Summary of the Special Briefing with the UN Secretary-General from the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Mr. Kiyo Akasaka - Dated: October 26, 2011.
Presented by: Department of Public Information of the United Nations NGO Relations (UN DPI-NGO)
Cem ZORLULAR, Lightmillennium.Org
Prospect Youth Rep. to the UN DPI
Mr. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon opened his statement by thanking the NGO partners for their help in the humanitarian endeavors of the United Nations. Underlining the importance of his interactions with the NGO community, he noted that he has started discussions concerning his next term pointing out that the input of the NGOs will be crucial in the coming years.
Mr. Secretary General has noted that there are three areas in which NGO’s presence is crucial. The first one of them is the sustainable development. Since the beginning of the global effort for sustainable development, the participation of the NGOs has soared. He told that the views of the NGOs about the climate change expressed in the DPI-NGO Conference has been shared with the member states.
The second issue is Disarmament. Noting that there has been huge and encouraging developments in Disarmament, he urged the NGOs to keep forcing states to ratify the disarmament treaties, decrease nuclear arsenals and greater transparency. He stated that the UN and NGOs must work together to make the dream of disarmament a more reachable one.
The third issue is the new emerging democracies through the Arab Spring. The NGOs, according to Mr. Secretary General has the duty of making sure that the transition process goes smoothly and towards the betterment of the people.
He has stated that the most important thing he has ever learned in his tenure as the Secretary General of the United Nations is that nothing can be done alone. There must be a close partnership between NGOs, Governments and the UN. These partnerships prove invaluable in achieving the goals of the UN such as fighting malaria. Mr. Secretary General has underlined the importance of this partnerships in the future of the United Nations.
On the point of the Economic climate, he has noted that most of the people live under many important economic concerns such as the loss of jobs. It is an important mandate for all of us to make sure that humanitarian issues are not forgotten. Mr. Secretary General has stated that this will be his message to the G20 summit in the following week. He has stated in order to cope with the lessening economical funds, we must increase the quality of the work done, not only its efficiency.
On the final note, Mr. Secretary General spoke about the frustrations of the NGO community about the lack of communication with the Secretariat General. He has noted that he understands the situation and he is personally working on a solutions.
Summary of the interactive session with the Secretary General:
ECOSOC and DPI-Associated NGO representatives had a unique opportunity during the -long-waited-
Special Briefing for reflecting their concerns directly to the Secretary General of the United Nations
at the UN-HQ on October 26, 2011.
Q: How will you ensure that the attempts of including NGO community will materialize during your second tenure?
A: I have learned that we need to have tripartite partnership between UN, Governments and the NGOs. If we have this, this would be ideal. I believe I have been working with and reaching out to many groups of the civil society. When I have went to Egypt and Tunisia, I have initially met with the civil society. My other imperatives is to work with the Women and Youth group. Without active participation of the civil society we cannot do anything.
Q: What efforts will you make to ensure that 1-) Companies are responsible for their environmental impact, 2-) Governments put in place measures for the protection of the environment 3-) Transparency laws are enforced for companies?
A: Sustainable development will be the top priority, as agreed by the GA members. There are many challenges that need to be addressed in the following years. The impact of the climate change is great. It is important for us to address issues in an integrated manner. That is why the Rio+20 Summit in June next year will be very important. NGOs must work from now to June and after to make sure that the leaders implement measures. Member states thought there must be a common regulation for the environmental responsibility. The civil society must also play a role in changing their own behavior to save water and energy. UN has initiated eleven years ago a project to address the lack of transparency in the corporate world. This project tries to address most of the concerns ranging from human rights to environmental impact through peer review. This movement is now expanding.
Q: Will the your office make efforts to make sure that Australia’s example behavior in Women’s rights are followed by other countries?
A: Women and girls are unfortunately marginalized groups of our society. Thus the UN gives the highest society to elevate the status of the women such has founding the UN Women. The civil society will prove important to help UN in its efforts for the Women rights and safety. I have appointed special representatives to deal with the issues women face. These appointments are very important to fight the perceptions against women to prove that women can too lead issues such as military and peacekeeping issues. However, I still believe we must do much more work. In my travels I have seen very unacceptable situations. There are 9 countries where there are not women in the national assembly.
Q: When governments make agreements with companies and other governments that hurt the citizens in a way they can create loopholes that prevent efforts against such agreements. How can they be overcome?
A: In my travels I have encountered many different ways of abusing the rights of the minorities. I have spoken strongly against these cases. However the voice of the civil society is much stronger. As the Secretary General I must not infringe the sovereignty and act courteous. Whence the civil society speaks up, I can use their protests as a call for the governments to the action to respond the infringement of human rights. Therefore the voices of the NGOs are very important. I will try to meet NGOs as much as possible as my schedule allows me.
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Follow up interactive session led by Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Mr. Kiyo Akasaka and Mr. Maher Nasser, Director of Outreach, Department of Public Information.
For the full version of the Special Briefing, please watch related Webcasting in the following link:http://www.un.org/wcm/content/site/dpingorelations/home/events/briefings/Fall2011/26oct2011
- For the Secretary General's Remarks