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    Press Release No: UNIS/PI/208
    Release Date: 23 August 2000
    Fifty-third Annual DPI/NGO Conference to Open at Headquarters

    28 to 30 August

    Algerian President Bouteflika,
    Hanan Ashrawi, Jaime Lerner and Ralph Nader among Speakers

    NEW YORK, 21 August (UN Headquarters) -- For the first time in its 53-year history, a sitting Head of State will address the annual DPI-NGO Conference, entitled, “Global Solidarity:  The Way to Peace and International Cooperation”, which takes place at Headquarters from 28 to 30 August.  President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria is expected to address over 2,000 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from more than 60 countries around the world, at the closing session of the conference on 30 August. 

    Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), President of the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly, will address the conference’s opening session at 10 a.m. on Monday, 28 August, in the General Assembly Hall.  Other principal speakers include Hanan Ashrawi, Secretary-General of the Palestinian Initiative for Global Dialogue and Democracy, Governor Jaime Lerner of the State of  Paraná, Brazil, Ralph Nader, Founder of Public Citizen, and Hanna Suchocka, Member of Parliament and former Prime Minister of Poland.  

    A highlight of the conference will be the appearance of 73 year-old Aunty Malia Craver, Hawaiian indigenous leader and kupuna for Queen Lili’uokalani Children’s Center, who is expected to share her native wisdom on peace and reconciliation with the international audience at the closing session.

    This year’s conference will examine working partnerships between civil society, governments and the United Nations system and explore concrete ways to implement the action plans adopted at the major United Nations conferences of the 1990s.  During the three-day conference, panellists in five plenary sessions will look at best practices for achieving sustainable development, identify cross-sectoral civil society campaigns that can mobilize political will among political leaders, discuss civil society’s increased participation in the decision-making processes that lead to humanitarian intervention and consider ways to reorient global economic policies towards sustainable development.

     According to Paul Hoeffel, Chief of the DPI/NGO Section, the conference assumes special significance for NGOs this year, as it links the aspirations of the NGO community to the historic deliberations by member States on the future of the United Nations that will occur at the Millennium Summit of Heads of State and Government, 6-8 September. 

    Special efforts are being made to ensure that members of the media have every opportunity to interview speakers and panellists at the conference.  The opening and closing sessions are also being Web-cast, live, at the United Nations Web site:  www.un.org/dpi/ngosection.  

    For further information and conference updates, please visit the DPI/NGO Section’s Web site and the DPI/NGO Resource Centre (L-1B-31, or contact the office of the DPI/NGO Section.  Interviews can be arranged by contacting Paul Hoeffel at (212) 963-8070 (hoeffel@un.org) or Yvonne Duncan at 963-1285(duncany@un.org).

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