The 2012 International Conference of NGOs was held at UNESCO Headquarters from 12 to 14 December 2012.
The International Conference of NGOs, an element of collective cooperation explicitly provided for by the new Directives and held every two years, is a key forum for meeting and dialogue among NGOs in official partnership with UNESCO. In particular, it is intended to “review the state of cooperation with UNESCO [...] and facilitate cooperation between organizations having common interests”.
Organized in close cooperation with the Secretariat and the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee, the 2012 International Conference of NGOs, attracted widespread interest and participation of NGOs – 129 partner NGOs were represented compared to 70 at the previous conference – as well as interest from observer NGOs and Member States, some of which had come to observe the NGOs collective work for the first time. Almost 300 participants attended the Conference at UNESCO Headquarters and many others followed a webcast of the debates online.
The theme chosen for the conference in 2012 was “Culture and Cultures: Reconciling Universality and Diversity”. Workshops on “culture and education”, “culture and science” and “culture and development” contributed to the collective discussion around the central theme.
At the end of the International Conference, the NGOs present adopted two texts:
- the resolution establishing the roadmap for the collective action of NGOs over the next two years;
- the collective contribution of NGOs to the elaboration of the draft C/4 and C/5 documents, annexed to this document.
The NGOs decided, in particular, to focus their efforts over the next two years on the following priority areas: Africa, gender equality, human rights, education for all, youth, cultural diversity, social inclusion and poverty eradication, particularly through the implementation of specific projects. They also welcomed the establishment of bridges (exchanges, meetings, mutual support, networks and projects) between the different types of UNESCO’s non-governmental partners for mutual enrichment and increased impact of their action.
Lastly, the International Conference elected Mr Patrick Gallaud as Chairperson and the following NGOs as members of the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee for a period of two years:
- World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) (United Kingdom);
- International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) (Uruguay);
- International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) (United States of America);
- International Council of Museums (ICOM) (France);
- Dhaka Ahsania Mission (Bangladesh);
- International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity (IFCCD) (Canada);
- Sozopol Foundation (Bulgaria);
- Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) (Kenya);
- Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) (Belgium);
- Rotary International (United States of America).
It should be noted that among the 10 organizations elected as members of the Committee, there are now, for the first time, NGOs from different regions of the world (five out of the six regions defined by UNESCO).