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Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens
22 July 2011

Commit. Encourage. Volunteer.

That’s the tagline for the world’s biggest annual conference for the NGO community, which in 2011 fits right in with the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers.

Themed ‘Sustainable Societies, Responsive Citizens’, the meeting from 3-5 September is set to gather more than 1,000 NGOs to discuss the role of civic engagement in sustainable development. It is an ideal opportunity to connect the dots between civil society and the sustainable development agenda, and the final conference declaration could even become a key document for the high-profile ‘Rio+20’ conference in 2012. It will also influence December’s sessions on volunteerism at the United Nations General Assembly.

Organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information in cooperation with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme, the German Government and the City of Bonn, this is the 64th such conference in UN history, and only the fourth to be based outside New York.

“This Conference is tailor-made for Bonn,” said the city’s Mayor, Juergen Nimpstch. “Men and women who are actively engaging in civil society processes, contributing with their own commitments, will meet in the international City of Bonn. We are very excited to meet active citizens and to promote a platform for new initiatives and innovative networks.”

As a framework for numerous workshops proposed by NGOs, there will be four roundtable sessions aiming to connect the dots between volunteering and sustainable development (see box for details)

Speakers at the event should include: eco-activist and philosopher Vandana Shiva; Member of the European Parliament Marian Harkin; and the head of the United Nations Environment Programme Achim Steiner.

At the time of writing, more than 1,000 individuals has already registered. Registration is open until 16 August: see www.un.org/wcm/content/site/ngoconference/ and www.ngo-un-conference-blog.org
for more details!