INTRODUCTION

HONOURING THE UNITED NATIONS ON ITS 70th ANNIVERSARY, 2015
Shared Ideals, Shared Values, Shared Futures

The Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), founded in 1948 three years after the creation of the United Nations, has a close even intense relationship
with the entire United Nations System, promoting and defending the rights and responsibilities of the widest NGO and Civil Society communities in their advocacy, operational, consultation and participation interactions with the UN.

It was thus natural for CoNGO to wish to mark the 70th Anniversary of the UN in a way that underscored the commonality of ideals and values, the ethical synergies, and further potentialities for working TOGETHER, preparing the world to be a better place for future generations.

The United Nations System (all 50+ agencies, secretariats, programmes, departments, commissions,
forums...) should be the prime location for intelligent, knowledgebased, rational and futureoriented
intergovernmental debate and decisionmaking, to respond to and where possible resolve the
complex needs of our increasingly interconnected planet. Competent and responsible NGO/CSO input to intergovernmental debate and decisionmaking is a major factor in enhancing competent and responsible government output. The implementation of intergovernmental decisions is frequently only realistically achievable through the involvement and engagement of citizenlevel
NGOs and CSOs.

In society, NGOs/CSOs give voice to and advocate on behalf of citizens and their interests. NGos and
CSOs are, after all, nothing more than and nothing less than groupings of citizens who have
self-organized to promote a good cause (poverty eradication, access to justice, widening the information society, health for all, humanitarian relief, deepening democracy etc) or to combat a bad one (trafficking in human beings, pollution of the oceans, child soldiers, violence against women, nuclear proliferation etc). They work with and through United Nations Conferences, Summits, organs, field programmes and legal instruments. As key elements of participatory democracy, NGOs/CSOs are complementary to institutions of representative democracy. NGOs/CSOs are themselves representative of the long-term causes they promote. Their millions of members worldwide are also voters and actors in the democratic process at national level.

In the light of all these considerations, CoNGO chose to honour the UN on its 70th Anniversary by
organizing three events one each in New York, Geneva and Vienna with the above theme of Shared
Ideals, Values and Futures. The present brochure illustrates some of the ideas, successes, caveats,
challenges and potentialities that were brought to the fore by a wide range of intergovernmental,
governmental, adacemic and civil society speakers. CoNGO offers this compilation as material for further reflection and action as we now move TOGETHER to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and the Transformative 2030 Agenda, a shared responsibility of us all.

Cyril Ritchie, President of CoNGO