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The Current Reality


Mobilization for Alienation vs. Catalysis for Participation: choice for the United Nations system (Part #5)


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The above report was produced on 24 January 1973. The Secretary-General's Review (cited above) appeared on 21 May 1973. It does not mention the meeting or the report. Its recommendations (none of which suggest any new departures at this critical time) contain only one reference to NGO's : "It would undoubtedly be helpful to the nongovernmental organizations in enlisting public support for United Nations development objectives" (para. 26). In practice this sort of statement works out to Approach 1 again. It would seem that the meeting was one more ritualistic session to contain criticism.

To be meaningful and credible, "partnership" talk on the part of the U.N. system should extend visibly into the documents of CESI and the Office of Public Information. In the vast mountain of U.N. system reports, documents and brochures, why has only ILO produced a brochure on the NGO role? Why are there no imaginative reports and suggestions ? Why has the Unesco Courier never had an issue on NGO action ? Why is no mention made of NGO's in the basic literature on the U.N. system which is available to the thousands of visitors to secretariat buildings, information centres and regional offices, and which is the basic ammunition of the national and local United Nations Associations? Why is the "partnership"role not stressed in the standard secretariat guided-tour speech ? Why not tell the people of the channels via which they can work in partnership with the U.N, system ? By stressing the "mighty institutional" image, people have no means of responding to the U.N. other than by purchasing pretty postcards and stamps, or selling the U.N. line in their home community. The latter is the traditional Approach 1 which has lead to the alienation which is now all too evident, often because of the stultifying effect of the local U.N.A.'s UNcentred programmes (Approach 2).