Dear NGO Partners,
Dear NGO colleagues,
Since my last letter, there have been many developments on the international scene and the world we live in, already shaken by the pandemic, is still facing increasing and crucial challenges. I know that the NGO community and the respective NGOs you represent have been particularly engaged in this period and have shown their readiness and solidarity to bring concrete answers to these global challenges.
At the Liaison Committee, we have actively continued our work in representing the interests of our community of NGO partners with regard to UNESCO and in implementing the Recommendations you made at the 2020 International Conference of NGOs (ICNGO), for which I would like to give you some updates:
After a successful pilot Regional Webinar for Latin America and the Caribbean in October 2021, we have held two additional Regional Webinars addressing NGO partners based in Africa (March 2022) and Asia-Pacific (June 2022) regions, which can be viewed on our Youtube Channel. These have been precious moments of exchange between the Committee, NGOs and the Secretariat, providing the tools to better understand our mechanisms and be an active part of the community. In addition, the presence and contribution of UNESCO Regional Offices as well as the Unit for Civil Society Partnerships have given an extraordinary added value to participants. We will organise new webinars for the remaining regions by the end of our mandate, for which you will receive a link in due time.
Regarding the follow-up to recommendations 1 and 2 of the 2020 ICNGO:
- The Consultative group of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee’s past Chairpersons, set up by the Liaison Committee in April 2021 to formulate proposals on the best ways to ensure an appropriate follow-up to these recommendations, has finally handed its reflection and proposals to the Liaison Committee in June last. This is by far the most comprehensive overview of the work done by previous Committees and working groups in the strengthening of partnership with UNESCO and the functioning of the Liaison Committee, and clears the way for more efficient and tangible actions. As the Committee has approved the document and its proposals, I wish to express here my profound gratitude to the people who have contributed to it and I warmly invite you to read it on this link.
- Following the proposals contained in this document, we will launch a broad consultation on the implementation of the 2011 Directives, as well as a working group on Strengthening Partnership with National Commissions for UNESCO. More information will follow soon, and we will count on your large participation to make this process relevant and useful for the future of our community.
- The working procedures, code of conduct and the guide of the forums, of the Liaison Committee – adopted by the 2020 ICNGO - are currently being revisited by the current Liaison Committee, who is the first having worked under these new guiding documents. The result of this process will be presented at the next ICNGO.
In the continuous seek for more engagement with UNESCO, I officially met – in March 2022 – with Assistant Director-General for Culture, Ernesto Ottone and Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, Gabriela Ramos. Both meetings were very fruitful and, I am sure, have paved the way for future opportunities of joint actions and a more inclusive approach to engage with NGOs, while highlighting NGOs’ added value at programme level.
In the same spirit, we have sought to capitalize on the important work done by your young representatives from July to December 2021 in the framework of the celebrations for the UNESCO 75th anniversary and have met with UNESCO’s Youth Section in May 2022 to explore ways to pursue efforts to involve young representatives in UNESCO’s work, including on youth-related issues, on which we will report soon.
A Webinar was organized in May 2022 under the theme “Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in support of the SDG’s”, which brought together eminent voices to underline the vital importance of these topics in response to the challenges facing humanity, especially in the African continent. It was also an opportunity to recall the role of equitable and inclusive quality education, to promote the access of girls and women to scientific and technical training and professional equality between women and men. You can watch it again here and on our website where you will also find all related documents.
The Liaison Committee continues its engagement as a member of the Collective Consultation of NGOs on Education 2030 (CCNGO), and was also recently invited by the Secretariat, as an observer, to the International Expert Group for the Revision of the 1974 UNESCO Recommendation concerning education for international understanding, co-operation and peace and education relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The two working groups currently operating under the aegis of the Committee, respectively on the International Day of Girl Child and on the International Day of Peace, are building excellent initiatives which we strongly invite you to follow, join and contribute.
You have received, on 1 July last, a Save the Dates message for the next International Conference of NGOs to be held at UNESCO Headquarters (Paris) from 14 to 16 December 2022. We hope that as many of you as possible will be able to join us in person for this crucial moment for the life of our community. As you may have seen, the Secretariat and the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee are currently studying possibilities to ensure the widest and most inclusive participation from NGO partners, with both physical and online attendance.
The Committee’s actions are only possible by the exemplary engagement of its members, the fundamental support of the Secretariat but also by the voluntary annual contributions by NGO Partners. You might recall that for the current mandate, we have proposed to reduce the contribution to a single one for the entire biennium. If not yet done, I encourage you to support us.
In closing this letter, I wish all of you all the best for the months to come. NGO actions remain essential for a more equal and just world and I am personally proud of what you and your organizations do every day.
7 July 2022