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World NGO Conference

Report of the First Preparatory Meeting Held at UNU Headquarters,
Tokyo, 23-24 September 1996

Rapporteurs: W. Andy Knight, Martha Schweitz, Kaoru Kurusu and John McLaughlin


Heitor Gurgulino de Souza
Tatsuro Kunugi

1. Meeting on 23 September 1996
Background to the Meeting
General Approach to the World NGO Conference
The Evaluation of Recent Global Conferences and the Need for Another
A Plethora of Possible Goals
The Preparatory Process
A Debate over the Use of the Internet
Whom to Invite
The Focus of the Conference
The Main Points of Convergence
Planning the Conference
What Needs to Be Done

2. Symposium on 24 September 1996
Programme of the International Symposium
Summation and Observations by Martha Schweitz, General Rapporteur
Closing Remarks by Takashi Inoguchi, Senior Vice-Rector, UNU

3. Proposals on World NGO Conference
Focal Points
Additional Events
Organizers and Co-sponsors
Further Steps
Proposed Workplan

Additional Note

Appendix I. Agenda for Symposium on 24 September 1996
Appendix II. List of Participants
Appendix III. List of Organization Acronyms


The world is beginning to realize the important role that civil society now plays in global governance. In fact, we in the United Nations University (UNU) believe that it is the people's participation in managing global problems and the increasingly complex role of civil society that distinguish our era from past ones. Stronger and more dynamic civil society participation across borders can help all of us manage issues that are important to human survival, development and welfare.

We were honoured that so many distinguished experts were able to attend our conference and explore with us the numerous aspects of civil society's increasing role. One of the conference's main goals was to begin building a consensus on the approach to be taken - in an inclusive and participatory manner - for convening a successful and effective World NGO Conference.

The World NGO Conference, scheduled to be held in 1999, will focus on a specific topic: building partnerships between civil society and the inter-governmental organizations within the UN system. This is part of an effort by the UNU to understand better the interaction processes of all actors that make up an emergent global civil society. Amongst all actors, NGOs are a basic form of popular participation and representation in today's transnational human community.

The Conference will seek to assemble NGOs working in important fields such as peace, human rights, development and the environment - all key areas of concern to the UN and the UNU. It will also bring together other non-state actors, including local governments, corporations, academic and research institutions, foundations and the media. At the Conference, these NGOs and non-state actors will discuss together how they can best participate in global governance through pluralized partnership.

The First Preparatory Meeting and this resulting report are important steps towards 1999. I am confident that the Conference will help enhance civil society's participation in global governance.

Heitor Gurgulino de Souza
The United Nations University


Tatsuro Kunugi, Special Coordinator, World NGO Conference

During the past 20 years or so, notably since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, there has been a massive emergence throughout the world of NGO activities, which encompass not only the promotion of human rights, humanitarian assistance, development cooperation and environmental action but also cooperation with the various phases of peace processes. NGOs are not a new phenomenon but the weight of their activities in world politics is significantly changing as NGOs supplement or even partially substitute for the traditional politics of the state.

In the preparatory process of a series of major conferences held since the Earth Summit in 1992, a large number of non-state actors showed great interest in the global issues that were being taken up and many of them participated in the preparatory meetings as well as in the NGO forum that was set up at each conference in Rio 1992, Vienna 1993, Cairo 1994, Copenhagen and Beijing 1995, Istanbul and Rome 1996. These non-state actors include grass-roots NGOs, advocacy NGOs, research institutes, mass media and organizations representing various major groups, i.e., women, youth, indigenous people, farmers, trade unions and the scientific and technological community.

The important role performed by these civil society organizations was noted with appreciation by the UN Secretary-General and the heads of recent UN world conferences at a meeting organized by CONGO (Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with ECOSOC) in Geneva on 3 July 1995. The Secretary-General stated that after 50 years of experience in dealing primarily with governments as partners, the UN is only now beginning to learn how best to interact with an entirely new set of actors including NGOs, business and civic leaders who can serve as catalysts in the pursuit of an agenda for peace and democratization. He also underlined the need for consolidation and prioritization in the follow-up to the world conferences, to which these actors can make valuable contributions. On the same occasion, Dr. Jan Pronk, Member of the Commission on Global Governance (and former Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD) stressed the need to close the gap between the world summits' rhetoric and reality and stated that the Commission believes “this gap cannot be bridged without civil society: without the active participation of committed NGOs imbued with the quality of leadership … leadership that is proactive, not simply reactive, that is inspired, not simply functional, that looks to the longer term and future generations for whom the present is held in store. … Realizing the important goals set by the world summits and conferences and transforming their aspirations into reality will depend to a great extent on the vigilant and courageous leadership from NGOs.”

On the other hand, it seems doubtful that this degree of appreciation is also widely shared by governmental delegations to the world conferences and UN diplomats in New York, Geneva and Vienna. For instance, study of the outcome of the 3-year deliberations on the revision of ECOSOC resolution 1296 (XLIV) of 1968 on the consultative status of NGOs seems to indicate that the trends of views and position taken by UN diplomats participating in the open-ended Working Group did not, in many cases, take account of the value of encouraging a more active role to NGOs particularly when they take part in future world conferences and summits. (It may appropriately be added in passing that there were two encouraging developments coming out of the 3-year deliberations, namely, a major change in attitude towards greater involvement of NGOs of the developing countries and an agreement reached by ECOSOC to recommend that the General Assembly give consideration to the participation of NGOs in all areas of the work of the UN.) Furthermore, insofar as policy-making at world conferences is concerned, it is almost always governments that determine agenda setting, policy development and prioritizing, and they do these, in many cases, without due consultation with civil society organizations, in particular, advocacy NGOs. When it comes to the implementation of the programmes of action, however, governments tend to rely on the cooperation of NGOs whether directly or through the UN or other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). This tendency often entails the risks of co-optation and the loss of NGOs’ special characteristics, comparative advantages and autonomy.

The nature of contemporary social problems and global issues that are looming large on the horizon demands a pluralized partnership between states and non-state actors. Negotiations and concerted actions between governments within the UN framework seem to have the inherent limitations of sovereign states whose effective capability is territorially defined and delimited. On the other hand, NGOs can cooperate across national boundaries to supplement the functions of the state, to construct a partnership with IGOs and participate in the governance (cooperative management and administration) of our global society. In addition, NGOs are important voices of the people and are rooted in, and interact with, constituencies that are often poorly served and hard to reach through government channels. Likewise, NGOs’ outreach to diverse constituencies can greatly contribute to mobilizing public opinion in a manner better and more durable than media coverage of world conferences and their follow-up.

The impact and achievement of the seven world conferences held since 1992 may vary from conference to conference. There are stories of successes and failures. Yet the impression is inescapable that had there been more concerted efforts between states and non-state actors, both in the organizing and follow-up phases, the impact and achievement of these world conferences, costing enormous time, energy and resources, could have been much greater and far-reaching.

This, in short, was the general assessment that led to the setting up of two sub-projects in June 1996, one called “Research Agenda for NGOs” and the other, a “World NGO Conference", within the UNU’s programme area on "Peace and Governance." The first sub-project aims at taking stock of research on NGOs, focusing on their activities as elements in the process of governance at the glob-al, national and community level and reviewing the methods of coordinating NGO and UN activities for their common benefit. The second sub-project purports to provide a shared space for learning in pursuit of a political agenda aimed at evaluating the working methods and comparative advantages of NGOs with a view to strengthening cooperation and coordination between NGOs and UN agencies, between NGOs and governments, and among NGOs. During June 1996 in Tokyo, the Special Coordinator of the World NGO Conference held preliminary consultations with the officials of the Japanese Government, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, UN agencies, as well as representatives from Japanese NGOs. During the same month, he also held a series of consultations in Geneva with the representatives of the Swiss Government, UN agencies, ICRC and umbrella organizations such as CONGO, FIIG, ICVA, Synergies Africa and others.

The United Nations University, with the co-sponsorship of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and several international NGOs, hosted the first preparatory meeting of the planned World NGO Conference on 23 September 1996, and an international symposium on 24 September, to discuss the NGOs’ role in an emergent global civil society and new relationships between NGOs and the UN agencies. Some 40 participants from around the world, including NGO leaders, eminent scholars, high-ranking UN officials and senior representatives of international organizations took part in the meeting and the symposium. On the first day, there was a half-day of free discussion, preparing for a planned World NGO Conference in Tokyo in 1998. On the second day, there was a full-day symposium on "The United Nations and Civil Society." Panelists exchanged views on: the changing role of NGOs and civil society organizations working with the UN; experiences in sectoral, regional and global approaches; and visions and actions for the 21st century in the UN/NGO relationships.

The two sessions of the Preparatory Meeting on 23 September were chaired by Prof. Takeo Uchida (Chuo U.) and Prof. Timothy Shaw (Dalhousie U.). An analytical summary of discussions, as contained in Chapter 1 of the present report, was made by Ms. Kaoru Kurusu (Tokyo U.) and Mr. John McLaughlin (ICU), taking into account a general summary contributed by Prof. W. Andy Knight, who kindly acted as General Rapporteur for the Meeting.

A brief note on the Programme of the Symposium on 24 September, Summation and Observations by Prof. Martha Schweitz (Seinan U.) and Closing Remarks by Prof. Takashi Inoguchi (Senior Vice-Rector, UNU) are contained in Chapter 2.

The Special Coordinator is most grateful to those rapporteurs for the preparation of the present report and to Mr. Cyril Ritchie (FIIG) and Prof. Martha Schweitz for comments on an earlier draft of his Proposals for a Planned World NGO Conference. He also acknowledges with warm thanks the advice and support given by members of the International Cooperation Research Association (ICRA), which acted as co-organizer of the first preparatory meeting.

Finally, the Special Coordinator wishes to apologize for the delay in issuing this report while waiting for the final confirmation of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s co-sponsorship and hosting of the Conference in May 1998. Now that they have decided a few weeks ago in mid-April 1997 to organize a "World Conference on International Cooperation between Cities and Citizens: Towards a Recycle-Oriented Civilization" in May 1998 instead of co-sponsoring the World NGO Conference as earlier expected, a revision of the proposals, including one-year postponement of the date, had to be made. As some major cities in Japan have indicated interest in the possibility of co-sponsoring and hosting the world conference in 1999, consultations will soon be held with them. In the meantime, the Special Coordinator would greatly appreciate it if the readers of the present report would kindly discuss with their colleagues the preliminary proposals in Chapter 3 and convey their comments to him c/o Academic Division, UNU Headquarters in Tokyo: Fax 813.3406.7347; or directly to him: Fax 81.422.34.8805; Email The comments and suggestions contributed will form an important basis of the Steering Committee’s preparatory work as proposed in Chapter 3 of the present report.


Background to the Meeting

The First Preparatory Meeting was called to discuss the possibilities for a World NGO Conference planned to be held in Tokyo in 1998. Mr. Kunugi (ICRA), the conference coordinator, welcomed the participants and stated that wide interest was shown in the proposed Conference during preliminary consultations held in Tokyo with Japanese NGOs1 and in Geneva with international NGOs2 and other interested agencies during June 1996. He hoped that consensus would emerge from this meeting about the purpose, format and preparatory process of the 1998 Conference, which would then form a basis for the second and third preparatory meetings to be held in Geneva and New York in the course of 1997.

General Approach to the World NGO Conference

It is becoming clear that global problems are too large and too complex for governments alone to solve by themselves without the participation of civil society organizations. Thus, mechanisms for partnership building amongst the NGO and IGO communities are becoming a necessity. New types of enhanced networks need to be created that will eventually transform multilateral arrangements and that will facilitate better problem-solving at the global, national and local levels. The World NGO Conference can provide a forum for accomplishing these goals.

Participants exchanged views about the primary purpose of the Conference. Would it simply be a forum in which shared space is provided for state and non-state actors to interact, with non-state actors being the main actors? Would it basically be used as a prototype for a future "Second United Nations Assembly," a civil societal alternative or supplement to the United Nations General Assembly? Would it be a forum in which attempts to reach consensus on the role of non-state actors in global affairs should be a priority? Or would it be used to promote and develop new partnerships among all actors of emerging global civil society?

Mr. Ritchie (FIIG) noted that the idea of a second Global Assembly as an alternative or supplement to the United Nations General Assembly is already very advanced among some in the NGO community. Therefore, account should be taken of initiatives already being taken on this issue at regional and other levels. Some participants considered that the Conference could serve several purposes that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Others emphasized the promotion of partnership among independently developed NGO networks on peace, human rights, environment, population, development, gender, etc., perhaps through the creation of a common database and a world NGO council.

The Evaluation of Recent Global Conferences and the Need for Another

A statement in the first paragraph of the Background Paper (circulated to the participants) became the subject of a debate. It stated that a large amount of time and energy has been spent on the preparation for the recent large-scale conferences held under the auspices of the UN, but that the results have not nearly matched the initial expectations. Mr. Miyabe (Communicare) raised a question about this negative assessment in the paper. Mr. Gordenker (Princeton U.) explained that he has heard opinions voiced from those NGOs that participated in such world conferences ranging from the height of enthusiasm to the depths of disappointment. Other participants pointed out that a much more positive evaluation should be given to those conferences. Ms. Forman (UNDPI) said they have served as a catalyst in many parts of the world to giving birth to organizations that have not existed before. Ms. Stephenson (U. Hawaii) and Mr. Kavanagh (UNIC) observed that over the course of such conferences, some sort of informal procedures have developed among various actors, that things are getting better organized, and that the conferences have become more productive. In his concluding remarks, Mr. Kunugi (ICRA) said that worldwide conferences should be given a more positive evaluation since they have achieved NGO participation in inter-governmental deliberations to some extent. However, when it comes to the implementation of what was agreed upon, the impression is inescapable that the outcomes have not met the expectations based on the time and energy put into the conferences.

Mr. Knight (Bishop's U.) noted in his summary report that there is no point in having another global conference that does not produce some form of end-product or action plan. He said that there is little point in reinventing the wheel and similar types of activities that are being undertaken around the globe. Mr. Miyake (AI) pointed out that the answer to the question "What difference would this conference make?" will be crucial to garnering support from many NGOs for this World Conference. Can we expect that something unique will emerge out of the proposed Conference?

Some participants noted that already there are fairly well-developed linkages between the NGO community and the UN system. ECOSOC, UNDPI, UNDP and the World Bank, for instance, have been cultivating such links for a long time. However, others said that recent global conferences have been instrumental as catalysts for the creation of new NGO/IGO links and that these links need to be further strengthened by the World NGO Conference. NGOs in some regions are already in the process of establishing a common agenda and developing new networks. These networks, however, may not be linked to the UN system. Would the World NGO Conference be respectful of such a process and would it also encourage it?

A Plethora of Possible Goals

By the end of the meeting, a consensus emerged that one of the main objectives of the World NGO Conference should be to find ways of partnership building between the UN and NGOs; partnership building at the local levels, between local governments and NGOs; and between NGOs and IGOs. While some participants felt that the World NGO Conference should focus on specific global issues and themes, in the end it was concluded that a thematic conference would be inappropriate, redundant and probably unproductive. Many suggestions were made which will be organized and presented from the most general to the most concrete.

Mr. Takahashi (FASID) said the World NGO Conference should enhance the international character of civil society. Mr. Inoue (UNV) said that it should establish a world forum of civil society in order to hear their voices which may not be the same as those of governments. Mr. Matsushita (JFGE) said the conference should underline the important role that NGOs are currently playing in global governance. Mr. von Bernuth (ICVA) said that the conference should enhance the advocacy potential of NGOs.

There were many suggestions about how to improve the dialogue between NGOs and the UN. Mr. Chiriboga (ALOP) suggested that the conference help build effective working relationships between the NGO and UN communities. Mr. Waki (UNICEF) asserted that NGOs should include local community level action. Mr. von Bernuth (ICVA) recommended building on the experiences of consultations between UN operational agencies such as the UNHCR and NGOs in dealing with practical issues. Mr. Takahashi (FASID) and Ms. Osa (AAR) proposed that the conference recommend ways in which the UN system could be transformed from a "talking shop" to an action-oriented institution to meet the needs of civil society. Mr. Waki (UNICEF) reminded that the process should be future-oriented. Mr. Matsushita (JFGE) said that the conference should be an occasion to reevaluate and assess the involvement of NGOs in UN and national policy-making processes.

A variety of proposals were made of a financial and legal nature. Mr. Matsushita (JFGE) suggested that the conference review ways in which IGOs and the business community can assist NGOs financially, administratively and otherwise, without treading on the autonomy of NGOs. Mr. Takahashi (FASID) urged that the process be a useful set of activities for NGOs. This would include finding ways of enhancing NGO capacities in the area of finance, human resources and information gathering and dissemination. Mr. von Bernuth (ICVA) recommended that this process be promoted especially for NGOs in the South. Mr. Matsushita (JFGE) proposed that the conference discuss ways for NGOs to gain access to important IGO and state databases. Both Mssrs. Matsushita and von Bernuth suggested that the conference propose legal mechanisms for enhancing the stature of NGOs at the national level, creating national normative standards and legislation that would facilitate the operations of NGOs and provide an enabling environment for NGOs and other members of civil society.

Although not all of the suggestions made at the meeting are included in this section, it should be noted that some proposals for the outcomes of the conference were made primarily with reference to or for the sake of NGOs themselves. Ms. Schweitz (Seinan U.) suggested that the conference allow NGOs a chance to reflect and think in long-term structural ways. Also, it can give them an opportunity to see what other NGOs are doing. Mr. Takahashi (FASID) expressed the hope that the conference will find ways to gain greater access for NGOs to the UN's decision-making process. Mr. von Bernuth (ICVA) said that the conference should galvanize grass-roots support for the NGO movement globally. Mr. Gordenker (Princeton U.) said that the World NGO Conference should have an issue orientation instead of building institutions such as a Second General Assembly. Ms. Furuyama (PeaceBoat) expressed the hope that the conference will concentrate on specific issues in order to seek solutions rather than discussing mechanisms.

The Preparatory Process

Some participants raised the following four questions with regard to the preparatory process: 1) Is it appropriate for the UNU to be the initiator of this project? 2)Should the preparatory process not be guided from the outset by NGOs? 3)How could Southern NGOs become more centrally involved in the planning process? 4)What ought to be the outcome of this first preparatory meeting? Is It Appropriate for the UNU to Be the Initiator of This Project?

Mr. Ba (Synergies Africa) and others felt strongly that the idea of establishing a world forum of civil societies should be a "bottom-up" initiative undertaken by the grass roots rather than by the UNU. Mr. Ritchie (FIIG) said that the UNU should be careful not to be perceived as trying to force on NGO communities a "top-down" model of an alternative to the UN General Assembly. However, he and Mr. Kunugi (ICRA) emphasized that the UNU is probably in an ideal position to undertake an initiative of this sort. The UNU is not an intergovernmental organization as such and it embodies an epistemic community of scholars in a "think tank" environment which offers recommendations to the UN system as well as civil societal elements. In this particular instance, the UNU should be seen as a facilitator and catalyst for the idea of developing a World Forum of Civil Society. Mr. Waki (UNICEF), Mr. Inoue (UNV), Ms. Schweitz (Seinan U.) and Mr. Uchida (Chuo U.) expressed views in agreement with or similar to these points.

Should the Preparatory Process Not Be Guided from the Outset by NGOs?

On this issue, a number of participants asked if this is to be a conference of NGOs, should it not involve a broad cross-section of the NGO community in the formative stages of planning? At what stage will the preparatory process be guided by NGOs? While the UNU's initiative is laudable, it was felt by many that early involvement by the NGO community will give it a genuine stake in the outcome of the conference and remove any perception that this conference is somehow being imposed on the NGO community from the outside.

Others wondered whether there ought to be prior meetings between NGOs at the regional level to discuss the idea of a World NGO Conference in order to work out the agenda for the conference. Mssrs. Ba (Synergies Africa) and Chiriboga (ALOP) suggested that regional meetings should allow for a broader range of opinions from NGOs and people's organizations before the actual world conference. If a broad spectrum of grass-roots organizations are to be involved at the preparatory stage, then more time will be needed to solicit their advice. Perhaps one way of speeding up the process would be to find a way to place this World NGO conference on the agenda of pre-planned regional NGO conferences. Another would be to invite umbrella regional organizations to be part of the preliminary process. Ms. Forman (UNDPI) added that such organizations as the UNDPI-NGO Executive Committee and the Conference of NGOs (CONGO) should be involved in the preparatory process. The former bridges the UNDPI and the NGO community very closely, and the latter has 16 to 19 committees to work on different subjects bringing NGOs together.

How Could Southern NGOs Become More Centrally Involved in the Planning Process?

A consensus emerged that there ought to be a concerted effort to ensure the involvement of Southern NGOs. They should have a significant voice in a conference of this sort, particularly since many of the problems being dealt with by NGOs are experienced first-hand by members of civil society in the South. In addition, there is already disproportionate input in these matters by Northern-based NGOs. It was further pointed out that from the viewpoint of the South the Internet might not be an appropriate means of communication for the World NGO Conference. In some countries, there are hardly adequate telephone lines, let alone modems and computers. Mr. Inoue (UNV) and Ms. Forman (UNDPI) presented the idea that UNDP field offices could be used to organize small regional conferences for this effort. Mr. Ba (Synergies Africa) had doubts about this suggestion for Africa (see page 11 of this report). Ms. Forman suggested the possibility of using the network of UN Information Centres for national and regional preparatory meetings of NGOs.

Mr. von Bernuth (ICVA) emphasized the need to expand the definition of "Southern NGOs" to include the NGO community in the former Soviet Union. Mr. Inoue also said that his organization is now pursuing to designate 2001 as the Year of International Volunteers, and this factor could also be taken into consideration.

What Ought to Be the Outcome of the First Preparatory Meeting?

A suggestion was made by Professor Schweitz (Seinan U.) that one of the outcomes of this first preparatory meeting should be a proposal (rather than a "plan") concerning the World NGO Conference that can be presented to a wide cross-section of NGOs for discussion before undertaking further planning of the actual conference.

A Debate over the Use of the Internet

As was hinted above, the suggestion for using the Internet for conference preparation and television conferencing3 became a topic of some debate. Mr. Reinhard Drifte (Newcastle University) emphasized the fantastic capacity of the Internet to empower NGOs. He hopes it can be provided to more groups and places at low cost. Then it would be possible to have television conferencing via the Internet. Mr. Matsushita (JFGE) said that it can provide greater access to the process by providing timely information and empower NGO activities. Although Mssrs. Ba (Synergies Africa) and Inoue (UNV) cautioned that only a limited number of people and NGOs have access to this medium in the South, Ms. Forman (UNDPI) pointed out that information on the Internet can be downloaded and presented in other forms to those without access to computers and electronic on-line facilities. Mssrs. Gordenker (Princeton U.) and Uchida (Chuo U.) suggested that although access to Internet is limited, that should not preclude experimenting with this new technology, and that it may help us learn something useful for future processes. Ms. Forman (UNDPI) suggested the use of existing dialogues such as the Internet homepage for NGOs launched by UNDPI, called "UN-NGO Link" as well as a homepage launched by NGOs called "NGO-ORG". It was also brought up that the Internet is a powerful search engine that can give NGOs quick access to much needed information. Utilizing an e-mail messaging system can also be used to enhance the democratic element of planning before and during the World Conference.

Whom to Invite: How to Define NGOs and Whether to Include Businesses, Governments and the Media

How to Define NGOs?

Mr. Swinarski (ICRC) expressed his concern over how to define NGOs and whom to invite. He warned that there are many state-created NGOs which are basically paragovernmental organizations. He also made a distinction between lobbying NGOs (such as Amnesty International) and implementing NGOs. Mr. Chiriboga (ALOP) said that the group must think seriously about what organizations should be included since NGOs are a chaotic bunch, representing all types and various interests. For example, would artistic and cultural organizations be considered as NGOs as they are in Mexico?

Which NGOs to Invite?

Mr. Ohashi (Keisen U.), expressed his hesitation about participating in the conference until it is clear what will be the benefits of participation and who will be involved. He emphasized that the selection of participants is a key because the intention and potential outcomes of the meeting will be reflected in it. He added that some leagues or associations of NGOs may be rivals. Mr. Yoshida (Saitama U.) expressed the hope that the conference will improve the partnership between the UN and NGOs and said that the NGOs invited should not be limited to UN-affiliated ones. Mr. Kukita (UNICEF) said that the organizers should not be too concerned whether NGOs, local governments or people's organizations are invited: the focus should be on the mechanism of partnership building between the UN and other organizations. Mr. Øberg (TFF) said that the conference organizers should be concerned with the criteria of which NGOs to invite. He made an appeal that those NGOs involved with conflict management and resolution be included. Mr. Ritchie (FIIG) warned that the conference organizers must determine the criteria or else governments will. At the conclusion of the discussion, Mr. Kunugi (ICRA) noted that for the moment there seems to be no convergence over whom to invite to participate. Another question is whether religious groups or NGOs with a religious orientation should be invited to participate. He for one was inclined to feel that the Conference should be open to participation by a broad spectrum of non-state actors willing to contribute to creating a pluralized partnership for global governance.

Should Governments Be Invited?

Mr. Øberg (TFF) specified that those affiliated with governments should not be invited. Mr. Ritchie (FIIG) said that if there is government participation, it should not be as government representatives, because it would derail the debate with issues of protocol and partisanship. He pointed out that there is a question of which governments to include because not all governments are legitimate -- an issue which parallels the one of how representative NGOs are. Mr. von Bernuth (ICVA) explained that the issue of excluding government-sponsored agencies is a double-edged sword because many humanitarian and social service agencies are primarily supported by governments, especially during emergencies. The criteria for inclusion should be the provision of real social services on a non-commercial basis. Mr. Takahashi (FASID) expressed his concern about inviting government representatives and that the whole initiative for the conference should be led by NGOs. Ms. Forman (UNDPI) questioned the wisdom of excluding governments because she feels that it would isolate NGOs. Mr. Shoji (International Division, Tokyo Metropolitan Government) said that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is interested in supporting NGOs and volunteer activities and that governments must be involved in the conference to ensure the government's support. Mr. Miyabe (Communicare) said he thinks that government involvement is important; otherwise the conference will get less support. He explained that in the Japanese and perhaps Asian milieu, it is hard for NGOs to do things by themselves. They need government support but not government control. Mr. Knight (Bishop's University) said in his summary that it is still unclear who the partnership involves.

Should the Media Be Included?

Mr. Ritchie (FIIG) emphasized that the media should be excluded from the conference because it could derail the agenda and turn the event into a media circus. Ms. Schweitz (Seinan U.) felt that in the case of Japan, the media tends to promote NGOs and so it should be invited. With regard to the media, Mr. Kunugi (ICRA) reiterated his view that he would like to see the participation of all actors so long as they share a common interest, which is to improve the relations between the UN and NGOs, and between NGOs themselves. Should Businesses Be Invited as NGOs? Mr. Ritchie (FIIG) said that with regard to businesses participating as NGOs, the focus should be on public interest organizations rather than private enterprises. Ms. Schweitz (Seinan U.) warned that the question as to whether to invite businesses is a serious one, so more input should be received before taking any decision.

The Focus of the Conference: What Topics to Discuss and How Many

Mr. Miyake (AI) asked what would be the special feature of this conference or would it end up being just another conference. He said that the topics should concern all NGOs, so the agenda should not be issue-oriented. It should focus on NGO-NGO relationships and UN-NGO relationships. Ms. Hirai (NIRA) said that the conference could be an opportunity for NGOs to reflect on their own activities now that they play such an important role in world politics, although some NGOs are seen as outside actors interfering in local communities. Mr. Kukita (UNICEF) said that the focus of the conference should be on problem-solving mechanisms, partnership building and the creation of a new type of networking so that all parties can work together. He added that there should not be a focus on any one issue, but rather on how the UN can network with civil society. Ms. Fukuoka (Conservation International) said that since NGOs work a lot at the grass-roots level, the conference should reflect their ground-level concerns in policy making. Mr. Øberg (TFF) said that it would be wise to select one or two themes for the conference and not put everything up for discussion. Mr. Hassan Ba (Synergies Africa) said that the focus should be on NGOs rather than civil society because in Africa civil society is not deeply rooted and that traditional leaders are more important. He said that the conference should address how to improve the advocacy capacity of NGOs as well as how to reinforce the local capacities of NGOs. He said the conference should focus on how to create a network among NGOs rather than focus on issues which are already being talked about in other places. Mr. Inoue (UNV) said that it is important to listen to the voice of NGOs because they have no permanent international forum outside these ad hoc conferences and the NGO meetings which parallel world conferences.

Mr. Chiriboga (ALOP) reminded the organizers that they must first confront some dilemmas. Is the conference the start of a "Second General Assembly" and thus to be part of the UN reform process? Is it purely a global NGO conference to give NGOs a chance to reflect on their new global influence and commitment? Is it an avenue for a new solidarity between North and South people's organizations? He said that North-South relations in civil society are very important too. Mr. Ohashi (Keisen U.) questioned whether the conference is for the UN or for NGOs. He pointed out that it is the UN which needs the cooperation of NGOs and not the other way around. He said there should not be a permanent NGO council because the value of NGOs is their ever-changing diversity. A more permanent structure would cause them to lose their raison d'źtre.

The Main Points of Convergence

Mr. Knight (Bishop's U.) noted that a converging element was the focus on UN resources that can enhance the capacity of NGOs, but that it needs a concrete framework. He added that in the agitation to form an alternative General Assembly, we may lose sight of possible partnerships with governments. He reminded the participants that academia has a long record of working with governments and is still able to maintain diverse perspectives on issues. He listed several emerging points of convergence at the meeting as follows:

1. The main purpose of the World NGO Conference should be to conceptualize and develop mechanisms for partnership-building between NGO and IGO communities, as well as to assist in creating global governance arrangements, networks and processes for the 21st century. 2. The conference should not be issue-driven but rather focus on NGO capacity enhancement so that non-state actors can be in a better position to tackle existing and emerging local, national, regional and global problems.

3. The conference should be as inclusive as possible, perhaps including even such actors as non-diplomatic members of government, local government representatives and the media.

4. There is a need for broader NGO participation and gender-balancing in the preparatory stages leading up to the conference, particularly finding ways of including Southern NGOs and those from the former Soviet Union.

5. The outcome of the preparatory stage should be a proposal (with alternatives) for a World NGO Conference offered to NGO communities for their consideration, rather than a "plan", which might be seen as "top-down" control or interference.

6. To entice NGOs to become involved in this conference, some indication of the benefits to be derived by participation must be clearly spelled out.

7. To get financial backing for the proposed Conference, there needs to be a clearer, better articulated framework for it.

Planning the Conference: Timing and the Overall Process

Mr. Qadir (Third World Quarterly) expressed concern about the timing of the conference and the need for widespread consultation in planning it. He asked why it should be held so soon as 1998? Mr. Miyake (AI) believed that in order to prepare for the conference, it is important to listen to the opinions of more NGOs. He also warned that Tokyo is too expensive a place for most NGOs to send a representative. Mr. Taniyama (JVC) said that he would like to know the long-term process beyond 1998 after the conference. He thinks it is important to situate this conference as an event in a process. Otherwise, it will be difficult for NGOs to take a position on it. Mr. Øberg (TFF) warned about the cultural barriers such as values, goals and work styles which may impede bridge-building. He also proposed that the word NGO should not be used in the title of the conference because good things should not be referred to by negative markers. Other terms might be people's organizations, popular organizations, and community-based organizations. These include groups which are working for good things such as peace, justice and democracy.

Mr. Ba (Synergies Africa) said that the conference planners should openly share information about the process of planning. As for an earlier suggestion that NGOs in developing countries make use of UNDP offices in their countries, he reminded everyone that in Africa today many NGOs are not maintaining good working relations with the UNDP, so using these centres may not be an effective way to get their participation. Mr. Ritchie (FIIG) said that regional input and coordination is important but then such a process could take years to decide how to organize the conference and the initiative could collapse due to lack of financing. Instead, the organizing committee should compile a list of regional NGO networks and try to put its agenda up for their discussion and feedback. He also stressed that the preparatory process must be gender-balanced and that this is crucial in getting recognition from civil society. Ms. Schweitz expressed her concern over how to involve Southern NGOs and recommended that the matter be taken seriously because jet-setting Northern NGOs are always over-represented at UN conferences. Mr. Shoji (Tokyo Metropolitan Govt.) said that the framework of the conference should be clear in order for it to receive financial support. Mr. Knight (Bishop's U.) emphasized the important role the UNU can play as a facilitator in the process of planning the conference. He took note of Mr. Ba's comment that regional preparatory conferences are desirable but would involve too much effort. It would be better to utilize pre-existing networks to get feedback on our agenda.

What Needs to Be Done

At the end of the meeting, the following five points seemed to meet wide agreement among the participants:

1. To set up a coordinating or steering committee to work out the details for further preparatory processes for the 1998 Conference. 2. To be more specific about who is to be invited to the World NGO Conference.

3. To find a way to link UNU research activities on NGO/civil society to the practical efforts of developing an actual forum of civil society/NGOs.

4. To find out what regional NGO conferences of umbrella organizations are already planned and put the World NGO Conference on the agenda for input and feedback.

5. To concretize the housekeeping and logistical details, such as the availability of teleconferencing facilities for the conference; the use of Internet, data analysis and interactive mechanisms; and the overall size and duration of the conference.


1. This preliminary discussion was held in Tokyo in which a number of representatives from Japanese civil society organizations participated, including JOICFP, ICRA, AAR, AI, JVC, SVA and others. Representatives from UNU, UNIC, UNICEF and Tokyo Metropolitan Government also took part.
2. In Geneva, the NGOs which were consulted included, in particular, umbrella organizations such as CONGO, FIIG, ICVA, Synergies Africa and others.
3. (Note by John McLaughlin, rapporteur) It would be useful to explain some terms which refer to the technological possibilities for interaction between conferences carried out simultaneously in different locations around the world. First, a teleconference refers to communication between two or more locations where the participants can speak and listen to only one person at a time. Second, television conferencing enables various groups around the world to see continuously all the groups participating as each person speaks. Third, a video conference via the Internet uses a video camera/optical lens attachment to a personal computer to connect several participants who can talk and listen to each other almost simultaneously through their e-mail providers. Fourth, a homepage or web site can enable people from around the world to share the same information and leave comments for other participants to read and respond to, although not necessarily at the same time. Fifth, e-mail providers can arrange a chat room where 2 or more people can communicate instantaneously by typing messages or mailing lists where messages can be posted to and replies sent back easily to all the subscribers.


Programme of the International Symposium

After the opening statement by Professor Heitor Gurgulino de Souza, Rector of the UNU, messages from Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary-General of the UN, and Mr. Yukio Aoshima, Governor of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, were read out.

The Symposium proceeded in accordance with the Programme attached as Appendix I. In each session, the speakers responded to many questions and observations from the audience. Innovative ideas, insightful observations, encouragement and valuable experiences shared by the speakers will all prove to be quite useful for further preparation of the 1998 World Conference. Excerpts from their papers distributed and oral presentations will be made available in due course. Meanwhile, the following summing-up by Professor Schweitz provides an overview of the discussions of this one-day Symposium.

Summation and Observations by Martha Schweitz, General Rapporteur

It is impossible, of course, to summarize today's conference, and it is even a daunting task to try to identify patterns and extract themes, given the diversity and richness of the many varied presentations we have heard. It is hard to imagine a more comprehensive one-day conference on the theme of U.N./Civil Society relations. We have heard speakers from many different professions, the media, the national Diet, various academic disciplines, local government, several nationalities and cultures, and many different types of NGOs engaged in a wide range of activities. We have discussed many levels of relationships between NGOs and other actors, local through global. (There has been little mention of the private business sector, but that can be the topic of another conference.) I congratulate the organizers on both the breadth and depth they have managed to achieve.

What appears before us is a vast amount of activity at the local level all over the world, where a great deal of real change is taking place. Such fundamental change in how people live, which is the concern of so many NGOs, is occurring wholly apart from most of the work carried out by the United Nations and its various agencies and programmes. The world is being transformed by private and collective efforts in small places, near and remote. This is the "mosaic" of civil society, as it has been described. Viewed at close range, all one can see are separate and irregular, sometimes peculiar, shapes and colours. Standing back, however, one sees designs and forms emerge that wholly transcend the sum of the parts. This is the nature of organizations of civil society, some of which we have been discussing here today as NGOs. We have been focusing on what happens when a slice of these civil society organizations choose to relate to the agencies and organs of the United Nations system. This is a small part of the totality of civil society activity, but it is becoming significant in almost all aspects of U.N. work, to varying degrees. From what we have heard, U.N./NGO relations are developing and evolving so quickly that it is difficult to get a clear picture of where they stand at any particular moment. A somewhat blurry snapshot may be the best we can hope for.

We have discussed a number of issues bearing directly on the functioning of NGOs and their relationships to each other: capacity-building needs; internal governance; funding opportunities, risks and new possibilities; representativity and relations to members; self-regulation through codes of conduct; common external challenges; North-South issues in NGO relations; and the benefits and potential of NGO networking, demonstrated by many examples. Some speakers have begun to conceptualize the question of what are appropriate roles for NGOs in the U.N. context, in terms of filling gaps or identifying areas of NGO comparative advantage.

Regarding NGO relations with the United Nations and other governmental institutions, we have also addressed North-South problems, stressing the need for greater involvement of Southern NGOs. We have been reminded that a "Northern" approach to development often pushes people and communities to depend on what have been weaknesses rather than supporting them to build on existing strengths. Various presentations have seemed to suggest that in government/NGO relations, it is crucial that mutual expectations be explicitly considered and understood. The built-in tensions in such relationships - themselves sometimes described in Japan as relations of "creative tension" -- are unavoidable, as are the risks of co-optation and loss of NGO autonomy. Nevertheless, when an NGO chooses to pursue its aims through activities which require dealing with governmental or intergovernmental bodies, a number of approaches and methods have been suggested to minimize, at least, unforeseen consequences of such relations.

The concept of government/NGO "partnership" has been referred to several times, but it requires considerable further thought. The obstacles to creating a "partnership" between entities of dramatically unequal power and wealth, and of seemingly incompatible organizational styles, are a challenge to all. They are increasingly a focus of study in the relevant social science literature. At best, such a partnership may be one built on substantial detachment and independence. Despite these complexities, the term "partnership" continues to be used, perhaps because it embodies so well the goal of developing a shared vision and creating new forms of cooperation to realize new visions. Other concepts that have been mentioned and whose further elaboration could assist the development of U.N./NGO relations are accountability, transparency, and identifying the "constituency" of the United Nations. Also emerging from today's discussion is some understanding of the process by which NGOs have become so deeply involved in U.N. work. Essentially, NGOs have earned the roles they have come to assume. We have heard an explicit description, in the case of the ICRC, of the upward cycle generated by the expansion of the organization's activities followed by increased external recognition, followed by further expansion. Other organizations as well have demonstrated the growth and evolution in their capacities and subsequently in their responsibilities and influence in U.N. work. What perhaps is most striking is the fact that none of this has depended on any revision of the U.N. Charter or of ECOSOC Resolution 1296 (dating from 1968), nor has it required much in the way of legal or permanent institutional structures. A fascinating question for the future is whether further evolution in U.N./NGO relations will require new institutional structures and procedures, or whether the relatively more informal methods used to date are sufficient or even, arguably, preferable.

It is evident from today's presentations that when the United Nations and NGOs interact, there are reciprocal effects. Both the U.N. and the NGOs are changed as a result. The creation of extensive NGO networks to deal with global institutions is only one example, but one which has far-reaching consequences for the non-governmental sector as a whole, not all of which may be considered desirable. It will be important to try to anticipate the consequences of these reciprocal effects with as much forethought as possible. Perhaps the only conclusion that may be stated with any certainty is that the complex problems of today's world can only be effectively addressed by different sets of actors working together: public and private, governmental and non-governmental, local through global. These diverse actors need not be afraid of the prospect of contact with each other, but they must go into any such relation as well-prepared as possible, with eyes wide open to both benefits and risks. Individuals should be confident that their small part in this mosaic matters. Civil society activity as a whole shows no signs of subsiding. On the contrary, despite the ever-present problems of funding and severe obstacles in many countries, the trajectory is steadily upwards. The nature of contemporary social problems demands a response from civil society, and organizations are continuing to prove and improve their abilities. In looking to the future of U.N./NGO relations, it is difficult to imagine any significant decline in their cooperation in operational matters. In the areas of humanitarian assistance, social and economic development, the advancement of women, etc., U.N.-related NGO activity has taken on great momentum, and the relevant agencies and organizations are becoming increasingly skilled at working together and appreciative of the benefits of doing so.

I am more concerned about the future of U.N./NGO relations in the area of policy-making. NGO participation in any U.N. process relating to defining issues, setting agendas, prioritizing issues, or negotiating solutions remains wholly at the pleasure of whatever member state representatives may be involved. NGOs have enjoyed a period of relative euphoria in the wake of their influence at recent world conferences, and are now working just as hard to promote their effective follow-up by state governments and intergovernmental organizations. There is some danger that if this process as a whole is seen to fail -- if the results of conference follow-up are widely and most severely disappointing, even to those who describe themselves as having "realistic" expectations -- NGOs' efforts to work change through such U.N. processes may significantly decline. Individuals who have committed long hours of unpaid or underpaid work, and organizations that have devoted scarce resources to these efforts, could not, under such conditions, be expected to continue at the same level. Therefore, the next few years may be critical in defining the possibilities for U.N./NGO relations in the policy arena for a much longer time to come. As for the 1998 World NGO Conference proposed by the United Nations University, today's discussions would seem to have given the organizers of that event more than sufficient food for thought. Development of all kinds is a knowledge-based endeavour. It is about learning, acquiring and producing new knowledge and understanding, and effectively and frequently disseminating that learning. If the organizers of the 1998 Conference can glean from the wealth of ideas that has been presented here today a notion of the learning that would be useful in future U.N./NGO collaboration, and if they can also identify the UNU's comparative advantage in contributing to that learning process, I am sure that the 1998 Conference will be most successful and extremely valuable.

Closing Remarks by Takashi Inoguchi, Senior Vice-Rector, UNU

First of all, I would like to express my warmest appreciation for all of you for your lively and insightful discussions in today's symposium. It is indeed the first occasion for the UNU to bring together such distinguished NGO representatives, UN representatives, and scholars studying NGOs here in its Tokyo headquarters. In particular, I thank Professor Tatsuro Kunugi of the International Cooperation Research Association for his extraordinary effort to organize this event. I am very pleased that the first preparatory meeting has proved fruitful in providing significant input into the preparatory process for the planned World NGO Conference, including the selection of its main theme. First, it seems to me to suit the purpose of the World Conference to try to reach out to every region of the world, to involve the people who are working at the local level. It is important that the World NGO Conference be a meaningful event for those local NGOs worldwide, which are the direct participatory groups in civil society and have great experience to share in their respective spheres of concentration, but are often in isolation from other NGOs. I think that involvement of local network NGOs is critical for the success of the World Conference. In order to achieve a greater degree of local and regional participation, I would like to propose the setting up of a Steering Committee, consisting of several representatives from global NGO networking organizations and regional network NGOs, perhaps 3-4 members representing each continent. I would like to request the Special Coordinator of this World NGO Conference to look into the matter. I hope some cost-effective ways will be found to manage the local and regional preparatory process and suggest that perhaps the UNU Global Environment Information Centre might consider assisting the UNU headquarters and its Special Coordinator in establishing e-mail conferencing among these local and regional NGO members. I am also pleased to see some convergence of opinions concerning the substance of the 1998 World NGO Conference. I believe that some more discussion needs to take place, but the following themes might merit particular attention. 1. NGO - NGO relations. Various aspects of inter-NGO relations need to be investigated and improved. Particular mention should be made on how to address the North-South gap among the NGOs, in terms of information sharing, financing, and personnel training. 2. NGO-UN relations. In various parts of the world, NGO access to the UN system differs. I hope that the World Conference will itself be a process to examine various phases of UN-NGO cooperation or conflict, in various regions and issue-areas, and contribute as a process of improving NGO-UN relations. 3. Finally, I should not still exclude the possibility that some specific issues relating to NGO involvement in global problématiques, such as peace, human rights, environment and sustainable development, can be addressed by creating task-forces.


Taking into account the views expressed at the first preparatory meeting, 23-24 September 1996, UNU headquarters in Tokyo, as well as during consultations he has held with NGO representatives in Asia and Europe, the Special Coordinator of the planned World Conference submits the following preliminary proposals for consideration by all those interested in enhancing the role of NGOs in glob-al governance through pluralized partnership among all actors, states, non-state actors and international organizations.


It is proposed that the purpose of the World NGO Conference would be to bring together major NGOs and their networks to lay the groundwork for strengthened civil society cooperation and impact in the 21st century. In particular, the Conference could contribute to enhancing civil society participation in achieving the goals of the UN and its agencies to improve the conditions of social justice, and the well-being of all people, children, men and women everywhere - goals that are common to the UN system and to NGOs.

Focal Points

For this purpose, the Conference might select three focal points, namely concepts, mechanisms and processes. 1. Concepts: How can the legitimacy of NGO participation in the work of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) be increased? And how can governmental actors be persuaded of this legitimacy? (On such conceptual issues, the UNU would seem to be in a unique position to bring academic resources to bear on promoting constructive relationships between the UN system and civil society.) 2. Mechanisms: How can NGOs' diverse capacities as advocates, innovators, monitors, or service providers be better appreciated and fully mobilized in IGO institutional structures? (The questions concerning mechanisms for partnership-building, first, between NGOs themselves in the context of their work with IGOs and, secondly, between IGOs and NGO communities might be taken up. Likewise, the Conference might address recent experiments and innovative ideas such as the role of NGOs in the peace process, World Civil Society Forum and People's Assembly.) 3. Processes: What is being done informally and on an ad hoc basis, or in broad process terms, regardless of formal procedures between IGOs and NGOs, and among NGOs themselves? How can "tension" between governments and NGOs be managed for the benefit of both? (It would be useful to learn from stories of successes and failures, especially across different NGO sectors which often have little to do with each other. Manuals, a reference guide, or a repertoire of mechanisms and processes, such as those issued by the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS), and the diverse experiences of NGO networks, such as CONGO, ICVA, FIIG, InterAction could be usefully shared.)


It is suggested that the World Conference would address issues common to all NGOs working in differing sectors or on specific problems (such as conflict resolution, social development, human rights, gender, education, clean water, land mines, etc.). Such common issues might include: (a) How can NGOs enhance their capacity in dealing with local, national, regional and global problems? Can NGOs, for instance, benefit from reinforcing tolerance and mutual comprehension among NGO networks and NGOs themselves in general? How can this be achieved in practice? (b) How can the involvement of Southern NGOs and perspectives be significantly increased, preferably without the filter of Northern-led networks and in ways other than simply increasing the number of Southern NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status? (c) What needs to be done to improve NGO accountability and credibility? Would codes of conduct that have been adopted in some NGO sectors be useful for other sectors? How can this be achieved in practice? (d) How can different NGOs promote interface and division of labour through increased specialization in order to achieve optimum utilization of limited resources? (e) Can there be ways to secure financial, intellectual and human resources for NGO activities?


The Conference would last for three to five days, with two questions debated each day, in plenary and in workshops/round tables. Television conferencing or video conferencing would perhaps be arranged connecting different locations in the world to the plenary or workshops/round tables so that several participants from various continents can talk to each other. (See note 3 by John McLaughlin on technological possibilities for simultaneous conferencing among people in different geographical locations in chapter 1, p. 6) In addition to the above sessions where debate, inter-cultural communications and some cultural events would take place, a few drafting committees might be set up for drafting brief declarations and resolutions (1-2 pages) on proposals which command wide support on such subjects as: - A possible charter of civil society and codes of conduct for partnership and accountability for global governance; - Action plans for further NGO cooperation for implementation of resolutions of the Rio Summit, Social Summit, Women's Conference and other world conferences held in the 1990s; - The feasibility of sharing a common database and exploring a World NGO Council or holding annually a World Forum of Civil Society. Conference languages would be English and Japanese, with the possibility of adding French, Spanish and other languages depending on the availability of interpretation service provided by participating NGOs, or funded by donors.

Additional Events

Just before or after the Conference, visits and meetings might be arranged between NGO experts from abroad and Japanese counterparts, university groups and local governments. Such events would serve in practice the Conference theme of promoting understanding and partnership among various actors, including international NGOs, local governments and academia.

Organizers and Co-sponsors

It is now proposed that the World NGO Conference would be held in one of the major cities in Japan around mid-1999. Co-sponsorship and support are being sought from major NGOs and their networks. The organizers would seek expert advice and cooperation particularly from worldwide networks and UN offices, such as CONGO, FIIG, Earth Council, NGLS, UNDPI, World Federation of UN Associations and its members, WEDO, World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP), and Fund for the Support of the UN (FSUN).

Budget (Preliminary Estimates)

Second and Third Preparatory meetings (Steering Committee) in Geneva and NY
$ 60,000    ($30,000 @ 2)
Consultants/Research papers $ 25,000   
Part-time assistance $ 24,000    ($300 @ 80 weeks)
Promotional missions $ 15,000   
Publicity campaign $ 5,000   
Conference in Japan $200,000    (Excluding costs of conference space, interpretation and other services)
Publication and dissemination of report $ 30,000  
Follow-up/Evaluation meeting $ 30,000   
Total      $389,000   

Further Steps

The First Preparatory Meeting in September recommended the setting-up of a Steering Committee; securing bottom-up initiatives to organize the World Conference; and wide participation of local and regional NGO networks in the South. It is proposed that the Second Preparatory Meeting be held in Geneva on 31 October and 1 November 1997 with the participation of the Steering Committee, whose membership may include but not be limited to the following experts: Mr. Hassan Ba, Synergies Africa Mr. Roberto Bissio, Instituto del Tercer Mundo Mr. Manuel Chiriboga, ALOP and NGO Working Group on World Bank Ms. Susan Davis, WEDO and SID Mr. Maximo Kalaw, Jr., Earth Council Ms. Wangari Maathai, Green Belt in Kenya Ms. Afaf Mahfouz, CONGO Ms. Rama Mani, Common Security Forum Mr. Antonio Quizon, ANGOC Mr. Cyril Ritchie, FIIG Profs. Andy Knight, Martha Schweitz and Tatsuro Kunugi (Coordinator) Concerning the recommendation that local and regional NGOs in various parts of the world should be involved in the preparatory process, the UNU/GEIC (Global Environment Information Center) has offered their assistance.

Proposed Workplan

Sept. 1996 1st Prep. Mtg. (already held)
May 1997 Distribution of report
Oct./Nov. 1997    2nd Prep. Mtg. in Geneva and the commissioning of research papers
Mid-1998 3rd Prep. Mtg. in New York
Mid-1999 World Conference
End 1999 Publication of report and selected research papers
Early 2000 Follow-up/Evaluation meeting

Comments, suggestions and enquiries may be addressed to T. Kunugi, Special Coordinator, World NGO Conference, c/o Academic Division, UNU Headquarters in Tokyo: Fax 813.3406.7347; or directly to him: Fax 81.422.34.8805; Email -- All the feedback will form an important basis of the second preparatory meeting in Geneva in Oct./Nov. 1997.

Additional Note

Just before this paper went to press, Secretary-General Kofi Annan suggested in his Report on UN Reforms of 16 July 1997 that a "People's Millennium Assembly" be held, accompanying a special "Millennium Assembly" with a summit segment in the year 2000. The question as to how our World NGO Conference might link to the People's Assembly needs to be considered.


Appendix I. Agenda for Symposium on 24 September 1996

International Symposium

The United Nations and Civil Society
-- NGOs Working Towards the 21st Century --
24 September 1996, UNU Headquarters, Tokyo


9.15 -- 9.30   Opening
Statement by Prof. Heitor Gurgulino de Souza (Rector of UNU), and other messages

9.30 -- 10.30   Keynote Address
Ms. Akiko Domoto (Member, National Diet)
Ms. Leona Forman (UN Dept. of Public Info.)
Mr. Hassan Ba (Synergies Africa)

10.30 -- 12.30  
Panel Discussion on "The Changing Role and Impact of Civil Society Organizations Working with the UN"

Prof. Tatsuro Kunugi (Int'l Christian U. and ICRA), Chair

Prof. Leon Gordenker (Princeton U.), "Pluralizing Global Governance"
Mr. Jiro Hirano (NHK), "Civil Society and Public Journalism"
Mr. Cyril Ritchie (FIIG), "The Role of Networking Organizations"

12.30 -- 13.30   Lunch (Enjoy local restaurants)
13.30 -- 15.30   Roundtable Discussion
Session I   "Sharing Experiences in Sectoral, Regional and Global Approaches -- Issues and Possible Solutions"
Mr. Rudolph von Bernuth (ICVA), Chair
Mr. Manuel Chiriboga (NGO World Bank WG and ALOP)
Prof. Martha Schweitz (Seinan U. and Baha'i Int'l)
Dr. Christophe Swinarski (ICRC)
Prof. Yasuhiko Yoshida (Saitama U.)
Ms. Kiyoko Ikegami (JOICFP)
Mr. Ken Inoue (UNV)
Ms. Hiromi Nagano (JVC)
Mr. Kazuo Matsushita (JFGE)
Mr. Hideaki Uemura (Citizen's Centre for Diplomacy)
14.45 -- 17.45   Roundtable Discussion
Session II   "Visions and Actions for the 21st Century -- UN/NGO Relationship and Effective Follow-up to Global Conferences"
Prof. Andy Knight (Bishop's U.), Chair
Dr. Jan Øberg (TFF)
Dr. Shahid Qadir (3rd World Quarterly)
Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom (IFRC)
Mr. Kunio Waki (UNICEF)
Mr. Yuji Kondo (AMDA)
Ms. Yukie Osa (Assn. to Aid Refugees)
Mr. Mitsuhiro Saotome (Foreign Ministry of Japan)
Mr. Tadashi Shoji (Tokyo Metro. Gov't)

17.45 -- 18.00   Summing-up Prof. Martha Schweitz (Seinan U.)
Closing Remarks Prof. Takashi Inoguchi (Senior Vice Rector of UNU)

Appendix II. List of Participants

Participants Organization (with acronym or abbreviation)
Chiyuki Aoi Programme Associate, United Nations University (UNU)
Hassan Ba Secretary-General, Synergies Africa
Manuel Chiriboga Executive Secretary, Latin American Association of Promotion Organizations (ALOP); Chair, NGO World Bank Working Group
Akiko Domoto Member, National Diet; Member, IUCN Council; President, GLOBE Japan
Reinhard Drifte Professor & Director, East Asia Study Centre, Newcastle University
Leona Forman Chief, NGO Section of the Department of Public Information, United Nations (UNDPI)
Fumiko Fukuoka Representative in Japan, Conservation International
Yoko Furuyama Director, Executive Committee, Peace Boat
Leon Gordenker Professor Emeritus, Center for International Studies, Princeton University
Terumi Hirai Chief, Planning Division, National Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA)
Jiro Hirano Chief Commentator, Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK)
Kiyoko Ikegami Senior Programme Officer, Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP)
Takashi Inoguchi Senior Vice Rector, United Nations University (UNU)
Ken Inoue Programme and Trust Fund Manager, United Nations Volunteers (UNV)
J.P. Kavanagh Director, United Nations Information Centre, Tokyo
W. Andy Knight Assistant Professor of Political Science, Bishop's University, Quebec
Yuji Kondo Secretary General, Association of Medical Doctors in Asia (AMDA)
Jun Kukita Program Officer, UNICEF, Tokyo
Tatsuro Kunugi Professor of International Administration and Cooperation, International Christian University; Representative, International Cooperation Research Association (ICRA)
Kazuo Matsushita Director General, Department of the Japan Fund for the Global Environment, Japan Environment Corporation (JFGE)
Tadashi Miyabe Representative, Communicare International
Shingo Miyake International Conference Coordinator, Amnesty International, Japanese Section (AI)
Takashi Miyake Earth Citizens Section, Japan Sotoshu Relief Committee (SVA)
Hiromichi Mizumoto World Conference on Religion and Peace/Japan (WCRP)
Hiromi Nagano Spokesperson, Japan Volunteer Center (JVC)
Jan Øberg Director, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research (TFF)
Masaaki Ohashi Assistant Professor, Keisen Women's University
Naomi Ohashi Fund for the Support of the United Nations (FSUN)
Yukie Osa Director, Former Yugoslavia Project, Association to Aid Refugees (AAR)
Glen Paoletto Representative, Global Environment Information Center, United Nations University (GEIC)
Shahid Qadir Editor, Third World Quarterly
Cyril Ritchie President, Federation of International Institutions in Geneva (FIIG)
Mitsuhiro Saotome Director, Non-Governmental Organizations Assistance Division, Economic Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Japan
Martha Schweitz Professor of International Law, Seinan Gakuin University
Timothy Shaw Professor and Director, Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, Dalhousie University
Tadashi Shoji Director, International Division, Bureau of Citizens and Cultural Affairs, Tokyo Metropolitan Government
Carolyn Stephenson Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii
Christophe Swinarski Head of the Regional Delegation for East Asia, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Kazuo Takahashi Director, International Development Research Center, FASID
Hiroshi Taniyama Secretary General, Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC)
Takeo Uchida Professor of International Relations, Chuo University
Hideaki Uemura Citizens' Center for Diplomacy (SGC in Japanese)
Rudolph von Bernuth Executive Director, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)
Margareta Wahlström Under Secretary General for Disaster Response and Operations Coordination, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)
Kunio Waki Director, UNICEF, Japan
Yasuhiko Yoshida Professor of International Relations, Saitama University
General Rapporteurs: Professor W. Andy Knight (Bishop's U.), Professor Martha Schweitz (Seinan U.)
Rapporteurs: Kaoru Kurusu (Tokyo U.), John McLaughlin (ICU)

Appendix III. List of Organization Acronyms

AAR Association to Aid Refugees
AI Amnesty International
ALOP Latin American Association of Promotion Organizations
AMDA Association of Medical Doctors of Asia
CONGO Conference of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC
FASID Foundation for Advanced Studies in International Development
FIIG Federation of International Institutions in Geneva
FSUN Fund for the Support of the United Nations
GLOBE Global Legislators Organized for a Balanced Environment
ICRA International Cooperation Research Association
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
ICVA International Council of Voluntary Agencies
IFRC International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
JFGE Japan Fund for the Global Environment
JOICFP Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning
JVC Japan Volunteer Center
NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation
NIRA National Institute for Research Advancement
SGC Citizens' Center for Diplomacy
SVA Sotoshu Relief Committee
TFF Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
UNDPI United Nations Department of Information
UNIC United Nations Information Centre
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
UNU United Nations University
UNV United Nations Volunteers
WCRP World Conference on Religion and Peace

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