les nouvelles technologies de l'information et de la télécommunication ont modifiées fondamentalement notre manière de vivre, d'apprendre et de travailler. Nous sommes ainsi entrés dans une nouvelle société: la société de l'information symbolisée par le PC, l'ordinateur portable, le téléphone cellulaire, l'Internet et les sites web.
La Société Civile se réunit aujourd'hui à Genève au Forum Mondial. La Société Civile est une fille de cette révolution de l'information. En effet, c'est grâce au nouvelles technologies de la communication, grâce aux nombreux réseaux d'information que l'action d'innombrables groupes de citoyens organisés autour d'objectifs précis s'est considérablement renforcés finissant par influencer les gouvernements nationaux et les organisations internationales. A côté des NGOs, ces groupes de citoyens associés aux milieux sociaux, aux universitaires, aux artistes, aux médiasss, aux syndicats ou aux consommateurs ont donné naissance à ce qu'on appelle aujourd'hui la Société Civile. Dans ce nouvel environnement caractérisé par une bonne circulation de l'information, la société civile est devenue avec les gouvernements nationaux, les organisations internationales et les entreprises privées, l'un des grands acteurs de la communauté internationale. Comment les Nations Unies se sentent-elles adaptées à cette situation nouvelle?
Appliquons les premiers mots de la Charte des Nations Unies: Nous, les peuples. Ces mots sont repris dans l'avise du logo du Forum Mondial. Prenons ces premiers mots de la Charte. L'ONU s'est progressivement ouverte à la société civile en élargissant et en approfondissant l'opération avec les ONGs et toutes les activités du système des Nations Unies. Après la récente Déclaration du Millenium qui repensait l'apport de la société civile, l'Assemblée générale a franchi une nouvelle étape en décidant sur proposition de l'OIT le 21 décembre 2001 de convoquer un sommet mondial sur la société de l'information qui sera formellement ouvert à la participation de la société civile et au secteur privé. Annonçons ainsi cette nouvelle génération d'organisation internationale qui a évoqué à toute à l'heure Monsieur Boutros Boutros Ghali.
Ce sommet mondial sur la société de l'information qui aura lieu en deux phases, à Genève en décembre 2003 et à Tunis en 2005, développera une vision universelle et une compréhension commune de la société de l'information. Il prêtera des modifications profondes que les nouvelles technologies de l'information entraînent dans tous les domaines de la vie et des activités humaines. Et il examinera des moyens de mettre cette révolution au service du développement humain en luttant contre la fracture lui-même.
Excellences, Mesdames et Messieurs, ce sommet mondial n'est pas le dernier né d'un sommet de la première génération. Il est au contraire le premier sommet de la première génération. En effet, ce premier sommet est destiné et construit sur la base d'une architecture nouvelle pensée par Monsieur Walter Fust et acceptée par les organisateurs; une architecture qui se comprend facilement. Car en effet, le débat sur la société de l'information et sur la fracture numérique est l'un des meilleurs exemples de la nécessité d'associer dans une même réflexion et dans une même action trois partenaires: les Etats nationaux, les entreprises privées et la société civile.
Aux Etats de donner un cadre juridique sûr et stable garantissant une concurrence juste et transparente attirant l'investissement privé.
Aux entreprises privés de fournir parmi l'éventail des solutions disponibles, les technologies adaptées aux situations locales et d'investir dans la construction et dans l'exploitation des réseaux.
Et à la société civile de fournir par les universitaires, les milieu culturels, les médiasss et les ONGs la vie associative, l'essentiel des contenus dans tous les domaines d'activités humaines.
Naturellement, cette nouvelle architecture d'un sommet mondial pose toute une série de problèmes qui sont important et souvent délicat, qui peut être accréditée, qui peut participer activement, qui peut prendre la parole qui peut déposer un amendement et qui a le droit de vote.
Les problèmes de procédure sont à l'évidence importants, mais ils ne sont pas un salut et d'ailleurs après tout, l'OIT a bien su trouver en 1919 déjà, la solution nécessaire pour faire siéger ensemble les Etats nationaux, les organisations d'employeur et les syndicats de travailleurs.
Mon vux et mon espoir c'est que le FMSC qui a choisit de se concentrer à juste titre sur les mécanismes de participation de la société civile à la coopération internationale- fasse preuve d'imagination et de créativité permettant ainsi d'établir des procédures simples, claires et efficaces qui pourraient alors être expérimentées du sommet mondial de la société de l'information.
Je remercie à tous ceux et celles qui ont préparé ce forum sous la direction de Monsieur Sébastien Ziegler et je vous souhaite aux uns et aux autres excellents travaux.
Guy Olivier Segond
Special ambassador for WSIS
French - 2002-07-15
President of Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawaii and Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Ingenous Peoples, 2002-07-15
Aloha and good morning,
I want to recognise Honoured Guests and the Excellencies who are here, Indigenous leaders who have come to participate, representatives of NGOs and Churches, and dear friends. We come to Geneva gathering to mark a very historic event I believe, the holding of the first World Civil Society Forum (WCSF). What a great way to celebrate the coming of the new millennium!
I’d like to begin with expressing gratitude to Sébastien and those who have worked very hard for hosting this event. I wanted to thank you for including indigenous peoples, for inviting representatives from all the different regions, and from all of the different diverse indigenous cultures, to come to participate. This is the spirit that engenders inclusiveness.
Indigenous Peoples represent over 400 million of the world’s peoples. We are a segment of civil society who are increasingly drawn into the global geopolitical arena and who are significantly impacted by globalisation. Two important reports verify that indigenous peoples continue to be victims of human rights abuses. Social indicators demonstrate that the majority of the world’s Indigenous Peoples live in poverty, suffer from malnutrition and acute health needs, and are overrepresented in the juvenile and adult penal facilities of States.
States and the broader family of civil society come together in cooperation and in true partnership to fashion an affordable and workable solution for the world’s problems.
Indigenous cultures have much to offer civil society and States. Included in the cultural teachings of Indigenous Peoples are practices which the world needs to understand and accept- practices that relate to maintaining bio-diversity, living in harmony with the land, the earth and all of the life forms of the earth. Indigenous Peoples know the earth. Indigenous peoples have maintained for generations the knowledge relating to harvesting and planting earth life forms. This knowledge today must become the basis for sustainable development of the earths’ shrinking resources. Our healing and medical practices have much significant value today. Indigenous processes for conflict resolution should be accessed and applied, so that we can work together to achieve workable solutions to our common social problems. UN data informs us that indigenous cultures have much to give to the world. Indigenous peoples are only 5 % of the world’s population, but 80% of the world’s cultural diversity. Indigenous peoples occupy only 20 % of earth’s land, but cultivate 65 % of the crop varieties consumed by the peoples and societies of the world today. What does it really mean when we say that we’re trying to establish a partnership with indigenous peoples, the UN system, States and broader civil society?
Cooperation between people must be based on a mutual respect for and protection of the fundamental principles of human rights. Because of colonisation and racism, indigenous peoples have historically been marginalized and exploited. The legacy of the colonial past is evident in the current status and as the impoverished conditions of Indigenous Peoples globally. Overcoming the obstacles of the past requires that the human rights of Indigenous Peoples must be acknowledged and protected. It is for this reason that indigenous peoples have set as their highest priority the passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Self determination’s the most critical of all human rights, because it will provide for Indigenous Peoples the right to determine their political status; and by virtue of that right, their right to determine their economic, social and cultural development and survival.
The theme of the UN decade on indigenous peoples was the establishment of working partnerships with Indigenous Peoples. But the mid-decade review conducted by indigenous leaders in Panama City last year found that the decade plan of action, had substantially not met its goals. This failure was due to a lack of financing, the exclusion of Indigenous Peoples and leaders from decision-making process, and the denial of indigenous land rights and their socio- economic and political rights.
In short, we have failed because we all have not been able to form working partnership: Indigenous Peoples, civil society, representatives of the UN and States as well. The goals of the UN decade for indigenous peoples are the working agenda that we all are responsible to achieve. And in this failing we cannot point the finger one to the other but we must all have the integrity to come forward and admit that we do redouble our efforts that we can succeed. The UN summits on sustainable development provides us with opportunities to address these issues and to renew our efforts to cooperate one with each other and generally with Indigenous Peoples. The dialogue paper of indigenous peoples that was submitted at the second prepcom in New York in February 2002 outlines the primary issues and problems as defined by Indigenous Peoples in the areas of the environment and sustainable development. These are the following:
The right of Indigenous Peoples to participate in all phases of development planning and to give their free prior informed consent to development
The right of Indigenous Peoples to ownership control in management of their traditional territories and resources
The ability of indigenous governments and bodies to exercise customary law
The right to represent themselves in all institutions
The right to control and sharing the benefits and the use of all traditional knowledge
There are many things that we can do to strengthen international cooperation with indigenous peoples. I want to invite Churches, NGOs and all of civil societies, individual human right activists to join us and support us in our efforts to achieve the passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the form in which it was passed by the Sub-Commission of Human Rights in 1994. The UN Decade for Indigenous Peoples will close in a year and a half. What a tragic legacy it will be if this decade closes and we have failed to pass an International Standard for the Protection of the world’s 300 million plus Indigenous Peoples. This cannot be the tragic legacy that we leave the future generations. We have the ability to achieve this goal and we have the time to do it.
I want to challenge civil society organizations to establish some working relationships with Indigenous Peoples and cultures in the fields in which you work. It doesn’t matter if it’s health or education, food security, gender study or sustainable development. The inclusion of indigenous peoples in decision-making means that civil society must reach and make place at the table for indigenous peoples.
And I want to challenge indigenous leaders who are attending to invite representatives of civil society, the UN system, States, Churches and others to be involved in a meaningful way in the work that you do. We cannot engender corporations unless we ourselves create the opportunity for this dialogue. Finally, indigenous projects and indigenous initiatives for peace need funding and sponsorship. Because of the tragic poverty which currently confronts indigenous peoples, there is not the financial capacity to build working relationships in some areas.
In closing, I wanted to thank and congratulate Sébastien Ziegler and his staff and all who are volunteers for supporting and working so hard for this event. By your efforts do you demonstrate and show us all the way to work collectively. I look forward to the deliberations that we’re going to be undertaking this week. Many of the critical issues facing Indigenous Peoples are on the agenda. The issue of self- determination, how we can use it for conflict resolution, and the issue of developing and supporting indigenous women’s and leadership.
We all have a role to play. Let it begin here. It is my great hope and my desire that this would not be the first and last World Civil Society Forum. If there is one thing we need to accomplish before we leave at the end of the week, it is the planning of the second World Civil Society Forum.
President of Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawaii and Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Ingenous Peoples
English - 2002-07-15
Executive Coordinator United Nations Volunteers, 2002-07-16
It is with great pleasure today to address this important gathering of civil society and non-governmental organizations at the world civil society forum. Together we lend our support to this meeting that will strengthen cooperation between international organizations, such as ours, of the UN Volunteers, and civil society. Fundamentally, we are all here in search of improving the way we foster development. And there can be no development without people. In the words of the millennium report, no shift in the way we think or act can be more critical than this: we must put people at the centre of everything we do.
There is no doubt that the participation of people is at the centre of what we do at the United Nations Volunteers Programme. As the volunteer-arm of the UN system, UN Volunteers promotes volunteerism as a development concept. It does so by building on a culture of volunteerism and by mobilizing skilled, dedicated people on site and on line to devote their time and knowledge in the pursuit of sustainable development. In 2001, the United Nations volunteers mobilized more than 5,000 volunteers from 160 nationalities, to serve in 140 countries. The majority of UNV Volunteers are nationals of developing countries, who serve outside their home countries. Thus the programme represents a concrete form of south-south cooperation.
You may ask yourselves where is the link here with civil society organizations. It would not be accurate to equate the civil society with volunteering, but we should be mindful on the fact that the growing international civil society is based at least in part on voluntary action. There are, admittedly, definitional differences between scholar's efforts to distinguish amongst civil society organizations, the third sector, the voluntary sector, NGOs, civil society organizations and so forth. Most would accept, however, that the majority of organizations placed in these overlapping categories do include some element of voluntary labour. Volunteers are the key element in the leadership of the sector both in a formal sense, as well as in terms of the ideas and experiences they bring to the particular organization.
And it is against this background that we at UN Volunteers feel so closely associated with many of you. Arguments are sometimes made that international and multi-national institutions wield power but that they are not readily accessible to citizens and their organizations. UN Volunteers is however one programme that by the very nature of its philosophy provides a window for the global citizen to get involved and to become engaged in peace and development activities of the United Nations organization.
As many of you may be aware, the United Nations development programme alongside other partners have launched a debate on the values and practices of technical cooperation and capacity development. The objective of this review is to better understand the successes and failures of technical cooperation, to assess the readiness for change by those involved including donors, recipients and the development industry and to explore alternatives and options for developing lasting indigenous capacities.
This initiative is an open forum inviting those representatives of the many sectors of society, from the north to the south, from a global constituency of development researchers and practitioners, from academic circles and from those in the field. The on-going debate is helping the UN to review the strengths and weaknesses of technical cooperation.
Within this context, the UN Volunteers has endeavoured to highlight the role of volunteerism and volunteers international, national, local in technical cooperation. In this debate, UN Volunteers advocates the value of volunteerism and the important economic contributions that it makes to society as well as its role in creating social cohesion. Indeed, current reflections on volunteer action broadens perceptions both in the north and the south about what volunteerism entails, and demonstrates how volunteer action can play a key role in capacity-building.
Let me share with you just a few of the key values and characteristics associated with volunteerism that I believe contribute to the process of capacity building.
- The commitment and solidarity of volunteers
- The belief in collective action for the public good
- The commitment to human rights and gender equity
- The value accorded to facilitation and communication as essential components in the development process
- The reciprocity of exchanging skills and experiences,
- The recognition of the importance of drawing on local knowledge and expertise
- The strengthening of networks, and
- The empowerment and engagement of communities and individuals through social mobilisation
These values and attributes are increasingly being recognised as a powerful force for development by our UN partners. There are many examples of United Nations programmes partnering with local volunteers and volunteer-based organizations to achieve common goals.
One such example was the successful polio immunization programme of 550 million children in India in 2000. Some 10 million volunteers were involved in this WHO/UNICEF led programme. The many thousands of volunteers provided through organisations such as rotary international played a vital role = but we must not lose sight of the many millions of local people who volunteered their time often with little, or no, recognition. The total value of their contribution is estimated by WHO to have exceeded us $10 billion, a figure well beyond the reach of the governments or the UN. Whether volunteers are involved in operational work on the ground such as the example of the polio campaign, in advocacy in support of un causes such as gender or the environment, or in fund raising such as the efforts of UNICEF's national committees, without their committed contributions the impact of the un would be considerably diminished.
In the area of peacekeeping, volunteers play a critical role in rebuilding and restoring trust in societies emerging from crisis. In east Timor, for example, international UN Volunteers and local volunteers worked side by side in conducting civic education campaigns, registering voters, and supervising the elections. In recognition of the particular value-added that volunteers bring to such operations, UN Volunteers will now form an integral component of United Nations peacekeeping operations involving civilian personnel.
As you know, the UN Volunteers, was designated the focal point for the International Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001 by the UN general assembly. In this context, our role has been and will continue to be one that ensures increased recognition of volunteerism and its contributions to economic and social development; greater appreciation of the importance of civic engagement; the strengthening of volunteer networks; and the raising of volunteerism on national and international agenda. We at UN Volunteers see ourselves as a link a bridge if you will between traditional volunteerism in the north and in the south, between traditional and modern expressions of volunteerism and between volunteers from the older and the younger generations.
As we look to the future, one of the biggest challenges facing the international community is how we can work together to achieve the millennium development goals. Financing improvements in education and health, for instance, will require significantly increased aid flows. But as already noted, mass literacy and immunization campaigns can only succeed with the efforts of millions of local people through traditional systems of mutual aid and self-help as well as through more modern forms of service volunteering and campaigning. And the value-added of volunteerism lies not only in "getting the job done" it also enhances the quality of the action, increases the likelihood for sustainability of the results, and adds to a nation's social capital. Harnessing this untapped potential will be key in meeting the millennium targets.
Over the course of the Conference you will be in dialogue on topics including education, the environment, health, human rights, and peace. The voice and actions of the organizations you represent play an important role in ensuring a vibrant and effective cooperation. At the same time, the spirit of volunteerism underpins much of your work. What is fundamental to the successes of development are the scores and the free will of volunteers who make it happen.
We look forward to working closely with you, as much as we hope that you will want to work with us. We strongly believe that the total is more than just the sum of its parts.
Executive Coordinator United Nations Volunteers
English - 2002-07-16
Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit, 2002-07-16
I take the floor as a member of the Joint Inspection Unit and I am grateful to the organizers of this forum for the invitation to participate. Almost as if it anticipated the present event, the Joint Inspection Unit, has recently produced a report, for which I am responsible, dealing with the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) involvement in technical cooperation activities of the United Nations system. The report will be examined during the next session of the United Nations General Assembly.
But let me first introduce the Joint Inspection Unit, an institution of which I have been a member since 1992. I do this because although many of the participants to the Forum may have heard of the JIU, probably not so many are aware of its functions. In this way it will also be easier to understand the reasons why the Unit has addressed its attention to the timely and topical subject of the Civil Society.
The JIU is the only system-wide oversight body engaged in inspection, control, investigation and evaluation of the entire spectrum of the United Nations activities. It is competent for the United Nations organizations, its programmes and funds as well as for most of the specialized agencies. It carries out its activities in full independence. The Inspectors are appointed by the General Assembly and are responsible only to Member States. The specificity of its mandate is such that the Unit's programme of work includes topics that represent new areas of interest for the United Nations, a global institution in constant progress and particularly sensitive and open to new challenges and needs. The Civil Society is one of these realities and a very important one. No wonder then that the JIU has decided to examine this expanding phenomenon in its different facets. We have, on one hand felt the need to help the Civil Society in its strenuous efforts to get better organized in its dealings with the UN and be in a condition to make its voice more effectively heard in its forum and on the other hand responded to the appeals of the General Assembly, the legislative bodies of the specialized agencies and their secretariats and of the Secretary General who has repeatedly called on the international community to mobilize the potentialities of the Civil Society as an indispensable tool for implementing the goals of the United Nations.
At this point, let us ask how the Civil Society has emerged more and more as an actor in a variety of segments, from economic and social development to environment, from human rights to the fight against poverty and diseases, from good governance to democratic progress and conflict prevention, just to mention some crucial situations. There is undoubtedly a growing awareness of Member States about these sometimes dramatic realities, but what is more important is the recognition that the related problems cannot be faced and solved in isolation. The support and the cooperation of the Civil Society are in these cases indispensable as is the contribution of the international organizations, especially the United Nations. It transpires that if a mechanism has to be developed to tackle efficiently the issues, it cannot disregard the necessity of a tripartite involvement: the State, the United Nations and the Civil Society Organizations. This is a crucial point and as such is duly highlighted in the JIU report.
If we agree with this analysis, and it cannot be denied that there is a wide consensus on it, it is obvious that the profile of such an important factor, that is the Civil Society, needs to be defined. I have been confronted in the preparation of the JIU report with the question: what is the Civil Society? I found out that I was not alone in facing the difficulty of giving a comprehensive satisfactory definition. I have therefore tried in my report to come up with a definition which can be improved and refined: "A civil society is the result of different components of population and communities and refers to the sphere in which citizens and social initiatives organize themselves around objectives, constituencies and thematic interests. They act collectively through their organizations known as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) which include movements, entities, institutions autonomous from the State which in principle are non-profit making, act locally, nationally and internationally in defence and promotion of social, economic and cultural interests and for mutual benefit. They intermédiate between their constituencies/members, with the State as well as with the United Nations bodies. They do this through lobbying and/or provision of services. Though belonging to the non-State actor category, they are different from the private sector and NGOs as they may not be registered, may replace the public sector, are not always structured and often their members are not officially recognized".
One of the main features is that the Civil Society Organizations are gradually acquiring autonomy of their own and cover sectors that have been so far covered insufficiently or not covered at all. An incomplete and tentative list includes professional associations, cooperatives, village development communities, indigenous peoples, women and youth groups, networks for homework, religious and cultural associations, academia, média and business promoters, intellectual and research entities. The message to be conveyed is to recognize that the world of the civil society has gone through a progressive process of diversification. New forces have emerged and they are getting more and more organized, but they have not reached yet that level of recognition necessary to establish a full and useful cooperation with the United Nations system.
One of the main arguments stems from the long-time existence of one traditional expression of Civil Society that is NGOs. It is evident that NGOs cover already the different aspects of the civil society. They are well structured at international and national levels, many have acquired consultative status with ECOSOC, and their multilateral cooperation is governed with precise guidelines in terms of accountability. Why then, it is asked, to introduce a specific consideration of the Civil Society organizations and propose structures and mechanisms of cooperation with the United Nations distinct from the existing ones already applied to NGOs?
This is the crux of the matter. Let us dispel immédiately any misunderstanding. There should be no risk of confusion of roles or competition among the components of the civil society, namely NGOs, the private sector and the CSOs, the third component being the youngest. It shows a tremendous vitality, is requesting a wider space of action and recognition of its role that should not be blurred or undervalued. Incidentally as I mentioned above, the JIU pays great attention to new developments in the United Nations and tries to assess their potentialities. It has in the past produced two reports on NGOs when they were gradually and vibrantly emerging and more recently a report on the private sector when member states were invited to support and regulate a more substantive involvement of the business community in the Organizations' activities for development. Along the same vein, because CSOs are seen to emerge as a vital reality and show their specificity, we share the opinion that they deserve separate consideration connected with but distinct from NGOs in view of their visibility and prominence. With the report on CSOs, the Unit has coherently expanded its exploration, on the cooperation between the United Nations system and non-State actors.
The approach outlined above is partage and incorporated in several documents of the Secretary General as well as of legislative bodies. From the Global Compact launched at the Davos Forum in 1998 to a number of General Assembly resolutions, from the Millennium Declaration to the global partnership resolution, the Civil Society is specifically referred to together with NGOs and the private sector. It is equally significant that programmes like UNDP/UNFPA, agencies such us UNIDO, WHO, ILO, WIPO, the World Bank have increasingly recognized the specificity of CSOs and established internal offices and procedures devoted exclusively to them. UNCTAD has recently issued a publication about the dialogue with civil society. The report of the JIU on the subject devotes an entire chapter to the relationship of CSOs with the United Nations system organizations to show how the trend towards distinction between NGOs and CSOs has gradually progressed without prejudice for mutual understanding and cooperation.
It is against this background that the JIU report contains a set of recommendations aimed at (a) involving CSOs in all stages of elaboration of technical cooperation programmes especially at community level; (b) establishing their legitimacy and accountability; (c) proposing flexible guide-lines to govern the partnership including focal points; (d) training and empowering CSOs, and strengthening their organizational structures including through women's participation.
These are some of the recommendations complemented with others on more specific points. The initiative of the Joint Inspection Unit is meant to clarify further situations in progress, to constitute an input and a contribution to the discussions under way in different fora on the issue and may help secretariats and legislative bodies of the United Nations system to consider CSOs not only as beneficiaries, but as actors in the implementation of their mandates.
Inspector of the Joint Inspection Unit
English - 2002-07-16
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 2002-07-16
I really wish I could be with you in person today. The wide range of issues you will be discussing at this, the first World Civil Society Forum, is truly impressive. Your objective, to strengthen co-operation and dialogue between organisations of civil society and the United Nations is more vital now than ever.
Many of you were in Durban last year at the World Conference Against Racism. I was greatly encouraged by the active role that civil society from all parts of the world played in ensuring that the conference, notwithstanding difficulties, produced a forward looking program of action, that identifies practical steps in the struggle against racism. I was also impressed by the development of a global alliance of civil society that will work to see to it that governments live up to the commitments made in Durban. I would encourage all of you to make follow up to Durban one of your key priorities at this forum and indeed beyond.
I welcome the growing influence of civil society in the public debate on human rights. Civil society is being called on to participate in new approaches to solving global problems. As High Commissioner I have witnessed first hand the vital contribution of non-governmental organisations and civil society groups. In my office we're taking steps to ensure that civil society's voice and active participation are a central part of our work.
Within the wider UN system, developments such as the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the first session of which took place this May, and the Social Forum, established by the UN Commission on Human Rights, will create new spaces for dialogue and for exchange with civil society.
Clearly the many challenges to human rights will not be fully addressed without mobilising the energies of all parts of society - working in coalitions of common calls is the only way we will make real progress on achieving the millennium declaration goals. I'm grateful for your continuing commitment to the objectives of the United Nations. I am convinced that more must be done to find creative ways of drawing on your immense resources at all levels. Our ability to improve the lives of all people will depend on the ability of all sectors of society to move beyond ideology and work together in the search for solutions. My UN colleagues and I look forward to seeing your recommendations for how we can do just that, and so I wish you all the best for a successful conference.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
English - 2002-07-16
Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 2002-07-17
I just want to give you a very simple message and my starting point are basic reference, article 1 of the Universal Declarations of the Human Rights: “All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights.” If we look at the world through those lenses we see that we in the world, we can accomplish the best and the worst. We have, during the last decade, moved ahead in a fabulous way. We have managed to reduce the proportion of people who live in absolute poverty from 29 % to 23 %; we have provided access to safe drinking water to 800 million people who didn’t have access to it before; access to sanitation facilities to 750 million people during that decade. Primary education has increased from 80 % to 84 % and we have an unprecedentive number of countries that are now democratic countries and are holding democratic relations, so, over 140 countries can be classified as such. But at the same time we still have one person out of 5 who lives in absolute poverty and we have 800 million people who go hungry or malnourished everyday. The richest 5 % of the world’s people earn a 114 time as much as the poorest 5 % of the people on the globe and 52 countries are ending the decade poorer than they were at the beginning.
For the first time in history, while those countries, all countries, as a matter of fact, had seen the human development index grow over the years, during this decade a number of countries have fallen down. And if you think of the access to knowledge and the wealth of opportunity that Internet offers to people, 72 % of all the internet users are in the richest countries that contain 14 % of the global population and in a number of places you hardly have people who are connected to those facilities, that are more internet users in the entire city of New York than there is in the whole of Sub Saharan Africa.
So this is a world of tremendous disparities and, in order to address those disparities, the United Nations, during the 90s, have called for a number of international conferences that have dealt with all the aspects of the relationship between development and things such as the environment, population, human rights, social exclusion, women, habitat and a number of other issues. At all these conferences we have established action plans and sometimes governments have made commitments.
What is clear is that we know the way forward, we know how to proceed, but there is a time that has been a moment which is of particular importance to all of us in this room and I should say beyond for all those whom we represent and it is the General Assembly of the millennium, of the year 2000 where 189 countries, the governments of the 189 countries, have adopted a series of targets that are called “The Millennium Development Goals” because of the moment when the decision was made. And this is the common project of humanity to start the 21st century. Those countries, those representatives of the people of the world, with the support of the heads of states and governments, who came in great numbers to ratify those objectives and make a commitment to reach those objectives, have set the course. By 2015 we are to have halved the proportion of people who live in extreme poverty, halved by 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, reduced by 3/4 natal mortality by 2/3 infant mortality, put every single child through a complete cycle of primary education, whereas today a 130 million children don’t even know what the school is. They pledge by 2015, to have ensured environment stability, to have reversed the progression of HIV/AIDS and to have created a global coalition for development.
This a fabulous project, this the project that should unite us all, it’s a commitment that has been made by governments, but it is something that will be achieved only if everybody feels that this project it is her or his project.
Since the Millennium Goals have been established, we have had a few international appointments. One is particularly encouraging and it is the meeting that took place in Monterey, the Conference on Financing for development where a global deal has been established, whereby developing countries have committed themselves to undertaking economic reforms, political reforms and that should be matched by the commitment of the richest countries that have committed themselves to increasing their support in the way of trade, of aid and investment.
This new global deal still falls short of what is needed. Despite the increases in official development assistance that have pledged in that place, we have still short of 50 billion dollars a year of the additional amount of resources for international cooperation in order to achieve those Millennium Development Goals.
But this is why we need to a real partnership, a global partnership to achieve those goals that involve every single member of what is called the Civil Society.
The administrator of UNDP, Mark Malloch Brown, has been appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, as the campaign manager and the goalkeeper.
That means that over the coming years we shall be providing you, when I say “we”, it is the entire UN system with the support of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund with a number of tools that should enable us to campaign together, each in our capacity, each from our position, for those goals to be reached.
The Millennium Development Project lead by Jeffery Sax, will provide, year after year, the costs of what this fuel takes to achieve those goals, some ideas about how to reach those goals that also make use of the action plans that have been joined during these international conferences of the 90s, but that also takes the latest information and we will be providing you with reports, year after year, where we stand, are we achieving those goals, are we not achieving those goals, which are the countries that are making it, which are the countries that are not making it.
If we look at the current trends, you have a number of countries that are well on their way to achieve part of those goals or a substantial number of those goals, but you have at least 33 countries that hold the quarter of the world population of which not even half of the goals can be reached.
So it will be important for us to keep you informed all the time and by doing that, we will be providing tools that you can use to campaign, because what we shall need in the 13 years, that we still have to go between now and the year 2015, is constant campaigning in the north and in the south, to make sure that the resources are mobilised, to make sure that political will is mobilised, to make sure that all the technical expertise is mobilised, to make sure that all people are involved. Development doesn’t happen form the top, it comes from the bottom, it comes from individuals, small and medium enterprises, big co-operations, associations, the political will, the political actions at all levels from the municipalities to central governments, it’s a whole set of things that create development and we need the partnership of everybody.
So this is our message for you today, you will have the opportunity, during this Forum, to discuss in depth the Millennium Development Goals and see what that means and what that implies.
But my invitation, this morning, on behalf of the administrator UNDP and of the entire UN system, is really for all of you and all of us to act together, to form this partnership that will make that we will achieve what is achievable. We are the first generation in the entire history of humankind that has the capacity and the means to do away with poverty. There is no more reason for it to be the eternal campaign in the human kind, so let’s get red of it and let’s achieve these goals, this is the project in the beginning of the 21st century.
Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
English - 2002-07-17
Alfredo Sfeir Younis
Special Representative of the World Bank to the United Nations, 2002-07-17
Ladies and Gentlemen
Certainly, you have honoured me with this invitation to speak today.
I'd like to start by saying that we live a moment in history where we need to take fundamental decisions and these decisions must be taken right now. A moment when there is conflict almost everywhere in the world; a moment in history when we must understand once and for all that we live only in one world and that we have one collective responsibility. A moment when we need to question deeply the means and the instruments of economic development and human progress. Many do not work any longer and we know that more of the same will still be more of the same.
A moment when we must know why all our societies are incapable to maintain the human and holistic values as we move to development implementations. A moment when we must stop posturing and form a new deal, a new coalition for change. We know that most political parties, most institutions, most religions, all try to eradicate poverty, eliminate environmental degradation, improve the welfare of women and children, and so on, but in despite of that, development judged by its results, essentially, we see that people are getting worse off.
We are going to spend hours in this Forum debating whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, or divide ourselves among the pessimist and the optimist. However, we can all disregard the fact that half of the world is earning less than 2 dollars a day and that in fact of all the total consumption of the world of 24 trillions dollars, the top reached 20 % is consuming 86 % of it and the bottom poor 20 % is only consuming 1.6 %.
To this we can add the discrimination against women and girls, racial battles, economic marginalization and ethnic cleansing. Globalisation has accelerated the base of change and heightened the importance of our global and local interconnectedness. Traditional and conceptual sovereignty and physical boundaries are, in fact, vanishing the speed of light and global governance is acquiring a new place in the international debate.
Also, we see that there is a mistrust about all institutions in our society, particularly by the youth and the generation that is just behind us. A huge institutional vacuum, not because of an age differential, but major value and ideological differences between generations.
While my generation is speaking about growth, production, consumption, productivity and technology, the new generation is concerned about social justice, empowerment, equity, participation and solidarity. Today, we all want a new development paradigm, since the traditional paradigm we practice today, its limits have been reached. We are saying that development and progress is not anymore a physical thing or acquiring a material thing, just take the views of Amarty Sen, who has the fine development of freedom, he has moved the debate from simply acquiring material things, doing and having, to the fundamental question of being and becoming.
And poor people are telling us that poverty is not just a material thing, it is not just income alone, they are saying us that poverty is a situation that lacks empowerment and it needs opportunities and security.
Today, human and social norms have become increasingly important and this development must not be sought within an ethical and moral vacuum or in a humanistic vacuum. This is why we need to focus on human rights and economic development. All these dimensions demonstrate a critical role civil society place today. Any consensus of normative values must have its origins in the grass roots, a consensus of normative values must come from the cities and the people of Bombay, Kinshasa or the towns of Rio Santiago, Manila or Dakar. Development must become a co-equal process to break down traditional boundaries, power structures and traditional forms of organization. And in this process, civil society organizations play a vital role. The key challenge today is to establish a new and more effective form of international cooperation for socio-economic development and thus consolidate and clearly provide an effective platform for civil society.
In this millennium it is encumbered upon us to mortify the selection of policies and new instruments. We witnessed how the end of cold war brought a new agenda for peace and development. However, this moment in history, it is civil society that needs to come back with a new agenda for development, a new agenda for peace, a new agenda for social justice, empowerment and government for all. Your role is essential to change the course of humanity, your role is indispensable if we are going to benefit the poor of the poor in our societies. Your role is essential to decrease the cost of market transactions and as a means of economic development. Your role is central to enhance local organizations and be able to maintain the cherished values and relief systems of local communities. Your role is fundamental in maintaining social coherence and social stability, even in communities that are in war today. Your role is essential to challenge the voice and the needs of the voiceless and the disempowered. Your role is not only social, but economic, financial, political, institutional, human, spiritual and moral, to name a few.
These are irreplaceable roles for civil society, but they bring tremendous responsibility.
Clearly, advocacy, for the sake of advocacy, will simply not do.
But development cooperation without a strong advocacy or social inclusion and empowerment, also will not do.
The foundation of a new international cooperation must be based on strong and co-holistic human values, values that put peoples first, enable them to attain their highest level of self-realisation and given the importance of globalisation today, we must understand self-realisation as individual and collective.
Human self-realisation must be the fundamental essence and the purpose of international cooperation in the new millennium. We must not anchor this cooperation on the values of the past contradicting the aims and hope of people that they have today. International cooperation might create the spaces for the realisation of these humanistic values. International cooperation must take new account of processes.
I am one of those that believe that all international cooperation did not fail by its aim, but it failed on processes and development implementations. International cooperation must be effective, enriching the poor, the powerless and the voiceless.
To reach them we must strengthen community base development approaches and find ways and instruments, which are yet to be designed and implemented. It will be civil society that will take the baton and lead the responsibility.
This event must become the cornerstone in the foundation of a new social architecture; this is a paramount and urgent ask. In this case international cooperation cannot move us away form the profound social changes we experience today. International cooperation cannot counter or delay the social changes that need to attain peace, human security and social stability. It cannot be but realistic based on humanistic approaches to public decision-making.
Humanistic, not only in the sense that people must be first, but in the sense of creating societies that embrace the challenge of inclusion in all the dimensions including culture and race diversity. The future of international cooperation will rest on our capacity to create new forms of government and new forms of governance at global level. The future of international cooperation will go far beyond economics and finance, but let's not be mistaking, economics and finance is of fundamental importance.
Globalisation must be transformational force to change the hierarchy of thinking, functions, policies to benefit everyone in this planet.
Let me finish by saying that this forum is of tremendous importance. This forum takes place at a crucial moment in history and it must succeed, but its access will not be measured by endless debates on old issues or on who is fastest to point fingers with regard to who is responsible for the negative result of the development.
Its access will be measured by the quality of its transformational values, which will define a new agenda, that everyone might be identified with. We cannot create agendas for an elite, elites of civil society governments or anyone.
It is here where we must reflect seriously upon the creation of a new global civil society structure, a forum widely representative that will make a reality the first sentence of the UN We the People
My friends, let's be clear, prosperity for a few, in the long term, is prosperity for nobody.
Thank you very much.
Alfredo Sfeir Younis
Special Representative of the World Bank to the United Nations
English - 2002-07-17
Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 2002-07-17
Vous connaissez mon attachement ancien et fort à une société civile à la fois catalyseur de mobilisation et vecteur de changement dans laquelle j’ai moi-même milité pendant tant d’années. Alors que j’assume d’autres responsabilités aujourd’hui, mon cœur est encore là. C’est avec joie que je m’adresse à vous ce soir. Nous partageons en effet tant de passions et tant d’idéaux. Je souhaite au Forum Mondial de la Société Civile le plus grand succès.
Vous êtes la preuve vivante de cette nécessité d’élaborer des propositions différentes, d’échanger des expériences, d’apprendre, se nourrir des idées novatrices, d’être des contestateurs, créateurs des nouvelles possibilités pour nos sociétés. Le mécontentement social croissant à l’égard du cours suivi par la mondialisation a généré une forte capacité de rassemblement et de mobilisation au sein de la société civile. Mais il faut le dire clair: la mondialisation comme nous le comprenons aujourd’hui n’est pas inévitable. On peut et on doit changer son cours! Il y a une autre forme de mondialisation, une mondialisation équitable à laquelle nous aspirons tous. Elle est fondée sur le principe de la solidarité humaine dans un cadre de diversité ni que culturelle, de liberté, d’égalité et de justice sociale.
L’OIT a tôt apporté sa pierre à cette édifice. Nous avons ainsi constitué il y a quelques mois une commission pluraliste sur la dimension sociale de la mondialisation composée de personnalités indépendantes provenant de divers secteurs de la société civile.
Construire dans la différence des parcelles de convergence autour de quelques valeurs communes à notre humanité conjointe. Voilà notre objectif.
Chers amis, nous croyons tous qu’un autre monde est possible. Nous sentons tous son contours, nous devinons tous la forme qu’il pourra prendre. La vraie question est de savoir comment faire avancer tous ensemble ce projet d’une société plus humaine, plus juste, plus équitable et plus participative. Pour nous, l’OIT, l’accès à un travail digne est indispensable. L’emploi, la protection sociale, les droits des travailleurs, le dialogue social dans la lutte pour la justice sociale font partie de notre mandat. Mais nous croyons aussi que c’est le clef de voûte d’une autre mondialisation. La société civile va continuer à occuper la place centrale dans cette lutte pour un monde plus digne par votre mobilisation et votre participation, par la construction d’un nouvel agenda mondial, source de citoyenneté planétaire, également par votre capacité reconnue à transformer votre conviction en action concrète. Car finalement, ne l’oublions pas, c’est en définitif à notre capacité collective à apporter des réponses concrètes aux problèmes de famine que nous serons tous jugés.
Notre rôle est fondamental. Tant il est essentiel que le preneur de décision puisse en permanence entendre les voix diverses de la société et répondre aux besoins qui sont autant exprimés. Votre travail, ou votre révolte même, et votre capacité d’indignation face à l’injustice, tout comme la compassion, l’espoir, que vous anime, sont autant de forces qui contribuent à forger un monde meilleur. Les agences du système des NU ont un besoin vital de votre engagement, de votre mobilité et de vos idéaux. C’est bien ensemble et seulement ensemble que nous arriverons à trouver la réponse qu’il nous faut actuellement. Ce n’est pas ni l’espoir, ni la détermination qui nous manque. Un autre monde est possible! Mais ce sera notre capacité d’action commune qu’il faut faire renaître.
Je succède à vos travaux, mon cœur est avec vous.
Director General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO)
French - 2002-07-17
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), 2002-07-18
This international conference or World Civil Society Forum is the unique opportunity for members of civil society, from around the world, to exchange ideas about development, to strengthen existing alliances and to build new ones.
When I took office in 1998, I committed the World House Organization to a new and innovative way of working with Civil Society. Since then collaboration with NGOs and other civil society groups has become an important component of WHO work in the field of global public health.
WHO has expanded a number of alliances with several society organizations and we are working together in new ways to make a difference in people’s lives.
Civil Society Organizations alongside governments of the United Nation Organizations and the Private Sector play an important role in scaling up health and development at the community, national and international levels.
Civil Society contributes to development through its research expertise, technical advice, policy analysis, public education and social mobilisation work.
Civil Society organizations are often in the front line in their outreach to remote and disadvantage populations and in providing humanitarian assistance. Their work compliments the work of WHO and by working together, we can provide value of all health related support, that we would not otherwise be able to.
Civil Society has helped move critical development issues to the centre of a national and international agenda and they have helped put people at the centre of sustainable development.
They also play a critical role in the global movement to place health at the centre of development and in calling for an enormous scaling up of investment in health.
We know that poverty is a cause of ill health, but poor health is also a cause of poverty. Children who are sick and impoverished do not learn well. Adults who are ill cannot be fully productive members of society.
Improving health, particularly the health of the world’s poor, is not only a desirable outcome of sustainable development. It is also a powerful and undervalued means of achieving it.
In the war against poverty and disease, the World Health Organization and its member states will only be able to achieve the health indicators agreed upon in the Millennium Development Goals by creating new and effective alliances. This is why we need to be closely working together in a transparent and open process.
Thank you very much.
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO)
English - 2002-07-18
Former Director-General of the UN in Geneva and President of the Conference on Disarmament, 2002-07-18
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is both a great pleasure and an honour for me to address your Forum. First of all I would like to express my high appreciation to the organizers of the Forum and in particular to Mr. Sébastien Ziegler, whose able leadership we could feel it everyday here at the Forum as well as to thank to his staff.
It is a very timely meeting. Not only because of the forthcoming World Conference on sustainable development in Johannesburg and the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, but also because the global changes in general attach a special importance to this Forum.
Facing the challenges of the new emerging civilization of paradigm global international society, the political leadership at the Millennium Summit has agreed for the first time in the international history, on the question what has to be done to provide peace, stability and well being to all parts of our planet.
The major issue today is: How to achieve these goals?
At the beginning of the XX century, the U.S. president, W. Wilson, who was one of the founding fathers of the first international organization - the League of Nations- declared that the world must be made safe for democracy. In historical perspective, maybe more importantly, at the beginning of the XXI century, it is to say that "the world must be democratic to be safe."
Democracy implies good governance, responsible and transparent at all levels of human interaction - global, transcontinental, regional, state and local. Democratic governance cannot be achieved without civil society, that is, the sphere in which social movements organize themselves around objectives, constituencies and thematic activities.
Constructive dialogue between authorities, the civil society, academia and the private sector is the basis for consolidation at all levels of human interaction, which allow to face the challenges of the new civilisation of paradigm, where cultural diversities are supposed to live in harmony with common values.
On the global level the associations and organizations of Civil Society have already become indispensable partners of the United Nations. They represent a wealth of expertise, experience and specific knowledge. Their direct contacts with the grass roots are very precious to the United Nations.
Although NGOs do not have the right to vote in the UN, on the basis of article 71 of the Charter, they are consulted on elaboration of programmes and policies and participate more and more in the decision-making process. Their impact on world politics is quite significant. Results may sometimes be slow to come, but one has seen, in the past 25 years or so, many NGO initiatives succeed. To mention a few: the Convention against Torture, the Convention banning landmines, the Convention on Climate Change, the progress made in the promotion of the role of women and the protection of children, the actions undertaken in favour of indigenous peoples, minorities, people living in extreme poverty, etc. All this would not have been possible without the Civil Society organizations and we could feel it very strongly in the United Nations.
The growing influence and the role of Civil Society actions has been both a hallmark and a cause of our changing political environment. Within the framework of the United Nations, in a way, people of the United Nations and the governments of the UN member-states more often than now, found a sort of reconciliation and, on many occasions, a real constructive cooperation. What seems to be emerging is an organization that is offering the previously unknown possibility of looking at the peoples and the governments in the global context in a co-operative manner, but not in a confrontational one.
To keep this trend going, it is very important to encourage the dialogue among civilisations and, in particular, to involve the young people in this dialogue.
Confidence-building measures are needed today, not only in military field, but also probably to a larger degree on a general human level. It is very important to understand that in the process of interaction of civilisations, not only clashes, but also mutually enriching experience, have taken place. We need to take into account the positive example of such interaction and encourage it in the future.
From a pragmatic point of view, the Civil Society organizations could play an important role in public opinion, making and mobilizing political will towards practical deeds in implementing human rights and humanitarian law, as well as the promotion of human security, - that is the security of a human being from violence, hunger, diseases and environmental degradation.
Looking into the future, there is no doubt for me that without inclusion of the Civil Society in the process of good governance, the latter will be built on sand. I would like therefore to support the idea to constitute the World Civil Society Forum which shall meet us, seems to me, annually.
From the viewpoint of a stronger involvement of Civil Society into the United Nations activities, it would be desirable to structure the permanent Forum in the same way as the General Assembly.
In other words, in addition to the plenary meetings to establish six committees, the same as in the United Nations. This arrangement will facilitate the dialogue between the Civil Society and the UN on specific issues and make the partnership with UN as feasible as possible.
The time has also come to raise before UN member-states the issue of reconsidering present rules with regard to the participation of NGOs in the activities of the UN systems, because these rules were adopted more than 50 years ago, under very specific conditions of political and ideological confrontations.
A consultative status of Civil society organizations and the United Nations should be strengthened, there is no doubt for me, and the Civil society organizations should be present at the discussion not only social, economic but also political, disarmament, legal and all other issues which are on the agenda of the UN.
In conclusion I would like to express my hope that this Forum will really become a turning-point in the strengthening of Pax Multilateral and good democratic governance at all levels of human interaction, which implies the ever-increasing role of NGOs.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Former Director-General of the UN in Geneva and President of the Conference on Disarmament
English - 2002-07-18
President and Founder of Network Earth Village, 2002-07-18
I am Yoshiyuki Takagi, President and Founder of Network Earth Village, an environment and peace NGO from Japan.
I am very honoured to speak to you all today, to make a very important proposal.
Now, as you know, the world today is full of issues such as hunger, poverty, wars, corporate-driven globalization, etc.(et cetera) which are difficult for governments to solve.
Why? Because of conflicts of interests, economic and military pressures by very powerful countries and multi-national corporations.
Who can solve this? We, the peoples, the citizens. We are not bounded to such conflicts of interests.
Then why, were we not able to solve it?
- No.1: We are not, well informed of the facts and the real root-causes
- No.2: We are not, really working together as a whole and
- No.3: We are not, aware of the methods and solutions already existing in the world today
Then, what can we do?
It's simple, very simple:
- No.1: Spread and Inform, facts and underlining real root-causes
- No.2: Network, together
- No.3: Share, the many good practices and solutions that are in the world.
And last but important
- No.4: Act and express in your own diverse ways to solve the issues
Imagine all the peoples on this Earth, through this informational network, utilizing communication tools such as internet or other methods, to spread the truth, share good ideas, expressing opinions and act together, but in our own diverse ways to solve many of today's world issues!
Let's name it, a "United Global Citizens", tentatively for now, to call this single huge network of peoples, citizens, NGOs, CSOs, and already existing networks.
What can United Global Citizens do? Please don't think, but try to imagine what this can do.
We are talking about a network on a global scale, worldwide, in the billions!
Against hunger, poverty, and large scale disasters we can all express support and act immédiately to help. Helping on a global scale should be most effective against any unfortunate situations. Against countries and those who perpetrate wars, terror and violence, unfairness, environmental degradation, we can say NO, or act such as global boycotting.
Who or what country can act against global wishes and demands? Who or what country can act, resist a global and simultaneous boycotting? Boycotting globally should be able to move anybody or any country.
In the upcoming 21st century, world will naturally lead to civil society. Lead actor in civil society, is naturally, we the peoples or citizens. Would you not think that this "United Global Citizens" is one an important concept needed in our 21st century?
We have named it United Global Citizens for now, and this is our proposal! And we have worked on spreading the words of this concept for more than 2 years, from the G7 summit in Japan to Euro Environment Conference, and WSSD Prepcoms 1, 2, 3, 4, and here is the long list of supporting individuals and NGOs who wanted to change this World.
And we have come to propose the same concept to all of you here at World Civil Society Forum!
Please, let see your hands if you support this concept.
Let us applaud if you think this is a great idea, and support such a concept!
Thank you, and I thank you to all too!
I am relieved to hear such positive expressions!
Please sign your support to this long list of supporting members.
Let's join together!
President and Founder of Network Earth Village
Japanese - 2002-07-18
Administrative Counsellor of the City of Geneva and Former Mayor, 2002-07-19
Monsieur le Président du Comité d'organisation,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
Je suis très heureux d'être parmi vous, ce soir, pour la clôture du premier "Forum mondial de la société civile".
Heureux à double titre: comme conseiller administratif, tout d'abord, puisque la Ville a. apporté son plein soutien à l'organisation et aux travaux de votre forum; comme ami et militant, ensuite, parce que, depuis plusieurs décennies, mon engagement "sur le terrain", s'est fait au sein d'associations qui sont autant de relais entre la population, les administrations et leurs autorités.
Genève, qui vous a accueilli pendant les quelques jours de ce forum, a été - et est toujours - un lieu d'accueil privilégié des organisations de ce que nous appelons, aujourd'hui, la société civile.
L'engagement de la Ville de Genève en faveur de la société civile est un engagement déterminé, qui se poursuivra au delà des travaux de ce forum. II est fondé sur un choix politique auquel nous tenons.
Cette volonté politique est en effet à la base de l'activité et du rayonnement de la Genève internationale. Elle est inscrite au cœur de cet esprit de tolérance et de paix qui anime notre ville et notre canton suisse depuis plusieurs siècles. Elle perpétue une tradition de tolérance et de solidarité qui trouve son aboutissement dans un dialogue permanent, fécond, engagé tant avec les grandes organisations internationales qu'avec tous les partenaires de la société civile.
Tous les grands traités internationaux de l'après guerre, toutes les grandes avancées diplomatiques dans les domaines des droits humains et de la paix, sont le résultat d'actions déterminées, résolues, menées par des organisations non gouvernementales. Genève, avec Henry Dunant, a joué un rôle de premier plan, dès la fin du 19e siècle, dans la création de la Croix-Rouge et dans l'adoption des Conventions de Genève.
Ce sont en effet des "militants" de la société civile, réunis autour d'Henry Dunant, qui sont à l'origine du droit humanitaire international et ont permis à notre ville de devenir un lieu de négociation et de paix.
Cet engagement "civil" se manifeste maintenant dans tous les domaines de l'activité internationale.
C'est à Genève que les organisations de défense des droits de l'enfant ont pu préparer, il y a douze ans, l'adoption de la Convention des Nations unies relative aux droits de l'enfant.
C'est à Genève, toujours, que le Comité pour l'Appel de Genève enjoint, aujourd'hui, les mouvements armés à rejoindre la Convention d'Ottawa sur l'interdiction des mines antipersonnelles.
Tous ces textes, toutes ces actions résultent des efforts et des initiatives d'organisations civiles qui, offrant leurs analyses et leurs propositions, ont insufflé et insufflent à la communauté internationale un esprit de réforme.
Je pourrais avancer bien d'autres exemples.
La société civile a désormais rang de puissance émergente: elle a un rôle de plus en plus important à jouer à côté des institutions officielles, au niveau national comme au niveau international. Elle est la marque de la diversité et du pluralisme de nos sociétés démocratiques actuelles.
Sociétés à l'égard desquelles votre rôle est triple:
interpellation et sensibilisation de l'opinion publique;
réveil des consciences - votre rôle de vigie;
participation à l'élaboration des politiques.
Ainsi que le rappelait récemment Kofi Annan, le secrétaire général des Nations Unies, c'est la société civile qui crée la démocratie et non pas l'inverse.
Une société civile forte favorise la responsabilité citoyenne et permet un fonctionnement démocratique des Etats, des régions et des villes.
Une société civile faible favorise l'autoritarisme, affaiblit la démocratie.
Nous savons tous par expérience que l'Etat, que les grandes organisations internationales, ne peuvent à eux seuls prendre en charge un développement durable et équitable, dans un cadre de paix et de respect des droits humains, sans la participation, indispensable de la société civile.
Le forum de Genève, je l'espère, va donner une impulsion nouvelle à vos engagements. Vous avez souhaité coordonner vos actions, mieux établir les partenariats avec les organisations internationales, en particulier avec les organismes et agences des Nations Unies. Vous avez souhaité participer aux processus décisionnels, afin que les gouvernements et les autorités publiques cessent de commettre les mêmes erreurs.
Continuez à nous faire partager votre volonté d'identifier les besoins- et les priorités futures dans un monde où, trop souvent, les motivations économiques, la loi du marché, ont pris le pas sur le désir de changer la vie.
Soyez utopistes autant que pragmatiques. Vous portez dans vos cœurs et dans vos esprits un choix de civilisation qui respecte et promeut la dignité de tous les humains. Merci d'honorer le pacte démocratique en faisant preuve au quotidien de lucidité et de générosité.
Pour paraphraser A. Camus: “Opter pour un autre monde ce n’est pas forcément le changer, mais d’éviter qu’il ne se détruise.”
Administrative Counsellor of the City of Geneva and Former Mayor
French - 2002-07-19