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7 Oct, 2011

UN Chief Cites ‘Often Inspiring’ Arab Spring In Message To Governance Forum

Oct 3 2011 (UN News) — A three-day United Nations-sponsored forum on democratic governance opened today in Oslo, Norway, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon citing the revolutions of the so-called Arab Spring in North Africa and the Middle East as “dramatic and often inspiring changes.”

“The issues you have come together to discuss are critical to supporting and underpinning the efforts of these movements as they strive to turn their aspirations and early achievements into a working, lasting reality,” he said in a message to the Oslo Governance Forum, organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), ActionAid, ACT Alliance, World Bank Institute and PRIA Global Partnership.

“Since the beginning of 2011, millions of people have participated in movements for democracy and better governance. Millions more have followed with intense interest as dramatic and often inspiring changes have been set in motion.”

The forum, bringing together over 250 practitioners, policy experts and leaders representing Government, civil society, academia and international organizations from more than 70 countries, will focus on a wide range of issues, from locally assessing governance to ensuring inclusive participation by a strong and active civil society, and from advancing accountability and combating corruption to managing natural resources.

“These questions are not only fundamental for the nascent democracies now struggling to take shape; they are crucial to societies farther along in their transition. These know the painstaking work required to keep moving forward. They have important experiences and lessons to share,” Mr. Ban said, stressing the role of participatory governance assessments and social accountability in strengthening democratic governance at the national and international level.

The Forum will discuss five thematic areas: governance of natural resources; strengthening public service delivery; the future in anti-corruption strategies; the role of governance assessment in political transformations; and youth and technology as forces for social accountability.