Communique of the First General Conference of NGOs [Archives:1998/25/Law & Diplomacy]

June 22 1998

628 Yemeni associations and other voluntary organizations from all governorates of the republic and several international NGOs and officials of donors countries came to Sanaa and met during 16-18 June 1998 in the First General Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations, and discussed ways and means to activate and strengthen this sector. They held five plenary sessions and nine brainstorming workshops, in addition to a number of side meetings which were carried out in a responsible and democratic way.
This endeavor was financed through generous non-conditional contributions, as follows:
a) The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) = US$ 14,000
b) The Government of Denmark = US$ 10,600
c) UNDP = US$ 5,000
d) The Charity of the Hayel Saeed Group of Companies & Associates = US$ 3,800
e) Habbari Group of Companies = US$ 3,050
Total = US$ 36,450 or YR 4,811,400.
The Conference takes this opportunity to thank the above sponsors. It would also like to thank the Yemen Times, the People’s Welfare Association, and the Hadhramaut Social Welfare Association for their in-kind contributions and assistance, and for hosting the activities of the Preparatory Committee of the conference.
At the end of the conference, the associations decided as follows:
1) In the future and for the purposes of clarity of definition in Arabic, the term NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) shall be replaced with the term Associations and Private Voluntary Organizations (A&PVO).
2) The Conference re-affirms the important developmental role of A&PVO in supporting and complementing the role of the state and the private sector. Even then, the role of the A&PVO shall grow and develop independently of the control and direction of the official authorities and the political parties, in order to serve the national interests of Yemen.
3) The conference praises the efforts of the Yemeni government towards issuing a new law for A&PVOs, and followed such efforts with gratitude. The conference also appreciates the draft of the law approved by the National Conference of NGOs held during6-8/6/1998.
After much discussion, the conference established a sub-committee to incorporate the feedback of the A&PVOs in the draft of the law. The conference which has sent the feedbacks to the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Legal Committee of Parliament, calls on them to take the same into account when re-drafting the NGO law.
4) The Conference approved the establishment of an information network, whose responsibilities include:
– To produce a directory of Yemeni NGOs including their addresses, activities, etc.
– To promote cooperation among Yemeni A&PVOs.
– To provide information for Yemeni A&PVOs that would help them in their work.
– To provide information on potential funding for activities of Yemeni A&PVOs.
– To seek more cooperation among Yemeni and foreign A&PVOs working in the same fields.
The Information Network does not have any right to interfere in the activities or administration of member A&PVOs.
5) The A&PVOs participating in the conference agreed among themselves, and in cooperation with the respective government offices and the professional accounting houses, to develop an accounting system that provides full transparency and accountability.
6) The conference calls on the Ministry of Information to consider waiver of fees for announcements in the official media pertaining to call to meetings of A&PVOs and their boards. The conference also calls on all media to contribute in raising public awareness in the role of A&PVOs.
7) The conference calls on the Ministry of Social Affairs to use the A&PVOs in its social development and social care programs, as well as in its efforts to combat poverty. They also call on the Ministry to increase its allocations for vulnerable groups, and to effect its distribution in an equitable way.
8) The conference calls on A&PVOs to coordinate their efforts in order to benefit in an optimal way from government allocations in implementing their service projects.
9) The conference calls on A&PVOs to concentrate on productive (income-generating) projects to achieve sustainable development and self-sufficiency.
10) The conference approves the formation of a committee to implement the conclusions and recommendations of this conference. The formation of such committee shall take into consideration the efficiency, activities and regional distribution of A&PVOs.
The committee shall receive suggestions from all members, and shall finalize a proposal before the end of September 1998, and it is authorized to take all measures to do its job.
11)The conference approved holding the Second General Conference of Associations and Private Voluntary Organizations in two years time.
12) The A&PVOs hereby send a cable of thank you to His Excellency President Ali Abdullah Saleh for his patronage of their conference.