The Founding Conference

Cairo – Arab Republic of Egypt

May 17-19 1997


The existence of the Arab Network for NGOs begins in 1989 when the Arab Gulf Program for UN Developmental Organizations organized the first conference for Arab voluntary associations.  Important recommendations came out from this Conference, mainly in terms of strengthening the capacity building of NGOs, as well as promoting interaction and communication among them.  On this base, the Follow-Up Committee for Arab NGOs was created in order to serve as machinery aimed at implementing the recommendations mentioned above.  Therefore, this Committee implemented several activities that included training, research, development of data bases and communication.

Another benchmark in the life of the organization is the Second Conference of Arab NGOs held in Cairo on May 17-19 1997, grouping over one thousand representatives of NGOs as well as representatives of Arab and international donors.  The Follow-Up Committee presented its report of achievements and lessons learned during the period 1989-1997 and the Conference discussed various means to enhance the Civil Society role in the field of development; these included the ethical dimension besides the legislative one and the developmental role of NGOs.

Several recommendations were adopted by the Conference including the establishment of an elected “founding” Board of Trustees chaired by HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz and commissioned to institutionalize the Arab Network for NGOs.  Through several meetings, the Board of Trustees developed By-Laws, selected the host country, opened the door to membership, and designed the policies and programs including the financial and administrative policies of the organization.