Dear Members, Friends and Visitors,
Those three first months of 2006 were months of intensive internal work in order to translate the directions approved by the General Assembly last December into a concrete program and calendar for our activities according to WFO's new Strategic Framework 2006 -2009.
The newly elected Executive Board members in this period had the mission to conclude detailed strategies to prepare the WFO Regional and National Structures to develop their duties at the Regional and National Levels, directing a strong component towards the Local Level.
We start our reflections at three important meetings.
The Brazilian Government, in partnership with the United Nations Informal Regional Network, the International Association of Economic and Social Council and Similar Institutions (AICESIS) and WFO Latin America Region held an Expert Round Table on the development of new academic programs, pedagogical tools and educational software, for promoting the advancement and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, according to the directions of the Millennium Project and the WFO Practical Plan of Action approved in Aracaju.
In Europe the Austrian Government who is presently presiding the European Union held a Conference in Vienna promoted by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Security and Consumer Protection, which was a very good opportunity to exchange with Ministers and High Level Government representatives for Family issues at the European Union. We were able to consolidate the common understanding of the European Members on the essential programs, projects and activities to be developed by WFO in multilateral partnership with the European Union as well as bilaterally with each Government.
In specific conferences in Tunis (Tunisia), Tripoli (Libya) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates) WFO Arab Region and WFO African Region members had the opportunity to meet and reflect together the reorganization demanded in the Regions in order to respond to the new challenges comprehended in the Strategic Framework 2006-2009.
With those Regional inputs consolidated the Executive Board Secretariat (held on February), followed by an Executive Board Ordinary Session on March 28, was able to fulfill its first duty, to finalize the policies to be followed in this mandate.
Once those missions were accomplished, our next step was to bring the results to the United Nations level (Preparatory Meeting held on April 4-5, New York), in order to prepare our comprehensive participation at policy coordination and program implementation at the Global level.
Although this work demanded a lot of time, letting our Members, Friends and Visitors without updated feedback, we are happy to announce that we are now opening an exchange channel, which will be active until the end of June, when the final results will be presented at the High Level Segment of ECOSOC, validating the Aracaju Practical Plan of Action 2006-2015 to be executed.
Two important partnership agreements were signed at the 5th Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, held in Valencia. One with the UNDP Hub for Innovative Partnerships to promote the MDGs at the Local Level through the GOLD/ART Program, and another with the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, to strengthen our work towards Municipalities, specially in the African Region.
Recently, another important alliance was concretized between the UNDP Hub for Innovative Partnerships representing Governments, UN-NGO-IRENE representing NGOs and WFO representing Families, to promote the MDGs at the Local Level and the partnership between Local Authorities, Local NGOs and Families.
In order to start the implementation of the Sanya Declaration and the Aracaju Practical Plan of Action 2006-2015, the approach chosen was to work each one of the MDGs combined with the MDG 8, considering the International Agreements and applying this to the Local Level. Therefore, we are starting with the MDG 1 (Eradicate the Extreme Poverty and Hunger) and 8 (Develop a Global Partnership for Development).
“Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development” will be theme of the High Level Segment of ECOSOC to be held in Geneva from June 28 to July 4. As you can see in the title of this text, we are applying the proposed concepts to the local level and the Family.
To reduce poverty, the promotion of "family-focused" social policies is imperative. We need to create a new cycle of opportunities targeting the consolidation of public policies, human rights, partnership with social institutions and market solutions. The only way to balance family needs is to create a sustainable and enabling environment to allow people to earn a decent living.
This concept is strongly supported by the International Labour Organization in their excellent strategy described as "Decent Work".
In the next few weeks we will present and discuss in this space the concepts of this strategy and the ways that WFO will approach its activities towards the implementation of the MDGs by strengthening family-focused policies at the Local Level.
Our website is being completely reconstructed. We would like to ask for a little patience from our Members, Friends and Visitors while the changes are in process, responding to the new challenges of this mandate and Strategic Framework 2006-2009.
I would like to invite you to meet our newly elected Executive Board Members for the Mandate 2006-2009 (LINK) and to join us in the challenge embraced by WFO: to promote and implement the Millennium Development Goals at the Local Level and in the Family.
Local Authorities and Families, the Perfect Combination!