I’m helping out at the annual NGO conference organized by the UN’s Department of Public Information every September at UN headquarters. This year is particularly important as its the five year review of the Millennium Summit and the Millennium Development Goals agreed to by governments in 2000.
Right now I’m squatting in the lobby between UN Conference Room 4, where the NGOs are meeting, and Conference Room 6, where the governments are trying to hammer out an agreement on the final text to be adopted by them next week at the General Assembly. The NGO room is too crowded for me, and frankly not too exciting right now, and the government room is just off-limits.
The UN even issued a press release admitting that the negotiations on the final text to be adopted for the General Assembly is rough-going. Several media sources and NGOs have been reporting on how the US has basically rejected large swathes of the draft text, particularly references to the Millennium Development Goals and increasing development assistance to the Third World.
I’m helping moderate the online forum the organizers of the UN DPI NGO Conference have set up for the gathering. It’s not too stressful since participation is pretty low. Still its an important symbolic attempt to include folks who can’t make it to New York for this important civil society meeting.
The main plenaries are being webcast during the conference, which is very nice. And there are forms for people to submit questions to the speakers, which hopefully someone will read out during the Q & A section of the panels.
It’s not the same as being there. But its a start.