NGO Symposium on Developing Partnership Strategies for Sustainable Development

1 Sep 2000 to 2 Sep 2000
Kitakyushu, Japan

The NGO Symposium was held from 1 - 2 September 2000 in Kitakyushu, Japan. The Symposium was divided into eight working groups dealing respectively with the following issues:

1) Environmental Management, Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction

2) Governance Institutions and Capacity Building

3) Participatory Approaches to Projects for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction

4) Financial Mechanisms and Resources for Civil Society Participation

5) Advocacy, Environmental Education, Public Awareness and Training

6) The Role of Civil Society for Regional Cooperation on Transboundary Environmental Issues

7) Equity and Social Inclusion

8) Globalization and Policy Integration

The Symposium expressed its firm commitment to the attainment of the goals of the regional action programme for environmentally sound and sustainable development, 2001 - 2005 (RAP) for sustainable development and poverty reduction in the region. The Symposium further affirmed its willingness and commitment to a dynamic, equitable, transparent and effective partnership with other stakeholders and players that can successfully reach the goals of the RAP. The Symposium expressed concern over civil society's inadequate involvement in the drafting and finalization of the RAP. In this connection, the Symposium made the following recommendations for the Ministerial Conference:

1. The Governments of the member countries of ESCAP should, in the spirit of partnership, institutionalize partnership of the non-governmental organizations, in the formulation, decision making, implementation and evaluation of sustainable development strategies, plans, programmes and projects. For this purpose, governments are urged to establish and strengthen multi-stakeholder mechanisms, including NGOs and civil society, to serve as the formal forum for such partnerships. A similar multi-stakeholders forum should be established at the regional level to link the efforts of countries in the region.

2. The draft RAP has not identified the role of the judiciary and other legal institutions. We recommend for the consideration and adoption by the ministerial meeting, to recognize and uphold the role played by the judiciary and other legal institutions in the conservation of environment and promotion of equitable and sustainable development.

3. The ESCAP secretariat should, with civil society, organize a series of joint workshops for government officials, NGO leaders and representatives of other major groups to learn about partnership and participatory approaches and capacity building for sustainable development and poverty eradication, utilizing existing case studies of exemplary practices on multistakeholder cooperation.

4. The Asian Development Bank should establish a fund to enable NGOs to develop multistakeholder partnership projects for sustainable development and poverty eradication within the framework of the RAP. An initial amount of US$ 1 million should be earmarked specifically for the fund. This may be reviewed technically and financially on an annual basis for possible increases to appropriate levels.

5 The mechanism to be elaborated by ESCAP for review and evaluation of the RAP should undertake, as an integral part of its work, the selective review of the partnership projects mentioned above, inviting the representatives of the NGOs concerned.

6. In relation to the above recommendations, women should be at the center of efforts towards achieving intended goals. This principle should also be applied to vulnerable groups including children, indigenous peoples and displaced peoples