30 January 2007

AIGA’s United Nations consultative NGO status

The AIGA is an organisation I have great respect for. Aside from the following tidbit, they've also launched Design for Democracy:
Design for Democracy increases civic participation by making the experience clearer, more understandable, easier to accomplish and more trustworthy.

Design and social research professionals collaborate to enable compelling, efficient and trust-building experiences between government and the governed.

Follow this link to read the contributions of AIGA members to the American discussion on ballot design.

And from today’s AIGA Communiqué:
As previously reported, AIGA has received consultative non-governmental organization (NGO) status. The principal advantage of this status is to offer AIGA a chance to demonstrate that designers, as thoughtful, creative and resourceful professionals also have a place as citizens who can lead solutions in civil society. AIGA will be given an opportunity to comment on global issues being discussed in the United Nations and its subsidiary organizations. Most of these issues will fall in the social, economic, educational and cultural arenas.

This effort is seen as a critical contribution to several AIGA goals: to demonstrate the value of design thinking by doing valuable things; increase the global perspective of the profession; undertake socially responsible initiatives; and offer opportunities for designers to be viewed as leaders. AIGA will follow and comment on, as appropriate, the following committee agendas: aging, human rights, health, status of women, education, family, development, health and communications, HIV/AIDS, human settlements, indigenous cultures, mental health, narcotics and substance abuse, population and development, social development and sustainable development.

When an issue in any one of these areas comes up for consideration and where the design profession has a particular non-partisan point of view (e.g., the need for human-centered design solutions or the opportunity for clear and accessible information design to communicate across cultures), AIGA will submit succinct comments (usually not more the 500 words) or become involved in a conference proceeding. The AIGA board has authorized the filing of non-partisan comments that are consistent with design’s potential to advance the Millennium Development Goals of the UN or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In some cases, special task forces of members will be assembled to craft a response.

Some of the conferences or forums that AIGA, under this status, has been invited to participate in recently are: Roundtable on international environmental governance, Geneva; Forum on Health, Geneva; Challenges faced by the humanitarian relief community, Geneva; Africa Civil Society Forum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; World Social Forum, Nairobi, Kenya; Internet Governance Forum, Geneva. AIGA would be represented at a conference only if we were prepared to be active or submit papers; in those cases, AIGA could be represented by a staff member, board member or an interested member from the design community at large. One forum that AIGA will seek to be represented in regularly is the World Summit on the Information Society.

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