Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Third FfD Conference: Initial information on all you need to know to participate!

This post aims to address a wide range of organizational issues related the Third FfD Conference (http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/) and the CSO Forum. In particular, it will cover the following issues:

1. Accreditation to FfD
2. Registration for Third FfD Conference
3. CSO Forum, related registration and financial issues
4. VISA, travel arrangements and logistics in Addis
5. Official programme and CSO participation slots

Please note that this information is based of today’s best knowledge (May 22) and there remain several moving parts. The Addis Ababa CSO COordinating Group (ACG) will promptly be posting updated information whenever changes unfold (to contact the ACG please write to addiscoordinatinggroup@gmail.com)

If you are interested to engage in the civil society FfD process, you are invited to JOIN THE CSO FfD GROUP by visiting the following google groups address and submit the request to join:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/global-social-economy

Please indicate the name of the organization and the title within the organization. Processing of requests can take 3-5 days.

1. Accreditation to FfD
Should your organization maintain ECOSOC or FFD status, no further accreditation is required (you can jump to the next item). Should you have any doubt, please check the status of your organization by using the link below. Should your organization require accreditation, please visit the following link and complete the necessary procedure as soon as possible and no later than May 31:

http://www.unngls.org/index.php/ffd3-conference/ffd3-accreditation

The process seems to be a bit onerous. The reason for this is that FfD accreditation needs to be granted by the UN General Assembly and follows the same documentation requirement than ECOSOC Status. This means that the list is compiled for Member State review (two-week process) and then deliberated upon in the form of a GA Resolution. Accreditation is then “for life” as it will allow to participate in any FfD-related meetings in the future without further accreditation procedures. It is therefore an interesting window for all those organizations that intend to follow FfD in the future, beyond the simple attendance to the Addis Conference.

Regarding the documentation required, one does not have to get too scared by the requirements. The most important documents are related to the constitution (or equivalent document), the local registration or whatever “proof of existence” if registration does not exist, and the formal letter of the organization requesting the status. The financial report does not need to be audited but rather a simple summary of the organization’s most recent budget/accounts. If no annual report is produced, one can patchwork some simple reports of recent activities. We do not want to downplay all this but we have been assured that those reviewing applications understand the challenges some may face in strictly fulfilling the documentation requirements.

2. Registration for Third FfD Conference
Registration for the Addis Conference will soon be open. The ACG will be sharing the link as soon as available. Please note that registration for the CSO Forum is separate and will open on this same website (as described below) on May 25.

While accreditation is institutional, registration to FFD3 is individual and needs to be completed by each individual participant. The final deadline (still unconfirmed) is June 23.

Registration will be fairly simple and straight-forward, though each participants will need to attach an official letter from the organization in the name of which s/he is registering that confirms s/he is an official delegate from that organization. The letter may acknowledge a single participant or list a full delegation of the organization (so you would need just a single letter and a copy of it attached to the registration forms of all those named as members of the delegation). Once registration is completed, an official letter will be issued by FFDO/NGLS (on a weekly basis) confirming registration to the Third FfD Conference in order for it to be used for VISA Purposes, if necessary.

PLEASE NOTE! As organisations applying for accreditation are expected to hear about their accreditation very shortly before the Conference, they may not be able to register and get the official letter in time for visa applications etc. Many Organisations with ECOSOC/FFD accreditation have indicated that they are willing to include colleagues from organisations who are non-accredited/whose accreditation is still pending in their delegations. If you are not accredited/in the accreditation process and have not yet found an organisation who can add you to their delegation, please contact the ACG and we will facilitate your inclusion in another delegation. When you are completing the registration as part of another organization’s delegation, you will need to exclusively refer to that organization in the registration form.

3. CSO Forum, related registration and financial issues
The CSO Forum will take place in Addis Ababa on July 11-12. Participants are invited to arrive on July 10. More information on venue and the programme will be sent to you as soon as possible. The ACG is working hard to secure financial resources that would cover the cost of the Forum and enable the participation of organisations for whom financial resources will be an obstacle to participate in the Forum. In the extreme event that we are unable to secure sufficient financial support from donors, we may consider setting a “progressive” participation fee to be applied to different categories of organizations to cover the costs of organising the forum.

Needless to say, we welcome any voluntary financial contributions from organisations to the general budget that has been drawn up or offers of assistance to approach official donors to support the organisation of the CSO Forum and participation of organisations financial resources will be an obstacle to participate in the Forum. We will also continue pressing for financial assistance for CSO participation from the UN Trust Fund. Unfortunately pressure so far has yielded little result.

A CSO Forum Working Group has been set up to define the programme of the CSO Forum. The broad objectives of the CSO Forum will be to inform (on the state of play of the official process, organisation of CSO coordination during the Conference, etc.), to reach a consensus on the CSO Forum Declaration and other CSO messages (during Round Tables, etc.), to strategize (maximising our advocacy impact at the Conference s) and to plan future CSO engagement on FFD after the Conference. We intend to invite externals (Co-facilitators, Member States and institutions) as appropriate for particular sessions. A proposed draft programme will soon be shared for feedback and suggestions by the CSO FfD Group.

Registration for the CSO Forum will be separate from the Official Conference and will take place on this webspace starting on May 25. Please do register as early as possible as this will greatly help with the logistics and other organisational issues. Registration for the CSO Forum will include a section of funding requirements (see below).

4. VISA, travel arrangements and logistics in Addis
The ACG will attempt to provide a comprehensive information on VISA applications as soon as possible. However, we strongly encourage that participants explore this individually as soon as possible with the local Embassies, wherever possible. While the letter of confirmation after registration might be helpful, we would suggest to initiate the process as soon as possible.

We also encourage to firm-up travel plans as soon as possible as flights are limited and will soon be fully booked. As hotels in convenient locations are being rapidly booked by the Government, the UN and Governmental delegations, it will be impossible for us to make a block bookings for CSOs in a single hotel or help with finding hotel rooms. If you have not yet done so, please proceed to find accommodation immediately. Please find attached an information booklet from the African Union that provides information on available hotels, though you should also use the usual web-based booking services (though these tend to target the larger hotels and leave out the smaller ones, which you may need to target individually):

Addis Ababa_Hotel information booklet

5. Official programme and CSO participation slots

The Conference will take place at the premises of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The programme (please find below the provisional timetable and the GA Resolution on the Addis Modalities) is based on 8 blocks or half-day sessions:

Draft GA res_Further modalities FFD Conference_A.69.L.62

FFD3 Provisional Timetable

With the exception of the opening and closing plenaries, the remaining 6 half-days feature three parallel tracks running at the same time: plenary, main committee in case negotiations will not be concluded in Addis, and roundtable.

The plenary will be open to CSO attendance, though there could be an overflow room in case the number of participants exceeds the capacity of the room. One CSO speaker will address the plenary at the beginning of the first day’s afternoon session, before MS begin their statements, to present to the outcomes of the CSO Forum. We have pressed for more speaking spaces than this one but this may be very difficult to get. Each roundtable (only one happening in each agenda block) will allow up to six civil society representatives with speaking rights plus an equivalent number of representatives that can attend with no speaking rights. The “up-to-six” language means that the actual number is not yet secured. Each roundtable will also include two Co-Chairs, a moderator and up to four panellists. As we are required to provide a list of those with speaking/attendance rights, we will circulate on around more information shortly on how you can apply for such slots and the criteria and short-listing process to reach the final set of names. As mentioned above, there will be space foreseen in the CSO forum to discuss the actual content of CSO interventions during the round-tables.

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