UN forum to examine civil groups’ support for societies emerging from conflict

UN forum to examine civil groups’ support for societies emerging from conflict

President Vojislav Kostunica of Yugoslavia and the deputy Foreign Minister of East Timor, José Luis Guterres, are among the featured speakers scheduled to appear at an upcoming United Nations conference that will explore the role of the international community in supporting societies emerging from conflict.

Expected to join the two officials at the 55th Annual Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which gets underway on Monday, are outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, and the Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan for Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi.

The three-day event, organized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), is slated to examine such topics as the re-establishment of the rule of law and good governance in war-torn societies, the restoration of social services, economic recovery, psychosocial reconciliation, and the process of military demobilization.

“Rebuilding countries emerging from conflict is a theme about which there is a great deal to learn and many opportunities for joint action, pooling the resources and expertise of the United Nations, governments and NGOs,” the Secretary-General says in a message to the Conference.

Speaking on the importance of civil groups in post-conflict societies, Conference Chair Sherrill Kazan explains, “NGOs are at the heart of the recovery process – they are usually there before and stay after the international community’s involvement in conflict areas.”

Over 1,700 NGO representatives from about 90 countries are expected to attend the Conference.