Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, in Resumed Session, Recommends 43 Groups for Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council
Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, in Resumed Session, Recommends 43 Groups for Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on NGOs
18th & 19th Meetings (AM & PM)
Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, in Resumed Session, Recommends
43 Groups for Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council
Debate over Israeli-based Medical NGO Results in Decision
To Endorse Status; Several African-based Organizations Also Recommended
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 43 entities for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and postponed consideration of 18 applications, as it resumed its 2011 session.
General, special and roster status is granted in accordance with such criteria as the applicants’ mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the United Nations Economic and Social Council and circulate statements, while those with general status can, in addition, address meetings and propose agenda items. Roster-status NGOs can only attend meetings. Organizations with general and special status must also submit a report every four years.
The Committee reviewed the applications of a range of organizations for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and heard substantive debate on a handful of NGOs present at the meeting. A highlight of the discussion concerned Save a Child’s Heart in Memory of Dr. Ami Cohen, an international organization founded in Israel working to improve the quality of paediatric cardiac care for children in developing countries suffering from rheumatic and congenital heart disease. It also aims to create centres of competence in those countries.
Questions arose about the organization’s involvement with Palestinian children and medical institutions, along with its stance on the Palestinians’ right to self-determination. In response, the NGO representative stressed that it stood for Israeli society and not the State of Israel. Of the more than 2,600 children served since the organization’s inception, more than 1,500 were Palestinian children recommended by a group of partnering Palestinian doctors and hospitals in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, he said.
Among the scores of applications considered today were several based in Africa, concerned with such issues as child abuse, youth and international development, provision of funds and employment opportunities for West Africans, and improving the living condition of farms and strengthening the economic and organizational components of the peasant movement.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations met this morning to begin is resumed session, to run through Tuesday, 24 May, for which it has before it an information note for participants (document E/C.2/2011/1).
It recalls that, at its 2011 regular session, held from 31 January to 9 February, the Committee recommended a record 112 organizations for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. It had reviewed more than 360 applications of organizations for status, as well as 200 quadrennial reports.
The first venue by which non-governmental organizations took a role in formal United Nations deliberations was through the Economic and Social Council. Forty-one such organizations were granted consultative status by the council in 1946; by 1992 more that 700 NGOs had attained consultative status and the number has been steadily increasing ever since to 3,400 organizations today.
Article 71 of the United Nations Charter opened the door to suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations. The consultative relationship with the Economic and Social Council is governed today by that Council’s resolution 1996/31, which outlines the eligibility requirements for consultative status, rights and obligations of non-governmental organizations in consultative status, procedures for the withdrawal or suspension of such status, the role and functions of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, and the responsibilities of the United Nations Secretariat in supporting the consultative relationship.
Consultative status is granted by the Economic and Social Council upon recommendation of its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, which is comprised of 19 Member States. Consultative relationships may be established with international, regional, subregional and national non-governmental, non-profit public or voluntary organizations. Non-governmental organizations affiliated to an international organization already in status may be admitted provided that they can demonstrate that their programme of work is of direct relevance to the aims and purposes of the United Nations. In the case of national organizations consultation with the Member State concerned is required.
To be eligible for consultative status, a non-governmental organization must have been in existence (officially registered with the appropriate government authorities as an NGO/non-profit) for at least two years, must have an established headquarters, a democratically adopted constitution, authority to speak for its members, a representative structure, appropriate mechanisms of accountability and democratic and transparent decision-making processes. The basic resources of the organization must be derived in the main part from contributions of the national affiliates or other components or from individual members.
The NGO Branch is the focal point within the United Nations for Non-Governmental Organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. Organizations established by governments or intergovernmental agreements are not considered NGOs. The list of non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the ECOSOC as of 1 September 2010 is contained in document E/2009/INF.4.
Committee Chairperson AYDAN KARAMANOGLU (Turkey) opened the meeting by briefing members on the new paperless system, the Integrated Delivery of Sustainable Publishing Services to Meetings of Calendar Bodies at the United Nations. Through the new service, Committee members would have secure access via a web-based portal to the organizations under consideration. He looked forward to this new paperless initiative.
He went on to say that the last session of the Committee had been quite fruitful. Still, much work remained. There were 117 new applications and 216 deferred applications to consider during the resumed session. While that was less than for the February session, there would also be one day fewer in which to accomplish the task. Still, he commended the Committee on the “great job” done last session, and expressed confidence that the current one would be successful.
NIKHIL SETH, Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, said that global crises remained challenges, strained resources, and forced difficult choices. The need to work together was more important than ever, as Governments, alone, could not win the battle against poverty. Eradicating it in the least developed countries had to remain at the top of the agenda, and high-level meetings would take place on issues such as HIV/AIDS, youth, non-communicable diseases, and migration. In all of those endeavours, civil society played a major role in advocating and holding Governments to their commitments. Non-governmental organizations were responsible for three kinds of work in the United Nations: providing analysis; helping Member States reach agreement; and furthering operational activities at the national level. Indeed, civil society was an indispensable partner and, because of its activity, results had been achieved in many least developed countries, such as increased enrolment in schools, more women finding employment, and more female representation in government.
At this critical juncture, he said, attention should be focused on youth, which was approaching 1.5 billion globally — the largest population segment ever to transition to adulthood. Youth faced great challenges, with 90 per cent living in developing countries and many dealing with marginalization, poverty, and unemployment. Those challenges could not be measured in monetary numbers alone, but required a look at the breakdown of the social fabric. Policies must address the needs of youth to transform them into powerful forces for change. Regarding HIV/AIDS, no policies could be implemented without including the voices of civil society. In some developing countries, namely in Africa, civil society provided 40 to 60 per cent of health services.
Civil society representatives, he noted, had also helped to identify important trends in education, at several regional meetings involving Government ministers and other groups, towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In preparation for the Economic and Social Council’s annual ministerial review, NGOs had supplied hundreds of statements and their voices had been duly reflected in the meetings’ reports, available on the Office’s website. Sustainable development was a bottom-up multi-stakeholder process that depended on the active engagement of civil society groups, which counted on civil society to enrich the value of deliberations and the outcome of Rio+20.
ANDREI ABRAMOV, Chief of the Non-Governmental Organizations Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that bestowing Economic and Social Council consultative status on an NGO went beyond that immediate connection to helping those organizations in many ways through the organizing of events at United Nations Headquarters and overseas. It also assisted in networking, resolving issues of access and providing them with information and political space to make meaningful contributions to many forums.
He said that the NGO accreditation system functioned well in Geneva, New York, and Vienna. Over the past year and a half, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs had facilitated the registration of thousands of NGO representatives, and the NGO Branch had expanded its assistance to other divisions and departments of the United Nations for participation of NGOs in intergovernmental bodies, including in the Office for Disarmament Affairs, Department of Public Information, and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Reporting progress, he noted that the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council had attracted a record number of NGOs, demonstrating that the Council was becoming a critical connecting point and a tool for synchronizing the efforts of the international community to achieve the Millennium Development Goals on the ground. He also commented on the launch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ NGO e-mail news service, addressed to the ever-increasing NGO list. The service was available in English, French and Spanish, and contributed to the goal of expanding the outreach of NGOs from developing countries.
The branch also had launched a new and better version of the paperless system, he said. While not perfect, the system was still an essential tool for the NGO Committee, even though the activity was not mandated. Notwithstanding the inherent challenges, the Branch had made an inordinate effort to ensure that the paperless system supported the work of the Committee. On behalf of all staff, he expressed deepest gratitude to former colleague Ola Goransson, who had worked in his free time to develop the paperless system and who always had gone far beyond the call of duty to help the Branch. There was an urgent need to invest more in information and communications technology-based systems, to help support a growing work programme of the NGO Committee.
The Committee today recommended special consultative status for the following organizations:
Africa Youths International Development Foundation, a national organization working to initiate and execute programmes to benefit youth and to present its members as good ambassadors of Africa by promoting continental integration and harmonious coexistence of diverse communities in African society.
Asociación Dominicana de las Naciones Unidas ANU-RD, an international non-profit organization dedicated to creating and implementing projects and initiatives that support the work of the United Nations and enhance the socio-economic development and cultural prosperity of the Dominican Republic, through collaboration with educational institutions, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and the Dominican community at home and abroad.
Association des Jeunes pour le Developpement Pasteef, a national organization based in Dakar, Senegal, contributing to supporting sustainable and local-participatory development, which takes into account the integrity of communities and populations.
Centre d’Accueil et de Volontariat pour Orphelins, Abandonnés et Handicapés du Cameroun (CAVOAH-CAM), an international organization based in Cameroon working to assist children abandoned by their families and to provide food, shelter, medical care and education, and to protect against sexual exploitation and child labour.
Consorcio Boliviano de Juventudes - Casa de la Juventud, a national Bolivia-based organization working to bring together institutions and organizations of young people to achieve visibility in the public agenda and to defend and implement a culture of participation, adherence and respect for the rights and duties of youth.
Fundacion Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, a national organization based in Argentina working to promote sustainable development through policy, law and institutional organization.
Independent Advocacy Project LTDGTE, a national organization based in Nigeria working to promote — through advocacy, coalition building, research, publications and information sharing — respect for human rights and good governance in Nigeria.
Organizacion de Entidades Mutuales de las Americas, ODEMA, Asociacion Civil, an international organization based in Argentina, working to promote and strengthen in the mutual entities of the Americas the commitment to assistance, through the creation of conditions that facilitate capacity-building, the exchange of experiences and the programmatic agreements for unity.
Plan Life, a national organization based in Ghana, created to improve the livelihoods of deprived children and women in local communities by enhancing their access to equalizing opportunities to education, health, vocational training, employment, ensuring their fundamental human rights and building a culture of peace.
Poverty Elimination and Community Education Foundation, a Bangladesh-based international organization aiming to assist underprivileged people who are living below the poverty line to improve their socio-economical conditions, and to create and/or develop awareness among the public about poverty’s causes, education, health, hygiene, nutrition, reproductive health, neo-natal health, disease and epidemics, arsenic problems, the environment, gender rights, social and human rights, safe migration and reintegration, child marriage, anti-dowry and women’s rights.
Reseau des Organisations du Secteur Educatif du Niger (ROSEN), a Niger-based national organization working to defend and promote free and quality education for all.
Service d’Appui aux Initiatives Locales Developpement (S.A.I.L.D.), a Cameroon-based organization working to improve the living conditions of farmers and strengthen the economic and organizational components of the peasant movement.
Working Women Association, a national organization based in Sudan working to enhance the standards of work, patriotism and religion among working women, to care for the rights and benefits of members and to resolve problems facing working women, improve the vocational and intellectual competence of members, as well as their economic and social status, and to mobilize working women to carry out their national roles towards society and state.
Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA), a national organization based in the United Kingdom that promotes the rights and welfare of African children, aiming to create awareness of their needs; ensure that children are aware of the risks of abuse, know their rights and have skills to protect themselves; promote positive parenting among African parents; increase the understanding of service providers about the risks of abuse to African children and promote the development of appropriate services, practices and support to African families.
Aide Internationale pour L’enfance, a Quebec-based international organization with the mission of helping abused children through education, health care and psychological and physical training, without discrimination of race, sex or religion.
Association de Defense des Droits de l’Homme, a national organization dedicated to the defence of human rights, specifically the fight against the rise of Islamophobia, that also raises awareness of and respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognized human rights instruments and values.
Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, a national organization that studies human rights and humanitarian law to disseminate knowledge about them and to educate individuals engaged in this area, thereby, promoting the development of democracy and rule of law in Serbia, other successor States of the former Yugoslavia and societies in transition from authoritarian to democratic rule.
Clean Energy Promoting Citizen’s Forum; Comite Espanol de Representantes de Minusv·lidos (CERMI), a national umbrella organization in Spain that advocates for the protection of human rights of persons with disabilities, representing the interests of more than 4 million women and men with disabilities and their families, with membership including Spanish NGOs representing different types of disabilities, specialized organizations committed to disability issues and local umbrella organizations of persons with disabilities.
Conservation Force, Inc., a United States-based international organization that aims to conserve wildlife, wild places and the outdoor way of life, believing that hunters and anglers are an indispensable force for wildlife conservation, that the forces of supporting organizations should be combined in a collaborative effort and that Conservation Force should be a proactive organization.
Demokratyczna Unia Kobiet, a national organization in Warsaw, Poland, with the main objective of disseminating women’s rights, promoting equal opportunity policies to be implemented in all fields of social life and protecting civil rights, especially those of women and other groups of people that might be socially excluded and discriminated against.
Taking the floor to ask a question about this organization, the representative of Kyrgyzstan discussed a mistake that had been made in the NGO’s conversion of figures into United States’ dollars, but felt that should not influence the Committee’s decision to recommend consultative status.
Andrei Abramov, Chief of the NGO branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that the mistake was made in the original, and the actual figures could only come from the organization. The Committee was satisfied with that response.
The Djenne Initiative, a United States-based national organization in New York, protects and strengthens the traditional culture and way of life in Djenne, Mali, West Africa, by providing citizens with funds and employment opportunities so that they can support themselves while remaining in Djenne. The organization also provides grants to associations that safeguard the environmental and human rights of Indigenous Peoples in Africa and North America.
European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation, an international organization based in Brussels, Belgium, that enhances the voice of the environment within the European and international standardization system, promoting the protection of the environment while standards are developed in bodies established for that purpose at the international, European Union, European Free Trade Association and Member State-level. The aim is to actively contribute to the European Union’s better environmental performance of the economy.
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, Inc., a national organization that seeks common ground and builds a united front regarding its vision for treaty implementation by treaty first nations coast to coast, as well as elevates the treaty agenda and pushes for full implementation of the spirit and intent of its treaties.
Commenting on the organization, the representative of Morocco said that the NGO’s recording certificate was produced on 3 February 2010, but that NGOs had to justify proof of existence with a registration certificate at least two years before a request was made.
Mr. Abramov responded that page three of the organization’s registration provided a list of all of its registration annually, going back to 1999.
Fundacion Instituto de Cultura del Sur, a national organization based in Madrid, Spain, identifies, through intense analysis and the exchange of diverse experiences, the process of migration due to economic development, globalization and new identities. The organization fights invisibility, develops fundamental rights and liberties, arts, culture and education as a medium of integration, and investigates the global economic impact on civil society.
Gong, a national organization based in Croatia created to encourage citizens to actively participate in political processes, it conducts non-partisan monitoring of the election process, educates citizens about their rights and duties, encourages mutual communication between citizens and their elected representatives, promotes transparency of work within public services, and manages public advocacy campaigns and encourages and helps citizens in self-organizing initiatives.
Groupe des ONG pour la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant, an international organization based in Switzerland, an international network of 71 national and international organizations working on children’s issues or rights, the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child (NGO Group) provides a coordinated platform for these organizations to play a central role in key child rights developments at the international level.
Healthy Solutions, a United States-based national organization working to enhance the lives of the underserved, underprivileged, and/or marginalized and to help them make informed decisions, and to create equitable communities by creating community-based food systems allowing all community members access to healthy affordable foods; quality jobs through agriculture; and, education and training.
Indian Muslim Council – USA, a United States-based national organization created to empower the Muslim community in India and Muslims of Indian origin by disseminating information about India’s secular, pluralistic and tolerant ethos, protect the fundamental rights the Constitution of India grants them and to combat fascism, religious intolerance and to preclude extremism in all forms and in all communities of Indian Diaspora.
International Art & Technology Cooperation Organization, an international organization based in Tokyo, Japan, working to create a harmonious twenty-first century human society by balancing art (culture) and technology (civilization), based on the belief that today’s pressing issues, including global and local environmental issues, the discrepancy between the rich and poor and human rights, come from an imbalance between those two factors and are caused by huge technological development and its tremendous energy and natural resource needs.
International Council of Russian Compatriots – ICRC, is a Russian Federation -based, worldwide association of the Russian-speaking communities and organizations. The main goals are to spread and protect Russian culture, assist in maintaining Russian language knowing abroad, protecting the rights of Russian minorities in different countries, supporting Russian schools, theatres and culture centres outside Russia.
International Mahavira Jain Mission, a United States-based international organization working to promote Ahimsa (non-violence) and Anekaantvad (multiplicity of viewpoint), through respect for all living beings and the belief that perception depends on standpoint. Its practical concerns involve preserving the environment and protecting of all forms of life and the active promotion of global peace.
Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights, an international organization based in Washington, D.C., United States, producing and supporting the production of cutting-edge academic research utilized to design and administer educational programmes for Muslim women leaders, providing a platform for the dissemination and implementation of the research. In turn, these educational programmes provide Muslim women leaders with access to powerful ideas they can use as a basis for creating unique initiatives in their communities.
Mental Disability Advocacy Center Foundation, MDAC, a Hungary-based international organization working to advance the human rights of children and adults with actual or perceived intellectual or mental health disabilities, and to envision a world that values emotional, mental and learning differences, and where people respect each other’s autonomy and dignity.
Objectif Sciences International, a Geneva-based national organization, which promotes the sustainable development of human society through expanding science education and developing scientific research.
Safe Water Network, a United States-based international organization aimed at having a transformative and measurable impact on underserved populations in the developing world without access to safe drinking water. It was focused on developing and implementing market-based solutions that addressed the environmental, socioeconomic, behavioural and market challenges that prevented access to this vital resource.
Stichting Feminenza Nederland, a national organization in the Netherlands, promotes new understanding between the genders and the establishment of an association based on respect and honour in the exchange that occurs between the natures of the masculine and feminine genders, coming from deeper insight and wisdoms, promoting the best in each.
United States International Council on Disabilities, a national organization based in Washington, D.C., created to catalyse and help focus the energy, expertise and resources of the United States disability community and the United States Government to optimize their impact on improving the lives and circumstances of people with disabilities worldwide.
Women Founders Collective, a United States-based international organization working to offer a global support network to women who have founded their own NGOs. Recognizing how solo a woman founder’s work can be, WFC’s global network makes possible connections among women founders during the lifetime of their NGO and beyond. In addition, women founders in this network assume the role of mentor to future women founders, thus assuring a constant flow of women in leadership as effective change-makers in their local communities, their country and eventually, on the world scene.
Women’s Alliance For a Democratic Iraq (WAFDI), a United States-based international organization created to empower women in all areas of society, including but not limited to family, education, health, economic prosperity, arts, literature, sports and politics.
Save a Child’s Heart in Memory of Dr. Ami Cohen, an international organization founded in Israel, promoted the mission of improving the quality of paediatric cardiac care for children in developing countries suffering from rheumatic and congenital heart disease and creating centres of competence in these countries.
World Lebanese Cultural Union, Inc., another United States-based international organization recognized as the sole representative of the Lebanese Diaspora in the world, and working to promote cultural and philanthropic activities and to support, respect and promote the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, to encourage the cultural, social and economic activities of mutual interest between the citizens of Lebanon and the countries of residence, and to enhance confidence, peace and understanding among human beings around the world.
The Committee recommended that review of the following applications be postponed:
Corporacion para la Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos Reiniciar, a national organization based in Colombia created to defend, promote and spread human rights and international humanitarian law and its defenders. Venezuela’s representative requested more clarification about its activities on the international level, since it was stated that it was a subsidiary.
The representative of Venezuela asked about the organization’s activities, so as to see whether their scope justified an international status.
Ehsaas Foundation Representative, is a national secular organization supporting economic and social development in India, floated by a team of professionals specializing in different fields to further social contribution.
The representative of China, noting that all of the findings in its financial chart were from the Government, asked how it could remain independent from the Government.
Legal Aid Forum for Human Rights, a national organization based in Pakistan working to provide legal assistance to all irrespective of race, culture, and religion during times of legal conflict, particularly to women who are in distress or who have been victimized.
The representative of China, noting that, in the organization’s financial chart for aid funding, it was indicated that 94 per cent of the whole funding came from Trocaire, asked about the relationship between the organization and Trocaire.
World Alliance for Youth Empowerment, a national organization based in India, created to support the development of young people through physical, spiritual, social and economical empowerment.
The representative of China , saying that more than 50 per cent of that organization’s income was generated from “contracts”, asked the NGO to further elaborate on the kinds of contracts.
The Education for Employment Foundation, a United States-based international organization is a relatively new model for career education that leads directly to employment for youth in the Middle East and North Africa. Its mission is to create economic and social opportunity through constructive solutions to the problem of massive and growing unemployment.
The Chair of the Committee said that they were waiting clarification from the NGO to a previous query.
Fondazione Marista per la Solidariet Internazionale ONLUS, a Spain-based international organization focusing on the well-being of children and young people, especially those who are poor and marginalized, with the intent to provide opportunities and resources necessary for children and young people to receive a meaningful education and to develop to their full potential.
The representative of Cuba said that the organization’s application covered a large body of work in the area of human rights, and that its work was recognized in several countries with several references to projects in Haiti and Latin America, but the delegate asked for more detail about the Latin American projects.
Global Aid Network, is a worldwide humanitarian relief and development organization based in Canada dedicated to relieving poverty throughout the world as an extension of the Biblical imperative to meet the needs of the less fortunate through the provision of development aid and assistance in relief of human suffering, hunger and need and to provide humanitarian and emergency relief in cases of calamity, conflict, disaster and poverty.
The representative of Venezuela said that the NGO had noted in its application that, since 1998, it had worked in 40 countries, so the representative wished to know if that included any countries in Latin America and, if so, whether it could provide a brief description of work in those countries. Also, noting that the NGO had stated that it was implementing a “Water for Life” initiative, the delegate asked if it was working together with other NGOs to carry that out.
NCCI (NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq) is an international organization with headquarters in Switzerland that acts as an independent, neutral and impartial NGO forum for coordination and information exchange among the NGO community on general and sectoral issues, and activities related to Iraq and its population, irrespective of ethnicity, politics, gender and religion. It advocates that human rights and international humanitarian law are respected, ensures that humanitarian needs are identified and met, and is committed to working together to enhance the capacity of the NGO community to deliver humanitarian and development assistance to the population of Iraq.
The representative of Morocco asked about the NGO’s certificate of registration and whether it was still valid and, in effect, if it was, whether it was in accordance with the law that regulated NGOs in Iraq.
The representative of Switzerland recalled what Swiss legislation said about registration of NGOs, namely, that there was no registration requisition and that an NGO existed as soon as it had its statutes. The only way to prove that an NGO existed and made its application in the last two years was to see whether it had been recognized as tax exempt by the Council of Geneva. The representative said that he was not sure whether this organization has such a document, and they should be asked to provide such proof.
Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations Society is a national organization in Canada with the purpose of: educating about racial prejudice and discrimination through seminars, workshops, public forums, community programming and conferences intended for the general public; conducting research, compiling data, and disseminating results about racism or ethno-racial disparities; increase understanding and awareness about existing rights of racial minorities; establishing and maintaining programmes for individuals, groups, and organizations that have experienced discrimination by providing information, follow-up, support, and referral to counselling or legal services; and working towards the eradication of racially motivated violence through public education, research, programmes and activities.
The Chair of the Committee noted that a response to a previous question was pending.
Rainforest Partnership, a national organization, based in Austin, Texas, United States, works on preserving rainforests and aims to create partnerships with local communities, businesses, government, and non-profit agencies to create sustainable economic development alternatives to deforestation, ensuring the integrity of the forest and all its resources for generations to come.
The representative of Peru asked the organization if it could give further information with regard to the activities or projects it was undertaking in Peru, and if it was registered or working through another local organization.
Red ACTIVAS, a national organization based in Spain, aims to prompt dialogue with the main institutional, political and social agents connected with development cooperation to foster a greater contribution by the Spanish Government to international cooperation on health, sexual and reproductive rights and gender equity issues.
The representative of Peru again asked if this organization could give further information with regard to the activities or projects it was undertaking in Peru, and if it was registered or working through another local organization or association.
Red Mujeres, Desarrollo, Justicia Y Paz AC, a national organization based in Mexico that promotes the human, social and productive aptitudes of women to increase their self-esteem, leadership abilities, and productive and enterprising abilities, as well as a social economy so that women can generate their own income to guarantee individual autonomy and security for their families, and a plenum citizenship to encourage women to occupy positions of decision-making, to maintain continuous dialogue with authorities and to participate in political processes.
The Committee Chair said a response to a previous question was awaited.
Stichting Universal Education Foundation, an international organization based in the Netherlands, is an advocacy foundation that works in co-creative partnerships towards “Learning for Well-being” with a spotlight on children and youth. The purpose of the Universal Education Foundation is to inspire and engage people in making learning environments more conducive to the well-being of children and youth. The Chair of the Committee noted, however, that the organization had not answered one question, so its consideration was postponed.
ZOA Vluchtelingenzorg, is an international organization based in the Netherlands and is motivated by Biblical concepts that proclaim reconciliation and restoration, and promote a specific responsibility in contributing to “signs of hope”, for the benefit of all people, particularly those in vulnerable positions.
Pakistan’s representative said that, while the organization said it was international, as reflected in the screen they were not marked as being active in any country, and so hoped for a clarification.
Al Tajdeed Cultural Social Society, an international organization based in Bahrain, is concerned with how to make human rights conventions, regulations, and concepts more familiar and acceptable to Middle Eastern people. One of the main objectives of the organization is to bridge the intellectual gap between the average Muslim and the international human rights conventions.
The representative of Belgium asked the organization to share its position on violence against women.
Arab Penal Reform Organization, a national organization based in Egypt that aims to spread the culture of human rights in the Arab region.
The Chair of the Committee said a reply to a previous question asked of the organization was awaited.
Association for Social and Environmental Development, a national organization based in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, aims to achieve biodiversity enhancement through public awareness, action research and people’s participation; to assist in building sound civil society organizations through capacity enhancement, documentation and action research; and to promote community health in association with technical organizations.
The representative of Pakistan said that the organization called itself a national NGO, but, in question 11, it also said that it considered itself to be a regional one. The delegate, therefore, sought clarification on that point and on what projects it conducted in the region.
The Committee then turned its attention to its traditional question-and-answer session.
Launching the discussion, a representative of Save a Child’s Heart in Memory of Dr. Ami Cohen made comments on questions put to his organization by the representative of Cuba regarding how it actually financed its work, and whether it had experience working with Palestinian children or the Palestinian Authority.
With respect to funding, he said that as an NGO it was a tremendous struggle, and needed to raise $10,000 for each child brought to Israel for an operation. That was a substantially reduced cost when compared to similar treatment offered in the United States or Europe, but was still difficult. To assist, the organization had registered with sister charities in the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, and South Africa.
He said it was a tremendous effort to raise those funds to save children’s lives and to also offer medical training opportunities for people in the countries where the organization worked. The organization operated on some 200 children every year, with 20 children from eight different countries currently being treated in Israel. The NGO had operated on more than 2,600 children through its programme. It was currently putting together a team to go to the United Republic of Tanzania, where it would be doing a week of open heart surgeries alongside a Tanzanian surgeon who was working with the programme. That was key, he said – to offer training to the doctors so that other countries could be doing what was done in Israel, and to share that experience with countries around the world.
He remarked that more than 1,500 of those children treated were Palestinian children, and he stressed that his NGO believed in reaching out to those close to it, its regional neighbours. The NGO worked with over a dozen doctors throughout Palestine, in Gaza and the West Bank, and had five Palestinian doctors currently training in different fields of paediatric cardiac care.
He said a tremendous amount of work done was concentrated towards Palestinian children and towards training Palestinian doctors. The NGO sent a positive message out together — Palestinian and Israelis — that things could work differently.
The representative of Cuba thanked him for the explanation, saying it was satisfactory to her delegation.
The representative of Venezuela also thanked the NGO’s representative, and highlighted her delegation’s satisfaction for the noble work undertaken in the region and in other developing countries. She said that work was even more admired because, not only was it humanitarian work, but it also involved training of human resources. She asked if there were other centres opened in other countries or regions, or plans to do so.
The NGO’s representative said that its vision was threefold: focusing on treating children; capacity-building; and on creating centres of competence. He said his NGO had been working closely with a children’s hospital in China, and had been involved with heart surgeries in medical centre in Ethiopia and the Republic of Moldova, among others.
It was always open to expanding its cooperation, and thought that was what the world of NGOs was about — constantly striving for cooperation.
The representative of Syria asked if she understood correctly that the NGO was bringing assistance to Palestine and the Occupied Territory. She also asked the NGO representative to explain how his organization was undertaking those activities under current circumstances.
Speaking on a point of order, the representative of Belgium said that it was not up to observers to ask questions and that only Committee members could do so.
The representative of the United States also noted that the ruling of the Chair had been that, while observers could make comments and general statements, they were not permitted to ask questions. She sought clarification from the Committee Chair.
The Chair said that the discussion was on the table, and absent consensus on the matter, he turned to the Committee for further clarification.
The representative of China noted that the Committee did not have an agreement on the matter, but that in the Committee’s history, questions by observers had been permitted.
The representative of Venezuela felt that the representative of Syria should be allowed to engage in conversation if questions had not been sufficiently answered.
The representative of Syria again posed her question, asking the NGO about its position with regard to General Assembly resolutions concerning the rights of self-determination of the Palestinian people.
Also posing a question, a representative of the Permanent Observer of Palestine said there was considerable and commendable work being undertaken by the NGO, providing a service that some Governments could not.
He then asked the representative to identify the hospitals and other NGOs with which it worked. He also asked how it chose its children, particularly Palestinian children, and what criteria were considered when deciding whether or not to take their case.
In final comments to the Committee, the NGO representative expressed appreciation for the exchange among the diverse group of delegates, and said that his NGO treated Palestinian children in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, regardless of what was happening politically.
The NGO represented Israeli society, he said, and not the State of Israel; it was non-political in nature and its mission was to save children and to share knowledge with others. It treated any child regardless of where he or she came from, and without financial, racial, religious or any other consideration.
In answer to the Palestinian observer’s query, he named a list of specific individual doctors and hospitals in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, who referred patients to the organization. That kind of work must continue; here, Palestinian and Israeli doctors were working together for the benefit of the children. Over the past year, the NGO had strengthened its relationship with Rafidiyeh hospital in Nablus, creating a true cooperation with the Palestinian ministry of health. Medical cooperation went way beyond political considerations. Normally, the NGO would put together a medical team to go overseas and examine children to decide together with local doctors which patients needed care, he said. Right now, that type of joint assessment was not possible, as the Israeli doctors could not yet travel to the Palestinian Territory. However, in the interim, they put complete trust in the diagnosis of the Palestinians doctors who referred patients to them.
The representatives of Belgium and Bulgaria thanked the representative for his comments, noting that he had responded very convincingly and said they would support a recommendation.
The Committee then agreed to recommend Save a Child’s Heart in Memory of Dr. Amu Cohen for special consultative status.
The Chair opened the floor for questions to AUA Americas Chapter Inc., a national organization based in Washington, D.C., United States, the primary purpose of which was to increase public awareness and understanding of the Assyrian culture and people, to promote human rights and indigenous rights, and to provide charitable services to persons of Assyrian descent.
The representative of Turkey asked questions about the election of the Executive Board and about assistance to Iraqis, and requested the replies in writing.
The NGO representative explained that the Executive Board was elected at annual meetings that took place in the United States. The Iraqi refugees were assisted in Syria, she said, adding that the organization had already provided a written statement regarding its Executive Board.
The Committee Chair also sought clarification about the Executive Board’s election. The NGO representative offered a reply and indicated it had been put in writing, but the Chair sought additional written information.
The Chair then opened the floor for questions to the Global Justice Center, a United States-based international organization in New York, which implemented, as enforceable international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fundamental precepts of international law as grounded in the United Nations Charter.
The representative of the United States asked how the NGO’s work contributed to the work of the Economic and Social Council, since it stated that its work targeted all core areas of the Council’s responsibility.
The NGO representative responded that the organization used legal tools only and, thus, would contribute to the Economic and Social Council in a strictly legal manner. For example, the organization had counselled the higher Iraqi court on gender equality.
The representative of Morocco asked whether the organization was striking a balanced approach with regard to democracy, human rights and development.
The NGO representative answered that the organization believed a two-handed approach was necessary, because if they created institutions that applied human rights, they would ignore the practical approach; focusing on needs was not enough. In the organization’s work on sexual violence in armed conflict, for example, the aim was to implement human rights during the conflict, not after.
The representative of Morocco added that that raised the question of democracy without development or development without democracy.
The NGO representative explained that the organization’s work in education, specifically that of women and girls, laid the foundation for future development.
Asked by the representative of the Russian Federation why the NGO was working in Myanmar, the speaker said there had been sexual violence there and they wanted to help those women. Additionally, among their staff of 8 to 12 people, they had a researcher from Myanmar, which enabled the NGO to work with the Myanmar Council of Lawyers to help women who were victims of sexual violence.
The representative of Kyrgyzstan asked whether the NGO had any planned projects related to his country or any cooperation under way with NGOs there. The NGO representative said the organization had no projects in Kyrgyzstan. Two years ago, they had a Kyrgyz lawyer working for them, she added.
The Committee then recommended the NGO for special consultative status.
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