Statement by Ambassador Berger on the Signing of an Agreement on the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference in Bonn
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Dear Under Sectretary General Akaska, dear Ms. Keher, dear Mr. Dodds, let me thank you for the opportunity to take part in this press conference.
Germany is extremely glad that Bonn has been chosen as the host city for the annual DPI/NGO-Conference. We are proud to be associated with this important conference and have contributed 850.000 USD.
In a couple of days from now, the city of Bonn and its citizens are looking forward to welcoming more than 1500 participants. And I can assure you Bonn is well prepared. As you know, Bonn is the German UN city: There is a strong (and I must say growing) cluster of currently 16 UN organisations and offices in the field of sustainable development and the environment. The most importants are UNFCCC und UNV, adding the other important dimension of the conference: volunteerism.
Also many relevant German government offices are located in Bonn to create the necessary synergies.
So I am certain the conference environment will be conducive to a lively and interactive event. This even more so as the city of Bonn has prepared a number of interesting side-events.
Less than a year before the Rio+20 conference it was an excellent idea to focus the conference on “sustainable societies – responsive citizens”. My government is particularly fond of this event as sustainability is what moves much of today’s political debate in Germany. And this comprises many dimensions: We could be talking about green economy or sustainable social structures. Germany has a very active civil society, focussing on sustainability, on the national as well as on the international level.
It adds to the popularity of sustainable development that sectors like environmental technology have become important industrial growth sectors. Green economy is a real job engine as we observe a strongly increasing demand, domestically and around the world.
However, none of the major challenges of the 21st century could possibly be tackled by government alone. And the advancement of sustainable development is more than an industrial strategy: The active support and the commitment of NGOs are absolutely essential to advance the course of sustainability.
This is a conference not only –for-- civil society, focussing –on-- civil society engagement, but also a conference organised to a great extent –by-- civil society. I am impressed by the substantial and extensive input and contribution from civil society organisations and activists – both here in NY and in Germany. Jointly with DPI and the City of Bonn they have managed to not only set up a comprehensive conference programme, featuring prominent civil society representatives from all over the world, but also an impressive number of exhibits and side-events to provide the participants with a wide range of opportunities for further exchange and information.
Germany considers this NGO conference an important contribution in preparation of the two-day special session of the General Assembly (on the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers) in December 2011.
And let me finish by adding that the German delegation is prepared to introduce the conference outcome document to the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Let me conclude by thanking DPI for the excellent cooperation, but also UN Volunteers, the city of Bonn and all who participated in the preparation of this event. We wish the conference every success and all participants an inspiring stay in Germany.