|UNFPA and NGOs
the ICPD, UNFPA has been actively endeavouring to promote and enhance cooperation between
NGOs, governments and the international community.
The Fund established the Non-Governmental Organization Advisory Committee to UNFPA to
promote cooperation with the NGO community. Discussions have addressed issues needing
special attention such as male responsibility and participation, quality of care, violence
against women and harmful social practices. In the annual meetings held since 1995, the
committee has made numerous recommendations directed to UNFPA for action at international
and national levels, to the NGOs themselves, and to governments and the donor community.41
In 1997 UNFPA and the Womens Environment and Development Organization cooperated
in advocacy efforts to promote gender equality and equity and the empowerment of women as
well as in identifying 25 national and community-based womens NGOs worldwide for
disbursement of one-time capacity-building grants.42
UNFPA has expanded its use of NGOs as executing agencies for its projects and
programmes.43 The Fund increased its
expenditures directed through NGOs by 77 per cent in absolute terms during the period
1995-1998 compared to 1991-1994 (from $92 million to $163 million). Fully 132 NGOs have
been accredited as potential executing agencies for UNFPA-funded inter-regional or
In December 1996, UNFPA organized, in collaboration with the Office of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) /United Nations Centre for Human
Rights and the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Round Table
of Human Rights Treaty Bodies on "Human Rights Approaches to Womens Health,
with a Focus on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights." Held in Glen Cove, New
York, this meeting constituted the first time that experts from all six treaty bodies,
representatives of the United Nations system entities and NGOs had met together to discuss
a substantive area.
Enabling Environment for Effective Partnership
In 1998, UNFPA and the United Nations Population Division organized a round table
meeting on partnership with civil society to implement the ICPD Programme of Action. The
meeting recommended that all governments facilitate the involvement of civil society in
formulating, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies, strategies and programmes,
- Creating common forums for dialogue;
- Re-examining concepts, assumptions, agendas, priorities;
- Listening to and respecting the experiences of other partners;
- Identifying and building on the comparative strengths of various partners and utilizing
- Identifying key issues, players and institutions;
- Developing mutual accountability and transparency among partners;
- Developing joint plans of action at various levels;
- Strengthening capacities at all levels and ensuring sustainability;
- Encouraging coalition-building and networking;
- Continuing to monitor the implementation of the Programme of Action.
Source: UNFPA. 1998. Partnership with Civil Society to
Implement the Programme of Action, International Conference on Population and Development.
Round Table Meeting. Dhaka, Bangladesh, 27-30 July 1998.
Participants examined the interpretation of human rights treaties, and
explored the need for new procedures and indicators to promote and monitor reproductive
and sexual health-related rights. A major outcome of the round table was a call for treaty
bodies, United Nations agencies and NGOs to work together to integrate a gender-sensitive
reproductive rights/human rights perspective in their respective programmes.
In collaboration with DAW, UNHCHR, the United Nations Development Fund for Women
(UNIFEM), and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),
UNFPA is supporting efforts to implement the recommendations of the Glen Cove meeting.
Activities include: training UNFPA staff, governments and NGOs in reproductive rights
within a human rights framework; involving CEDAW experts in UNFPA programming processes;
cooperating with governments, NGOs and the treaty bodies to strengthen mechanisms for the
reporting process to CEDAW by States parties; and organizing advocacy seminars.44 UNFPA field offices have been encouraged to
assist NGOs involved in preparing shadow reports for CEDAW on eliminating discrimination
against women in access to sexual and reproductive health services.
In 1997, UNFPA joined UNIFEM and others in a Latin America-wide United Nations Campaign
against Violence against Women, inspired by womens rights activists who have long
voiced the need to address gender violence. The campaign is expected to institutionalize
partnerships among governments, womens groups and NGOs, universities, medical
professions, students, the media, police, religious groups and United Nations
UNFPA has also played an active role in promoting greater coordination of United
Nations programme development in collaboration with other agencies, donors, governments
and CSOs. The Executive Director has been Chair of the Task Force on Basic Social Services
for All. The Task Force has distributed guidelines for use by United Nations Resident
Coordinators in assisting the formulation of national plans for development. The Fund is
also involved in developing the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, which
seeks to reduce duplication, allocate tasks according to capabilities and comparative
advantages, and involve all stakeholders, including CSOs, in development efforts.
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