Press Releases

    Note to Correspondents

    Note No. 5748
    4 September 2002


    NEW YORK, 3 September (UN Headquarters) -- The fifty-fifth Annual Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), entitled "Rebuilding Societies Emerging from Conflict: A Shared Responsibility", will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 11 September. The Annual Conference, which has become the premier NGO event at the United Nations each year, is organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) in partnership with the NGO/DPI Executive Committee.

    "Rebuilding countries emerging from conflict is a theme about which there is a great deal to learn and many opportunities for joint action, pooling the resources and expertise of the United Nations, governments and NGOs", says Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his message to the Conference.

    In addition to five plenary panels and 30 NGO midday workshops, the Conference will feature keynote speeches by Vojislav Kostunica, President of Yugoslavia; Mary Robinson, in her last address to the NGO community as High Commissioner for Human Rights; Lakhdar Brahimi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Afghanistan; and José Luis Guterres, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of East Timor.

    There will be a briefing on the Conference on Wednesday, 4 September at 3 p.m. in the United Nations Correspondents’ Association Club that will include Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, the Conference Planning Committee, and speakers that will participate in the Conference. There will also be press briefings on each of the three days of the Conference, featuring speakers participating in the day's plenary sessions.

    Mr. Tharoor says "Recognizing the importance of broad cooperation and coordination, the Conference will bring together government and United Nations officials and NGO representatives who have first-hand field experience, and citizens who have lived through the violence or are in the forefront of civil society efforts of recovery and reconciliation".

    Speakers will include senior United Nations officials from offices such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department for Disarmament Affairs, the Department of Political Affairs, the Office of Legal Affairs, the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Volunteer Programme and the World Bank; government representatives; and NGO representatives from organizations such as Oxfam, the International Rescue Committee and Médecins sans Frontières.

    Topics to be addressed by the Conference's plenary panels include re-establishing the rule of law and good governance in post-conflict societies; restoring social services; economic recovery; psychosocial reconciliation; and the process of military demobilization.

    Speaking on the importance of NGOs in post-conflict societies, Sherrill Kazan, Chair of the Conference, explains, "NGOs are at the heart of the recovery process -- they are usually there before and stay after the international community's involvement in conflict areas". Over 1,700 NGO representatives associated with DPI and in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council from about 90 countries around the world are expected to attend the Conference, which will explore the role of the international community in supporting societies emerging from conflict. Focusing on those contemporary examples that have been the subject of concerted United Nations involvement, the Conference will examine the common experiences of these efforts, their successes and shortcomings, and the best practices that people have developed to live together peacefully.

    A detailed conference programme, as well as the NGO Midday Workshops Schedule, are available on the DPI/NGO website: and available in hard copy upon request. Relevant materials from the Conference, such as biographies of the speakers, texts of their presentations (when available), the programme of NGO Midday Workshops and United Nations press coverage are available to media representatives.

    Media representatives are welcome to attend the Conference and will have access to speakers on request. UNTV will cover both the opening and closing sessions of the Conference. To obtain a live feed or tape, please call UNTV at (212) 963-7650. Updates are available at our Web site at:

    Media Accreditation: Interested journalists who are not already accredited to the United Nations should submit a request as soon as possible to the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (fax: 212-963-4642) accompanied by a letter of assignment on official letterhead of a media organization and signed by a publisher, assignment editor or Bureau Chief. The letter should specify the name of the journalist seeking accreditation. The status of the request may be checked on by calling (212) 963-5934 or 963-7164. Once approved, a United Nations grounds pass can be obtained by presenting two forms of photo identification at the Pass and ID Office, located at the corner of 45th Street and First Avenue, New York. Pass office hours are: Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed between the hours of 12:45 p.m. to 2 p.m.), and Fridays 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. For further information regarding United Nations accreditation only, please call (212) 963-6934, 6936 or 6937.

    For further information and interviews please contact: Oleg Dzioubinski (212) 963-1859; Jared Raynor (212) 963-7709; Margaret Melkonian (NGO Representative) (212) 687-2623.

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