Speakers Say Strong Demand for Status ‘Begs Question’ of How to Manage Workload
Opening its regular session for 2014, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations this morning recommended 29 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 13 others.
The 19-member Committee, whose present session runs until 30 January, vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), recommending general, special consultative or roster status on the basis of such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Council and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings.
At the outset of the meeting, the Committee adopted its agenda and programme of work (document E/C.2/2014.1). It elected by acclamation Asya Tsvetanova (Bulgaria), on behalf of the Group of Eastern European States, and Ana Peña (Peru), on behalf of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, as Vice-Chairs. It postponed the election of its two remaining Vice-Chairs, including one to serve as Rapporteur. Further, it took note of a complaint expressed in a joint letter from the President of the Human Rights Council and from the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.
Also at the outset, Navid Hanif, Director of the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the call at the United Nations for wider engagement with civil society actors had implications for the Committee’s work. In its resolution 67/290, the General Assembly opened up the participation of the recently established High-level Political Forum to the Major Groups identified in Agenda 21 and other stakeholders active in sustainable development. In resolution 68/1, the Assembly called on the Economic and Social Council to become a relevant platform for multi-stakeholder participation. The Council’s new President echoed that call, saying non-State actors should have more opportunities to engage with the Council and the Political Forum.
As a result, consultative status was very much in demand among non-governmental organizations, Mr. Hanif said. Of the 12,000 representatives of organizations that participated in events at Headquarters last year, 62 per cent represented organizations with consultative status. With the creation of the Global Compact, business entities also had expressed increased interest in collaborating on the Organization’s sustainable development agenda and participating in the deliberations of various United Nations bodies.
The number of applications and quadrennial reports submitted by non-governmental organization for the Committee’s review had grown to 781 in 2013, more than double the number from 2009, when there were 293, he said, adding that that number would grow further. Moreover, the number of quadrennial reports jumped from 40 to 520 over the same period.
“This begs the question, how will the Committee handle this volume and review the applications in an expeditious manner,” he said. Such expectations, whether realistic or unjustified, must be met.
Gizem Sucuoğlu (Turkey), elected Committee Chair by acclamation at the outset, also noted the Committee’s burgeoning workload. This session, it would consider 290 quadrennial reports of non-governmental organizations in general and special consultative status, 23 quadrennial reports deferred from earlier sessions, as well as 220 new applications in addition to the 219 applications also deferred from previous sessions. She called on the Committee to work more expeditiously and better manage its time, and suggested it consider 60 applications per day to exhaust the list of those pending review.
Non-governmental organization had an important role to play and their participation in global affairs helped promote accountability, she said. Fostering closer relations between them and the United Nations would be mutually beneficial. The increased number of applications for NGO status indicated the growing influence of civil society. Every Committee member had the right to ask questions regarding the applications before them and to express the need to encourage the participation of organizations from developing countries. He thus called on the Committee to carefully examine applications from the global South.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m., Wednesday, 22 January, to continue its session.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following 29 organizations:
Actions communautaires pour le developpement integral — a national organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo focused on combating famine and malnutrition and achieving food self-sufficiency;
Actions et interventions pour le developpement et l’encadrement social — a national Democratic Republic of the Congo-based organization focused on socioeconomic development and aid to refugees and victims of natural disasters and sexual violence;
African Centre for Advocacy and Human Development — a national Nigeria-based organization promoting human development and growth;
African Foundation for Human Development — a national Nigeria-based organization advocating free legal services, social and human advancement, growth and development in Africa;
Alliance for Development and Population Services — a national Kenya-based organization promoting community self-reliance and development;
Alpha O. Centre for Malaria Prevention and Control — a national organization in Nigeria working to empower youth and women and provide health-care services to pregnant women in the Niger Delta area;
Arsenal Force Vive — a national Mauritius-based organization focused on environmental sustainability and women’s empowerment;
Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability Foundation — an international organization in Thailand serving as a regional centre on disability and development;
Asociacion Nacional de Estudiantes de ingenierias Industrial, Administrativa y de Produccion — a national Colombia-based organization supporting university students enrolled in industrial, administrative and production engineering programmes;
Association pour les Droits de l’Homme et l’Univers Carceral – a national Congo-based organization focusing on human rights promotion and legal aid for victims of human rights violations;
Association ALKHAYR pour le developpement en Mauritanie — a national organization in Mauritius providing support to orphans and poor families;
Association Congolaise pour le Développement Agricole — a national Congo-based organization focused on sustainable agricultural development to improve the lot of the poor;
Association Democratique des Femmes du Maroc — a Morocco-based organization promoting women’s rights and gender equality;
Association des ONG de l’environnement (A.O.E.) — a national Côte d’Ivoire-based umbrella organization of non-governmental organizations supporting safe drinking water, medical care, education, shelter and nutrition;
Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria — a national Nigeria-based organization promoting women’s socioeconomic empowerment, particularly of women in rural, marginalized communities;
Association Solidarité Internationale pour l’Afrique — a national organization in Mali promoting socioeconomic and political development in rural communities;
Bala Atibala Samaj Sevi Sanstha — a national India-based organization promoting socioeconomic and health advancement for impoverished agricultural labourers, women and children;
Centre for Development of Civil Society — a national Armenia-based organization promoting democracy, women’s rights and cultural, linguistic, religious, and political pluralism;
Centre for Humanitarian Enhancement — a national Nigeria-based organization promoting human rights and harmony among members of society;
Children’s Rights Advocacy and Lobby Mission — Africa (CALM-Africa) — a national Uganda-based organization offering child protection services, vocational skills training, rights-awareness programmes and aid to vulnerable families;
China Foundation for Peace and Development — an international China-based organization advocating the peaceful development of the world through communications activities;
Community Development Programme (SDP) — a national organization in Pakistan organizing, educating and empowering poor, neglected and marginalized segments of society;
Connecting Gender for Development — a national Nigeria-based organization promoting women’s rights and their full participation of women in politics;
Corporate Social Responsibility Awareness and Advancement Initiative — a national organization in Nigeria promoting social harmony, human rights and freedom of association;
Dir Rural Development Organization — a national Pakistan-based organization focused on poverty alleviation and community development through basic education and micro-enterprise development training;
Earth Push Ltd/Gte — a national Nigeria-based organization promoting sustainable economic and private sector development and a favourable investment climate;
Educational Foundation for African Women — an international organization in Nigeria promoting education for girls and women;
Emirates Human Rights Association — a national organization in the United Arab Emirates promoting human rights principles as well as social, economic and political justice through independent legislative and judiciary; and
Espoir pour Tous — a national organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo advocating implementation of international conventions on political, economic and social rights.
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 13 organizations:
African Network for Environment and Economic Justice — an international organization in Nigeria promoting transparency and accountability in resource governance — as the representative of Cuba requested further information regarding its international activities;
Africa Speaks — a national South Africa-based organization that encourages African leaders to speak with one voice and advocate for peace in Africa — as the representative of Nicaragua asked how the organization could successfully operate when it had a total income less than total expenditures;
African Development Solutions (ADESO) — an international organization in Kenya promoting environmental sustainability and self-sufficiency at the community level — as the representative of Sudan requested further information about its projects in East Africa, specifically in South Sudan and Kenya;
All Christians Welfare Association — a national Pakistan-based organization focused on creation of family planning and health-care services, and vocational training, among other social services — as the representative of Pakistan requested more details on its financial position, including specifics on projects completed thus far and how it planned to fund future projects;
All Ukrainian Association of Civil Organizations “Union of Armenians of Ukraine” — a national Ukraine-based organization that coordinates the work of its civil society member organizations promoting Armenian cultural and education — as the representative of Turkey wanted more information on its partnership with other organizations and its planned projects for 2014-2015;
All-Ukrainian Union of Non-Government Organizations “Confederation of Non-Government Organizations of People with Disabilities of Ukraine” — a national Ukraine-based organization — as the representative of Cuba requested clarification on how the organization manages its projects given that it had a zero per cent implementation rate;
APMM Company Limited — a national organization in Hong Kong supporting and defending migrants’ rights — as the representative of China called upon the organization to use the official United Nations terminology when referencing Taiwan as a Province of China;
Association Nationale pour L’évaluation Environnementale — a national organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that conducts environmental assessment studies and advocates for environmental laws and public awareness about the environment — as the representative of Cuba wanted more information on how it carried out projects, noting that in the organization’s financial statement, the project implementation rate was zero per cent;
Cameroon Association for the Defence of the Victims of Accident — a national organization in Cameroon assisting accident victims with judiciary and insurance procedures and promoting adequate road safety policies through sensitization campaigns and training seminars — as the representative of Morocco sought clarification on the organization’s budget and whether it had enough funding for its stated activities;
Club des Jeunes Aveugles Réhabilités du Cameroun — a national organization in Cameroon supporting the rights and welfare of visually impaired people — as the Committee had received a letter from the Permanent Mission of Cameroon indicating its reservations about the organization and seeking more time to review the application;
Environment-People-Law — an international Ukraine-based organization focused on strengthening democratic process, environmental sustainability and peoples’ access to information and justice — as the representative of Cuba sought more information about the organization’s partner countries and its projects in Latin America;
Fundación Centro de Gestión Tecnológica e Informática Industrial — a national Costa Rica-based organization promoting sustainable development initiatives — as the representative of Cuba inquired about the specific location of projects in Cuba.
Fundación Contemporánea — a national Argentina-based organization focused on training of a new political leadership for Argentina — as the representative of Cuba asked whether the organization had a joint project with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.