A landmark meeting of non-governmental and civil society organisations closed in Nairobi on Tuesday with calls for greater involvement of non-governmental and civil society organizations within the United Nations system as they seek to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Held for the first time in Africa, the two-day fourth annual meeting of the NGO and CSO focal points of international and regional organizations saw the delegates engage in stimulating exchanges on how to give these organizations more clout in the workings of the UN.
Addressing the participants on the opening day, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka lauded them, especially the African groups, which she said were now a formidable voice on development issues on the continent.
The Coordinator of the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS), Mr. Tony Hill, said the UN was interested in reaching out to the organisations so as to try to impact the man on the street. He said the UN General Assembly had shown its commitment to that end by forming a Task Force to look into that partnership.
“The creation of the Task Force was a very positive precedent for UN engagement with civil society actors,” Mr. Hill said. The director of the UNDP’s Civil Society Organisations, Mr. Thierno Kane, briefed the delegates on the workings of the United Nations Development group Working Group on Civil Society. Next year’s meeting will be held in New York.