WFWP International is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the first Innovation Fair, especially the Global Fair during the High Level Segment of ECOSOC in Geneva. This was a great chance for participating NGOs to showcase success stories through the presentation panel booths at the exhibition.
Submission of Three Success Stories
Because the Innovation Fair was a new program, we were not sure what it was. When the program was first announced, we did not know what would be considered an innovative project or what was expected for this program. WFWP is an international organization that operates twelve types of projects in over 50 developing countries. All of the projects were initiated by overseas volunteers. In one sense, all the projects could be considered innovative. When asked for clarification about what is considered innovative at the Innovation Fair orientation meeting on May 2, 2007, Ms Hanifa Mezoui, Chief of NGO Section explained, "Whatever you think is innovative." Then WFWP prepared a submission of some success stories.
We submitted three success stories. One was from WFWP International summarizing all of our service projects for poverty eradication, Goal 1 in the MDGs. The other two were from WFWP Kenya and WFWP UK. Those stories were posted on ECOSOC's Innovation Fair blog. WFWPI was also invited to present their success stories at the Exhibition during the AMR of ECOSOC in Geneva, July 2-5 2007.
WFWPI Honored by visit from UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon
SG Ban stopped at the WFWP booth when he visited the Innovation Fair prior to his opening statement on the first day of the High Level Segment of ECOSOC on July 2, 2007.
He heard about our international activities from a WFWP member. He stated that "The UN can only do its job properly with partners. We [UN] will need to forge even closer ties with civil society groups. Each has unique contributions to make." He showed great interest in NGOs' participation and contribution.
Impression and Comment
Even though NGOs are affiliated with ECOSOC by consultative status, until now, participation in ECOSOC meetings was limited to written or oral statements and attendance as observers. However, by participating in the AMR Innovation Fair, we felt strongly that we were contributing "as ONE" to the achievement of MDG s in the way SG Ban described "Delivering as ONE" in his report for scaling up UN cooperation with NGOs.
Therefore, we believe firmly that the AMR Innovation Fair is a milestone in NGOs' participation at the ECOSOC Annual Substantive Session if it becomes an annual event. WFWP International would like to salute the NGO Section of DESA for the great effort made to mobilize NGOs. We especially commend the excellent initiative and tireless commitment of Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, Chief of NGO Section.
Suggestion for Next Innovation Fair
We submitted our stories before the deadline but we had difficulty verifying that they had been received. In the middle of June we found out that you had not received our submission. We resent three times before succeeding. It would be good to give more specific instructions on the size of materials, alternative contact information and a receipt verification process.
It was very nice to meet friends and partners who were pioneers of this initial Innovation Fair. We are all on the same journey to achieve the MDGs. We are most grateful for the great opportunity from the UN to participate as" ONE Global Family".