A Response from Civil Society

Executive Summary
Opening Statements
Reviewing the Millennium Declaration
NGOs as Partners in Debt Relief and Financing for Development
NGOs as Partners in Values and Public Service
NGOs as Partners in Strengthening the Family
Building Cultures of Peace and Leadership
> Discussion Groups
Closing Statements

 
 
NGO Discussion Groups
 
Eight discussion groups met simultaneously on each of the main themes of the Millennium Declaration:
 
The Values and Principles group noted the roots of Western culture are grounded in the wisdom of the community, but has degenerated today into an obsession with the rights of individuals. Some participants felt that the Declaration reflected the values of only the North not the less developed South. Representatives called for the creation of a values structure that all can agree upon.
 
The Peace and Security group asked WANGO to develop a culture of peace, which would include education against drugs and armaments, and for education in peace and tolerance. They called for WANGO to be a mediator, negotiator and implementer of peace zones, as elaborated by Rev. Moon.
 
The Development and Poverty Eradication group called for NGOs to be interconnected on the local, national, regional and global levels. They noted that education of those in poverty is important, as oftentimes the poor simply do not have the opportunities to develop themselves. NGOs should help manage official development assistance, especially to safeguard it from corruption.
 
The Protecting Our Common Environment group suggested WANGO offer input into the ten-year review of the Rio Summit in 2002. The group identified the critical importance of water, and the possibility of water as a source of conflict. Water should be seen as a human right. Leadership training for NGOs was seen as vital, whether to withstand the pressures of commercial interests upon NGOs or to assist elected officials who respect the environment to find alternatives in the process of development. The group stressed a consistent representation of the South in U.N. processes and the importance of North-South cooperation.
 
The Human Rights, Democracy and Global Governance group recommended that WANGO take the lead in education on human rights. Much of the world's population does not know what their human rights are or how to implement them. The group also suggested that WANGO create an index of good governance. It was noted that government is by a small group over the whole population, but governance, which starts with oneself, is something in which everyone can participate. Transparency and accountability of governments was also stressed.
 
The Protecting the Vulnerable group stated that the category of vulnerable includes not only children, but also the elderly and the physically challenged. War-torn areas also have refugees who are exceedingly vulnerable. In terms of working together to implement the ideas in the Declaration, it was recommended that WANGO act as a facilitator among the spectrum of NGOs to assist in networking. Younger NGOs need to learn from older NGOs, and vice versa. Regional collaboration is particularly important.
 
The Meeting the Special Needs of Africa group recommended several points: that NGOs in cooperation with governments ensure that every child receives a basic education; that delivery of health care must reach the intended beneficiaries; that African countries introduce major languages into their respective curricula (French, English and Portuguese); that NGOs educate civil society as to their basic rights and empower them to bring good governance to African states; that debts that African countries owe should be forgiven; and finally, that the U.N. Security Council be restructured so that an African state could be given a veto power.
 
The Strengthening the United Nations group said the United Nations must reach out to NGOs in all communities and give them more input and participation. It should be clear how U.N. funds are allocated since how much goes to administration was at issue. NGOs should have more power, the group said, for they are the backbone and grassroots of the United Nations. There should be more representation from both the youth and the elderly. They noted the United Nations needs to be a leader by example: more action and less words. It should recognize and award exceptional programs. The Security Council should be restructured with the Third World given more voice.
 
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