|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on NGOs
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)
NGO Committee Recommends 26 More Organizations for Special Consultative
Status with Economic and Social Council
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today continued the process of vetting the dozens of applications before it, recommending special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council for 26 organizations which had been deferred from previous sessions owing to questions posed by the 19-member body.
The Committee, established in 1946, recommends to the Council general, special or roster status, in accordance with such criteria as the civil society applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend the Council’s meetings and circulate statements, while those with general status can, in addition, address meetings and propose agenda items. Roster-status non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can only attend meetings
Among those non-governmental organizations granted status today were a range of national and international organizations that included, in India, an association aimed at promoting the need of higher education for youth; in Pakistan, a legal aid forum for human rights; in the United States, a network to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide; and in Bangladesh, a forum to formulate policy for economic development for every citizen of the global village.
However, in keeping with the thoroughness for which this Committee is known, new questions arose, or requests for further clarification on previous ones, causing 30 more applications to be postponed. Those hailed from both the global North and South and included: Afghan Poverty Relief — an international NGO based in the United Kingdom; the United States-based international Education for Employment Foundation; AIDS Accountability International, headquartered in Sweden; the South Africa-based national Centre for Human Rights; and the Nigerian-based national New Era Educational and Charitable Support Initiatives.
At the opening of the meeting today, a representative of the Secretariat apologized for a problem experienced yesterday with regard to applicants that had requested reclassifications. He reiterated that no decision had been taken on those four NGOs and that more discussion on the matter was needed.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on 3 February to continue its work.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee took up a number of applications that had, for various reasons, been deferred during earlier sessions, recommending special consultative status to the following organizations:
Chamber of Computer Logistics People Worldwide — an international India-based NGO aimed at promoting the need of higher education for underprivileged and needy youth.
Fundacion Argentina a las Naciones Camino a la Verdad — a national organization aimed at the defense and diffusion of the principles, purposes and guarantees of the Charter of the United Nations, so as to reaffirm the fundamental rights of humankind.
Global Economist Forum — an international organization based in Bangladesh with the mission to formulate policy for economic development.
Internationale Organisation Fur Volkskunst (IOV) — an international Austria-based NGO that believes that the possibilities for world peace are improved when people understand each others' traditions, as expressed through folk art and folk culture, and promotes the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Legal Aid Forum for Human Rights — a national organization based in Pakistan aiming to provide legal assistance to all, irrespective of race, culture, and religion, and to women in particular in distress and post-victimization.
PFI Foundation — a national India-based NGO aiming to accelerate the pace of rural socio-economic development and alleviate poverty in rural areas by providing the grassroots communities with a means to gain successful employment in all possible sectors, reversing the urban migration. It also focuses on a rights-based approach to development and works for interfaith and intercultural understanding for peace and development of the South Asia region.
Asociacion de Amigos de las Naciones Unidas — a national NGO based in Spain, self-described as a United Nations Association, UNA-Spain, with the objective of acting as a bridge among the United Nations, the Spanish Government institutions and civil society, whose aims and purposes are the promotion and defence of the principles contained in the United Nations Charter, at the local, regional and national level.
Earth Day Network, Inc. – an international United States-based NGO with a mission to broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide, and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle for promoting a healthy, sustainable environment. It pursues its mission through a combination of education, public policy, and activism campaigns.
The Committee recommended special consultative status for the European Union Association in the United States — a Jersey City-based group which aims at communicating the European Union’s positions in the United States and at the United Nations in the fields of culture, business, international relations as well as in foreign security policy and promoting multilateral cooperation and relationships with the United States and other regions.
Special Consultative Status was recommended for Freemuse — The World Forum on Music and Censorship, a Danish organization which advocates freedom of expression for musicians and composers worldwide. It was born of the first World Conference on Music and Censorship, held in Copenhagen in November 1998, which joined together professionals from diverse fields and countries to examine, discuss and document a wide variety of violations of freedom of expression faced by musicians and composers worldwide.
The Committee recommended special consultative status to the Japan Water Forum, a Tokyo-based organization working to further the aims of the Third World Water Forum by acting as a point of contact of exchange and cooperation for national and international organizations and institutions in their dealing with water problems, as well as citizens and individuals concerned with water problems.
The Committee recommended special consultative status for Kosmos Associates, Inc., a Massachusetts-based group that works to promote dialogue among civilizations for understanding different worldviews, individual and group action to reform the United Nations and to build political, economic and civil systems that meet the needs of a globalized world.
Also recommended for special consultative status was the NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq — a group that acts as an independent, neutral and impartial 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 also advocates that human rights and international humanitarian law are respected, and to ensure humanitarian needs in Iraq are identified, well lobbied for and met.
The Seoul-based group People for Successful Corean Reunification was recommended for special consultative status. That organization, which also has an office in Washington, D.C., strives for mutual understanding and harmony between the two Koreas and aims to bridge the gap between Republic of Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the international community through education and open dialogue.
The Committee recommended special consultative status for Release Legal Emergency and Drugs Service Limited, a London-based group working to bring about a fair and compassionate framework for drug use in society. It recognizes that drug users are often subjected to draconian laws which involve human and civil rights abuses and stresses that those most at risk often come from the poorest sections of society. With that in mind, the organization also challenges legislation and policies that impact on disadvantaged and excluded communities.
Special consultative status was also recommended for the British Humanist Association, a London-based organization campaigning for human rights and equality for people with non-religious beliefs.
Next, the Committee recommended special consultative status for Search for Common Ground, a Washington-based group working to transform the way the international community deals with conflict, encouraging a move away from adversarial approaches and towards collaborative problem solving.
The Committee also recommended special consultative status for Sveriges Kvinnolobby, a Stockholm-based umbrella organization of women’s civil society groups working to integrate women’s perspectives into all political, economic and social processes, locally as well as internationally.
Special consultative status was recommended for The Fisherman, an organization based in Raleigh, North Carolina, which aims to educate and provide health care to orphaned children around the world. Its emphasis is on caring for orphaned children with special needs.
The Committee also recommended special consultative status for the Belfast-based Training for Women Network, which works to advance, promote, develop and co-ordinate provision of accessible, high-quality vocational and pre-vocational education and training for women in Northern Ireland leading to sustainable employment.
WOMB International was recommended for special consultative status. That organization, based in Australia, aims to teach all women of the world to identify their fertility, infertility and time of ovulation through an understanding of the Billings Ovulation Method(BOM), so that they may be able to make informed choices concerning the timing and spacing of their families in a simple, entirely natural and effective way.
The Committee recommended special consultative status for World Hunger Year, Incorporated, a New York-based group that advocates for innovative, community-based solutions to hunger and poverty, and supports grassroots projects in the United States and in several parts of the world.
Special consultative status was recommended for ZOA Vluchtelingenzorg, an organization that promotes refugee care and provides support for people who suffer because of armed conflict or natural disaster, in rebuilding their livelihoods.
The Committee also recommended special consultative status for the Corporacion para la Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos Reiniciar, a Colombia-based organization working for the defense and promotion of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Special consultative status was also recommended for Foundation for Human Horizons, a Mumbai-based organization working to support volunteer-based, honest and experienced NGOs in serving their populations’ critical needs around education, health care, and welfare, without regard to religion or race.
The Committee recommended special consultative status for the Public Health Institute, an independent non-profit organization based in the United States and dedicated to improving the health, well-being and quality of life for people around the world.
Action on the following previously deferred applications was postponed pending responses to previously posed questions:
Alpesandes.org – an international Swiss-based NGO.
American Council for World Jewry, Inc. — an international United States-based NGO that seeks to build bridges with other communities and areas, particularly in the Muslim world, with an overall mission to expand the Jewish contribution to the goals of the United Nations, build and foster constructive alliances, combat anti-Semitism, and defend Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state at peace with its neighbors.
Clean Up Australia Ltd — a national environmental organization established in 1992 with the aim of helping communities clean up, fix up and conserve the environment.
Action on the following previously deferred applications was postponed after new questions were posed:
Catolicas por el Derecho a Decidir Cordoba — a national Argentina-based organization established in 1993 with the purpose of fostering discussion and action on issues such as reproductive rights, sexuality, health and citizenship of women, and their relations with religious elements.
The representative of Pakistan asked if there was any precedent to give status to an NGO using a different name than the one by which it registered in its country. Could it be requested that the applicant apply with its proper name?
The observer of the Holy See said the NGO did not use the name in Argentina, as that name was legally reserved under law in the country. Therefore, if the NGO was to do so, that would be a violation of the word “Catholic” and of Argentinian law and of the use of a public entity’s name by a private entity.
The representative of Belgium suggested that the Committee might wish to consult with Argentina’s delegation.
The representative of Morocco said it was the Secretariat’s responsibility to pass that question on to the NGO concerned.
The representative of India supported the point raised by Pakistan — that the Committee should consider an applicant by the name that was registered in the country in which the NGO was based.
Centre for Human Rights — a national South Africa-based NGO aiming to be a world-class academic institution, focusing on research, teaching and advocacy in the field of human rights law in Africa. The mission of the Centre is to work towards the realization of human rights in Africa.
Prompted by a question raised by Morocco’s representative, members entered into a discussion about granting status to an NGO that might also be a university or part of a university. The representatives of Belgium, Pakistan, and Cuba participated in that discussion, with the Secretariat advising members that the issue had been taken up in past sessions and, indeed, there were several NGOs with status that were part of universities. Examples included the Columbia University Institute, which was part of Columbia University and headed by Jeffrey Sachs. Another was Yale International Relations Association, and the whole of Farleigh Dickinson University.
The representative of Cuba allowed that the discussion had been held at various sessions, but that work should continue on the matter and it would not be possible to reach agreement on this NGO at the moment.
Corporacion Excelencia en la Justicia — a national NGO based in Colombia and aimed at promoting excellence in justice through leadership and promotion of fundamental cultural and institutional change that satisfies a collective desire for timely and thorough justice for all Colombians.
The representative of Venezuela asked about the number of members.
International Services Association – a national NGO based in Indiawith the vision of creating a just society living with health and development, and a mission for sustainable health and development for vulnerable communities through highly committed and equipped personnel and organisations.
The representative of Pakistan asked in which capacity the NGO was working in other countries, such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He also asked about the certificate of registration, which showed the organization had been registered as an employer and not as an NGO or non-profit organization.
Kuchlak Welfare Society – a national NGO based in Pakistan aimed at undertaking various projects and activities for the development of the poor communities living in the far flung areas of Balochistan and improving their living conditions and quality of life through providing them a quality educational
environment and bringing change in their thinking and attitudes.
The representative of China asked about the financial statement and the organization’s stated cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the past two years.
New Era Educational and Charitable Support Initiatives — a national Nigeria-basedNGO, which, as member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, is committed to the revival of human values that transcend religious, ethnic and cultural differences.
The representative of China asked if the NGO could offer more details on its statement that it had five organizational members.
Skyian Welfare Organization — a national Pakistan-based NGO aiming to improve the quality of life of the people and, among others, provide basic facilities like health, education, sustainable livelihood and a clean environment, with a participatory approach.
The representative of China, noting that the financial report indicated that 69 per cent of the NGO’s funding came from international organizations, asked if the NGO would explain what kinds of organizations.
Human Rights Association for Community Development in Assiut — a national NGO based in Egypt with the aim of, among others, enhancing and protecting human rights; enabling people, in particular women and the young, to discover and develop their potential to provide leadership for a positive impact on society; and tackling any case in which a violation of human rights occurs.
The representative of Pakistan noted that the certificate of registration said that the NGO had been registered in 2004 for only one year, and he asked for clarification.
The representative of Sudan asked about the budget and about government funding, specifically whether that was from the Government of Egypt or from others. Also, could the NGO clarify whether it received support from other governmental organizations and whether it had activities in neighbouring countries, including in Sudan, or whether its reach was limited to Egypt.
Afghan Poverty Relief — an international NGO based in the United Kingdom with the ultimate goal — self-described as “straightforward and ambitious” — to build a sustainable and strong Afghanistan where all the basic needs of life — water, food, education, health and shelter — are available to all sections of the society.
The representative of Venezuela asked whether the organization planned to carry out activities in any other region or country, since it states it was international in nature.
An exchange ensued involving that representative along with those of the United States and Belgium, in which the latter two delegations indicated that the NGO’s website and response to Committee questions were clear, in that it considered itself to be international because, while it was registered in the United Kingdom and collected money in the United Kingdom and the United States, it worked outside, in Afghanistan. The representative of Belgium said that the NGO’s reply to that question of 19 May stated that over the past 12 months, it had sought to establish bases in the United States, Turkey, Malaysia and elsewhere.
The representative of Venezuela said the application states the focus was Afghanistan and overseas in general; the NGO characterized itself as international, and his delegation wished to know how it interpreted “international” and wanted to clear up any “doubt”. He reiterated his request to pass on to the organization a question about whether it planned to expand its reach to other countries and regions of the world, particularly to Latin America.
The representative of the United States said perhaps such a discussion could be added to consideration of the Committee’s working methods, whereas the representative of China said the work plan for the concerned NGO fell within the Committee’s purview and did not concern its working methods; any Committee member had a right to raise such a question. Cuba’s representative said the subject should be included in an internal discussion on working methods, but questions about the organization’s profile should be resubmitted pending satisfactory clarification.
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association — a national organization comprised of a group of citizens who volunteer their energy and talents to fulfil their mandate: to preserve, defend, maintain and extend civil liberties and human rights in British Columbia and across Canada.
The representative of Pakistan asked if the NGO could identify its view on the practice of assisted suicide, particularly how it linked that practice with the well-established right to life.
British Overseas NGOs for Development (BOND) — a national NGO with a vision of a world of justice and equality, free from poverty, where human rights and the environment are respected, and a purpose to be the uniting force for the strength, influence and effectiveness of international development organisations of the United Kingdom.
The representative of China said the terminology used on the NGO’s website violated United Nations usage.
Collectif des Familles de Disparu(e)s en Algerie — a France-based national organization.
The representative of Pakistan asked for the NGO’s latest financial statements, while the representative of Belgium recalled that a representative of the organization had appeared before the Committee last year to answer questions and such a reply was given. Belgium felt this was a very good organization and hoped the Committee would be able to act on it soon since its application dated back to 2009.
The representative of Sudan sought more details on its activities in Algeria and whether the NGO was registered elsewhere and coordinated with Algeria or any other authorities.
A discussion ensued about the submission to the Committee of the application in French, with the representatives of India asking the Secretariat if it could translate it and the representative of Sudan similarly expressing difficulty going through it. The representative of Israel said that, although she preferred to receive all applications in English, both French and English were working languages of the United Nations. Belgium’s representative agreed.
The Secretariat said it was a practice to have documents in the two working languages, and added that the Committee had some 800 documents per session; there was no way the NGO Branch could do any translations, to which the representative of India said if applications were in French he could not give a considered view of them, while Sudan’s representative said the NGO’s should be asked to present their applications in both working languages.
Returning to the substance of the application, the representative of Algeria, a Committee observer, asked a series of questions concerning the nature of the NGO, such as how it was that it dealt mainly with a country other than the one where it was registered. It was registered as a national organization and therefore it was “not allowed” to deal exclusively with the affairs of another country. Also, it was impossible for either a non-governmental or governmental organization to work in Algeria without having prior authorization from the relevant authorities. That law made NGOs a partner in the Government’s decision-making processes. He also asked about this NGO’s budget, saying finally that Committee members should request clarification from the NGO, whose contradictory answers seemed to be “hiding a great deal”.
Education for Employment Foundation — an international United States-based NGO with a mission to create economic and social opportunity through constructive solutions to the problem of massive and growing unemployment. Its unique model is employer and market-driven — youth are trained according to employers’ needs for the jobs that are in most demand.
The representative of Venezuela said the organization had not responded to questions sent to it on 27 January, while the United States representative said there was only one question pending — on its operating expenses — and it looked like an expense budget had been provided. The Secretariat said it saw the breakdown.
The representative of Venezuela then asked the NGO to state which countries it planned to operate in.
AIDS Accountability International – an NGO based in Sweden with the aim of holding leaders accountable for their commitments by developing ratings and other policy-relevant research that will increase the political leverage of advocacy efforts for accountability, stronger leadership and more effective responses to AIDS.
The representative of Pakistan sought some clarifications.
Architects for Peace Incorporated – an international Australian-based NGO self-described as an independent, multidisciplinary forum of planners, architects, urban designers, landscape architects, engineers, environmentalists and artists working in the public domain, seeking sustainable urban development based on social justice, solidarity, respect and peace.
The representative of Israel asked to see a financial statement and by-laws.
The Committee postponed action on the application of GAiN International — a Texas-based global network that aims to address tangible needs in areas of poverty and despair and provide hope through active, targeted outreach — after the delegate or Venezuela requested more information on distribution of the group’s expenditures for the projects it undertook.
Action was postponed on the application of International Covenant for the Protection of Journalists (ICPJ) — a five-year-old Geneva-based organization working to mobilize the ideas of protection for journalists through work on an international convention dealing with media protection — after the representatives of Cuba and Venezuela requested more information on the organization’s work.
The Committee postponed action on the International Organization for Victim Assistance — an Oregon-based group working to promote policy change for victims; provide training and technical assistance on victim assistance, crisis response and rights, restorative justice, and violence prevention; provide assistance to victims; and promote awareness — following questions from the representative of Venezuela, who said that while she was certain the group’s work was commendable, there appeared to be discrepancies regarding its work in her country.
The United States delegate highlighted information included in the application that aimed to clear up those discrepancies, but also suggested that if new questions were put to the organization, perhaps the committee could also provide some guidance on the level of detail that was required.
The Committee postponed action on the application of the Northern Alberta Alliance on Race Relations Society — which aims to educate about racial prejudice and discrimination through seminars, workshops, public forums, community programming and conferences intended for the general public — after the Secretary announced that it had recently changed its name to the “Edmonton Centre for Race and Culture”. The Committee would request a new application under the new name along with a new certificate of registration.
Kyrgyzstan’s representative suggested that the organization also provide assurances to the Committee that its goals and mission had not changed.
Action was also postponed on the application of Sudanese Mothers for Peace, which works to advance education, relieve poverty and empower women, and their families, by the provision of seminars, advice, assistance, representation, and counselling, following questions posed by the representative of Sudan regarding the group’s registration: was it one organization registered in both the United Kingdom and Sudan? Or was it two groups working jointly in both countries?
Action was postponed on the application of Al Tajdeed Cultural Social Society, which aims to bridge the intellectual gap between Muslims and the international human rights conventions. The representative of Israel asked for more information regarding the organization’s work. She noticed that its application cited participation in sessions of the Human Rights Council. Yet, if it did not have consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, how could that be possible?
Also postponed was the application of All India Christian Council, a nation-wide alliance of Christian denominations, mission agencies, institutions, federations and Christian lay leaders formed in 1998. The representative of China requested more information on its work.
The Committee postponed action on Asia Indigenous People’s Act — a group working to strengthen cooperation and solidarity among indigenous peoples across Asia and to promote the rights of indigenous people in general — due to a request for more information from the representative of China.
Also postponed was the application of Indira Ghandi National Foundation — which engaged in social service by working for the betterment of the underprivileged, including vulnerable women and rural poor — owing to the concerns of China’s delegate regarding its characterization of “Taiwan”.
The Committee also postponed action on the application of Isfahan Association for Protection of Human Rights, a group that worked for the promotion of fundamental rights and human dignity, including through raising the level of public awareness about human rights and promoting research in that field, following a question posed by the delegate of China regarding its finances, and from Cuba’s delegate regarding the scope of its work.
Action was postponed on Kerman Raad, a Tehran-based group that fosters the development of young people with the purpose of reinforcing their self-confidence, self sufficiency and self-employment, owing to a concern expressed by the representative of Israel about the organization’s relationship to other Raad organizations and whether those groups also had status.
The Committee postponed action Krityanand UNESCO Club Jamshedpur, an organization which works to promote the aims of the United Nations system and to promote its program and activities among Indian society. It also promotes international understanding, peace and tolerance through education, science, culture and mass communication. Pakistan requested that its certificate of registration be submitted in one of the working languages of the United Nations.
When the Committee began its interactive discussion, it first heard from the representative of the Public Health Institute, an independent non-profit organization based in the United States and dedicated to improving the health, well-being and quality of life for people around the world.
Ahead of that discussion, the representative of Morocco reiterated his concern about how the list was established indicating the NGO’s that would be participating in the Committee’s interactive sessions. He stressed that the members of the Committee must be included in the compilation of that list.
The Secretary explained that the list of NGO’s was prepared in a “very standard manner”, according to the Committee’s tradition. He added that the Secretariat was always willing to work with delegations to improve the Committee’s procedures.
Taking the floor again, Morocco’s representative said that he was calling for synergy and coordination. If Committee members were consulted, then they could be included in decisions regarding the participation of a particular NGO that had questions pending. The Committee should never admit an NGO that undermined the sovereignty of a State.
When the representative of the Public Health Institute took the floor, he responded to an earlier question posed by China’s delegate. He said that his organization had been unaware of the agreed United Nations terminology regarding “Taiwan” when it had written in a newsletter about the work carried out there by one of its members. While it would be impossible to recall all copies of a distributed newsletter, the Institute could change any incorrect references to “Taiwan” on its Website.
China’s representative stressed that while the Institute might see this as a technical issue, it was an issue of sovereignty for China.
The Committee recommended special consultative status for the Institute.
Taking the floor next was a youth representative of the Peacemakers Corps, an organization which worked to facilitate and support peace and tolerance education among the youth of the world. It aimed to empower generations to come together and make the world a peaceful, compassionate, safe and tolerant place in which to live.
The representative of Pakistan suggested that the Committee wait for the organization’s responses in writing, while the representative of the United States pointed out that the answers to previous questions had been uploaded to the group’s Website.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked why the organization was requesting status with the Economic and Social Council. Could the group’s aims be better served by working with other United Nations bodies? The representative of the Peacemakers Corp said that her organization worked to promote a host of youth development issues, including youth unemployment and other workplace issues. The Council would provide a platform for the Corp’s aims.
Belgium’s representative pointed out that the Peacebuilding Commission was a subsidiary body of the Council and stressed that she believed the organization’s work was relevant to the goals of the Council.
Responding to a question posed by Venezuela, the NGO representative said that her work with Peacemakers impacted a host of individuals, instilling in them a sense of productivity in their schools and jobs. She said that Peacemakers was employing innovative mechanisms to allow young people to bring different nations and cultures together. She added that she reached young people through the mediums that they used most, including Facebook and Twitter. “Our vision is global,” she said.
Pakistan’s representative again said that he believed the Committee would have to consider the application at a later date. He applauded the work of the Peacemakers Corps. He said that the written answers had just been received and the Committee needed time to consider them. He said that the Committee would take action on the application during the current session.
The Committee then heard from a representative of the Rural Development Organization, a group based in Pakistan which worked to promote a culture of tolerance and democratic norms, as well to organize and build the capacities of the marginalized segments of the society.
Asked by the delegate from Pakistan to tell the Committee about the organization’s work, he said that since 1999 it had been focused on neglected and marginalized segments of society. It also focused on persons with disabilities, providing them with skills training and rehabilitation assistance. He said that the organization also promoted girls’ education and the eradication of illiteracy, particularly in the Dir Lower region of Pakistan. It also provided assistance to internally displaced persons.
Responding to questions posed by delegates from China and India, the NGO representative said that the Rural Development Organization was a non-profit organization that built partnerships with local and international organizations, including in the Netherlands and elsewhere. International organizations provided technical support to its work. He said that the organization had completed many projects using its own resources, including those dealing with disabled persons.
The representative of India requested written responses to the questions posed.
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