The concept of the nine Major Groups comes from Agenda 21. As will be remembered, the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio in 1992 agreed to understand civil society in the context of sustainable development negotiations at the UN as the nine Major Groups.
Having made the decision to designate civil society into nine Major Groups, the outline and rationale was explained in detail in Chapter 23 of Agenda 21. The Major Groups as defined by Agenda 21 are:
The UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/68/211 recognizes the importance of the contributions and participation of all relevant stakeholders, including major groups, at the World Conference and its preparatory process. Major Groups can engage in discussions with UN entities and States in informal and formal spaces. A large number of organizations belonging to different Major Groups share their views in key aspects of disaster risk reduction, implement projects, distribute information, and coordinate official statements and position papers. This usually translates in statements made by representatives of Major Groups in the context of the official process as well as organization of side events and partnership initiatives during the Preparatory Committee and the Conference itself.
Regional Platforms are multi-stakeholder fora that reflect the commitment of governments to improve coordination and implementation of disaster risk reduction activities with all stakeholders while linking to international and national efforts. Regional Platforms provide a forum for all those engaged in disaster risk reduction to showcase practical applications for disaster risk reduction, exchange experience and develop joint statements, strategies and action plans, which guide decision makers and practitioners. The UN General Assembly (A/RES/68/211) stresses the importance of regional coordination in the framework of the preparatory process and recognizes role of the regional platforms for providing critical contribution to the consultation on the post-2015 framework for disaster risk reduction. In addition to the Governments, all major groups and other relevant stakeholders are invited to the Regional Platforms. For more information on Regional Platforms can be found here.
The next round of Regional Platforms will take place during the first half of 2014, before the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee, as follows:
Africa: 13-16 May, Abuja, Nigeria
Americas: 27-29 May, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Pacific: 2-4 June, Suva, Fiji
Arab States: 10-12, June Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt (TBC)
Asia-Pacific: 23-26, June Bangkok, Thailand
Europe: 8 July Milan, Italy and 6-8 October Madrid, Spain
Preparatory Committee Meetings
The General Assembly decided to establish an Open-ended Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee to review the organizational and substantive preparations for the Conference. The Preparatory Committee which will meet twice in Geneva, Switzerland, as follows:
It will also hold a meeting at Sendai, to be decided by the Preparatory Committee, as necessary.
Major Group representatives will be allocated a limited number of secondary passes to access the meeting room. Each Major Group will develop a process to allocate these passes. Organizing partners will manage the process to allocate these passes, coordinate statements and attend the sessions.
World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
A small, but representative, number of participants from Major Groups will be invited to address the plenary. The individual speakers will be identified through the Organising Partners of the Major Groups, in coordination with the Secretary of the Conference, through the Conference secretariat. Major Group representatives will be allocated a limited number of secondary passes to access the meeting room. Each Major Group is developing a process to allocate these passes. Others will be able to watch the deliberation from webcast and overflow rooms.
Major Groups can organize side events on topics related to the themes of the Conference and more broadly to Sustainable Development. Further information on side events will be provided.
Generally, side events are open to the public and attendants can usually ask questions or engage in discussions with representatives from other civil society organizations, governments or UN entities.
Informal bilateral meetings
In addition, different governments and groups of governments (such as the EU, G77, CANZ, etc.) may request informal meetings with representative from Major Groups.
Applications for side events, marketplace booths and poster exhibition in the Public Forum have closed.
Organizing Partners (OPs) support a fluid communication between the Bureau and Conference secretariat, as well as to facilitate its engagement in UN processes on disaster risk reduction.
Organizing Partners are selected among the constituencies of the each of the Major Groups sector and must fulfil the following criteria:
Tasks of the Organizing Partners include:
A list of Organizing Partners, and their contact details, is available here.
The participation of NGOs at the World Conference is open to everyone who has been accredited and registered. Nevertheless, due to limitations related to space availability and security issues, access will be restricted to some of the conference activities, namely the plenary and other high level segments, will be held during the Conference. Major Group Organizing Partners are facilitating an open process to assign the secondary passes needed to access the mentioned event.
A list of Organizing Partners, and their contact details, is available here.
Pre-registration for NGOs and other Major Groups to the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction is CLOSED.
Individuals from NGOs and other Major Groups who have not pre-registered are now unable to attend the World Conference, as on-site registration is unavailable for individuals who have not completed pre-registration.
When you registered you were issued a confirmation letter with a unique reference number. Please print that letter and bring to the registration desk at the Sendai International Centre with a valid photo ID or national passport.
If you do not already have this letter, you can print it by accessing CSO Net online events registration system (www.csonet.org).
Application for special accreditation will be accepted through 30 November.
Application requires submission of the following information:
Application should be submitted online to the Conference secretariat, which in consultation with United Nations Non-government Liaison Service and relevant others, as appropriate, will review the requirements including relevance of the work of the applications on the basis of their background and involvement in disaster risk reduction issues. If the evaluation shows, on the basis of the information provided, that the applicant organization is legitimate for the stated purposes and its activities relevant to the conference, the Conference secretariat will make recommendations to the Preparatory Committee meeting, for its endorsement on accreditation. In cases where such recommendation is not made, the Conference secretariat will make available to the Preparatory Committee meeting, the reasons for not doing so. The Conference secretariat will submit its recommendations on al request for accreditation to members. A non-governmental organization or other major groups that has been granted accreditation to attend the preparatory meeting(s) may attend the Conference itself. Such accreditation will be limited solely to the World Conference process.
Organizations not having the consultative status with ECOSOC and who wish to attend the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee in Geneva (14-15 July, 2014) may be registered under accredited NGOs. For more information, please contact the Organizing partner of your group. Further information and contact information of Organizing Partners can be found here.
If you are planning to attend the World Conference and its related preparatory meetings, you must pre-register online through an accredited organization in order to check-in at the Conference and receive a grounds pass.
Only accredited organizations can participate in the preparatory meetings.
The following formal preparatory events have been scheduled:
Consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is granted to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) upon recommendation of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, which is comprised of 19 UN Member States. After meeting certain criteria and demonstrating that their work is relevant to the aims and purposes of the UN, those NGOs acquire consultative status with ECOSOC, which entitles them to send representatives to attend intergovernmental meetings convened by ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). ECOSOC consultative status is also required for participating in meetings of the World Conference Preparatory Committee.
The list of organizations currently in consultation with ECOSOC can be found here.
It takes more than a year to get the consultative status with the ECOSOC. Information on applying for consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is available online here. You can also contact the UNDESA NGO Branch online here.
For more information on the non-accredited NGOs participation in the World Conference can be found here.
Unless you are affiliated with an accredited NGO (non-governmental organization) or IGO (inter-governmental organization), or you are part of a national government delegation, UN rules do not allow an individual to participate in official meetings in one’s own personal capacity.
The World Conference process adheres to the structure of Major Groups that was outlined in Agenda 21. Experts from the fields of science, technology and education must be affiliated with an accredited organization. You may query the database of accredited organizations online here. You may also wish to contact the Major Groups organizing partners for the Scientific and Technological Community or the Non-governmental Organizations sector.
The registration of municipal and regional authorities can be arranged under the auspices of an accredited non-governmental organization (through the local authorities Major Group organizing partners), or through a national delegation. Local Authorities organizing partners: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The registration of representatives from business and industry can be arranged through the business and industry major group under the auspices of a relevant non-governmental organization accredited in accordance with resolution 1996/31 governing the consultative relationship between the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. You may also wish to contact the Major Groups organizing partners for business and industry. Business and Industry organizing partner: email@example.com.
The World Conference process adheres to the structure of Major Groups that was outlined in Agenda 21. NGOs must be members of accredited organizations, or accredited in their own right. See questions 8 and 9 for further details.
The World Conference process adheres to the structure of Major Groups that was outlined in Agenda 21. Parliamentarians can participate as part of their national delegation, or through the International Parliamentarian Union (IPU) which has observer status at the World Conference. Further information on the IPU is available here.
The UN defines 'youth' as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions used by Member States. 'Children' are considered to be persons under the age of 14. For the purposes of UN conferences and meetings, only individuals over the age of 16 may hold a UN grounds pass.
Participants under 16 years of age may participate in UN conferences and meetings, though only with a designated chaperone. Both participant and chaperone must be pre-registered through an accredited organization.
The Major Group for Children and Youth seeks to coordinate global preparations toward the World Conference and strengthen the voice of its constituents at the intergovernmental level. Young people interested in participating at the World Conference should contact the organizing partners for Children and Youth as soon as possible, in order to receive important information and updates pertaining to the Conference and its preparatory process. Children and Youth organizing partner: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media accreditation is strictly reserved for members of the press - print, photo, radio, TV, film, news agencies, and online media who represent a bona fide media organization (Full guidelines available here ).
All members of the press will need an accreditation, even those who already have an UN media accreditation in New York or in Geneva. For media related enquires contact: email@example.com.
Further details will be provided.
Funding for Major Groups participants is extremely limited. In the event that funding becomes available, participants are selected with due consideration for representation from developing countries, particularly least developed countries, and in full consultation with the official Major Groups organising partners. In all other cases, your organization is responsible for arranging your accommodations and travel, including within the city of Sendai.
The UN encourages broad participation and representation from Major Groups and other stakeholders in the World Conference process. Presently, there is no policy to limit to the number of representatives each accredited organization can register. However, should there be concerns regarding the safety and security of the official the World Conference venue, the Conference secretariat reserves the right to deny and/or restrict the access to Sendai International Conference Centre and to any of the pavilions and other venues, or to request registered participants to leave the premises.
Accreditation to the UN is not a prerequisite for active and effective participation in the field of disaster risk reduction. There are a number of ways by which you can participate in the World Conference process, including submitting case studies, registering commitments, and participating in national and regional events.
Requests for these types of participation are typically posted on the official website, and are regularly shared with the Major Groups organizing partners for distribution within their networks. If you are not already in close contact with the organizing partners for your Major Groups sector, you are advised to connect with them as soon as possible in order to receive the latest information and updates.
We also would strongly encourage you to post news of your activities and related publications in support of the World Conference on the official website. Social media also allows you to support the conference from a far. While not everyone is able to attend and participate in Sendai live in person, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter allow for remote participation from all around the world.
Join the global conversation on twitter by tweeting us (@UNISDR) with hashtag #WCDRR. For complete coverage of the conference, including logistical information, updates and anything else you may need to know, like us on Facebook or follow us on twitter.
A visa for entry into Japan may be required. Participants concerned are strongly advised to seek information on requirements applicable in their case from Japanese diplomatic or consular missions in their home country. A list of the Japanese diplomatic and consular missions can be obtained at: http://www.mofa.go.jp/about/emb_cons/mofaserv.html
Where a visa is required, applicants are strongly advised to apply as early as possible. Special visa arrangements will be made for the accredited participants from countries where no Japanese mission exists. The details on such arrangements will be provided by the Host Country authorities. When applying for a visa, representatives of Major Groups must present the letter of invitation sent by the UN confirming their pre-registration to the Conference. Presenting the letter the participant will be exempted from paying the visa fee.
General Assembly resolution A/RES/68/211 recognizes the importance of contributions and participation of all relevant stakeholders, including major groups, at the World Conference and its preparatory process.
Representatives from major groups interested in participating as observers at the World Conference and the Preparatory Committee meetings are required to be accredited to the United Nations and register accordingly.