UN General Assembly President Meets with NGOs – GWI UN Reps Report

UN General Assembly President Meets with NGOs – GWI UN Reps Report

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Youth Delegates Attending the 66th Session of the General Assembly.UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

On 4 October 2011, HE Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the newly appointed President of the United Nations General Assembly (GA), met with civil society, among them two of GWI’ s representatives. He outlined some of the issues before the 66th session of the GA , including UN reform, improving disaster responses as well as sustainable development and global prosperity. Mr Al-Nasser stressed his commitment to mediation of conflicts and settlement of disputes by peaceful means. This is of special significance since this year’s theme for the GA is “The role of mediation in the settlement of disputes by peaceful means”.


He stated that NGOs are at the forefront of service delivery as they work with governments and communities. There needs to be a partnership with the UN. He announced that Mrs Hanifa Mezui has been appointed Special Coordinator on Civil Society. The aim is to involve civil society in thematic meetings, to obtain information about conditions on the ground in member states and to solicit civil society input and suggestions regarding issues of concern.


In the interactive session which followed, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) asked questions and made suggestions for consideration by the Secretariat. Some of the issues raised were dispute mediation, increasing the role of women in mediation, the role of women in Arab uprisings including young people’s organizations and older people in setting the UN agenda, recognition of worldwide volunteerism particularly by retirees, the need for intergenerational dialogue and the use of sports and religious groups for peace. It was also suggested that the GA should allow NGOs to attend all its meetings and that there should be better notification of NGOs of upcoming meetings and events.


The President was open to the comments and suggestions. He stated that he wishes to continue the dialogue, to have regular meetings with civil society and to make his staff available to deal with NGO concerns.


Given this unprecedented opportunity to have some impact on the UN, GWI should consider how best to present our goals and recommendations to the President and his staff with respect to the four pillars particularly since very little was said about education at this session.

Sophie Turner Zaretsky MD Polly Woodard GWI UN Representatives, New York