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Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Blogs, General News

VOWs attend the Group of 78 Annual Conference

Jacqueline Burgoyne, Co chair VOW Ontario Council






Group of 78 Annual Policy Conference:

Strengthening Multilateral Cooperation: The United Nations at 70.

Cartier Place Hotel  ~  Ottawa   Sept. 25-26, 2015.


This past weekend, I attended the Group of 78 Annual Policy Conference:   Strengthening Multilateral Cooperation: The United Nations at 70.  I was truly honoured to be in attendance at this meeting, which included many prominent and distinguished organizers, speakers and attendees.  Each speaker, moderator and panel guest was a true leader promoting the pursuit of Peace, Justice and Global Survival from a Canadian perspective.


A little history about the Group of 78:


“Ever since the statement issued by the original 78 signatories in November 1981, the hallmark of the Group of 78 has been to promote the three inter-related objectives of peace, equitable development, and strengthening the United Nations as the pre-eminent forum through which world problems can be addressed and solved. Seventy years after the birth of the UN, these objectives seem as compelling as ever, but their achievement remains daunting.”

Organizer: Group of 78


2015 Annual Group of 78 Conference :


The Group of 78’s 2015 Annual Conference focused on the critical importance of the UN, assessing its performance and its prospects for effectiveness in the future, particularly in the spheres of peace and equitable development.  Speakers and participants at the conference examined the following questions and developed policy recommendations to guide Canadian foreign policy:


  1. How can we strengthen the United Nations in carrying out its mandate to halt conflict and support economic and social development? What part of this mandate does it do well, and how could it do better?


  1. How can the UN’s support for equitable development and for peace and security be made more mutually reinforcing? What are the prospects for the new sustainable development goals in this regard?


  1. On which issues and by what actions should Canada provide leadership or take significant initiatives for peace building and on economic and social development through the United Nations system?


Program Highlights included:


Fulfilling the UN’s role as the pre-eminent forum for multilateral co-operation. Strengthening the UN’s role in conflict prevention and resolution. Equitable development and sustainable peace: reinforcing the synergies. A Canadian Security and Defence Policy for the 21st century: Role of the UN Canada and the UN system: renewing our multilateral commitments.

As mentioned the speakers and panel included experts from the diplomatic community, United Nations, academia, governmental and Peace and Disarmament organizations. They included    José Antonio Ocampo , Alistair Edgar, Hon. Doug Roche, David Petrasek, Kathryn White, Carolyn McAskie, John Packer, Peggy Mason , Manfred Bienefeld, Fergus Watt, Scott Staring, Paul Heinbecker and Roy Culpeper.   Each of these speakers provided a wealth of knowledge on each topics discussed and provided a equally interesting and informative Q and A at the end of each panel discussion.


**  For me personally, each speaker brought their insight and conveyed their thoughts and ideas in a very organized and systemic fashion that was easy to understand, follow and digest, as it was so much information.  Scott Staring said it best, ” .. the acronyms brought up during discussion, were like alphabet soup .” I am looking forward to receiving a copy of the Final Conclusions and Recommendations from the meeting and will definitely be attending next year’s conference and becoming a member of this amazing group.


My conclusion and thoughts:


I was happy to hear views on the refugee crisis,  global poverty, prevention of nuclear warfare, arms treaty, human rights, Canadian and Global economic and social development, prevention of environmental catastrophe,  enviromental protection, military vs. humanitarian efforts and  effective global peacekeeping.  I was pleased to unanimously hear that Canada should establish renewed relations with the UN and increasing peacekeeping personnel and Women in Peacebuilding and the importance of women in peacekeeping missions in UN and implementation of Resolution 1325.


Canada’s reputation on the Global stage has deteriorated in past years with regards to Foreign Policy and here at home. I for one am looking forward to a change in government on October 19, 2015. I am hopeful that our new government will quickly take action on many of the issues listed above and regain a more positive, productive and effective role on Global Issues  through renewed participation in the  U.N. We are a country enriched by a wealth of natural beauty, not only of our landscapes, but of our diversity of a Nation. It is time that we take back our pride as a Nation built on values of  freedom, democracy, equality,  respect for cultural differences , a commitment to social justice and promotion of non-violence and peace internationally.


“We call on Canadians to commit to the worldwith moral integrity, energy, enthusiasm and investment unparalledled in our history. We call on Canadians to demand that thest principles guide our policies, at home and abroad: Justice, Peace, Survival.” ~ Group of 78.