The annual DPI/NGO Conference brings together thousands of NGO representatives from around the globe to consider a specific theme through the lens of their particular area of expertise. In addition to Plenary sessions and Roundtable presentations, Workshops have long been an integral part of the Conference. Organized by NGOs for NGOs and led by panelists with expertise in the relevant area, workshops offer vital opportunities to share experiences, good practices and common challenges; draw attention to little-known or emerging issues, and foster collaboration and partnership among NGOs.
Workshops allow for more in-depth discussions of topics presented at Roundtables, and “must be related to the Conference theme.” This is one of the criteria for selecting workshop proposals for presentation; other criteria include “examine current practices; communicate approaches replicable and adaptable at grassroots level; showcase collaborative projects; show inclusive approaches to solutions.” These discussions provide venues for NGOs from around the world to look at particular problems, to exchange knowledge and work on solutions.
While workshops are primarily the purview of NGOs, representatives from UN agencies and delegations from Member States can often be found at workshops, both as invited presenters, and as audience participants. This contributes to fostering a closer relationship between the UN and civil society.
Of the 122 proposals submitted to the workshop sub-committee for the 65th DPI/NGO Conference, a final list of 73 workshops was determined; some featured partnered proposals with similar topics. Workshop topics included Climate Change, Education, Ethical and Religious Values, Grassroots Participation, Peace and Security, Right to Food, Sustainable Energy, Social Media and Communication. One of those “partnered” workshops incorporated proposals from United Nations Associations (UNAs) in the Dominican Republic, Finland, Suriname, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe, each of whom presented development issues of special significance in their respective areas.
Many participants stated that they were returning home with new insights and knowledge to share, thus fulfilling one of the aims of the conference: to generate action around the Post-2015 agenda at the grass-roots level.
Reports of individual workshops will be posted on the conference website.
Elisabeth Kofler Shuman, Association for Childhood Cildhood Education InternationalCo-Chair, DPI/NGO Conference Workshop Subcommittee, with Exequiel Lira, Rotary Club de Santiago (Chile) and Janet Slovin, World Union for Progressive Judaism