Since August 1998 Frances Edwards and John Clausen, Findhorn Foundation representatives at the UN Headquarters in New York, have been attending the weekly UN Department of Public Information/NGO Briefing sessions, as well as participating in regular Values Caucus meetings and events, Spiritual Caucus meetings and meditations, the Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) Sustainable Development Committee meetings, and various other conferences and workshops at the UN.
John and Frances are on the Spiritual Caucus Coordinating Council, of which Frances is co-convenor. She is also on the Values Caucus Council. While serving on these Councils they organise meditations, workshops, talks and various meetings and events at the UN HQ.
Towards an enlightened partnership
On December 8, 1997 the Findhorn Foundation was approved for formal association with the United Nations, through the Department of Public Information, as a recognised Non-Governmental Organisation. This was the culmination of a series of official collaborations between the UN and the Findhorn Foundation.
The new status was also a sign of a great maturing of our community, which has been promoting principles of sustainable development as put forward by the major UN conferences of the last decade – including the environmental aspect of the Rio Earth Summit, the human settlements aspect of Istanbul, and the women's aspect of Beijing – in an attempt to provide a contemporary and evolving model of sustainable living.
This association is a commitment on the part of the Findhorn Foundation ‘to disseminate information and raise public awareness about the purposes and activities and achievements of the United Nations and issues of global concern’ related to sustainability, environment, peace, shelter, and creation of a sustainable world.
Non-governmental organisations eligible for association with UN must share the ideals of the United Nations Charter, operate on a not-for-profit basis, and demonstrate an interest in United Nations issues. In addition, they must have a proven ability to reach large or specialised audiences with well-developed information programmes.
Our involvement with the United Nations occurs at a time when the global agenda has never been so varied, so critical and so complex. It is demanding new approaches, new visions and new commitments of the international community of NGOs. Whatever the field of service – human rights, humanitarian relief, sustainable development, international law, disarmament, poverty eradication, or peace education – NGOs’ influence on the world scenario is uncontestable. Non-governmental organisations are creating new coalitions around emerging issues and are equipping themselves for a new global era of transcultural diplomacy.
The United Nations is also undergoing an unprecedented transformation. The organisation is reforming structures, management and priorities in a drive towards greater coherence, agility and unity.
The cooperation between the United Nations and the NGO community can provide a bridge for communication between the peoples of the world and the policy makers at the national and global levels. This cooperation has the potential to be a major vehicle for human evolution, as it supports the process of framing current issues within a context of global interdependence.
It is a great privilege and responsibility to be part of the larger action network which supports the process of implementing the principles of the United Nations on Earth.
For more information on the United Nations Department of Public Information activities click here.