1 October 2003


  • A record 2,000 Non-Governmental Organization representatives from over 600 UN-related NGOs in countries attended the Conference, in addition to many Mission and UN staff.
  • Forty per cent of the NGO representatives were from developing regions, representing organizations in 65 countries. This is double the proportion from previous Conferences.
  • Over 3,500 NGOs from 100 countries pre-registered for the Conference. These numbers indicate high interest among UN-related NGOs. The discrepancy between those who wished to attend from those who actually attended indicates the probability of serious visa problems.
  • A record number of young persons (ages 16 to 25) participated.


The Conference Chair from the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, Ms. Fannie Munlin, announced at the opening session in the General Assembly Hall that the NGO community wished to dedicate the 56th Conference to those United Staff who had come under attack in Iraq and in other troubled parts of the world where they are at work.

  • In addition to the Deputy Secretary-General and the President of the 57th General Assembly, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardosa and former High Commissioner for Refugees Mrs. Sadako Ogata were keynote speakers.
  • Over 50 per cent of speakers and seven plenary sessions were women and 50 per cent were from developing countries.
  • The participation of 14 speakers from developing countries was made possible with funds provided by the NGO Section ($7,000) and raised by the NGO/DPI Executive Committee ($15,000).
  • Moderators included Danny Glover, Alfredo Sfeir-Younis, and Barbara Crossette, and speakers included Jeffrey Sachs, Mary Racellis and Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury.
  • Thirty-one Midday NGO Workshops featured an additional 140 speakers.
  • Over 20 speakers from UN Departments, Funds, Programmes and Specialized Agencies presented at the plenary sessions and workshops.
  • All plenary speakers are available at www.un.org/dpi/ngosection


  • All seven plenary sessions were broadcast live on UN TV and webcast (and archived) and the Internet.
  • Webcasts featured interactive capacity whereby Internet participants could access live discussion forums and address questions and comments directly to the panelists.
  • An NGO networking session, held in UN cafeteria as an informal breakfast, provided new opportunity for exchanges among NGO participants.
  • A farewell reception, held on the UN Visitors' Plaza and sponsored by New York Wine and Grape Foundation and American Express, was attended by over 1,000 guests, including officials from New York City.
  • A youth event was held in Dag Hammarskjold Park on Tuesday evening, celebrating the special attendance of young people.
  • The DPI/NGO Planning Committee, comprised of over 30 NGO representatives and meeting weekly for nine months, was the largest Planning Committee in the long history of the annual Conference.