Civil Society

Final financial statement on the Millennium Forum issued, follow-up committee established

UNITED NATIONS - After a series of hearings held here in March, April and May on possible follow-up activities to the Millennium Forum, it was announced that the Millennium Forum Executive Committee had been dissolved and its work passed to an "Interim Millennium Forum Follow-up Committee."

In June, the treasurer of the Forum, Estelle Perry, released a final financial statement for the event, indicating that the Forum had raised a total of US$325,508. Of that, it spent $241,570, leaving $83,938 unspent. Ms. Perry noted that much of the surplus resulted from fees paid by Forum participants in May 2000, at the Forum itself. Of the money spent by the Forum, $167,618 was used to assistance participants from the global south or countries in transition.

Held 22-26 May 2000 as a civil society companion conference to the UN Millennium Summit, the Forum was organized entirely by NGOs and drew some 1,350 people from at least 106 countries. It resulted in the issuing of a 9,000 word Declaration and Agenda for Action.

According to Millennium Forum Co-Chair Techeste Ahderom, the Interim Follow-up Committee will be composed of members of the boards of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with ECOSOC (CONGO), the chair of the NGO/DPI Executive Committee, and several members of the Forum's Executive Committee, in keeping with a resolution approved on the Forum's last day.

"The Millennium Forum Executive Committee has ceased to exist," said Mr. Ahderom. Among the members of the Interim Millennium Forum Follow-up Committee are Renata Bloem, president of CONGO; Afaf Mahfouz, past president of CONGO; Kay C. Greene, chair of the NGO/DPI Executive Committee; and Esmeralda Brown, one of the Forum's vice-chairs, said Mr. Ahderom.

At the hearings in March, April and May, participants put forward a number of ideas for possible follow-up activities to the Forum. They included setting up a "loose" central structure to further coordinate the activities of NGOs and civil society worldwide in pushing forward the Forum's Agenda for Action; make better use of the Internet to improve communication among NGOs; and, establish a "permanent world forum" of civil society at the UN, to be held every three or four years.

According to Ms. Greene, the Interim Follow-up Committee has yet to meet formally but the intention is to consider all of the suggestions made at the meetings. "Something will happen, but we are just not sure what yet," said Ms. Greene.

Ms. Perry said that the unspent funds would "remain frozen" until a new entity or plan to carry the Millennium Forum's follow-up work forward is approved by the interim committee.

To read more about the Millennium Forum, follow this link.