3rd NGO Forum and Knowledge Fair
Values and Ethics in Development
National and International Views
May 10-11, 2009
Moevenpick Hotel Cairo, Media City
Organized by the Participatory Development Program of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Third NGO Forum and Knowledge Fair was an historic event for Egyptian civil society. The growing third sector in Egypt -- there are now about 26,000 registered NGOs -- is playing an ever increasing role in tackling important issues, from early childhood education, to disability, to disease, to environmental awareness and human rights. About 300 leaders of national and international NGOs, intergovernmental agencies, and representatives of the academic, media, and business sectors gathered for this event, which was done under the auspices of the Minister of Social Solidarity, H. E. Dr. Ali Al-Moselhi; the Minister of State for Family and Population, H. E. Dr. Moshira Khattab; and the Ambassador of Canada to Egypt, H. E. Mr. Ferry de Kerckhove.
With the goal of promoting a shared vision of a civil society committed to values and ethics, this event culminated in a draft of a code of ethics and conduct for the Egyptian non-governmental organizations. This Code was worked on by numerous NGOs, with WANGO's Code of Ethics and Conduct for NGOs serving as an important foundation for the work. Working from WANGO's code, the final product was designed to be a code that could be applied to the unique situation of Egyptian NGOs.
The conference had three basic thematic streams. Stream 1 was "Funding Agencies in Support of Ethics-Based Civil Society." Stream 2 was "The Role of Government in Establishing an Enabling Environment for Civil Society and Ethical Practices." Stream 3 was "Toward Adoption of a Code of Ethics for Egyptian CSO's." Among the workshops were ones dealing with the history and evolution of Egyptian CSOs, the changing attitudes toward civil society, future trends in international development, microfinance, human rights, education, and the evolution of an Egyptian code of ethics.
Taj Hamad, Secretary General of WANGO, and Dr. Frederick Swarts, WANGO's Assistant Secretary General, presented on the theme of "The Code of Ethics and Conduct for NGOs." Among the many other presenters were the Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity and the Minister of State for Family and Population, the Ambassador of Canada to Egypt, and PDP Director, Dr. Zeinab Mahmoud. Dr. Erma Manoncourt (UNICEF Representative, Egypt), Dr. Hoda Badran (Chairman, Alliance of Arab Women), Max Giger (Executive Director, Egyptian Swiss Development Fund), Dr. Abdel Baset Ben Hassan (Ford Foundation), and Ms. Carol Serviere (Country Director, PlanNet Finance) were among the other presenters.
After the conference, Mr. Hamad and Dr. Swarts met privately with long-time friend H.E. Dr. Abdelaziz Hegazy, former Prime Minister of Egypt and current Chairman of the General Federation of NGOs and Foundations, in order to discuss NGO-government relations and how he envisions cooperation between these sectors for the benefit of the country. Dr. Hegazy also discussed his long-time time concern regarding the importance and health of the family throughout the Arab region.