[Dateline: Mexico City | Author: DPI/UNIC Mexico]
Close to 250 nongovernmental organizations (NGO) representatives from around Mexico participated on 12 March in a workshop on NGO association with the Department of Public Information (DPI), organized by the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Mexico City in coordination with the NGO Liaison Office of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In addition, some 100 online participants from distant parts of Mexico and from across Latin America took part in the event online, thanks to the support of the National Autonomous University of Mexico which hosted the webcast.
The event was divided in two parts, to meet the more general interest of the regional and Mexican participants, and also to address more specifically the concerns of the potential new formal DPI partners from around Mexico. Likewise, several UNICs in the region used the third hour of the event to brief the interested NGOs on the association process from their national perspective, with others to do it in the coming days and weeks.
The workshop is part of the efforts of the Department and of UNIC Mexico City to interest a greater number of NGOs in Mexico and in the region in association with the Department, also as part of the preparations for the 62nd Annual DPI - NGO Conference, hosted by the Government of Mexico and scheduled to take place in Mexico City from 9 to 11 September 2009, to address the broad subject of disarmament and international peace.
Out of over 1,700 NGOs associated with the Department, only 15 are from Mexico and fewer than 200 from Latin America and the Caribbean.
In the first part of the workshop, the UNIC Director, the President of the 62nd Conference, Mr. Charles Hitchcock, the Director General of the Ministry's NGO office, as well as María Luisa Chávez, Chief of DPI NGO Relations briefed the participants by videoconference on the process and on the September Conference, while a representative of Tendiendo Puentes, a Mexican NGO recently associated with DPI, provided a personal account of her organization's experience in working with the United Nations and being part of the network.
The session was followed by an extended Q&A period, with online participants being able to ask questions in real time, through a "chat" forum.
In the second part of the workshop, UN Resident Coordinator, Magdy Martínez-Soliman and a representative of the NGO Liaison Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefed the participants on the work of UNCT (UN Country Team) Mexico with civil society and on the September Conference, respectively.
Sign language interpretation of the whole event and English/Spanish interpretation of parts of the proceedings were provided live. The proceedings of the workshop, as well as all the application forms and other reference materials have been posted on the web site of UNIC Mexico City.
To accommodate the unprecendented interest in the process, UNIC Mexico City has scheduled a follow-up workshop for 26 March 2009.