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“Nations in Transition – The Role of Civil Society in Strengthening Institutions and Building Democracy” - DPI-NGO briefing
23 Feb 2012 -  As a follow-up to the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference  / Final Declaration (pdf)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated that one of the key priorities for his second term is to strengthen support for nations in transition. Whether emerging from war or moving from autocracy to democracy, the Secretary-General has voiced a strong commitment to helping the peoples of these nations to ensure that their transitions are peaceful and respond to their aspirations for freedom, justice and opportunity.

The Secretary-General has also suggested that the role of civil society in supporting nations in transition to develop strong democratic institutions and practices is invaluable. Faced with major challenges which governments alone can not tackle such as organizing elections, drafting new constitutions, promoting democratic practices, building independent judiciaries and developing free media, nations in transition can learn and benefit from the insight, skills and expertise of civil society in a variety of areas. Civil society can give voice to a wide range of political, social and environmental concerns and be instrumental in advocating for policy change.

The Community can also act as agents for promoting good governance, and advocating transparency, effectiveness, and accountability. During a recent meeting with the NGO community, the Secretary-General recognized the importance of civil society in tackling such global challenges, stating that “there can be no success without a healthy civil society.

Please do your part. Help these women’s groups, social media activists, human rights defenders and others to take their rightful place in society – in government, in parliament, in every public institution.”

This briefing will examine the importance of civil society in supporting nations in transition and the ways the NGO community and civil society can be mobilized to strengthen the fledgling institutions and create strong democratic practices within these nation states.


Maria-Luisa Chavez: Chief, NGO Relations, Department of Public Information (DPI)


Nejmeddine Lakhal, Deputy Permanent Representative of Tunisia to the United Nations

Roland Rich, Executive Head, United Nations Democracy Fund; Officer-in-Charge, United Nations Office for Partnerships

Harriette Williams, Advocacy Officer, New York Representative, Femmes Africa Solidarité