UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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“NGOs, Governance and Development in Latin America”

 Montevideo, Uruguay, 28-30 November 2001

organized by



UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee

Declared of Ministerial Interest by the Ministry of Education of Uruguay

Declared of Municipal Interest by the Municipality of Montevideo

(This paper is also available in portugues and in spanish)

Please also read the recently published MOST Discussion Paper No. 53 "ONGs, Gobernancia y Desarrollo en América Latina y el Caribe".

  1. Introduction and Antecedents
  2. Objectives
  3. Submission of summary proposals for Thematic Workshops
  4. Indicative Thematic Listing
  5. Submission of Summary Proposals
  6. Timetable
  7. Selection Criteria
  8. Requirements
  9. Organizing entities
  10. Contact information

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I) Presentation

Introduction and Antecedents.

UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee, jointly with UNESCO-Paris MOST Programme, is organizing the Regional Seminar NGOs, Governance and Development in Latin America, to be held in Montevideo (Uruguay), from 28 to 30 November 2001.

Thematic justification of the Seminar lies on the growing importance UNESCO and MOST Programme are drawing to new government management modalities of societies and to the role of NGOs within such processes. Furthermore, common goals will be shared by UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee and UNESCO National Commission to Uruguay (official body sponsoring this initiative).

This regional Seminar, will cover Latin America and the Caribbean. Its immediate precedent is the Seminar NGOs and Governance in the Arab Countries (Cairo, Egypt, 29-31 March 2000), also organized in the framework of MOST Programme. As a result of said Seminar, the Research Network-Action on Democratic Governance in Arab Countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon) was created. Furthermore, in January 2001, the International Seminar World Democracy and Governance in the XXI Century, was held in Porto Alegre, during the World Social Forum.

NGOs play a major role within this framework. According to Sources Magazine (issue 124 of June 2000), a UNESCO monthly publication: "Formerly left aside, NGOs have turned into an actual force to be seriously taken into account and, vis-à-vis UNESCO, into indispensable partners in the achievement of its goals".

The Regional Seminar will gather remarkable Experts, Researchers and Organization Representatives of the region, as well as special guesses, from Europe and Africa, who, specialised in this subject in other regions of the world, will present their useful experiences.

Throughout multiple instances for experience exchange and analysis, wider participation of the different countries of the continent will be sought. Working modalities foreseen include Conferences, Expert Panels, and Thematic Workshops for discussion.


The Seminar proposes to generate a forum for debate and reflection on NGOs and their links to Governance and Development in Latin America. Different approaches will be put forward on the problem of improving articulation of actors involved, and possible alternatives to it.

Despite the academic nature of the Seminar, participation of actors directly involved in social practice and action will be a substantive component. In this sense, the Seminar will also be seen as a forum for dialog between academic and other actors involved in the Governance and Development processes of the region. The participation of Co-operation Organizations and United Nations Agencies will provide particular elements to the fostering of Development platforms within the Globalisation and Governance arena.

A Basic Document especially elaborated by UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison will provide the event with a conceptual framework.

Publication of the lectures and outcomes of the Seminar is foreseen. Prior to the event, MOST Programme will edit a "MOST Document for Debate" on the work elaborated by UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee as the Basic Document to the Seminar. This document will be available for consultation in the MOST Programme (www.unesco.org/most ) and the Seminar (http://www.unesco.org.uy/most/seminario/ongs-gobernancia ) websites.

II) Submission of summary proposals for Thematic Workshops

Researchers, planners, government advisors and high officers, NGO project managers,  NGO actors as well as international organization officers and consultants are invited to submit their proposals in order to take part in the Seminar Workshops. Proposals are to be submitted in abstract format, videotapes or through any other innovative clear modality.

Contributions are expected within the following categories:

a)      Analytic-descriptive field work experiences by NGOs in Latin America and the Caribbean that present and discuss political strategies used in their link to civil society, on the one side, and to community leaders and governments, municipal, state or private institutions, on the other side. Priority will be given to innovative experiences presenting creative articulating modalities with decision making instances, having evaluated outcomes in relation to an improvement in governance.

Lectures shall, for instance, put the following into question: How does the NGO process its revision of objectives and modalities of action? Which priorities define its workplan within its context of action? Which structural adjustments and innovations have been undertaken to improve its viability and funding? How has it redefined its links to other social sectors and development actors (the State, the private sector, international co-operation and other organizations)?

b)      Works that, from the Social Sciences approach, develop theoretical elements and interpretative frameworks of average scope that suggest intervention models to NGOs aiming at advancing economic, cultural, social and political democratisation in Latin America and the Caribbean, and improving the efficiency and transparency of governances.

Lectures shall, for instance, discuss the following problems in relation to NGOs working strategies:

  1. Advances in social and political democratisation processes and NGOs field work strategies, in the context of  State transformations and reforms (taking into account problems such as poverty, exclusion, unemployment, fight for Human Rights enforcement and emergency of new social trends, ethnic and gender identities, religious transformations, emergency of autocratic leaderships, the implication of political classes in government corruption, among other related ones).
  2. New definition of Latin American modernity, proposal of new development modalities in relation to institutions, powers, actors and situations left by authoritarian regimes or issued from weak democracies, and NGOs articulation strategies with sectors involved in processes for the building-up of solid, participative and transparent political democracies

c)      Works which, issued from the environment of Public Actors, Managers or Officers responsible for Programme or Project direction and management, present innovative experiences, relevant to social transformation and participation.

Contributions to be submitted are expected to specially take the following components into account:

Relationship between the NGOs and the different actors (the State, Development Banks, the UN, the private sector, local associations, unions, etc.). On this particular subject, the Basic Document (J. Balbis, CLAEH, CNE, MOST Uruguay) calls for reflection on "what specific contribution can NGOs make to the development and democratisation of societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. This, necessarily supposes to bare in mind a wide range of still-unanswered questions on these organizations, such as for instance: how do these organizations process the revision of their objectives and modalities of action?; Which priorities define their agendas and expected results in relation to their context of action? Which structural adjustments and innovations have been undertaken to improve their financial viability and institutional strength? How have they redefined their links to other social sectors and development actors: the State, the private sector, international co-operation and multilateral funding organizations? Which new consensus and articulations are arising among them, and/or with Northern peers, in order to increase the operative capacity and scope of their activities?" (BD, pag. 3).

à        MOST and UNESCO priority subjects for the region: Education, Human Rights, Democracy, Poverty Eradication, strengthening of endogenous capacity.

à        An essentially Latin American and Caribbean perspective

Indicative Thematic Listing.

NGOs and Development in LAC - Room A

à        NGOs and Solidarity Economy.
à        NGOs and Development of Ethics.
à        Building back the public space.
à        NGOs and Local Development.
à        Urban Governance and decentralization: NGOs and other (public and private) local actors.
à        NGOs, Development and Social Services.
à        Education NGOs in Latin America.
à        Security and Development: reality and conception transformations. Contribution by the civil society.


NGOs, Democratisation and Human Rights in LAC - Room B

à        NGOs and the State. New relating modalities.
à        NGOs and Advocacy. Mission, responsibility and action: Before and after the Summits?
à        NGOs and Human Rights, Ethics and Transparency.
à        Equity and Gender in the democratisation process
à        NGOs, violence and criminality.
à        Political action: Parties, Fronts, Political Movements and NGOs.

NGOs: Transformations and Diversity. New modalities, new missions, new challenges. – Room C

à        NGOs in a global world. Networks, co-operation and synergy.
à        NGOs in the Information and Knowledge Society. New technologies for social change.
à        Perspectives in relation to Multilateral Banking; regional integration processes and follow-up to International Summit.
à        Dilemmas on International Co-operation.
à        NGOs sustainability and institutional strengthening.

Submission of Summary Proposals.

q       Summaries must not exceed 500 words (approximately one page). They must include: title, name of the author/s, institution of origin, address, telephone number, electronic mail, Web page (if suitable), summary proposal to be presented, technological support required (if suitable).

q       Document format must be as follows: Times New Roman font, size 12; line spacing 1,5; page size A4

q       To be sent by electronic mail to seminario-most@unesco.org.uy indicating the name of the author in the subject, not later than 15 de September 2001.

q       Languages to be used are: Spanish or Portuguese (preferably) and, alternatively, English or French.

q       Proposals are to be submitted in abstract format, videotapes or through any other innovative clear modality.


·         15th September: Deadline for Summary Proposal submission.

·         1st October: Contact with authors on approval of Summaries.

·         31st October: Deadline for selected lecture submission.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by the Selection Committee of the Seminar, on the basis of the following criteria:

§         Clearness in the exposition.

§         Coherence with the objectives of the Seminar (pertinence and relevance of questions concerned).

§         Internal coherence (relation of proposal with theoretical and methodological references made, showing knowledge of pertinent bibliography).

§         Solid back up of conclusions.

§         Originality.

§         Systematizing of results.

§         Viability of aspects proposed.

§         Consideration of the intercultural dimension.

Except for cases within the Young Researchers category, acceptance of Proposals does not imply funding to their authors.

The Selection Committee will be formed by academicians appointed by UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee, in accordance with UNESCO MOST Programme Secretariat. Its members: Mrs Teresa Porzecanski (Universidad de la República, Uruguay), Mrs Ana Laura Rivoir (Universidad Católica del Uruguay), Mr Jorge Papadópolus (Universidad ORT-Uruguay), Mr Jorge Balbis (CLAEH).

Results of the evaluation of proposals will be informed by the Seminar's Executive Secretariat on the 1st October 2001.

Category: Young Researchers.

The Seminar will draw special attention to contributions by applicant Young Researchers whose proposals are to be included in the Workshop Programme. A special budgetary allotment will be allocated to cover transportation and hotel expenses of authors of leading proposals in this category (up to ten within the limits of the allocated budget), according the Selection Committee.

Category requirements:

q       To be younger than 35 years old the date of proposal presentation.

q       To be a citizen of a developing country, member to the United Nations (see list in annex)

q       To be M.Sc. or Ph.D., with Final Thesis started the date of proposal presentation.

q       Enclose common data to the rest of applicants, i.e. the following documents:

ü      Ph.D. studies University.

ü      Field or area concerned.

ü      Name of ongoing Thesis.

ü      Research Director or Thesis Tutor.

q       Proposals to be presented must be consistent with the subject of the ongoing Thesis.

q       Summary proposals and, subsequently, the final lecture must include the following elements:

ü      Problem description and justification of analysis, including scientific and methodological context;

ü      Main questions raised;

ü      Clear reference to new and creative items of the proposal.

q       Proposals within this category will be evaluated according to general selection criteria, to which the following ones should be added:

ü      Political relevance: the proposal contents must clearly relate to public policy formulation.

ü      Methodology and multiculturalism: special attention will be drawn to discussion on concepts and terminology. In view of MOST comparative and international nature, candidates are to reflect understanding of cultural, social, ethnic, linguistic and other type of local terms and concepts.

ü      Ethics: the candidate must formulate its proposal in accordance with ethic lines involved in his/her work and adhere to MOST Programme basic principles on the subject (http://www.unesco.org/most/ethical.htm ).

Organizing entities:


The creation of the MOST (Management of Social Transformations) Programme was proposed by the Social and Human Sciences Sector of UNESCO, to promote international comparative research applied to Social Sciences.

MOST Programme was officially created in November 1993 and started to operate in January 1994. It involves research groups and networks from different countries of the international community. Information obtained by MOST projects is presented in a way that results be understandable and useful to decision-makers and specialists from other fields.

The Programme's main feature is to link high quality independent research with political decision-makers.

UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee

In 1999, under the sponsorship of the Uruguayan National Commission for UNESCO and the Regional Office of Science and Technology of UNESCO-Montevideo, the UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee was created, to achieve the general objectives of MOST Programme and to foster its own activities in accordance with Uruguay's Social Sciences particularities.

UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee is formed by higher education academic entities in the field of Social and Human Sciences, international and regional organizations. Its members: the Faculty of Social Sciences (Universidad de la República); Faculty of Social Sciences and Communication (Universidad Católica); Faculty of Business Administration and Social Sciences (Universidad ORT-Uruguay); United Nations University for Peace; UNESCO Centre Montevideo; CLAE (Centro Latinoamericano de Economía Humana); CALEN (Centro de Altos Estudios Nacionales, Ministry of Defence); CEFIR (Centro de Formación en Integración Regional); MERCOSUR Network of Economic Research. UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee counts on the representation of UNESCO-Montevideo ROSTLAC, through its Social and Human Sciences specialist.

Steering Committee.

  • Eduardo Ballón
    (ALOP - Asociación Latinoamericana de Organizaciones de Promoción).
  • Enrique Saavedra
    (ANONG - Asociación Nacional de ONGs Orientadas al Desarrollo - Uruguay).
  • Leilah Landim
    (Universidad Federal de Río de Janeiro, Brasil).
  • Teresa Porzecanski
    (Universidad de la República, Uruguay).
  • Luis Carrizo
    UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee. (Univ. Católica del Uruguay)
  • Manuel Bernales
    UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee. (UNESCO/ROSTLAC Office, Montevideo).
  • Carlos S. Milani
    MOST Programme Secretary (UNESCO-París)

Contact information:

Additional information will be provided by the Executive Secretariat to the UNESCO Regional Seminar "NGOs, Governance and Development in Latin America".

E-Mail:    seminario-most@unesco.org.uy            

Website:  http://www.unesco.org.uy/most/seminario/ongs-gobernancia

UNESCO-Uruguay MOST National Liaison Committee Secretariat:

Executive Secretary: Luis Carrizo: Lcarr@adinet.com.uy

Deputy Secretary: Manuel Bernales: mbernales@unesco.org.uy

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