The Corner

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U.N. to Civil Society: Your Views Don’t Matter


Geneva — As expected, the NGOs that traveled to Geneva for the Durban II conference — including the Heritage Foundation — are none too pleased that their concerns about the outcome document have been rendered moot. They made their anger plain at an NGO briefing earlier today. As one NGO representative noted, what are we here for? Tourism? 
True, many NGOs participated in the preparatory meetings and voiced concerns to delegates and members of the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee. However, the vast majority lacked the resources to attend those sessions over the past two years. Many of these NGOs traveled to Geneva to explain their views at the Durban Review Conference this week. 
Under the Durban II agenda, NGOs are scheduled to speak on April 23. By unexpectedly adopting the outcome document on April 21 — in an attempt to defuse what was rapidly becoming an embarrassment of epic proportions for the U.N. — the conference effectively cut many NGOs out of the process. Look for a number of NGOs to voice their anger over this decision.