(Envisioned) UN NGO GENERAL ASSEMBLY (UN NGO-GA)

UN NGO GENERAL ASSEMBLY (UN NGO-GA)

(Envisioned)  REVISED AND EXPANDED DRAFT PROPOSAL

TO THE UN-DPI/NGO EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, CONGO &
ALL THE UN ASSOCIATED NGOS FOR A BI-ANNUAL

By Bircan Ünver, Permanent Representative to the UN DPI-NGO of 
The Light Millennium – http://www.lightmillennium.org

Date(d): November 26, 2012

ESTIMATED TIMELINE:
First meeting towards formation: In Feb. 2013
Official formation in Fall or Winter 2013.
Launching the very first UN NGO General Assembly in October or November 2014.

“Like my predecessors, I will work with civil society representatives. With notable exceptions, however, we have not yet found an efficient way to draw upon the tremendous capacities of the world’s public policy institutes and think tanks. As President, I intend to launch a number of initiatives to harness their wisdom and experience.”*
H.E. S.E. M. Vuk Jeremić, President of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, taken from the “Address to the General Assembly on the occasion of the opening of its 67th Session on 18 September 2012.

“WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED”
“To practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and
– to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and
– to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest, and
– to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”**
PREAMBLE, The Charter of the United Nations, 26 June 1945, San Francisco.


A PROPOSAL FOR FORMING A NEW PYRAMID:  UNITED NATIONS NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION – GENERAL ASSEMBLY – UN-NGOGA:    

UN-NGOGA is aimed to be formed by the entire DPI associated NGOs and the ECOSOC associated NGOs in order to bring all the UN associated NGOs under one roof and as a representative body within the UN System with an overarching aim working also with the counterpart of the UN-General Assembly. UN-NGOGA will be independent from the DPI-NGO Executive Committee and CONGO, yet aims to transform both capacity and experience, and create a new synergy for global pressing and emerging issues.

KEY COMPONENTS:
1) The Executive Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations Associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI-NGO-EXE-COMM): The Executive Committee was founded to promote a closer working relationship between the UN and NGOs associated with UN DPI, and acts as a liaison between the NGO community and the UN. (Taken from its website: http://ngodpiexecom.org/about/)

2) The Conference of NGOs with Consultative relationship with the United Nations – CONGO: For over 60 years, The Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations has been actively promoting the involvement of NGOs in the working of the United Nations.  (Taken from its website: http://www.ngocongo.org/)

The above-mentioned two main bodies will jointly form the UN-NGOGA. It willunite both DPI and the ECOSOS-associated NGOs under the roofof the UN-NGOGA in order to work closely with the UN-General Assembly and support UN-GA resolutions and themes as a counter part of the UN-GA towards the implementation of the MDG#8 on the UN-General Assembly level and within the entire UN system as well as worldwide. Also, working closely with the member states, intergovernmental organizations, and private sector at one highest representative level initiative on behalf of the NGOs, it will build-up and present more than 3,500 thousand UN-associated NGOs over the coming years. (Author of this proposal has registered the following domain name for this purpose: http://www.unngoga.org.)

PREFACE:
The initial (11/25/2012), and this revised and expanded draft proposal (11/15-26/2012) for a Bi-Annual UN-NGO GENERAL ASSEMBLY are based on my seven years of observations of the works and practices of the UN-DPI/NGO Executive Committee and NGOs in the UN at large. Based on that experience, I’ve arrived at a conclusion that the DPI/NGO Executive Committee’s structure, works, and practices are mainly power-centered rather than participatory.  Despite the way the DPI/NGO Executive Committee operates, its structure might be allegorically considered something similar to the UN-Security Council rather than to the General Assembly! It appears that this is the case for the CONGO as well.

The newly envisioned NGO General Assembly’s institutional structure will be inspired, designed, and adopted from the UN-GA; and it could/will be formed as a new initiative in collaboration with the DPI/NGO Executive Committee and CONGO, which will also be in line with the mandate of the DPI and ECOSOC at large.

UN-NGOGA will have its own independent governing body from the DPI/NGO Executive Committee and the CONGO, which will be formed by an equal number of representations from both entities. At the same time, it will also operate and practice with interdependent mechanism and principles in conjunction with the UN-GA’s overarching goal and mission. It will apply practices for uniting, synergizing, and transforming all UN-associated NGOs through UN-NGOGA for the support of the resolutions, themes, works, and programs of the UN-GA as one single united and empowered body. With equal importance, UN-NGOGA aims to be credited by the UNGA during the UN-GA Annual sessions on the representative level as one voice on behalf of the all NGOs, as well as within the entire UN System as a “true and unified partner, and one of the key active, participatory, effective, and indispensable components.” This means that it will be a part of the negotiations and decision-making mechanism with a voting capacity, on which  “true democracy and freedom” practices depend on.

VISION:
UN-NGOGA aims to be one of the “direct, true, counted, empowered, credited, needed, and indispensable” components and mandatory mechanisms of the UN-GA and UN System at large. It will act as a mirror of the UN to the world as well as devoted advocators on the grassroots level in every corner of the world.

To bring all the United Nations-associated NGOs under one single roof to distinguish them as indispensable components of negotiations, decision making, and voting process within the UN System.

DEFINITION:
Bi-Annual UN-NGO General Assembly formation and gathering is envisioned as a new and independent initiative that will be formed as a joint effort by all the DPI and ECOSOC-associated NGOs to the United Nations with an equal capacity and ground.  A “Formation Committee” will be formed, and it will seek the DPI, ECOSOC, and UN-GA’s initial support for its formation process and the implementation of its vision and principles.  Consequently, NGO-GA will take a decisive action for channeling its full capacity as one united and synergized body for implementation and realization of the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Millennium Development Goals as well as disseminating relevant resolutions and programs locally and globally.

The UN-NGOGA’s envisioned general frame works and references include:

I. The UN NGO General Assembly will consist of all the NGO Members of the United Nations.

II. Each NGO may have up to six representatives (including two youth) in the UN NGO General Assembly. However, each Member NGO will have one vote capacity.

III. “The Formation Committee” will have 20 to 30 NGO reps (such as 10 or 15 DPI & 10 or 15 ECOSOS associated).

IV. The UN-NGOGA aims to work in conjunction with the UN-GA in order to contribute, disseminate, and promote the works, resolutions, and themes of the UN-GA worldwide.

V. Will provide a ground for effective collaboration, support, and partnerships in all levels within the UN System, including non-associated CSOs, educational institutions, and private sector.

VI. Aims to create a new mechanism both within the UN System and worldwide towards the implementation of the MDG#8 as a daily basis practice, development, and implementation of “Global Partnerships”in all levels locally, regionally, and internationally.

VII. To seek and develop partnership and direct engagement of educational institutions, including elementary to high schools and universities for developing collaborative programs, projects, and initiatives relevant to this mandate.

VIII. Encouraging Youth involvement and delegating responsibilities in its governing body and related subcommittees will be one of its core tasks, which will also be reflected on the representative level for any undertaken collaborative and supportive work with the UN-GA.

IX. Non-associated Civil Society Organizations’ (CSO) involvement will be strongly encouraged through associated NGOs in the form of collaboration, sponsorship and/or partnerships in the works and programs of the UN-NGOGA.

NEED or PROBLEM?
Although NGOs are often indicated as one of the most crucial components of the UN’s Visions, programs, and works since 1948, the NGOs have not been presented at the UN-GA as one entity or under the DPI or ECOSOS-associated NGOs. Despite many levels of indication and references to the NGOs and CSOs in all levels in the UN for several decades, there has not been an effective coordination and unity within the DPI and ECOSOS-associated NGOs, or any encouragement by the UN or Member State levels! Consequently, there has not been a decisive implementation and action plan stating that the NGOs are indispensable stakeholders of all the UN Visions and Programs as an equal partner with the UN, Member States, Intergovernmental organizations, and private sector. If the UN and Member States don’t fully encourage it and remove or lessen the obstacles –from smallest to largest, all associated-NGOs within the UN System– how can the MDG#8: Global Partnership be accomplished, in particular, when the NGOS at large have very limited access, capacity, and/or privilege within the UN System?

PRINCIPLES – A DECISIVE COMMITMENT AND WILL TO:
1. Realization of the principles of the United Nations’ Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights’ each and every article, and Millennium Development Goals towards Global Peace Culture;

2. Promote awareness, collaboration, partnerships for global common good; and develop, implement, and set-up examples for solutions;

3. Focus on common goals, similarities, and solutions.

4. Work together as team players, and act promptly in order to provide support for all emerging situation and conditions, such as conflict, violation of human rights, war, natural disasters, etc.;

5. Remove all cultural, religious and political prejudices, understanding and respecting the “other/s”, and promoting cultural diversity through relevant programs throughout the world;

6. Create and/or provide opportunity for every interested NGO (NGO representative) to acquire necessary skills and knowledge towards working on/teaming up for relevant issues and projects;

7. Helping to build up capacity of one another to intertwine and empower partnerships between small and volunteer NGOs and the well-established ones both within the UN System and throughout the world;

8. Promote, encourage, share, and disseminate relevant information for global citizenship through collaborative programs and in all forms of publicity on multiple platforms and in various forms of partnerships and collaboration with educational institutions, private sector, local and international media;

9. Work together and collaborate in all levels for improving and enhancing conditions in the areas in conflict and despair towards advancing peace as well as transforming existing conflicts into peaceful meanings;

10. Developing solutions for eradication of poverty, and promoting development and sustainability through collaboration and partnership in all levels locally, regionally, and internationally;

11. Bring in balance by Global Economy’s practices and expansion as the counterpart of the Cultural Globalization.

12. Each member NGO rep. and the UN-NGOGA as a whole, will commit to working towards creating global awareness and seeking collaborations in all levels on the issues, which most of the member states have not touched on so far. They will work to include “stateless” groups, or “special groups”, and “underprivileged” peoples who are not granted representation at the UNGA and in major international conventions, conferences, and treaties.

13. Decisively promoting the Article#19 of the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights, and working towards making it the #9th Goal of the MDGS or to be included/embedded to each existing as well as newly proposed or near or far future approved goals/resolutions in reference to the next stage of the MDGS.

14. Determined to support it within its full capacity as one of the components to the “overall efforts to revitalize the General Assembly”.

15. Determination to working towards and contributing to a ‘Global Peace, Security, and a Sustainable and Healthy Livelihood for ALL’ will be an overarching principle of the UN-NGOGA.

Each NGO representative will take solution-oriented actions as an active and productive team player in any relevant theme and program undertaken, while each NGO will be interdependent.

All interested NGO and NGO reps in order to be a member of the UN-NGOGA will have to undersign the aforementioned required “decisive commitments” to the Principles of the UN-NGOGA. 

PURPOSES:
1. Uniting and synergizing all UN-associated NGOs under one umbrella: UN-NGOGA

2. Providing a strong and sustained ground for closer collaboration for all NGOs through UN-NGOGA, namely with the UN-GA, with all other major UN entities, such as UNICEF, UNESCO, UN-WOMEN, UN-Academic Impact, WHO, ILO, UNAOC, member states, and intergovernmental organizations.

3. Making the UN-NGOGA a true indispensable, transparent, and accountable component of the entire UN System.

4. Making the UN-NGOGA a counterpart of the UN-GA as well as within the UN System as the core representative body for implementing and strengthening of the following UN motto and philosophy: “We the peoples… A stronger UN for a better world.” 

5. Imposing the UN System for taking necessary measures for UN-NGOGA to be included in the “BEYOND the 2015” as one of the key stakeholders in the UN and at the member state level.

6. Developing a peculiar, permanent/sustainable mechanism and pathway with the support of the UNGA. Regardless of size and/or operational budget, without leaving anyone behind, each UN NGO should be encouraged and empowered to develop a form of collaboration with member state/s relevant with the UN-GA Resolutions and UN Charter, which is also inline with the Principles, Article#1. 

7. Empowering all NGOs within the entire UN System and on the Member State level in order to enable them to carry out the Visions-Resolutions and Programs of the UN to every corner of the world much more efficiently and effectively.

8. Under the roof of the UN-NGOGA, as one of the envisioned largest representative bodies of the world, it will be empowered, given priority and importance by the UN’s core body, such as GA and Member States, with necessary tools and capacity in order to be placed with an effective role for “positive change” within the existing matrix of the global equation.

9. In conjunction with the Annual UN-GA Gatherings, also making the NGO-GA to be one of the indispensable and necessary team players of the UN-International Conferences, Conventions, Summits, High Level Meetings, Treaties and Forums.

OTHER IDEAS FOR FORMATION COMMITTEE AND GOVERNING STRUCTURE:
Below draft ideas to be considered to develop further by the UN-NGO-Executive Committee, CONGO, and UN NGO Community at large; and ideas by all interested parties in the form of support and paving the way towards forming the UN-NGO General Assembly officially in 2013 are welcome.

1. Official formation of the UN-NGOGA under the NY State Law is envisioned to be accomplished in late 2013, and launching it in October or November 2014 in New York. It aims to be launched prior to 2015, so that the UN-NGOGA officially could adopt a similar format to that of the UN-GA Governing Body works, in terms of representation and voting capacity as well as to be included for the next stage of the MDGS.

2. Voting process and result for a decision or a UN-NGO Assembly Resolution or supporting a UNGA will be transparent, be made available instantly online, and process and information will be open to all who will encourage involvement.

3. In terms of protocol for presentations during the UN-NGO Assembly, each NGO representative will have 5 minutes of duration, regardless of the size of the organization (for example: head, or main, or first alternative or youth rep; in particular, youth involvement will be endouraged). Duration might change depending on total members, participatory level, as well as technical, IT and other necessary capacities.

4. The entire event will be web-cast, and available to all.

5. The UN-NGOGA will place particular emphasis on collaborations and partnerships among CSOS, relevant UN Entities, Member States, Government Agencies, and Private Sector.

6. Bylaws of the NGO GA will be drafted-debated by the By-Laws Committee under the Formation Committee, and will be approved by the majority of members.

7. Its voting mechanism in all matters will be based on majority; and equal participations by both DPI and ECOSOC-associated NGOs in its governing structure will be one of the basic principles.

8. Any changes, or amendment on By-Laws will be by the majority approval of the NGO-GA.

9. UN-NGOGA Bylaws will be available on-line and globally to all interested parties from the early draft stage and on.

10. Office of the UN-NGOGA will present to its all members a Draft Annual Budget online a month prior to the Fiscal Year and during the  Bi-Annual Gatherings.

11. Office of the NGO-GA will present and e-publish its annual Fiscal Year Financial Reports, such as 990 and CHAR500.

12. Any decision regarding fees, membership, fundraising events, in particular, request, pre-conditions for nominations to the presidency and Office of the UN-NGOGA will be debated by the related subcommittees, and survey will be conducted within entire NGO Community in the UN.

13. Each proposal, process, and/or decision will be presented as a DRAFT to the NGO-GA periodically.

14. Fundraising activities – soliciting donations and/or ideas for events will be done through networking, annual fundraising events, and on-line.

15. Attendance to the related meetings and bi-annual gatherings, as in person, won’t be mandatory. Whoever cannot attend in person will be able to participate via SKYPE, on-line, e-mail, webcasting, proxy, etc.

16. UN-NGOGA website will be launched independently by the related Committee that will be the global face of the UN-NGOGA as well as it will seek to create its own Social Media.

17. Diversity and inclusion of the UN-NGOGA Office and equal representation in all levels and means under the governing body, related committee and sub-committees will be a MUST.

18. No member, organization, religion, ethnicity, or race alone will be dominant within the formation of the NGO-General Assembly and Office of the President of the NGO-General Assembly and in all relevant committees, sub-committees and working groups.

19. Based upon its official formation and opening a dedicated bank account, an annual membership proposal will be introduced to the UN-NGOGA (from $25 to $100 annual membership fee).

20. Collected membership dues solely will be used for launching the very first UN-NGOGA and its related conferences, panels, programs, and publications.

21. Based upon its official formation date and depending on the date of opening a bank account as well as an approval date and place for the launching of the UN-NGOGA, monthly or bi-monthly list of new members and collected dues will be post to its website.

22. All process, decisions, projects, proposals, practices, events, related budgets, various committee and subcommittee meetings and decisions will be open to all interested NGO reps and in full transparency and decisions will be made by the majority of the UN-NGOGA.

23. President and Vice President/s of the UN-NGOGA will be two terms/bi-annually through the votes of the majority (UN/GA Charter – Article 18/2 will be adopted***) and equal participations both DPI and ECOSOC-associated NGOs. The term for the Presidency and/or Vice Presidency will be restricted with one year. For each term, one will be elected from the DPI-associated, and other from the ECOSOC-associated NGOs. President and VP will be rotating within the same term.

24. Number of the people on Board of Directors, Committee and Subcommittee Members, Advisory Boards, Working Groups or any group that is developed and undertaken under the UN-NGOGA will have equal number of representations both from the DPI and ECOSOS reps, as well as an equal number of representations in terms of gender balance and each committee will have one-youth representative.

25. No member and/or NGO rep will be serving more than a year, in particular, president, vice-president, chair or co-chairs of the committees, sub-committees, working groups and advisory board.

26. Nominees for the “Formation Committee” and/or “Temporary Board of Directors” will agree on contributing from $25 to $100 towards covering legal costs of the official formation process.

27. For collecting contributions towards the formation, and until the UN-NGOGA is officially formed and has its own bank account, we could collaborate with “NYCharities.Org” in order to obtain contributions and have a monthly transparent report of transaction.

I am hoping that the DPI-NGO Executive Committee, CONGO, and UN-NGO Community at large will take the aforementioned core idea seriously, and guide it to the point of formation and implementation within the envisioned time-line. I am also hoping that DPI, ECOSOC, and UN-GA will be supporting this draft proposal full heartedly, which will prompt the official formation of the UN-NGOGA by the end of 2013.

To that end, I would like to make the following URGENT CALLS:

• Call for a meeting in February 2013 (preferably during the first or second week) in order to form a “Formation Committee”, and also “Draft Committee” for the UN-NGOGA’s Constitution and ByLaws.

• CALL to both DPI and ECOSOS-associated NGOs for nominations for a “Temporary Formation Committee” and/or “Temporary Board of Directors” to the proposed Feb. 2013 “pre-formation” meeting. Deadline: January 31, 2013.

• The “Formation Committee” nominees will agree on contributing from $25 to $100 towards covering the legal costs of the formation process. Related criteria for nomination will be based upon acceptance and support of this “revised and expanded draft”.

• Please send in your suggested ideas ASAP in order to be reflected in the next draft, which will be presented during the “pre-formation committee meeting” in February 2013. Deadline: January 31, 2013.

CONCLUSION: The UN-NGOGA aims to provide a sustainable and strong ground for closer collaborations with the UNGA and UN System, and Member States, as well as to enable all NGOs to promote, work, collaborate, partner, and disseminate all the UN relevant information much more effectively in and to every corner of the world. Accordingly, this newly defined alliance will also be an effective and direct mechanism in order to enhance and empower all parties that will be serving for the implementations of the UN Visions and Charter, fostering a global peace culture and improvement to lives of peoples world-wide in all equations.

This newly envisioned pyramid, as a new initiative and the counterpart of the UN-GA, aims to create a new, modern, democratic, interdependent, and a highly representative medium for the voices of all peoples around the world. The UN-NGOGA will lay out the ground for this new and contemporary pyramid, whereas both DPI and ECOSOC-associated NGOs will be forming the left and right angles of it. The summit of this pyramid will also represent the UN-NGOGA. With that, I imagine its Logo being embedded within the UN Logo as well as imagining it to launch with five thousands participants in New York in Fall or Winter 2014!.

Overall, this will be a magnificent achievement in multiple layers for the entire UN system as well as a form of “change” in real and positive terms globally.

Thank you very much for your consideration, time, initial support, and potential cooperation,

Best regards,

Bircan Ünver, Founding President & Permanent Representative to the UN DPI-NGO of
The Light Millennium –  http://www.lightmillennium.org
E-mail: contact@unngoga.org or/ contact@lightmillennium.org

Special Thanks To:
Harvey Dupiton,
The New Foundation (Initial Draft), and  Figen Bingul, The Light Millennium (both initial and expanded drafts), for their editing supports for this proposal.

IDEAS contributed to the Expanded Draft by the following individuals (to be added based upon receiving):


Sources:
* Address to the General Assembly on the occasion of the opening of its 67th Session. Dated: 18 September 2012 http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/67/statements/openingremarks18092012.shtml.
I, II adopted from the UN Charter/General Assembly: http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter4.shtml
** UN Charter –Preamble:  http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/preamble.shtml
*** UN Charter –  General Assembly – Article 18/2: “Decisions of the General Assembly on important questions shall be made by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting.” http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter4.shtml


DISCLOSURE  
[Updated on December 13, 2012):
We would like to present you an “Envisioned” Draft for UN NGO-GA to be formed by the United Nations’ DPI and ECOSOC-Associated NGOS as well as by the support of UNGA and MissionsPlease note that this does not necessarily reflect the opinions and approvals of the DPI, DPI/NGO Executive Committee, ECOSOC, CONGO, UNGA, NGOS, UN and Missions at large. However, it is shared on the representative levels of the above mentioned institutions and entities.

The initial draft is dated 10/25/2012, and introduced briefly during the UN DPI-NGO Networking Event. Revised and Expanded Draft was e-mailed and/or hard-copies were provided on Monday, 11/26/12. Both drafts were written by Bircan Ünver.
Initial and Expanded Drafts are inspired by the UNGA, UN Charter, and two statements of the 67th President of the UNGA. Principles section is inspired by the UN Academic Impact.

– For the PDF formatted original (Envisioned) Draft:  UNNGOGA-Revised-Expanded-Draft2-11-26-12

LM-UN-DPI-NGO-COMM-DRAFT1-10-25-12

Bircan Ünver, The Light Millennium –  http://www.lightmillennium.org – New York, November 26, 2012.