Press Releases

    16 August 2005

    Civil Society Voices for Peace, Partnership, Renewal to Be Heard at 58th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, 7-9 September

    NEW YORK, 15 August (DPI/NGO Section) -- A week before the 2005 World Summit, more than 2,000 non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives and other civil society partners from more than 80 countries are expected to voice their views on implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), peace and security, human rights and strengthening the United Nations.  They will meet from 7-9 September at United Nations Headquarters in New York, during the 58th Annual DPI/NGO Conference entitled Our Challenge:  Voices for Peace, Partnerships and Renewal.  The three-day gathering of NGOs is organized by the Department of Public Information in cooperation with associated NGOs.

    An interactive website at  will allow for worldwide participation and encourage social activists and advocates from around the world to join the discussions before, during and after the Conference.  The discussion forum will be launched on 15 August 2005.  The website also provides information for participants and the media, and offers links to related documents.

    The Conference aims to raise public awareness of the Secretary-General's report In Larger Freedom:  Towards Development, Security and Human Rights for All, which outlines the agenda for the 2005 World Summit.  Civil society perspective on peace and security, development, human rights and United Nations reform will be the focus of the Conference.  The President of the 59th session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary-General, and United Nations high-level officials will address the Conference, joining representatives of civil society and Member States.

    The Conference will address the challenges of forging effective partnerships for development.  The first panel session In Larger Freedom:  The Challenge of Partnerships will look at the efforts of governments, global corporations, and civil society to build capacity in developing countries, promote political stability and good governance, and encourage innovative solutions to common problems.

    Another panel, A Focus on Human Development:  Implementing the MDGs will highlight the role of NGOs in implementing the MDGs at the national and international level.  The Collective Security:  The Priorities of Civil Society panel will focus on respect for human rights as the driving force behind peace, security and development; and A Dialogue:  The Future of the United Nations will be followed by three round tables on envisioning a secure world, eradicating poverty, and the United Nations and civil society.

    The Conference website will host a live webcast of the panel discussions, which will feature Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Winner; Ann Veneman, Executive Director, UNICEF; Juan Somavia, Director-General, International Labour Organisation; Anwarul Chowdhury, United Nations High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States; Fatou Bensouda, Deputy Prosecutor, International Criminal Court; Gareth Evans, President and Chief Executive, International Crisis Group; Paul van Tongeren, Executive Director, European Centre for Conflict Prevention; and Bill Pace, Executive Director, World Federalist Movement.

    In addition to seven plenary sessions and three round tables, there will be thirty Midday Interactive Workshops sponsored by NGO partnerships and coalitions from around the world with participation by governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society representatives.  The themes of the workshops will focus on four clusters of the Secretary-General's Report:  Freedom from Want (two sessions), Freedom from Fear, Freedom to Live in Dignity, and Strengthening the United Nations.  The Conference will also provide thematic networking sessions for NGO representatives.  Other initiatives include media and exhibition projects that will explore NGO voices in implementing the 2005 World Summit agenda.

    The workshops will feature representatives from civil society, the United Nations and governments, such as Frederico Mayor, President, Foundation for Culture of Peace and former UNESCO Director General; Catherine Kinney, President and Co-Chief Operating Officer, New York Stock Exchange; Betty Bigombe, Chief Peace Negotiator in Northern Uganda; Görel Bogarde, Save the Children; and Chung Ok Lee, Representative of Won Buddhism, Co-President of World Conference of Religions for Peace, Secretary General, World Culture Open.  Workshop summaries will be available on the website.

    As an annual meeting of NGOs, civil society and private sector with United Nations representatives, the Conference provides an established forum for networking and exchange of views, opinions, expertise and best practices on relevant issues.  In light of the General Assembly Informal Hearings with Civil Society in June, as well as the Millennium +5 NGO Network of NGOs formally associated with the United Nations, the Conference provides a platform for NGOs to contribute to the 2005 World Summit and beyond.  Drawing on the outcome of the plenary and round table session, a set of recommendations for the future work of the civil society with the United Nations and the Member States will be reflected in the final summary report of the Conference.

    For further information on the 58th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, please visit .

    For media-related questions and events, and to set up interviews with Conference speakers, please contact DPI/NGO Section, Sasa Gorisek, tel.:  +1-212- 963-1859, e-mail: .

    For NGO media-related questions and events, and to set up interviews with Workshop speakers, please contact Shamina de Gonzaga, e-mail: ; or Carol Zinn, e-mail: .

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