In September 2011, Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, senior policy advisor, attended the UN’s annual NGO conference from the 3rd-5th September in Bonn, Germany. The theme of the conference this year was Sustainable Societies: Responsive Citizens.
The conference was in preparation for the Rio+20 Conference to be held in June 2012 in Brazil. Rio+20 will be a major event in the international calendar as it will deal with crucial issues on sustainable development. It will review the progress made since the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 were adopted in 1992. In particular Rio+20 will examine how the world can transit to a green economy and how the United Nations could be better structured to help achieve global sustainability in the use of resources. Although preparations for Rio+20 are at an advanced stage, the 64th NGO conference in Bonn hoped to influence the process by formulating a declaration which would be an input into the background documentation being prepared by UN agencies. The declaration will also be tabled by the Government of Germany at this year’s UN General
Muhtari interacted with other NGOs, UN agencies and academics working in the field of climate change and poverty reduction to build contacts, increase Islamic Relief’s understanding of the issues and establish a presence and visibility for Islamic Relief in these policy circles.
Muhtari also joined the Africa experts group, where he was appointed to draft a discussion document which formed the basis for the Africa group’s input. He was subsequently co-opted into the main drafting group; this provided a key opportunity to influence the document. The final conference declaration comprised of a range of general and also quite specific recommendations on poverty reduction and climate change. Interestingly, the document discusses the non-viability of the current economic development model and called for a paradigm shift which largely coincides with the thinking in Islamic Relief’s emerging conceptual framework.
The final outcome document of the meeting was not negotiated, therefore it was developed as a Chair’s text. It can be found at 64th UN Annual NGO Conference.