Global Policy Forum

A Letter to the President of the General Assembly Concerning the Transparency


January 18, 1996

Diogo Freitas do Amaral
President of the General Assembly
United Nations, New York

Dear President Freitas do Amaral:

We are representatives from NGOs from a number of countries and regions and whose organizations have mandates and expertise in a wide diversity of areas who have been in New York in recent days for the ECOSOC NGO Review.

We are writing you because of our strong interest in the current UN reform process, taking place in the Open-Ended Working Groups of the General Assembly. This reform process, as currently conducted, is unnecessarily lacking in transparency. NGOs which have great expertise and contributions to make have not had regular or effective means to make their views known. In light of the acknowledgement of the increasing importance of the roles of NGOs in the UN, which have been enunciated by most Member States, this situation is inconsistent and unfortunate.

We believe that NGOs have a great deal to contribute to the consultation process. Many of our organizations have great expertise on substantive and institutional issues, and we bring the good will of millions of our members towards the United Nations to the reform process. The process would be strengthened and broadened by our involvement.

We propose the following mechanisms for NGO involvement, allowing NGOs:

(1) To have access to the meetings of the Open-Ended Working Groups.
(2) To have access to copies of Working Group documents, including conference room papers and other major documents.
(3) To have an opportunity to present NGO views directly to the Open-Ended Working Groups through oral presentations and discussion with Working Group members.
(4) To be able to make available and circulate written statements and other relevant documentation to members of the Working Groups.

We also urge that means and modalities be sought to facilitate the expression of opinions from NGOs from various world regions, so that input to the Working Groups would not be solely the provenance of New York-based NGOS.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your concern. We look forward to further dialogue with you on this matter of urgent NGO concern.

Yours sincerely,

Robeto Bissio (Third World Network), Bill Pace (World Federalist Movement), James Paul (GlobalPolicy Forum) and 15 - 20 additional NGO Representatives.

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