17 July 2006

Civil Society to Discuss Effective Partnerships for Human Security, Sustainable Development at 59th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, 6 - 8 September

NEW YORK, 12 July (UN Headquarters) -- A week before the opening of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly, more than 2,500 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other civil society activists from more than 90 countries are expected to gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to discuss the unfinished business of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.  They will meet from 6 to 8 September 2006, during the annual three-day gathering, organized by the Department of Public Information in partnership with associated NGOs. This year, the Fifty-Ninth Annual DPI/NGO Conference, will look at Unfinished Business:  Effective Partnerships for Human Security and Sustainable Development.

A dedicated Conference website is available at  providing information on Conference proceedings, including the draft programme and information on the speakers, as well as resources for participants and the media.  While the Conference is closed to the general public, those following the Conference via a live webcast will be able to submit questions online to the speakers during the webcast.

Jan Eliasson, President of the sixtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly, and Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General, are expected to open the Conference.  The three plenary sessions will look at:  moving development forward:  accountability, transparency, equitable trade policies; achieving financial and ecological sustainability; and the role of the media and communications technology in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The Conference aims to build on what has already been accomplished by greater NGO, private sector and civil society participation in many of the debates taking place at the United Nations, including informal interactive hearings by the General Assembly President.  To emphasize the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration, Conference speakers "are being asked to focus on specific partnerships; how to build them to increase their impact toward greater efficacy of development programmes and better stewardship of donations", said Michaela Walsh, Chair of the Fifty-Ninth DPI/NGO Conference and Co-Chair of the Conference Planning Committee.

Conference participants will be able to attend two out of six multi-stakeholder round tables, featuring representatives of the United Nations, Governments, civil society and the private sector.  The round tables will address the following themes:  science and technology for education; emerging approaches to health care, including gender-based HIV and AIDS; human security:  responsibility to protect and the peacebuilding commission; civil society and global partnerships for development; commitment to reducing extreme poverty and hunger; and promoting respect for cultural diversity in conflict resolution.

Ms. Walsh, who will offer welcoming and concluding remarks at the Conference, explained that "to ensure the widest possible exchange of views and experiences, all NGO delegations will include one representative under the age of 30.  And we will make every effort that each panel features at least one youth speaker."

Additionally, there will be 10 midday workshops available to Conference participants every day at lunch time.  Sponsored by NGOs, they will feature participation by Governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society representatives.  Topics are expected to complement and enhance the Conference plenary and round-table sessions, and will provide participants the opportunity to learn from, and share with practitioners in the field experiences of particular relevance to NGOs in their efforts to advance the Millennium Development Goals.  The Conference will also provide thematic networking sessions for NGO representatives, as well as other initiatives such as a film festival.

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 best-practices on relevant issues.  Recently, it has moved towards strategic partnership-building by inviting representatives of Member States to engage in dialogues with Conference participants.  This year, it aims to provide a policy-building forum for NGO collaboration with the United Nations, with the outcome of the plenary and round-table sessions to be included in the final summary report of the Conference.

For further information on the 59th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, please visit  or e-mail: .

For media-related questions and events, and to set up interviews with Conference speakers, please contact DPI/NGO Section, Sasa Gorisek at e-mail:  and/or Robin Dellarocca at e-mail: .

For NGO media-related questions and events, and to set up interviews with midday workshops speakers, please contact Media Committee Co-Chairs, Joan Levy at e-mail:  and/or Jeffery Huffines at e-mail: .

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* Reissued for technical reasons.