Declaration from the 63rd DPI conference in Australia.

A report on the UN NGO DPI (Department of Public Information Conference) held in Melborne, Australia can be accessed here  Michaela Gutridge who attended the conference wrote the following :   63rd Annual United Nations Department of Public Information,  Non-Government Organisation Conference: Advance Global Health,  Achieve the Millennium Development Goals
 Beautiful opening ceremony included Indigenous Opera performance from Pecan Sunrise.
 General overview of common issues arising at the conference:
·         “The right of a human being is non-negotiable” Dr Aleida Guevara, Cuba (daughter of Che Guevara)
·            Health, education and even the basics of life, like water, food and shelter have become commodities bought and sold and no longer human rights for all
·         Need to hold governments to account
·         Need to develop networks and coordinated campaigns, particularly regional collaborations with organisations under similar thematic missions. Recommendation: Choose one issue all can agree on, despite differences
·         Remember the destruction caused by transnational and multinational corporations. Consider the problem of NGOs delivering aid without questioning these corporations who cause the conditions that necessitate the aid. Consider private sector collaboration to hold corporations to account
·         The best data in the world means nothing if it doesn’t translate to community needs
·         Empowering women eliminates poverty
 Attended seven workshops. The two most thought-provoking:
1.      Indigenous Health and Self Determination, NACCHO
·         The issue of political will arose throughout the conference and again at this workshop. A delegate offered this: “We are looking for political will in the wrong places. We must remember we are the body politic, we are the political will and the health of the body politic is crucial. The question is the lack of political courage and wisdom of governments and our own political will”
·         Indigenous projects should not only focus on outcomes, but also processes
·         Indigenous health services on average report to 52 funding bodies
·         Statistics/evidence used too often to justify existence of organisations, rather than to help the communities they exist to serve
·         The very large number of young Indigenous people places an equally large pressure on them to succeed and to become the change-makers
2.      Signposts and Indicators of Progress in Gender Equality, CARE International
Teo Vimenes, Timor Leste: Seven strategies to gender equality in education:
1.    Improve girls self-esteem
2.    Promote leadership and self motivation, foster critical thinking and creativity
3.    Encourage girls to analyse opportunities for women in their society
4.    Cultivate strong role models in female staff
5.    Tell stories in language about females who are smart, funny and great problem-solvers
6.    Share knowledge with parents
7.    Build capacity to advocate at the government level
Four challenges to gender equality in education:
1.    Settling the disparity, promoting equal chances between girls and boys
2.    Qualitative measures for gender progress
3.    Sustainable change of attitudes
4.    Adaption to community needs
Jo Crawford, IWDA: Making sure the outcomes matter: Consider how the locals define poverty and what is most important for the community to overcome.
Prior to voting on the Conference Declaration, Rob Mooney said “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. The Declaration was passed with overwhelming support and received a rousing standing ovation. All GS Delegates voted for the Declaration, which can be found at this link:
Rev. Tim Costello of World Vision moved a motion to UN Under Secretary-General Kiyo Akasaka for a two year debt moratorium for Pakistan.
Next meeting: Bonn, Germany on the theme of Sustainable Societies.

Michaela Guthridge
Justice Development Manager
Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
An NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, New York.

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