Reviewing the Millennium Declaration
NGOs as Partners in Debt Relief and Financing
NGOs as Partners in Values and Public Service
NGOs as Partners in Strengthening the Family
Building Cultures of Peace and Leadership
> Discussion Groups
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
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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