Summary: Plenary session
Reports of the Thematic Working Groups
||19 July 2002, 14:00-16:00 vk
Moderator(s):|| • Mr. Sébastien Ziegler, President of the World Civil Society Forum Steering Committee, Mandat International (MI)|
This session presented an overview with respect to the outcomes of the
various working groups.
The following recommendations of characteristics for effective NGOs and CSOs
- Have a clear vision, objective and strategy
- Be motivated and experienced
- Set priorities
- Be close to the base
- Be diplomatic
- Make a wide range of contacts
- Be realistic with regard to the UN system
- Have a sense of humor
Many proposals have been written down, with sincere considerations. Three points
arose with respect to the Forum. It:
- Has been a commendable effort, but should always be action-oriented;
- Should continue as an information-exchange for long-term effort and should become a
- Should seek observer status in order to monitor actions of governments and agencies. Decentralized governing should be encouraged. Civil society should pressure governments with regard to economic policies that have adverse effects for non-dominant countries.
A Youth Forum representative made three requests. They would like:
- To have an equal voice from the private sector to government;
- To recommend educating for peace; and
- To endorse the fact that access to information should be available to all peoples.
They believe that their long-term outlook and strong interest in making a better world can generate the political will necessary to make changes in the world.
The head of the working group (WG) on health talked about the major link between health and human rights. He recommended that all of civil society promote health as a human right. He talked about the 10/90 gap in research: only 10% of research is devoted to 90% of the world’s health problems. Poverty, he said, was the biggest killer of all,
which denies people of human rights and dignity. He further stated that rich countries needed to keep their pledge of at least 0.7%.
The health group talked about traditional products being replaced by global, “western” products, giving the example of a traditional corn drink in South America now losing its popularity due to the increasing demand for
Coca-Cola. Also, traditional herbal medicines are being replaced by western pharmacies.
The WG on Environmental Trade / Sustainable Development gave their report next. They said that there is a problem with the
over consumption of industrialized countries who are depleting natural resources. They encouraged societies to bring energy research to the forefront. Many problems have resulted from WTO regulations, and that transnationals have double standards. They called for the UN to support “Agenda 21” and that corporate accountability is essential.
Next, a representative of the WG on Information Society affirmed that freedom to and access to information is a fundamental human right. They encouraged participants to study the following
website [sic]: Infosoc4allemail@example.com
The next group was the WG on the Right of Self-Determination. They gave several
- The right of self-determination is the basis of all human rights;
- The Forum should ask the UN to pass the rights of indigenous peoples, approved in 1993;
- The terms indigenous “peoples” with an “s” be used, every time;
- The Forum should endorse the UNESCO Catalonia Initiative;
- The Forum should endorse a real partnership between the UN, the private sector, and civil society.
The next WG was on Peace / Disarmament representative talked about the “worldwide crisis” of violence. The head of this group, Colin Archer, encouraged NGOs to “speak up” more. He suggested there should be action from a non-violent global network and that citizens should be allowed to intervene in peace processes. He
stressed that “it is more important to use legal means to restrain terror.”
Finally, participants began to speak (and to argue) on the efficiency of the Forum this past week. Some said that it was “haphazard” and that we should be calling for the strengthening and democratization of the UN system in very concrete ways. One group suggested a series of committees that would keep the Forum going in the future. Another group said the Forum should only be for information-gathering, since it is in its beginning stages.
Also see: Summary: Working Group on
Private Sector— Wrap-up Session
here for all available presenters' documents
here for all available summaries
read about the summaries