Civil Society Development Forum 2007
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Project at a glance
Dates and Place28 - 30 June 2007, Geneva, Switzerland
Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations
CONGO and its United Nations partners, with significant support from the Swiss and Geneva authorities, organized this Forum - in which more than 500 persons from intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental circles participated - with two goals.
An extensive - and intensive - series of plenary sessions, roundtables and workshops brought out dramatically the interrelatedness of development, peace, security and human rights, with clear interfaces with issues of sustainability, food availability, information technology, global health crises, gender equity, financial structures, trade and environment. Perhaps the major common thread throughout the rich discussions was that none of these problems/opportunities/challenges confronting the world's nations and citizens can be met without genuine partnership among intergovernmental, governmental, civil society and private sector actors. World and regional problems do not respect national frontiers or social strata. Under the Westphalian philosophy that still governs international relations, nation states remain the prime decision-makers. For that reason alone we need strong states, with well-informed governments capable of fairly analyzing and facing the multiple world and regional crises and challenges.
But this Forum demonstrated once again that these very crises and challenges cannot be met without firstly, clear and applicable international standards, treaties, conventions and other legal instruments, all of them with implementation mechanisms. And secondly, these crises and challenges can not be met without the vision, competence and commitment of national, regional and international civil society: our role is reminding governments of their fundamental obligations; strengthening government's backbone to make and implement the hard decisions that are necessary; advocating and testing new ideas and concepts that can filter into government plans and programmes; and of course constructively criticizing governments' shortcomings.
There is another partner we cannot neglect, namely the private sector where corporate social responsibility has begun to take an increasing but still inadequate hold. The private sector controls more social and economic decisions than a large number of governments, since it is at the base of employment-creation, of the attraction and imperative of migration, of transnational financial flows, of creating and cleaning up pollution. Much more work needs to be done to engage the private sector so that it adopts the highest ethical standards in promoting pro-poor sustained economic growth and equitable economic policies. One possible channel, presented during this Forum, is the Public-Private Alliance Foundation. We cannot ignore the business sector: civil society can perhaps influence and inspire its leaders, its shareholders, its investors, to achieve, as Wahu Kaara put it "Life before Profit".
Role of ICVolunteers
Volunteer interpreters from ICVolunteers took care of interpretation from and to English, French and Spanish.
Posted: 2007-7-08 Updated: 2007-7-08