1st Informal Meeting in 2021

14 Jan 2021, 17:00 - 18:30 (GMT+1)

Informal Meeting of the Alliance for Vienna-based Representatives of International NGOs – 1/2021  
January 14th, 2021 17:00 – 18:30 (via Webex)

Participants: Alasana Drammeh, Anna Alvazzi del Frate (Chair), Cecilia ODwyer, David Peters, Elisabeth Francis, Evelyn Dürmayer, Farai Maguwu, Gary Hill, Gerson Nozea, Herta Kaschitz-Wüstenhagen, Ingeborg Geyer (Treasurer), Irmgard Mäntler, Ian Tennant, Jay Albanese, Jeanne Sarson, Jolanta Redo, Linda MacDonald, Phil Reichel, Renate Amesbauer, Sarah Pirker, Winifred Doherty

UNODC SGB: Jo Dedeyne, Regina Rohrbach, Doris Resch, Nanae Konishi McIlroy

UNODC CST: Mirella Dummar-Frahi, Anders Frantzen


- Welcome and updates from the Alliance

- Virtual round table, brief introductions of participants and what they are doing at the moment

- Next steps (as far as foreseeable)


The Chair opened the meeting informing the participants about the new alternating time schedule for the Informal Meetings in 2021. This should allow all members to have meetings with times more in line with their respective time zones.

Phil Reichel, chair of the WG on the Congress statement introduced a survey which will inform the Civil Society Statement for the 14th Crime Congress, to be delivered by the Alliance. A link was disseminated to all members of the Alliance and further circulated among civil society organizations. The Alliance will coordinate the NGOs statements on the different Agenda items at the Kyoto Congress. The working group for the Civil Society Statement reached out to a variety of CSOs in the last several months. Those topics were put into the survey, which will help identify the specific topics that will be mentioned in the Alliance’s statement at the Congress.

Jay Albanese, chair of the NY Committee informed the participants that the New York Alliance is now fully integrated in the Alliance as a single entity. A New York Committee of the Alliance has been established to focus on specific events and activities at the UN Headquarter in New York.

Other working groups currently active include the one on Domestic/Family Violence in the COVID-19 Era (led by Yael Danieli) and the one on Emerging Issues led by Ian Tennant, which builds on his article: https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/agreements-and-disagreements-on-the-road-to-kyoto/.

Ingeborg Geyer informed that the UN Commission on the Status of Women will be held in New York from March 15-26, 2021, the registration is open until February 22nd.

Updates on the Kyoto Congress:

Regina Rohrbach, UNODC

The Congress will take place in a hybrid format, with a very small and limited in-person component taking place in the conference center in Kyoto. Over the last weeks, the UNODC worked on setting up an event platform to host the entire Congress and all registered participants. Due to the very limited possibility to travel to Japan because of Covid-19, in-person participation will be mostly limited to delegates from country missions and NGOs that are already present in Japan. NGOs will be able to register 4 delegates in person – only if they are already based in Japan – and 2 online speakers. The Secretariat has already informed the organizations that confirmed their participation about the registration period, which will start on January 20th and will be open until February 18th. Everybody who intends to participate in any of the Congress meetings, even ancillary meetings, will have to be registered as per procedure indicated by the Secretariat, including INDICO. Due to the many speakers at ancillary meetings, NGOs should finalize their registration with the number of delegates per entity indicated and consult with the CST and the Alliance in case they need to register more speakers. Webcasting with public access will be available only for official meetings. This does not apply to ancillary meetings, for which there is the possibility of recording for later dissemination. Up to 3 NGOs will be able to give statements under each Agenda item during the regular segments, this will be coordinated by the Alliance. Interested NGOs shall apply by February 17th.

Gary Hill

160 ancillary meetings have been planned for and they will be accessible online to registered Congress participants only. It is estimated that approximately 1500 people will be registered between in-person and online. Considering the parallel events, few people are expected to actually participate in-person in ancillary meetings. Most of the meetings will have only online participation. Each of the coordinators will be assigned 1 or 2 ancillary meetings but the technical part will be controlled from Kyoto. It will be very difficult to travel to Kyoto from outside of Japan. But Japan provided extra bandwidth to the United Nations to ensure smooth operations and streaming. There will also be an art show, which will be made accessible online too. All of the interpretation will be online only (Interprefy platform) and only available for the official program (not for the ancillary meetings).

Mirella Dummar-Frahi, Anders Frantzen

All NGOs that have originally registered for the Congress have been contacted again. Between 100 to 150 ECOSOC and non-ECOSOC organizations have confirmed interest to participate. The Executive Director of the UNODC Ms. Waly met with the three NGO umbrella organizations in December for an exchange on future UNODC’s milestones including the strategy. It was the first official meeting between Ms. Waly and the civil society networks. Future meetings are planned to further transparency and give CSOs the necessary voice. In December, the Secretary General shared the newest UN Guidance Note of Civic Space with all UN entities which calls not only for inclusive, equal and diverse civil society participation, but also for the protection of civil society actors and the promotion of civil space. During trying and defining times for civil society in many parts of the world, the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights (C2A) places maintaining and expanding civic space at the core of the UN’s efforts, and committed the UN system, including UNODC, to stepping up coordination and work in this area.

Ingeborg Geyer, Treasurer

16 ordinary member organizations have already paid the 2021 membership fees. The Treasurer kindly reminded all ordinary members to pay their fees in order to be members in good standing. Among other things, this allows members to participate and vote in the General Assembly in May. The books of 2020 have been closed and will be sent to the auditors.

Tour de table

Many participants shared information on their ongoing work. Topics included updates on the reconvened Sessions and the Congress; various events and summits planned in the upcoming weeks; as well as updates on new publications and research initiatives.


The Chair closed the meeting informing the participants that the next meeting will take place on 11 February 2021 and it will take place at 1pm Vienna time with a view to facilitate participation of members from Eastern countries.