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St Augustine : Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan

The U.N. and NGO's

It was probably in the field more than anywhere else that the presence of NGOs began to be felt strongly.
 
Specialized agencies and bodies such as the UN Development Program and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees realised early on that NGOs offered them crucial resources and expertise.
 
For example, without the cooperation of humanitarian organisations - ranging from CARE to Medicins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) - it would have been virtually impossible to meet the needs of the refugees fleeing war.
 
Many of these specialised agencies have their own relationships with the NGOs; they can coordinate NGO efforts, provide funds for NGO projects, or even receive funds for their own programs.
 
The cooperation of NGOs in other areas such as disarmament, human rights, education, the environment and science.
 
Beginning with the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the broader participation of NGOs in addressing global issues became a fact.
 
Over 1500 organisations were accredited to participate in the conference, such as the World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna), the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo), the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen), and the Fourth World Conference in Women (Beijing), NGOs have shaped many of the points on the agendas, some of which have already become law.
 
In short, NGOs participate in the UN system in four ways:
 
They raise issues, such as the rights of women and the environment, which then get placed in the world's agendas.
 
They shape decisions taken by the UN, though it can be said that they are much less influential in politics that in the social and humanitarian fields.
 
They enter into partnership with the UN to help carry out its objectives in the field.
 
Finally, they serve as important watchdogs of the UN, observing, criticising and reporting on its role. ID2418

 


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