GYEONGJU – Addressing the UNDPI/NGO Conference in Gyeongju, South Korea, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on May 30: “This is a powerful gathering of representatives of non-governmental organizations, or NGOs.
“You have such a positive impact – to my mind, NGOs really stands for Networks of Global Opportunities! NGOs are on the vanguard of international action. Throughout history, when governments reach a stalemate, NGOs work to break it.
“Your tireless advocacy helped the world adopt international bans on landmines and cluster munitions. Your relentless drive has promoted gender equality, climate [action] and human rights.
“. . .Without the participation of non-governmental organizations and civil society groups, no initiative, however visionary, is not possible, can be fully achieved. That’s a very valuable lesson I have learned.
“I am such a strong believer in NGOs, I constantly call on governments to expand space, some political, economic, social space for NGOs to work freely, without any hindrance. Four days ago, at the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity, I denounced the shrinking democratic space, and I urged freedom for civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders.
Unfortunately, that freedom is under threat, including at the last place this should happen: at the United Nations.
“I am deeply disappointed that the Member States on [the] ECOSOC NGO Committee recently denied the Committee to Protect Journalists consultative status. I was also opposed to the exclusion of LGBT organizations from the upcoming High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS. These NGOs are close to communities affected by the epidemic and they must be part of the response.
“I call on Member States to stop constricting NGO engagement. The United Nations should have a big tent under which everybody can have [inaudible] and freedom of movement. This is the approach we used to help forge the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.” (MORE IN NEXT UN INSIDER)
ANTALYA – Commitment to continue the effort by the United Nations and the developed economies to help the least developed nations overcome poverty and hunger was the main conclusion of the Mid Term Review (MTR) conference for the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (IPoA), held in Antalya, May 27-29.
The purpose of the meeting was to assess whether and how the targets set by the IPoA in 2011 were being met. The results were mixed. In six plenary sessions, four thematic roundtables and 26 side events, the officials from 75 countries and international organisations reviewed the progress made by the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) towards stimulating growth and improving living conditions in their respective jurisdictions.
In his closing remarks to the delegates, Gyan Chandra Acharya, UN Under-Secretary General and head of the Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and the Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) expressed his satisfaction for “the unprecedented global consensus” among the representatives of participating states on the objectives and actions agreed during the MTR. (MORE IN NEXT UN INSIDER) [IDN-InDepthNews – 30 May 2016]
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Photo: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening session of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI)/Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Conference in Gyeongju, Republic of Korea. UN Photo/Mark Garten