2. At UNCED, NGOs made great strides in advancing their ideas and perspectives and in drawing the world's attention to the need for sustainable development. They influenced the UNCED process directly in a number of ways: (a) NGOs were often the source of accurate and timely information - from data and statistics, to analyses of policy opinions, to newsletters reporting the progress of negotiations; (b) some NGO representatives were invited to participate in Secretariat working groups and helped 'set the agenda' by drafting text that government delegates would use as a basis for negotiations; (c) some NGO representatives who served on national delegation were directly involved in formulating positions; (d) NGOs forcefully lobbied their national governments as well as delegates at the preparatory committee meetings and at UNCED itself.
This diverse group of NGOs excelled at public education and public relations, mobilized support for addressing environment and development problems, generated awareness of the political debates surrounding UNCED, and spurred support for the future implementation of the agreements reached in Rio. Equally important, they helped galvanize popular support for international campaigns on environment and development issues already under way around the world.
3. The process of preparing a yearly national report for the UN Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD) offers new opportunities for NGO-government partnerships. Besides helping create a frame of reference for a concerted national effort and providing data and information that might otherwise be missed, NGOs can use the process to strengthen dialogue with national and international government bodies.
4. The Special NGO Committee on Development (under the auspices of CONGO) also assists and promotes the work of NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC, UNCTAD and other UN agencies in relation to ongoing work in the field of development. It: provides a forum for discussion of ideas and experience on development; acts as a forum for sharing information about the work of NGOs and the UN system on activities relating to and concerning development; promotes NGO contribution to the work in the field; promotes links with local, national and regional NGOs working in the field and maintains a two-way communication with them.