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Lorne Mooney from Canada on NGOs 21 May 1993

THE EARTH TIMES

MAY 21, 1993

INTERVIEW: TERRANCE LORNE MOONEY

BY ASHALI VARMA

PrepCom2 created an unprecedented climate for dialogue with NGO…’

Terrance Lorne Mooney is the Senior Policy Advisor with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Canadas principle aid agency.  CIDA helped NGOs from the South attend PrepCom2 and also provided infrastructure support at the meetings.  He  with The Earth Times. Excerpts:

What role should NGOs play at ICPD?

Our position is that development is a joint effort between government and civil society which includes NGOs, private enterprise and the people.  Governments provide the structure but civil society provides the values and how the structure should evolve.  Development with a strong sense of equity is not possible unless both aspects are there and complement each other.  It is essential that NGOs representing civil society are not just bystanders but an integral part of the process.

Why did CIDA aid NGOs from the South?

Political systems used to be based on national sovereignty, this is a myth today.  Similarly even in civil society it is the social alliances between the North and South that are going to matter.  It is important for NGOs from around the globe to come together and our role is to facilitate this.

How much did CIDA contribute?

CIDA gave $300,000 which helped to bring some Southern NGOs to PrepCom2 who did not have the resources to attend.  We also funded the NGO Liaison office and set up infrastructure support for the NGOs by providing computers, photocopiers, and fax facilities at the Church Centre.

Has NGO participation been successful?

NGO participation has been particularly significant at PrepCom2.  We should continue to build on this.  I am here to see how effective it has been and how we can further support them in the year ahead, at PrepCom3 and Cairo.  We are hoping that other countries will join us to support these activities.  I think it is important that NGOs from different fields, like environment, women’s movement, family planning and rural development should be able to get together and widen their horizons and have a more holistic and integrated approach to development.  They can exchange ideas and not only influence policy changes at the national level but also at the global level.

What advice would you give the NGOs to make a greater impact on policy makers and ICPD?

I hope the NGO committee will look at the following issues:

If this open dialogue continues at PrepCom3 and Cairo, what impact will this have on a parallel conference at Cairo?

Do they really need this when they are already an integral part of the conference?

Would it not be better for them to have a meeting just prior to the conference where they can fine tune their objectives?

They also need to figure out how they can organize themselves efficiently enough to have input into the final document.  This is very crucial and they need to influence this beforehand.  To do this they need to have a policy analyst who can analyze and collate all the material from their various meetings and come up with the principle points that can be handed to the secretariat.