Report of the Cardoso Panel on UN-Civil Society Relations (UN ref. A/58/817) - A Personal Appraisal - Jeffrey J Segall

I particularly support:


  • The “two-way street” concept for global governance deliberations and country operational activities (para 35-37).
  • Networked governance (para 51).
  • Public hearings (Proposal 5); regular non-state participation in the General Assembly and its committees (para 66 and Proposal 6); UN engagement with the private sector, parliamentarians and local government as well as with civil society (para 77-78).
  • A UN Partnership Development Unit and a multi-stakeholder Partnership Assessment Forum (Proposal 7).
  • Focusing on country level in UN normative and operational work (para 79 and 94, Proposal 11).
  • Improving non-governmental accreditation in the UN system, including UN accreditation to be by a committee of the GA (Proposal 19), and establishing a GA Secretariat Accreditation Unit (Proposal 20).
  • Ensuring self-managed “best practices” by UN partners in its constituencies (Proposal 23).


My hope is that civil society organizations worldwide will respond to the Report by establishing international, regional and national Civil Society Networks for Relating to the UN.


I do not support:


  1. The implicit proposal for the UN to provide “an institutional home” for national parliaments (para 116, Proposal 16), which are not included in the Panel’s terms of reference. The Report also fails to mention that the IPU is an NGO whereas parliaments are part of the state sector. Moreover, the effect of the proposal would be to strengthen the influence of power politics in the work of the GA, as on issues affected by power politics the parliamentary representatives would conform to the policy of their member states as represented in the GA. This view is supported by the refusal of the UK House of Commons Defence Committee to inquire into the governments of UK and USA agreeing secretly to strengthen their Mutual Defence Agreement, which is an action that could breach the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty [The Guardian 27 July 2004]. In contrast, a GA-linked world civil society forum could “mitigate power politics and help relieve tensions between the dictates of universality and national sovereignty” [GA President Ismail Razali’s opening statement at 51st GA Regular Session].


  1. (b) The proposal for the UN Secretariat  to work selectively with parliaments and the IPU in one or more experimental global policy committeees (Proposal 15), instead of initiating a broad  “participation of non-state actors in international affairs” [Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Ottawa Citizen,    7 April 2003].


  1. The absence of a broadly inspiring proposal, such as a non-state Subsidiary Organ of the GA under Article 22 of the Charter composed of representatives of civil society (through networks linked in a World Civil Society Union as proposed by UNGA-Link UK), parliamentarians (through the IPU), local authorities (through United Cities and Local Governments), the private sector and other possible UN constituencies. This would provide a UN non-state institutional home for global governance deliberations which could have the additional advantage of media attention and general public interest. The Subsidiary Organ’s Constitution would necessarily require the approval of the GA and the accreditation of its members could be carried out by the GA Secretariat.


  1. A lack of transparency in omitting the Panel’s Questionnaire – its text, data on its distribution, national or regional percentage responses, and an analysis of the responses received should have been included in the Report.


*Founder-editor Medicine and War; Co-Founder, Campaign for a More Democratic United Nations (CAMDUN:; Chairperson, UNGA-Link UK, 1999-July 2004.


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