Charities were ignored at the UN

By Leo Williams, October 7, 2010
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Disappointment is the predominant feeling, having returned from the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit in New York. World leaders adopted an "Outcome Document" – a final attempt to salvage the MDGs - but it is disappointingly short on specifics.

The UN secretary-general suggested that this is the best we could expect at this time. If this is the best that our leaders can offer the world's poorest people, it is not good enough.

Too little attention is paid to the crucial role of organisations like Tzedek and World Jewish Relief who make important contributions to the Millennium Development Goals.

Given the difficulty of engaging with the official process, the mention of NGOs in the Outcome Document feels like lip service.

In New York, few member states turned up to hear the "civil society hearings" in June – a good opportunity to gain meaningful feedback from NGOs. At six round table sessions during the MDG Summit, a small number of NGO representatives were invited to speak. But this was often at the end of the meetings, when a number of world leaders had made their excuses and left.

On the British side, the delegation, led by Nick Clegg, met twice with British NGOs during the summit. But no official representative of a British NGO working in international development was included in the delegation, compared to Ireland, which took four in its official representation, and Denmark which took seven.

The challenge for Jewish organisations working in international development is now to monitor the commitments which have been made for the final five years, ensuring governments are held accountable for these promises made to the world's poorest people.

Leo Williams is Bond's MDG advocacy officer, which is part of a network of NGOs working on international development.

    Last updated: 3:11pm, October 7 2010