World NGO Day

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World NGO Day
Pekka Haavisto - World NGO Day, Finland.jpg
H.E. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for International Development of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland at the first World NGO Day, Helsinki, Finland in 2014
Observed by Worldwide
Type Non-governmental organizations
Date 27 February
Next time February 27, 2018 (2018-02-27)
Frequency Annual
First time 2014; 3 years ago (2014)

World NGO Day is observed annually on 27 February. It was officially recognised and declared on 17 April 2010 by 12 countries of the IX Baltic Sea NGO Forum to the 8th Summit of the Baltic Sea States in Vilnius, Lithuania.[1] The World NGO Day was internationally marked and recognised on 27 February 2014 in Helsinki, Finland by Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand who congratulated with the World NGO Day and highlighted the importance of NGO sector for the UN through her speech.[2][3] Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development (European Commission) sent his regards and said "It’s only right that, on just one of those days, the world should celebrate NGOs and thank them for the tremendous work that they do."[4][5]

Background[edit]

The World NGO Day initiative was founded in 2009 by university student Marcis Liors Skadmanis (at age 24),[6] who first thought of the initial idea during his Masters in International Law and NGO legislation.[7] His desire to see a better future for all globally and his passion for finding new solutions for global development is what drove him to establish this initiative (international day) - while believing that innovation is the key for a more sustainable future.

Each country of the Baltic Sea NGO Network is encouraged to celebrate World NGO Day, providing information to the Baltic Sea Co-ordinating Committee.

X. Baltic Sea NGO Forum, The German Presidency of the CBSS – Final Statement, 23–25 April 2012, Berlin, Germany, p. 3.[8]

World NGO Day was officially recognised on 17 April 2010 by 12 countries of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania. The member countries of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum are Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Norway and Sweden.[9][10] The resolution of the IX Baltic Sea NGO Forum to the 8th Summit of the Baltic Sea States due on 1–2 June 2010 states: "To support the official setting of the World NGO Day, it was proposed by Ms Rasma Pipike, the member of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum's Committee and Director of Civic Alliance-Latvia (Latvijas Pilsoniskā alianse (lv)). Following the discussions among non- governmental organisations and members of the Baltic Sea NGO network from Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden, the Coordinating Committee on behalf of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum 2010 (16 to 17 April 2010, Vilnius, Lithuania).[11] On 23 April 2012 the World NGO Day Initiative was accepted by the Baltic Sea NGO Forum Committee under the German CBSS Presidency at the Humboldt University in Berlin, during the X Baltic Sea NGO Forum: Social Capital for a Sustainable Baltic Sea Region. The Initiative was accepted as an official resolution encouraging all member countries to celebrate World NGO Day.[12][13][14]

Intentions[edit]

The World NGO Day - intended to be a symbol of bringing together the world’s NGOs to build a stronger future for all - would aim to raise awareness of the many organisations working for good around the globe. A dedicated day - an important annual marking point - for all NGOs to commemorate and celebrate their achievements, ensuring that also small grassroots organisations gain the recognition they deserve. To inspire people to become more actively involved within NGOs, and encourage more collaboration between NGOs.

Celebrate[edit]

Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai (founder of the NGO Green Belt Movement) with Barack Obama in Nairobi, Kenya, 2006

The World NGO Day is for everyone, celebrating Non Governmental Organisations and the important endowment to society of the various people behind each one of them.

  • A day for NGOs around the globe to share knowledge and experiences with one another.
  • An opportunity for education, enabling individuals worldwide to understand more clearly what NGOs are doing for society locally, nationally and internationally.
  • An international symbol that displays the efforts and achievements of all NGOs from all sectors.
  • An opportunity to inspire people to consider a career within the third sector.
  • An opportunity for individuals to learn more about the people behind NGOs.
  • An opportunity for NGOs to discuss the issues that affect their work, and form partnerships that can resolve mutual problem.[15]

Commemorate[edit]

The World NGO Day provides an opportunity to honour and remember NGO founders, employees, volunteers, members and supporters. There are vast numbers of individuals who have devoted themselves to the work of NGOs in many forms, from those who offer a few hours of their time to those who have sacrificed their lives for a cause they believe in. A great example of this is Mr. Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International; Ms. Wangari Muta Maathai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and founder of the Green Belt Movement; 25 years old Ms Fareeda Kokikhel Afridi who was brutally shot dead on her way to work in Pakistan - a women’s rights activist and founder of the NGO "Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas", or 2006 Trincomalee massacre of NGO workers, when 17 employees of the French INGO Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim, or ACF) were shot at close range in the city of Muttur, Sri Lanka.

Official Hashtag[edit]

World NGO Day official hashtags are #WorldNGODay, #YourNGODay and #NGODay.[16][17]

The first World NGO Day[edit]

On 27 February 2014, the Minister for International Development Pekka Haavisto,[18][19] Executive Director of United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) Jan Mattsson,[20] European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs,[21] Secretary General of the Secretariat to the Nordic Council, Britt Bohlin, UNESCO Assistant Director-General Eric Falt and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark, former Minister of Women’s Affairs of Iran Mahnaz Afkhami[22] and NGO leaders, marked the first commemoration of the World NGO Day in Helsinki, Finland.[23][24]

"I believe that a World NGO day is an excellent opportunity to recognize and celebrate the successes of the sector, and also to provide a focus for new ideas" - Jan Mattsson, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services (now Member of Inspection Panel, The World Bank Group).[25][26]

International recognition[edit]

Every year on 27 February, World NGO Day celebrates a new global movement’s declaration. World NGO Day celebrations were extensively covered in news and social media worldwide.[27]

United Nations[edit]

Helen Clark, 8th Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) congratulated with the World NGO Day through her video speech, Finland 2014.

United Nations Development Programme[edit]

On 27 February 2014, Ms. Helen Clark, 8th Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand congratulated with the World NGO Day and highlighted the importance of NGO sector for the UN through her video speech. She said: "Since 2010, the World NGO Day Initiative has been working towards the creation by the UN General Assembly of one designated international day for NGOs globally to collaborate, commemorate and celebrate the work of NGOs worldwide. It strives to "raise awareness of the many organizations working for good around the globe, inspiring people to become more actively involved in this sector and encouraging more collaboration between NGOs" at all levels. UNDP is pleased to join the Government of Finland, UNESCO, UNOPS, the European Commission, and other partners in celebrating the tremendous work of non-governmental organizations, and of all the dedicated people working for them in countries around the world."[28][29][30]

United Nations Office for Project Services[edit]

On 27 February 2014, Mr Jan Mattsson, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services UNOPS, (now he is the Member of Inspection Panel, The World Bank Group) in his speech said: “I believe that a World NGO day is an excellent opportunity to recognize and celebrate the successes of the sector, and also to provide a focus for new ideas”.[31]

UNESCO[edit]

On 27 February 2014, Mr. Eric Falt, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO, in his speech said: "I thank you for this initiative, and I certainly hope it will flourish over time and that it will be recognised sooner rather than later… world days are important.. they are moments to raise awareness and mobilise support, to push on the national and international agenda. This is an oportunity to raise the flag for NGOs and to simply recognise the way they change the world we live in… today NGOs are probably at the very cutting edge of work for the collective good at the national, regional and international level."[32]

European Union[edit]

European Union External Action Service[edit]

Today we celebrate the World NGO Day, we celebrate the key civil society's contribution to public space and their unique ability to give voice to those who would have went otherwise unheard.

European Union External Action Service, Official Statement by the Spokesperson of HR/VP Federica Mogherini on the occasion of the WORLD NGO DAY 2017.– Bruxelles, 27/02/2017 - ID: 170227_11 '.[33]

On 27.02.2017, European Union External Action Service has issued an official Statement by the Spokesperson of HR/VP Federica Mogherini on the occasion of the WORLD NGO DAY 2017, Bruxelles, 27/02/2017 - UNIQUE ID: 170227_11.[34]

The official statement states: Today we celebrate the World NGO Day, we celebrate the key civil society's contribution to public space and their unique ability to give voice to those who would have went otherwise unheard. A functioning democracy depends on the right of citizens to exercise freely these rights that are safeguards against conflict and instability as they foster open dialogue and debate in society. NGOs are key drivers of development, conflict prevention and sustainable peace in a world so hard hit by conflict and inequality. The European Union continues to support civil society, NGOs and human rights defenders, both in terms of diplomatic action and funding. One of the key EU's priorities under the Global Strategy is to engage with and empower civil society, supporting an enabling environment for its action because we need civil society to play an active role in the life of every country, to the benefit of everyone.

European Commissioner for Development[edit]

On 27 February 2014, Mr. Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development at the European Commission highlighted the importance of NGO sector for the European Commission through his video speech: “NGOs have always been at the forefront of social movements and changes. The European Commission greatly values their willingness to act, their independence and above all their deep and genuine concern for the well-being of the communities they serve. On every single day of the year, all over the world, NGOs are working hard for...”.[35]

World NGO Day - United Kingdom[edit]

Awareness of the World NGO Day Initiative was increased through a Roundtable at the House of Commons, UK Parliament, on 14 March 2012. This was possible through the good offices of Ian Liddell Grainger, Member of Parliament.[36] On 19 September 2012 Lord Lyndon Harrison hosted the Leadership Meeting "Governance and NGOs" at the UK House of Lords. Guests including Dr. William F. Shija, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Biljana Radonjic Ker-Lindsay, Head of Civil Society Engagement Unit, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and many others expressed their public support for the recognition of the World NGO Day Initiative. The discussion allowed participants to consider steps to assist effectiveness of the NGO Sector and to raise issues that affect internal and external performance and relationships set against the backdrop of the increasing recognition of the role of cooperation between the NGO and stakeholders globally.[37][38] On 18 November 2012 the World NGO Day Summit was hosted by the Royal Over-Seas League and World NGO Day ambassadors in Over-Seas House, London, UK. Guests speakers included: H.E. Mr Pekka Huhtaniemi, Ambassador of Finland to the UK; Mr Vijay Krishnarayan, Director of the Commonwealth Foundation; Mr Steve Kenzie, Directorof the Secretariat of the UN Global Compact Network; and Mr Philip Mulligan, Executive Director of the United Nations Association. Discussion was divided into two main panel topics - Understanding Cultures & Promoting Sustainable Development and Running Sustainable NGOs & Leveraging New Technologies.[39]

World NGO Day - Finland[edit]

[...] NGOs are playing a vital role for global development including education, human rights, democracy, environment and sustainable development programmes [...] 13% fund of the total development budget of Finland was being channeled through the domestic NGOs for different development initiatives which is approximately €100m [...] the development ministry is interested in funding the international NGOs programs to achieve post-2015 Millennium Development Goals [...] [sic].

—International Development Minister Pekka Haavisto in the opening session of World NGO Day 2014 in Helsinki[40]

On 16 April 2012 a Nordic World NGO Day introductory meeting was held at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Helsinki, Finland. Guests included: Christopher Shapardanov, Canadian Ambassador to the Republic of Finland; Ilona Jaaskelainen-Overduin, Officer of Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; Alp Icen, Embassy of Turkey; Mr. Gianni Coati, Embassy of Italy in Finland; Inka Lilja, Programme Officer, Department for Development Policy/Unit for Non-Governmental Organisations, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland; Jeremy K. Barnum, Political Officer, Embassy of the United States; Pirjo Luoto, Union of Friendship Associations in Finland; Helena Laukko, UN Association of Finland. The event raised awareness of Finnish NGOs’ role within Finland and in international development.[41]

The World NGO Day Initiative has received the letter of support from H.E. Ms. Heidi Hautala, the Minister for International Development of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland.[42] "It states: To mark the exceptional and highly valuable work that the NGOs are doing, I warmly support the initiative to establishing an international World NGO day. The calendar day can also serve as an opportunity to aim towards more capable and strong NGO sector and to ensuring that there is also an enabling working environment for these organisations in every part of the world.”

On 27 February 2014, hundreds of NGOs and international leaders gathered in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, to celebrate and mark the first World NGOs Day. The first World NGO Day was supported by H.E. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for International Development of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland and H.E. Peter Stenlund, Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the Nordic Council; also sponsored by Finland’s Slot Machine Association.

World NGO Day - The Kingdom of Bahrain[edit]

On 18 March 2013, World NGO Day Initiative has received an official acknowledgment letter from H.E. Dr. Fatima Mohammed Albalooshi, Minister of Social Development, the Kingdom of Bahrain. It says: "We strongly support this important initiative establishing it as an official international calendar day - World NGO Day."[43]

World NGO Day - Baltic Sea Region[edit]

To support the official setting of the World NGO Day. The Coordinating Committee on behalf of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum 2010 (16 to 17 April 2010, Vilnius, Lithuania) has approved the necessity to promote the official setting of the “Worldwide NGO Day”

Resolution of the IX Baltic Sea NGO Forum, The Lithuanian Presidency of the CBSS – Resolution, 17 April 2010, Vilnius, Lithuania, p. 2.[44]

World NGO Day was officially recognised in 17 April 2010 by 12 countries of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum in Vilnius, Lithuania. The member countries of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum are Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Norway and Sweden. The resolution of the IX Baltic Sea NGO Forum to the 8th Summit of the Baltic Sea States due on 1–2 June 2010 states: "To support the official setting of the World NGO Day. Following the discussions among non- governmental organisations and members of the Baltic Sea NGO network from Belarus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden, the Coordinating Committee on behalf of the Baltic Sea NGO Forum 2010 (16 to 17 April 2010, Vilnius, Lithuania) has approved the necessity to promote the official setting of the "Worldwide NGO Day", proposed by the Civic Alliance-Latvia. The World NGO Day is to be announced as an official UN observance day according to the UN resolution." On 23 April 2012 the World NGO Day Initiative was accepted by the Baltic Sea NGO Forum Committee under the German CBSS Presidency at the Humboldt University in Berlin, during the X Baltic Sea NGO Forum: Social Capital for a Sustainable Baltic Sea Region. The Initiative was accepted as an official resolution encouraging all member countries to celebrate World NGO Day. The Forum stated: "Each country of the Baltic Sea NGO Network is encouraged to celebrate World NGO Day, providing information to the Baltic Sea coordinating committee and the Secretariat of the World NGO Day. Nationally, organisations are invited to receive conceptual support letters from their respective governments to support the creation of World NGO Day by the UN internationally."[45][46]

World NGO Day - South Asia Region[edit]

World NGO Day in Kabul, Afghanistan

On 24 February 2012 The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation in Law (SAARCLAW) signed a Memorandum of Understanding in order to promote the objectives of the respective organisations and also to expand the horizons of NGOs in the SAARC region. SAARCLAW agreed to promote the World NGO Day in the South Asia Region.[47]

World NGO Day - Pakistan[edit]

World NGO Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, 2014.

World NGO Day has a significant role in Pakistan.[48] Since 2014, the World NGO Day was being organised by The NGO World at National Centre for Rural Development (NCRD) in Islamabad.[49] Each year World NGO Day event brings together up to 500 NGO leaders from Pakistan.[50][51] Dr. Masuma Hasan, the former Cabinet Secretary and Ambassador of Pakistan[52][53] and Zafar Iqbal, the founder of The NGO World are the Goodwill Ambassador of the World NGO Day.[54][55]

World NGO Day - Seychelles[edit]

On 27 February 2017, Seychelles observed World NGO Day for first time under the patronage of Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps), the national platform for civil society organisations. In a message for the occasion, the chairperson of Ceps and President of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Council of NGOs Jules Hoareau has called on all NGOs to push for greater accountability, transparency and good governance on the part of the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.[56]

International organization leaders[edit]

List of international organization leaders who raised awareness of the World NGO Day internationally.[57][58][59]

Name and Organisation Country
Helen Clark, 8th Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the 37th Prime Minister of New Zealand  UN  US
Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Development (2010-2014)  EU  Belgium
Jan Mattsson, Executive Director of United Nations Office for Project Services, UNOPS (2006-2014)  UN  Denmark
Britt Bohlin Olsson, Secretary General of the Secretariat to the Nordic Council  Sweden
Eric Falt, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO  UNESCO  France
Pekka Haavisto, Minister for International Development (2013-2014)  Finland
Heidi Hautala, Minister for International Development (2011-2013)[60]  Finland
Peter Stenlund, Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland |  Finland
Dr. Fatima bint Mohammed Al Balooshi, Minister of Social Development, the Kingdom of Bahrain  Bahrain
Ian Liddell-Grainger, Member of Parliament, House of Commons, UK Parliament  United Kingdom
Lord Lyndon Harrison, Baron Harrison, House of Lords, UK Parliament  United Kingdom
Guntis Ulmanis, fifth President of Latvia (1993 - 1999)  Latvia
Ināra Mūrniece, Speaker (Chairperson) of the Saeima (Latvian Parliament)[61]  Latvia
Mahnaz Afkhami, Minister of Women’s Affairs of Iran (1975 - 1978), Founder and President of Women's Learning Partnership (WLP)  Iran  USA[62]
Aicha Bah Diallo, Minister of Education of Guinea (1990 - 1996), Vice president of NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee, Former Assistant Director-General for Education of UNESCO  France  Guinea[63]
Marie L T Raharimalala, Former Minister of State for Technical Education and Professional Training of Madagascar, Vice chairperson of FAWE Africa and the chairperson of FAWE Madagascar[64]  Madagascar
Masuma Hasan, Pakistani scholar, Cabinet Secretary of Government of Pakistan (2000-2001), Chairperson of Group of 77  Pakistan
Inger Prebensen, Former Deputy Director of the International Monetary Fund, and Former Chair of the Board of Women's World Banking  Norway
Biljana Radonjic Ker-Lindsay, Head of Civil Society Engagement Unit, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development  UK
Dr. Tarik Mohamed Yousef, CEO of Silatech, Member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on the Arab World.  Qatar
Dr. William F. Shija, Secretary- General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Died 4 October 2014)  UK
Hemant Batra, Vice President, SAARCLAW, Apex Body of SAARC  India
Dr. Tariq Cheema, Founder & CEO, World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists  USA
Dr. Mahabub Hossain, Executive Director of BRAC  Bangladesh
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Founder and Executive Director of the Afghan Institute of Learning, Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005  Afghanistan
Taj Hamad, Secretary General of World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations and Universal Peace Federation  USA
Jacob Lief, Founder and CEO of Ubuntu Education Fund  South Africa
Sharmila Karki, President of the NGO Federation Nepal    Nepal
Zafar Iqbal, Executive Director and Founder of The NGO World[65]  Pakistan
Faisal Al Zahrani, President of International Public Relations Association Gulf Chapter  Saudi Arabia
Dr. Hezron Mc’Obewa, Executive Director of the NGOs Coordination Board  Kenya
Almas Jiwani, President of the United Nations Women National Committee  Canada
Major General Roddy Porter, Director-General of the Royal Overseas League[66]  UK
Rabéa Naciri, President of Association Démocratique du Femmes du Maroc ADFM  Morocco
Yakın Ertürk, President of Asylum and Migration Research Center IGAM  Turkey
Tolekan Ismailova, Executive Secretary of the Kyrgyzstan NGOs Forum and director of Bir Duino Kyrgyzstan  Kyrgyzstan
Gulnara Karakulova, Founder and Director of Citizenship, Studies, Information and Action CEPIA  Brazil
Fuad Muradov, Member of the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Chairperson of "Great Silk Way" International Youth Union  Azerbaijan
Abena Busia, Director and Executive Board Member of Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD)  US
Sung-Joo Kim, CEO of MCM Worldwide and SungJoo Foundation[67]  South Korea
Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, Founder and Chairperson of Arab International Women's Forum  UK
Jules Hoareau, Chairperson of Citizens Engagement Platform Seychelles (Ceps) and President of Southern African Development Community (SADC) of NGOs  Seychelles

And many other leaders from various organisations: NGO/UNDPI Executive Committee ( UN), Nelson Mandela Foundation ( South Africa), NGO Forum Cambodia ( Cambodia), WWF Finland ( Finland), International Social Services ISS (  Switzerland), Scheherazade Foundation ( Romania), ABILIS Foundation ( Finland), Afghanistan Islamic Relief Worldwide ( Afghanistan), Worldwide Orphanage Relief Coalition WORC ( US), Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee ( Cambodia), Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights PWESCR ( US), Women's Resource Center ( Kazakhstan), Asmita Collective ( India), AIESEC International ( Netherlands), World Fair Trade Organization Asia ( Philippines), Citizen Forum Kansalais Areena ( Finland), Nonprofit Tech for Good ( US), Public Interest Registry ( US), International Medical Corps ( UK), International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development ( Indonesia), NGO News Africa ( Ghana), Sisterhood Global institute ( Jordan), Aid Afghanistan for Education, Commonwealth Foundation ( UK), Secretariat of the UN Global Compact Network ( UK), International Network for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises "INSME" ( Italy), European ProClusters Association ( Finland) - Honorary Ambassador Mrs Leena Zittling, etc.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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