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Fri, 28 Feb, 2014 12:15:04 AM
World NGO Day Forum 2014 in Helsinki
FTimes Report by Jasim Sarker, February 28
 
International Development Minister Pekka Haavisto is seen to speak in the opening session of World NGO Day 2014 Forum in Helsinki on Thursday. FTimes Photo by Iqbal Hossain.
International Development Minister Pekka Haavisto on Thursday urged the non-government organisations (NGOs) to ensure effective and quality services for achieving sustainable development goals for creating a better world.
 
The minister made the remarks while speaking as the chief guest in the opening ceremony of World NGO Day 2014 Forum at Scandic Marina Congress Center in Helsinki.
 
Pekka Haavisto said the NGOs had been playing a vital role for global development including education, human rights, democracy, environment and sustainable development programmes. 
 
FTimes Photo.
He said the experience of the education sector of Tanzania, environmental activism and freedom of speech in Turkmenistan and human rights scenario in Pakistan and urged the NGOs to act to ensure people’s right to freedom of speech.
 
The minister also said 13% fund of the total development budget of Finland was being channeled through the domestic NGOs for different development initiatives which is approximately €100m. 
 
He pointed out that the development ministry was interested in funding the international NGOs programs to achieve post-2015 Millennium Development Goals. 
 
Haavisto also pointed out that the success of the Finnish NGOs including the development cooperation in the African countries and pledged continuous support from the ministry. 
 
Jan Mattsson, Executive Director, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is addressing on the occasion.FTimes Photo by Iqbal Hossain.
United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) Executive Director Jan Mattsson said development actors and organisations’ main challenge was using the funds effectively and the issues of sustainability, financial management, transparency and accountability should be ensured. 
 
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark, also former prime minister of New Zealand, in her video speech pointed out the development agenda around the world and emphasised on better cooperation with the NGOs and civil society for overcoming the development challenges. 
 
UNESCO Assistant Director General Eric Falt and European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs also spoke on the occasion. 
 
The initiator and Board Member of World NGO Day Marcis L Skadmanis in his welcome speech said deeper cooperation and wider experience among the non-government organisations would usher a new relationship for sustainable development. 
 
Pannel discussion in the programme.FTimes Photo.
The World NGO Day 2014 Forum focusing on “Universal Education – NGOs and Private Enterprises”, “Health and Social Welfare”, “Children and Youth Empowerment - A Multi-Sectoral Approach” and “Society Empowerment via Gender Equality.”
 
Two panel discussion on Universal Education – “NGOs & Private Enterprises” and “Children & Youth Empowerment - A Multi-Sectoral Approach” and ‘Health and Social Welfare” were held on the first day of the two-day forum. 
 
Dr Leena Roivas, president of Business & Professional Women Finland, Inger Prebensen, managing director of Kolibri Kapital of Norway, and Matti Hokkanen, strategy director and deputy managing director of Finland’s Slot Machine Association shared their success stories. 
 
The forum is being organised by the World NGO Day Initiative, supported by European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, in recognition to the need for a new international calendar day dedicated to the NGOs, the important work they do locally, nationally and internationally, and all the individuals behind them worldwide. 
 
 
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