Forum on the Contributions of Taiwan's NGOs to the MDGs

Taipei, Taiwan - Reflecting Taiwan's outstanding cultural, economic, and democratic development, its NGOs have been active in many parts of the world, offering medical assistance, development aid, educational opportunities, and emergency relief. As a member of the global family, Taiwan is making genuine contributions toward fulfilling the UN Millennium Development Goals.

With such a background, UPF-Taiwan held a forum on March 26 at the International Conference Center of the Civil Service Development Institute in Taipei. The forum was on Taiwan’s contribution toward advancing the MDGs.

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The purpose was to help Taiwanese and international friends understand the challenges and successes faced by Taiwan's NGOs and to promote increased cooperation. The forum was supported by grants from Taiwan's Council for Cultural Affairs and jointly organized with the Professors World Peace Academy.

The President of UPF-Taiwan and Chair of the Central Election Commission in Taiwan, Dr. Po-Ya Chang introduced local dignities and four ambassadors: H.E. Amb. William Manuel Tapia Aleman from Nicaragua; H.E. Amb. Jorge Amado from Sao Tome and Principe; H.E. Amb. Njabuliso B. Gwebu from Swaziland; and H.E. Amb. Ludwig Keke from Nauru.

H.E. Raymond R.M. Tai moderated the forum. A former Ambassador to the Holy See and a member of the board of UPF-Taiwan, he has been  engaged in foreign affairs and promoting peace among nations for almost 50 years. He began by giving a background on the Republic of China's withdrawal from the UN 40 years ago and how Taiwan has been working through many NGOs since then to contribute towards UN goals.

The first speaker was Amb. Sheng-Tsung Yang, a former Economic and Cultural Representative of Taiwan to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He spoke on the topic “International NGOs: Sacrifices, Challenges, and Opportunities.” Amb. Yang talked about his 40 years as a diplomat and expressed appreciation for Rev. Moon's vision of cross-cultural marriages that can help dissolve generations of hatred. He was also impressed at the opportunities for exchanging views and promoting mutual understanding at the UPF conference he attended the previous month in Korea.

Then Ms. Wang Hung-Tzu, Director of the International Cooperation and Development Fund, spoke about Taiwan's potential to contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Taiwan is not wealthy in natural resources; however, she has huge human resources. The Fund's main projects include investment and financing, technical cooperation, human resources development, and humanitarian assistance. It has invested efforts in about 28 countries in Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, and West Asia. Technicians are making contributions in the areas of agriculture, fisheries, horticulture, farm machinery, livestock, handicrafts, medicine, water conservancy, transportation, industrial services, and trade.

One successful project is a fishery plant in Honduras. An ICDF technical mission taught tilapia cultivation, and Honduras has become the world's fifth-largest exporter of tilapia. At the same time, it provides job opportunities and high-quality animal protein sources in the remote areas of the country. ICDF will continues to assist Nicaragua in sustainable rice production. ICDF has permanent medical missions in Burkina Faso, Swaziland, and Sao Tome and Principe. There have 88 mobile medical missions to 24 nations offering diagnosis, clinical teaching, and information exchanges benefiting 130,000 persons. Over the years, ICDF has provided scholarships for international students to further their study in Taiwan.

Ms. Lily Lin, President of the National Alliance of Taiwan Women’s Association, talked about her participation in the 55th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN. She gave a presentation on Taiwan’s practice of “Improving Education for Women and Girls in Science and Technology” in a side event during the forum. She stressed that in the age of globalization, the women of Taiwan need to learn to know the women of other parts of the world and learn from each other.

At the closing session, the Ambassador of Nicaragua spoke in Mandarin expressing appreciation for having received a scholarship to study at the National Taiwan University in 1963. The Ambassador of the Republic of Nauru thanked ICDF for its contributions to his nation. Many people in the audience asked questions. Ambassador Tai summarized the discussion by stating that the Republic of China should continue to develop her strengths and capability to serve the world.

The forum concluded with an Ambassador for Peace Award ceremony to the ambassadors of Nicaragua and of Sao Tome and Principe. They had their pictures taken with the other two ambassadors, who were already UPF Ambassadors for Peace.

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