52nd Annual DPI-NGO Conference
Challenges of a Globalized World: Finding New DirectionsSeptember 15-17, 1999
Message of the Secretary-General
This year's Conference, Challenges of a Globalized World: Finding New Directions, will provide a forum for representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to confer with officials of the United Nations system, Governments, and representatives of civil society to examine the impact of globalization on people around the world. The conference will identify policies and partnerships that can be promoted through the United Nations system to channel the process of globalization in directions that will help eliminate poverty, preserve cultural diversity, and promote human rights, good governance and a healthy environment, while pursuing economic opportunities for all.
The conference will focus on key aspects of globalization, including trade and finance, agriculture, labour, technology and communications, and building partnerships and new institutions through panel discussions and midday workshops. Panellists include high-level government and UN officials, and representatives of civil society, including NGOs, the private sector, academics, and the media. As of 10 August 1999, over 2,500 NGO representatives from 60 countries had registered for this year's conference.
Globalization is a longstanding process that has dramatically accelerated in recent years, driven by many forces, including new technologies and the increasingly free flow of capital. There is no doubt that the dynamics of globalization are benefitting many people, generating unprecedented wealth, and creating new opportunities. But, globalization is also having adverse consequences for many others, affecting human security, exacerbating economic and social marginalization, and raising concerns regarding the persistence of extreme poverty.
Moving beyond the debate over what is globalization and the ways that it affects our lives, the conference will seek to find answers to questions relating to the course of globalization in years to come. Can the process of globalization be mitigated? Can global free markets meet the needs of pluralistic, democratic societies? What should be the role of the United Nations in this process? Of international financial institutions? Of non-governmental organizations? What roles will sovereign States, the private sector, consumers, the media, and others play in the emerging partnerships? How does one ensure that concern for human rights shapes a global ethic that will guide policy-makers so that globalization will benefit all?
The fifty-second annual conference is organized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) in cooperation with the Executive Committee of NGOs associated with DPI.