As follow up to the 2005 World Summit mandate for ECOSOC to convene an annual ministerial-level substantive review (AMR), the General Assembly resolved (resolution 61/16) that the first AMR be held during the 2007 high-level segment of the ECOSOC Substantive Session. The objective of the AMR was to advance and assess progress in the UN development agenda, including the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals). To prepare for the first AMR, a series of meetings were held at global, regional and national levels. The AMR consisted of three main elements. They were: a worldwide review of the UN development agenda, a thematic review (2007 theme was eradication of poverty and hunger through global partnerships for development) and finally, a series of voluntary presentations from nations about their efforts in implementing national development strategies.
An Innovation Fair complemented the AMR and provided the opportunity for NGOs to showcase best practices and lessons learned through projects focused on fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Because of the Millennium Declaration of 2000 and the outcome of the 2005 UN World Summit, a process has been established to identify new and better ways to engage NGOs as active partners in development cooperation. The Innovation Fair was a contribution to this process. In our new global landscape, NGOs have a crucial role as partners in development and as watchdogs that assure UN and country commitments are implemented.
This year marks the halfway point to the target date for fulfillment of the MDGs. Expertise and resources of the NGO community have increased tremendously over the years. It is widely acknowledged that NGOs will be a driving force in furthering the UN's development agenda. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated recently, "The UN can only do its job properly with partners. We will need to forge even closer ties with civil society groups, foundations, academic institutions, the media, labor unions, and the private sector. Each has unique contributions to make." The new mandate given by the General Assembly to ECOSOC reaffirmed the UN aim to strengthen cooperation within the NGO community. ECOSOC sought to make the AMR more practical by holding the Innovation Fair as a parallel event during its Annual Ministerial Review. NGOs were active participants. The overall objectives of the AMR Innovation Fair were: to showcase a repertoire of NGO good practices", to unlock the potential of the NGOs fully, to make information on innovative policies and approaches widely available, and to encourage the launch of new partnerships. The AMR Innovation Fair was a milestone in the participation of NGOs at the ECOSOC Annual Substantive Session. We were truly contributing "as ONE" to the achievement of MDGs in the way that Sec. Gen. Ban described "Delivering as ONE" in his report for scaling up the UN's cooperation with NGOs.
WFWP International was among twenty-seven NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status who were invited to present three success stories each at the Innovation Fair exhibition during the AMR at the Palais des Nation, UNHQ, Geneva. Prior to the fair, NGO reports were posted on the ECOSOC AMR Innovation Fair website. (Success stories from 32 NGOs can be viewed at www.amrif.blogspot.com.) Because of the grassroots nature of WFWPI projects, all of the projects could be considered innovative. However, the three stories presented at the Innovation Fair are good examples of what WFWP has been accomplishing. In its presentation, WFWP International summarized all service projects that target MDG #1 for poverty eradication. WFWP Kenya described a grassroots project to prevent FGM (feminine genital mutilation). WFWP UK described its school for orphans in India. Twelve delegates from WFWP attended the AMR and the Innovation Fair at the High Level Segment. For further information on the High Level Segment, go to www.un.org/coordination/ecosoc/.
(Please find full text of the three WFWP success stories, WFWP feedback and Summary Report on the Innovation Fair as well as the WFWP application for the upcoming MDG Awards at www.wfwp.org/archive )