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  Summaries & Documents
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 Wednesday, 17 July 2002
Time Title
09:00-09:30 Plenaries: Guest Speakers Session
09:30-11:00 Plenaries: On-going Forum: open discussion
11:30-13:00 CS & International Orgs: Participation in the elaboration of inte...
11:30-13:00 Indigenous, Women & Dev: Role of indigenous knowledge in developm...
11:30-13:00 Info Society: E-Commerce and tele-medicine
11:30-13:00 Enviro, Trade & Sustainable Dev: Sustainable management and protection of...
11:30-13:00 Health: Vulnerable populations and access to hea...
11:30-13:00 CS-Private Sector: Private sector and human rights
11:30-13:00 Peace & Disarmament: Protection of civilians against violence...
11:30-13:00 Peace & Disarmament: Protection of civilians against violence...
11:30-13:00 Self-determination & Conflicts: Which factors influence the implementati...
14:00-15:30 CS & International Orgs: Strengthening field cooperation
14:00-15:30 Health: Indigenous peoples, health and tradition...
14:00-15:30 Health: Indigenous peoples, health and tradition...
14:00-15:30 Info Society: The Pioneering Role of Women in the Info...
14:00-15:30 Enviro, Trade & Sustainable Dev: Impact of international trade on sustain...
14:00-15:30 Human Rights & Law: How to strengthen complementarity and co...
14:00-15:30 Peace & Disarmament: Conflict transformation: how civil socie...
14:00-15:30 CS-Private Sector: Private sector and labor standards
14:00-15:30 Self-determination & Conflicts: National mechanisms for the implementati...
16:00-17:30 CS & International Orgs: Reaching out to people: access to UN inf...
16:00-17:30 Info Society: Communication Privacy
16:00-17:30 Enviro, Trade & Sustainable Dev: Impact of international trade on human d...
16:00-17:30 Health: The role of cultural factors in health i...
16:00-17:30 Human Rights & Law: How to strengthen the effectiveness and ...
16:00-17:30 Peace & Disarmament: Terrorism and beyond
16:00-17:30 CS-Private Sector: Ethical investments
16:00-17:30 Indigenous, Women & Dev: Land rights and access to natural resour...
16:00-17:30 Indigenous, Women & Dev: Land rights and access to natural resour...
18:00-17:00 Internet requiredVisits & Presentations: Visit to the World Health Organization
18:00-19:30 Info Society: Media and crisis management
18:00-19:30 Info Society: Accountability
18:00-19:30 CS & International Orgs: Millennium Declaration's follow-up
18:00-19:30 Enviro, Trade & Sustainable Dev: The role of trade unions in internationa...
18:00-19:30 Human Development: Religion, spirituality and the environm...
19:30-21:00 Regional Meetings: The role of civil society organizations ...
19:30-20:30 Cultural: Steven Wallace
20:00-21:30 Other sessions: Indian music: Natarajan's family

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Summary: Working Group on Civil Society and International Organizations Cooperation

Strengthening field cooperation

Time: 17 July 2002, 14:00 – 15:30; Temp RS
Location: ICCG 2
Moderator(s): • Mr. Tony Hill, Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS)
Presenters/ Participants: • Mr. Mamadou N'diaye, Office Africain pour le Développement et la Coopération (OFADEC)
• Ms. Grainne O'Hara, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
• Mr. Sergio Piazzi, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Reporter: Edith Rojas (ICVolunteers)
Key words: Field cooperation, humanitarian assistance, NGOs, UNHCR, OCHA, civil society, participation

This session dealt with the issue of field cooperation between international organisation and civil society (NGOs) in matters relating to humanitarian assistance. Speakers pointed out the crucial role that NGOs can play at the field level in supplying humanitarian assistance such as healthcare, education, food, community services or counselling. Participation of NGOs at a policy level was also highlighted as a way to strengthen collaboration. Speakers stressed the importance of global consultation and information sharing. 

Mr. Ndiaye of the Office Africain pour le Développement et la Coopération, Senegal stated that cooperation between civil society and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) is performed well and on a very large scale in the West African region. He pointed out the Partnership in Action Programme (PARINAC) launched by UNHCR in the 1990s, which clearly lists the goals in order to improve cooperation and foster dialogue. Through this programme, West African NGOs can make their voices heard and have a say in the policies set by UNHCR. Mr. Ndiaye said that this “double process” of consultation and information sharing enhances confidence within NGOs and UNHCR. Mr. Ndiaye added that NGO’s input and cost-efficiency in field activities are increasingly taken into consideration.

Ms. O Hara of UNHCR stressed that civil society in the shape of NGOs plays a crucial role in ensuring the effective protection of refugees. She outlined three kinds of practical co-operation between UNHCR and NGOs: 

  1. Pro-active lobbying on an international level (e.g.: Amnesty International)
  2. Pro-active level through partnership with national NGOs working on a wide range issues
  3. Delivery of services to refugees and others of concerns through working arrangements with NGOs implementing partners.

Institutional mechanisms have also been set up within UNHCR in order to foster civil society participation, highlighting the role of NGOs actors (e.g. PARINAC, secondary arrangements, channels of communication such as the NGO unit, consultative processes such as the Global Consultations on International Protection). Mr. Piazzi ‘s organisation – OCHA – coordinates the collective efforts of the international community in humanitarian crises. He said that information flows are crucial and that NGOs, being at the front line for delivering humanitarian assistance, are critical actors. They have a good knowledge of the local situation and their logistic capacity complement’s OCHA’s coordinating role. 

Surprising issues
Mr. Piazzi of Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs's major concern was related to the fact that military interventions are still often called humanitarian interventions. He said that the perception of the population is very important and that a sense of “impartiality” is needed. He clearly stressed that humanitarian should not be linked with military interventions. 

Interesting questions
Two interesting questions were raised:

  1. “How civil society can be more involved at the policy level?”
    Ms. O Hara said that NGOs have indeed more to give than just supplying assistance and that collaboration in form of partnership is a key component to encourage global consultation and debate. Mr. Ndyiane stated that in the West African region NGOs are increasingly working on advocacy.
  2.  “What are the most significant problems facing organisations?”
    Speakers said that the lack of funding is generally the main problem. Mr. Piazzi explained that in the past the trend was on bilateralism, today donors prefer long- term impact operations (e.g. the World Bank). Moreover, with the multiplication of NGOs, money is most widespread and less concentrated. Mr. Ndiaye said that the lack of funding is linked with a lack of interest and that what is actually needed is to work on prevention, a good way to save money.

Mr. Ndiaye concluded by saying that field cooperation with UNHCR has proved very efficient and that he was highly satisfied with the ongoing activities.

Ms. O Hara said that “protecting refugees is a shared responsibility and only by working together and by contemplating each others strengths ands expertise can NGOs, states, and international organisations provide the effective protection that refugees deserve”

Presenters' Documents Available

Word17.11_unhcr.doc (29 K)

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