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IN THE CORRIDORS

While strengthening the role of major groups was on Monday’s agenda, NGOs noted that delegations addressed the item only peripherally in their statements. Many NGOs who have been active supporting Agenda 21 since the Earth Summit are concerned that their participation in UNGASS will be restricted because they do not currently hold consultative status with the UNGA, as they do with ECOSOC. Observers have noted many governments’ resistance to extending NGO consultative status to the UNGA. Some suspect it stems from their fear that this could open the door to calls for participation in more politically sensitive areas of the UNGA’s work, such as security. One NGO representative stated that, if governments are serious about partnership with major groups in their pursuit of sustainable development, special arrangements must be made for civil society participation at the Special Session to review implementation of Agenda 21.