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58th Annual UN-DPI/NGO Conference, September 7-9, 2005>
Impressions from the Conference

The last five years were examined for three days at the United Nations...

by Bircan ÜNVER
September 10, 2005 - New York

The three days of the conference held at the UN examined the fact that “war and terror” have been put into the agenda within the last five years despite the decisions taken and signatures collected toward the goal of "lessening the poverty and increasing the education level” within the frame of Millennium Development Goals of the World Summit in year 2000.

A conference was held for the 58th Anniversary of the Department of Public Information - Non-Governmental Organizations/DPI-NGO, at the UN, between 7-9 September 2005 which reviewed and evaluated the last five years.

In the conference titled “Our Challenge: Voices for Peace, Partnership & Renewal,” the eight main articles of the Millennium Development Goals formed the definition of the “challenges” that were reviewed during the conference.

The Millennium Development Goals:
http://www.un.org.tr/undp_tur/MDG.asp (for detailed information)

The targets set for the year 2015:
1. Halving extreme poverty and hunger
2. Achieving universal primary education
3. Promoting gender equality
4. Reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds
5. Reducing maternal mortality by three-quarters
6. Reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB
7. Ensuring environmental sustainability
8. Developing a global partnership for development, with targets for aid, trade, and debt relief

-- United Nations – World Summit -2000

Portrait of the Last Five Years:

The 900 billion USD/year of expenses made for weapons increased poverty not only in the poor nations, but also in the Western countries. Both the expert speakers and the NGOs made it clear by giving examples and statistics that we’re very behind the goals set in the Millennium Development Goals program at the end of the first five year period, and the main agenda has been changed.

Jan Egelan, Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, Under Secretary General, UN, after giving examples from the Tsunami and Katrina disasters, made the suggestion that a global EMERGENCY HELP FUND should be created for the natural disasters with the contributions from rich countries who are members of the UN.

The Emergency Help Fund would aim to make unlimited help available in case of a natural disaster. This would be used to help especially countries like in Africa where the media is not interested in. The help would be available regardless of the geography, religion, race or culture and would be offered with respect to the affected country’s needs.

It was also brought to the attention that more than 700 million people from 50 countries are facing death because of hunger; 20 million people only in Africa are struggling with hunger; there is an increase in the ratio of illiteracy instead of any decrease; there is no improvement made in the current education level yet; education has been divided into two categories as for rich and poor; girls don’t have the equal rights for education with boys; women need to be given equal rights in social life; HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are still not treated in poor countries even though there is cure available for these diseases. It was stated that only one million people are controlling the whole of the Earth’s resources and together with their circles, a total of five million people are controlling the whole human force with the whole of the Earth’s resources and this is creating huge and dangerous precipices.

It was discussed and evaluated under different subjects that this result is in fact putting in danger not only the security and future of the poor but also of the rich.

Parallel to this, there were panels, workshops and question and answer sessions that included suggestions based on “collective security” regarding that the bureaucratic mechanism of the UN, which is 60 years old, should be improved and reformed, and discussions on how the youth can become more active, participating and productive through NGOs.

It was emphasized that NGOs were not given the chance to attend the summits, including the World Summit 2005. For this reason, DPI-NGO conference, parallel to the pre-discussions before the Summit, gave an opportunity to the NGOs for their voice to be heard and reflected at the Summit.

It was also mentioned that, even if it is started now and worked with great collaboration and support, and the first three important period goals are achieved in 2010 and 2015, it will be a tiny step taken in terms of the development and security of the humanity and the Earth when compared to the huge economical and social precipices.

It was criticized that many leaders of the world have been quickly forgetting about the agreements they had signed once they return to their countries and therefore their promises and implementations do not ever match and this has become a chronic habit.

With this reason, a call was made to all of the country leaders to stay faithful to the agreements they make and keep their promises.

In this respect, it was also stated that if a country leader forgets about what he signed and does not keep his/her promise, it is the main duty and responsibility of the NGOs to remind him/her the promises he/she gave and make him/her implement those.

Besides all this, there were hopes raised that, even though the year 2005 was missed, the goals that will be set for 2010 and 2015 during the World Summit 2005 will be reached through the roles that the NGOs would take. It was stated that all the NGOs should take on very important roles within this respect and period, and they will have a key duty to reach these goals.

Many speakers, including the Chair of the 58th Annual DPI/NGO Conference, Joseph Donnely, the 59th General Asembly President Jean Ping, speakers Wahu Karaa and Jan England, and the General Secretary Kofi Annan, emphasized that the NGOs are “the security and future of humanity as well as of the Earth.”

At the same time, it was reflected as the mutual energy and message of the conference that the NGOs might take on a more effective duty and role both at local and global levels in all areas of social layers.

It was informed that DPI-NGO’s 58th Anniversary Conference was a conference in which the international NGO’s have participated at the highest level until today at the UN. It was brought to attention that the collaboration with NGO’s will be implemented more actively and effectively in parallel to realizing the foreseen UN reform. Wahu Karaa, one of the founding members of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty organization, demanded that the World Summit of UN, who is celebrating its 60th anniversary, to be the last summit which the NGO’s were not included.

Amblem of the United Nations Jan Egeland, Keynote Speaker of the Opening Session Wanu Kaara, Keynote Speaker of the Opening Session. Joseph Donnely, Chair of the Conference General Assembly Hall with two wide screens

Depending on whether the common agreements, which has summarized in 45 pages following the World Summit, within the frame of Millennium Development Goals, will be implemented or not, the end results will have the effect and role either to improve the future of all of us or to put it into danger. For this reason, each and every one of us has to be more sensitive to these matters and form collaborations within our own capacities, and stop the possible negativities from now on!

Only we can dream and make real a world, for us and for our children, where we are more responsible, filled with love, respect and care to one another, from five to hundred years old, more active, more productive and more participating, where we secure not only the moment but also the future of our children.

Only on that condition, it will be possible to develop and grow the peace culture, to live in a bright and beautiful world, by producing, developing mentally and physically, and with more strength.

Otherwise, may nobody feel him/herself secure…

 -- Translated by Figen BINGÜL
This article was widely e-distributed on September 2005 in Turkish.

For Millennium Development Goals>

-- Photos: Light Millennium, 2005

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