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close this bookWIT's World Ecology Report - Vol. 11, No. 2 - Critical Issues in Health and the Environment (WIT, 1999, 16 p.)
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· The first of four scheduled regional hearings proposed by the UN Secretary-General with a view to generate innovative ideas regarding specific goals the UN should strive to achieve in the decades ahead in five core areas of its work was held at United Nations House in Beirut on 23-24 May, 1999.

The Beirut meeting was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and focused on three areas of UN work: Peace and Security, Economic and Social development, and Human Rights and good governance. About 70 leaders and representatives of civil society from the ESCWA member states were invited. Farouk Mawlawi represented World Information Transfer and spoke on the relationship between NGOs and the UN. Following is a brief account of the conclusion:

A synchronistic relationship exists between all the above areas, as peace and security are unattainable in the absence of human rights and economic development. There should be no selectivity in implementing UN Security Council resolutions. This tendency in recent times has weakened the UN and caused it to lose confidence and support. There was agreement that the UN should be strengthened and enabled to assist the people of developing countries in solving their economic and social problems. The ESCWA region and especially its civil society should pay more attention and cooperate with the UN, which is to their benefit. Democracy, good governance and human rights are poorly observed in the ESCWA region. Some speakers felt that we have gone back rather than advanced in these areas. Several speakers, not all women, called for giving equal rights to women and involving them in decision-making. Conflicting views were expressed on the need to increase the membership of the Security Council, as long as the power of the veto remains. Simple majority should suffice when voting in issues relating to human rights. There is need for education on human rights.

ESCWA was asked to expand cooperation with member states and to provide needed studies and information relevant to economic and social development. A number of experts addressed the question of the need to join WTO and addressed pros and cons of the matter.

There was unanimous calls on member states and the UN to seek the views and participation of civil society in all matters. The Hearings are followed by the annual intergovernmental session which, this year, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of ESCWA.



WIT is a non-profit, international, nongovernmental organization, in consultative status with the United Nations, dedicated to forging understanding of the relationship between health and environment among opinion leaders and concerned citizens around the world. You can help us with your letters, your time, and/or your donations.

World Information Transfer

A Non-Profit, Non-Governmental Organization in Consultative Status with the United Nations, Promoting Health and Environment Literacy.

Board of Directors

Dr. Christine K. Durbak, Chair
Farouk Mawlawi, Executive Vice Chair
Roland A. DeSilva, Vice Chair
Dr. Claudia Strauss, Secretary
Carolyn Comitta, Treasurer
Dr. Shahram Ayazi
Dr. Bernard D. Goldstein
Amb. Nina Kovalska
Dr. Philip J. Landrigan
Dr. Titus Podea
Dr. Scott Ratzan
Amb. Yuri Shcherbak
Dr. Alex Swistel
Dr. Luz Maritza Tennassee
Jay Walker


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