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Clark accuses member states of blocking CSO

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Update: 5:20PM MEMBER states are often the reason that there isn't enough engagement between the United Nations and civil society organisations.

Eight months out of the position of Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, which she held from 2009 to 2017, Helen Clark said non-state organisations should keep on knocking on the proverbial UN door.

"More could be done to improve the voice of civil society in the general UN mechanisms. There's often aggravation about representation at this meeting and that meeting," Ms Clark said.

"UNDP, for example, has a civil society advisory committee with major civil society sectors represented."

The former New Zealand prime minister said she had often had to remind people that the UN charter, which was the guiding document of the organisation, began with the words "We the people...".

"It doesn't say we the countries or we the member states," she said.

The charter's actual first line says: "We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,...".

"Believe me, the barrier is not the UN bureaucracy, the barrier is from member states. Not all member states like civil society very much. Often that's where the issue is.

"You just have to keep banging on the door and force it to respond."

She was speaking to the media at the end of a sustainable development meeting she attended along with delegates from the 109 countries represented at the International Civil Society Week happening in Suva. 

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