The process for nominations of participants to attend the first General Assembly hearings with civil society and the private sector have been announced, with an extremely short deadline for groups to nominate individuals to speak. It’s going to be a hairy process choosing who from among all of civil society and the private sector worldwide is going to get to come, since there are only around 200 slots available.
From 23-24 June, basically a month from now, the UN General Assembly President Ambassador Ping will preside over “informal interactive hearings” with about 200 individuals representing civil society and the private sector on the main issues before the General Assembly this year. Who will this “chosen few” be?
The qualifications for participation are somewhat loose. The information sheet distributed online last week lists the criteria as:
- Broad substantive expertise and/or experience in one or more of the four sections of the Secretary-General’s report “In larger freedom: towards development, security and human rights for All” (A/59/2005) and cross-cutting themes;
- Representation of organizations/network(s) with a broad constituency, of a public interest nature, and operating at the local, national or international level;
- Gender, geographic and sectoral balance, with attention paid to racial, ethnic, intergenerational and religious diversity;
- Significant representation from the Global South, indigenous peoples and other under-represented regions or groups.
So basically they are looking for someone who has some kind of experience or knowledge about any area related to sustainable development, human rights, peace and security, or the United Nations, who works at the local, national, or international levels, and is from the “Global South” preferably. Almost anyone, really.
I will be quite curious to see who is nominated. I am going to do my best to stay out of the selection process, which is sure to be filled with hundreds of tough choices. Do you pick the Maori tribesman fighting for land rights or the Laotian teacher working with refugee children?
Any process is bound to be somewhat arbitrary and subjective. My hope is that at the very least they are “interesting” hearings, with folks around the table who actually are trying to make a difference in other people’s lives.
CONGO has nominated me to speak on partnerships between the United Nations and civil society, which I will be happy and honored to do if selected. There should be a mixture of those who are on the ground working on implementation and those in the trenches here at the UN fighting on a policy level.