NGOs began a series of brainstorming sessions in March in order to find ways to make the best use of their participation in the Special Session and its preparations. Since then, the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (known as CONGO for short) has convened a planning process with a variety of NGO partners. CONGO is an international membership federation of NGOs holding consultative status at the UN, which seeks to assist all NGOs to have an effective voice in UN conferences and events.
The following framework has evolved for ensuring NGO input from around the world into planning for Beijing+5.
Over the next months, the NGO Coordinating Committee will reach out to NGOs around the world with information about new developments in the Beijing+5 process, and opportunities for NGO participation and input. In the meantime, the Committee offers the following key items for NGO attention and action.
- A 15-30 member NGO Coordinating Committee will function as the primary decision making body, and include representatives of CONGO, the three CONGO Committees on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, Geneva and Vienna, regional groups, large networks and issue-based caucuses. Regional NGO representatives for the Committee will emerge in conjunction with regional preparatory meetings.
- A smaller NGO Organizing Subcommittee will be responsible for day-to-day operations.
- "NGOs for Women 2000," a large and growing group of NGO representatives from around the world will participate on an ad hoc basis to put ideas and work into the review process, and will convene periodically in New York and other sites.
For more information contact:
- Many interested NGO representatives may not be able to attend the PrepCom and Special Session. However, there are important activities in home countries that they should undertake for the Beijing+5 process to be a success.
- NGOs should ensure that NGO representatives are on official government delegations. This is a crucial avenue for NGO input.
- NGOs should ensure that only expert and committed government representatives are sent to the PrepCom and Special Session.
- NGOs should advocate with their governments to play a serious, informed and constructive role in the Beijing+5 review. Governments need to know that people at home are watching.
- There will not be an NGO Forum to parallel the official Beijing+5 Special Session as there was at the government conference in 1995. However several NGO strategy and information events are being planned in advance of both the PrepCom and Special Session for NGOs. These will be open to NGOs that are able to attend the official meetings. We will send out more detailed information on these meetings as it becomes available.
- On Sunday, 27 February 2000, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (New York) will hold a half-day orientation and briefing session for NGOs planning to participate in the PrepCom. A repeat of this session will be held on Sunday, 5 March.
- On Saturday, 4 March 2000, the NGO Committees on the Status of Women (New York, Geneva, Vienna) will hold a one-day consultation to lay the groundwork for substantive NGO input into the PrepCom session.
- On Friday and Saturday 2-3 June 2000, the Coordinating Committee will convene an NGO Working Session to prepare for the Special Session.
- NGOs wishing to attend the PrepCom must either:
(1) have consultative status with ECOSOC, or
(2) have attended the Beijing government conference in 1995 in addition to having already applied for ECOSOC status.
- For the purpose of registration for the PrepCom, there are three groups of NGOs:
- Non-Beijing NGOs with ECOSOC status are automatically invited to the session. Contact ECOSOC NGO Section if you wish to send representatives in addition to your annual representatives. Contact: Michele Federoff at Fax (1-212) 963-9248.
- Beijing-accredited NGOs with ECOSOC status. Contact Koh Miyaoi at the Division for the Advancement of Women at Fax (1-212) 963-3463, if you wish to send representatives in addition to your annual representatives.
- Beijing-accredited NGOs who have applied for but not yet received ECOSOC status. Contact Koh Miyaoi at the Division for the Advancement of Women at Fax (1-212) 963-3463, for registration arrangements. No invitation letter was sent to NGOs in the first group.
- NGOs wishing to attend the Special Session must have consultative status with ECOSOC, or have attended the Beijing government conference (but need not have applied for ECOSOC status). At this time, no invitations or registration forms have been sent out for the Special Session in June.
- NGOs without ECOSOC status that participated only in the NGO Forum in Huairou may not attend the PrepCom or Special Session.
- The CONGO office cannot register NGO participants. For more information, see the contact guidelines listed above.
- For panel discussions or other informational events, NGOs may contact:
- the CONGO office to request space at the Church Center (across the street from the UN). Requests must be made in writing to CONGO (address below) via mail or fax, and should include the following information: (1) type of event; (2) an assurance that it will be open to the public; (3) an estimate of the number of attendees; (4) brief information on hosting organization(s); and (5) preferred date and time. CONGO will do its best to accommodate all requests, but has limited space with which to work.
- the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) with requests for United Nations facilities. Please bear in mind that attendance at meetings within the United Nations is limited to NGOs accredited to the PrepCom/Special Session and will not be open to the public. Fax DAW at (1-212) 963-3463.
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