Recent events around the globe have jeopardized the spirit of multilateral cooperation and peacebuilding, causing some to question the very relevance of the United Nations. Yet the Organization continues to play an essential role in ensuring human security and dignity through common commitment and international solidarity.

The fifty-sixth Annual Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), to be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8 to 10 September 2003, draws on the premise, as stated by Secretary-General Annan, that "achieving human security requires a dynamic, innovative partnership among the UN, governments and non-state actors" and "we increasingly rely on civil society in that equation." The conference will highlight these issues and give civil society organizations a forum to express their ideas about human rights, people's empowerment and global well-being.

Some 2000 NGO representatives from more than 100 countries will be attending the conference in New York. The United Nations Information Centre Washington and Woodrow Wilson Center's Conflict Prevention Project are making it possible for you to be there, too – at least virtually.