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NGO ACTIVITIES:

NOVIB, a Dutch development agency, is planning a series of intersessional meetings in Europe to stimulate the interest and participation of European NGOs in the WSSD preparatory process and to catalyze NGO lobbying efforts in Europe. NOVIB will also assist in the dissemination of WSSD information to its many Southern partners and help to ensure that NGO input is channelled to the Secretariat. For further information, contact NOVIB at: +31-70-3421-621.

The Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) is planning to help organize NGO advocacy work at the national level as well as helping to stimulate grassroots campaigns in many countries. WEDO's work will focus on the positive contributions that women have made in local communities around those issues being addressed by the WSSD. For further information, contact WEDO at: +1-212-759-7982.

Other possible intersessional NGO activities include: a regional NGO meeting in Tunis in early June before the OAU Ministerial meeting; an international NGO meeting in Finland in July in preparation for PrepCom II; and a series of meetings that may be organized by the International Council for Social Welfare.

By the end of this PrepCom, NGOs had agreed to defer discussion of a formal NGO Secretariat until PrepCom II. The idea was to establish a body that could facilitate NGO participation and inputs into the official process. After considerable discussion, it was felt that a formal body was not necessary, but those interested could organize themselves into a loose liaison group to undertake tasks necessary to facilitate their own participation. The possibility of a formal body may be considered the weekend after the first week of PrepCom II, if necessary.

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