The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 36 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, and deferred action on the status of 28 others.
The Committee also recommended reclassifying one organization from special consultative to general consultative status.
The 19-member Committee vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), recommending general, special 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.
Action on several applications was postponed because Committee members wanted more information from the candidates about, among other things, details of their respective organizations’ projects, partners, expenditures, sources of funding, and views on Islamic law, sexual and reproductive rights.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 24 January, to continue its session.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following 36 organizations:
Peace Village Network Association, Inc. (Republic of Korea);
Public-Private Alliance Foundation (United States);
RefugePoint, Inc. (United States);
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. (United States);
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. (United States);
Stiftelsen Atlas-Alliansen (Norway);
The Agatha Foundation Inc. (United States);
The Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan (Republic of Korea);
The Microfinance Club of New York Inc. (United States);
Washington Office on Latin America (United States);
Al Birr & Al Tawasul Organization (Sudan);
Association of Women for Action and Research (Singapore);
International Public Organization “Sovereign Knightly Order of Christ the Savior” (Ukraine);
International Insolvency Institute (Canada);
Keystone Human Services International (United States);
Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (Republic of Korea);
Lazarus Union (Austria);
General Forum of the Arabic and African Non-Governmental Organizations (Libya);
Share International, Inc. (United States);
stichting dance4life (Netherlands);
African Hope Committee (United States);
The Rainforest Fund, Inc. (United States);
Natural Justice (South Africa);
African Refugee Development Center (Israel);
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (United States);
Curio Generelizia Augustinia (Italy);
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Education Fund (United States);
Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum (India);
Asociatia Obsteasca “Promo-LEX” (Moldova);
Association pour la santé et la prévention des maladies tropicales (Togo);
Common Era, LLC (India);
Ethiopia Change and Development Association (Ethiopia);
Grameen Shakti (Bangladesh);
Green Planet (India).
The Committee recommend that the Economic and Social Council reclassify International Council on Management of Population Programmes (Malaysia) from special consultative to general consultative status.
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 29 organizations:
Russian Community of Latvia (Latvia) — as the United States’ representative asked how it could carry out activities considering its limited budget;
Stichting War Child (Netherlands) — as Nicaragua’s representative wanted to know what countries the organization worked and how it carried out projects, and India’s representative asked for a breakdown of its major funders;
Strategic Alignment of Like Minds Inc. (United States) — as Cuba’s representative asked it the organization would extend projects to Latin American and if so, what countries;
Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests (United States) — as Nicaragua’s representative asked for more information on the source of funding;
The Leadership Foundation (United States) — as Cuba’s representative asked about the criteria to determine who became a female leader and in what countries its 5,000 leaders were active;
The New York Fertility Research Foundation, Inc. (United States) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked if it provided in-vitro fertilization services and pre-selection of gender as part of that service;
The Tandana Foundation Inc. (United States) — as Cuba’s delegate asked for an exhaustive list of its activities in Ecuador in 2012 and 2013;
Union des Nations pour l’Enseignement, la Science Universelle et les Droits de l’Homme (Switzerland) — as Cuba’s delegate asked for more information on the organization’s international activities;
Vieoeoji istaiga oemogaus teisiu stebejimo institutas (Lithuania) — as the Russian Federation’s delegate, noting the organization was involved in human rights, asked about its involvement with Russian-speaking citizens in Russian-speaking States, including Lithuania and Latvia;
Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) Limited by Guarantee (Uganda) — as Sudan’s delegate wanted more information on its human rights activities;
Fundación CADAL (Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina) (Argentina) — as Nicaragua’s delegate asked when the organization registered as a civil society group with the Organization of American States (OAS) and whether it participated in regular OAS activities; Cuba’s delegate asked for details about its activities and partners in Latin America; and China’s delegate asked if it was international or regional;
Sonke Gender Justice Network (South Africa) — as China’s delegate asked how the organization could guarantee its independence as it received Government funding;
The F W de Klerk Foundation Trust (South Africa) — as China’s delegate asked for clarification on the organization’s position on Taiwan;
Center for Constitutional Rights Inc. (United States) — as China’s delegate asked for clarification of its investment projects and activities as it related to the organization’s aims;
Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health (Switzerland) — as Israel’s delegate said that in December, the organization had been asked to explain a statement on the website of another organization, GNRD, about a violation of a code of conduct by Nidal Salim, Director of the Institute. In its written reply, the Institute said the statement was a personal attack on Mr. Salim. The Israeli delegate asked whether Mr. Salim had a role in GNRD and about the relations between the two organizations. India’s delegate said a complete response to one question had not been provided by the organization and he requested that it be provided;
International Women's Forum, Inc. (United States) — as Cuba’s delegate asked for a list of the 50 countries with which the organization worked and whether it planned to extend its projects to Latin America and the Caribbean. Sudan’s delegate asked if it had plans to work in Africa and the Middle East, and if so, to specify the countries.
Korea Differently Abled Federation (Republic of Korea) — as Cuba’s delegate asked if the national organization planned to extend its activities in the Asian region;
Korean Bar Association (Republic of Korea) — as Cuba’s delegate asked for detailed information on its international activities and plans;
Mother Helpage (UK) (United Kingdom) — as Venezuela’s delegate asked about its international activities;
Operation Mercy (Sweden) — as Sudan’s representative asked if it worked with national organizations and, if so, for their names;
Peer Consultants, P.C. (United States) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked if the organization was, in fact, a business entity and not a non-profit organization. Israel’s representative said a non-governmental organization did not necessarily have to be a non-profit organization in order to be granted accreditation. Pakistan’s delegate acknowledged that point and asked that the organization simply clarify whether it was a business entity or not;
Profesionales por la Ética (Spain) — as Israel’s delegate asked for its views on the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Conference on Population and Development, and the Commission on the Status of Women, and how it worked to implement the Economic and Social Council’s aims;
Women Living under Muslim Laws — International Solidarity Network (WLUML) (United Kingdom) — as Pakistan’s representative said the organization had not satisfactorily answered his delegation’s concern over a contradiction between its name and its beliefs. The United States’ representative said the organization’s name did not appear discriminatory and that concern that the group should not be accredited because of its religious affiliation was not valid, as the Committee had accredited other organizations involved in religious matters. He also asked that the organization respond to the Committee as a whole and not to individual members. Sudan’s representative backed the Pakistani delegate’s concern over the organization’s name, saying it gave the impression that women living under Muslim law could lead to an erroneous understanding of the organization. China’s representative asked for clarification of the organization’s position on Taiwan, noting that its website referred to Taiwan as an independent country.
Israel’s representative also requested that the organization, and all others seeking accreditation, reply to the Committee as a whole. Morocco’s representative said that the organization, in reply to a question concerning sexual and reproductive rights, had stated it was in favour of addressing taboos on sex education and rights. However, said Morocco’s delegate, there was no single position at the United Nations on such rights and that multiplicity of views at the United Nations on such rights must be respected.
Belgium’s representative noted that only China’s delegate had actually asked a question, while the other speakers had merely commented on the organization’s philosophical views, which could, in fact, be done for all organizations seeking accreditation.
Pakistan’s representative then asked if the organization viewed Islamic law as discriminatory. The United States’ representative said the organization had already been asked and responded to how it defined Muslim law, and therefore, should not be asked the same question again. Morocco’s delegate asked if the organization could elaborate on its views on sexual rights so the Committee could come to a consensus on whether the organization, in fact, respected religious values. Peru’s delegate held that the Committee’s questions must be concrete and that the organization had already answered the Pakistani delegation’s questions.
Pakistan’s delegate agreed that questions should not be repetitive and withdrew his question, in line with established procedure. Sudan’s delegate asked for a response in writing to the questions from the delegates of Pakistan and Morocco. Belgium’s representative asked the Secretariat to state for the record those specific questions. The Secretariat said Pakistan’s delegate had withdrawn its question, but that Morocco’s question on sexual rights and how States respected religious values would be submitted. Sudan’s delegate asked how the organization coordinated its activities in the 70 countries where it works, and with whom, and what funding was received from partner organizations and individuals;
The Palestinian Return Centre Ltd. (United Kingdom) — as Israel’s delegate said the organization had replied to an individual Member State whereas it should reply to the full Committee. She also said the Centre had made a statement in the Human Rights Council that Egypt had committed crimes against humanity, and asked for specifics. The State of Palestine’s representative said the organization had, in fact, responded to the Committee as a whole. A Secretariat representative confirmed that the organization had responded, but said more time was needed to upload its answers in the Committee’s database. Israel’s delegate said the Centre needed to reply to a new question, as well as to correct its answer to a question made in December. The State of Palestine’s representative asked to see the Centre’s answer to the question posed in December, which the Committee had already received. The Committee Chair said the Israeli delegate’s new question posed today would be submitted to the Centre.
The State of Palestine’s represented said it was clear that the Centre had responded to the Committee directly. Belgium’s representative said organizations should not be punished for not knowing all of the Committee’s procedural rules and that Committee members must acknowledge that if they posed questions to organizations, they must engage with those organizations and not force them to wait six months for yet another round of questions. The State of Palestine’s representative agreed, adding that there was an institutional problem if one delegation continued to ask questions of the Centre and other Palestinian non-governmental organizations “over and over again”, which appeared to be at trend in the Committee.
Pakistan’s representative said that, while such a procedural matter must be corrected in the future, it should not prevent the Committee from considering the Centre’s application now. Morocco’s representative said that in yesterday’s session, he had made clear that, although he had made a comment, he did not require a written response, as that would delay the Centre’s applications. The Committee Chair agreed that the matter in question was procedural, which should be discussed an informal setting. Regarding the non-governmental organization in question, a delegation had asked a question and the Committee must wait for its response;
Arab Center for the Development of the Rule of Law and Integrity (Lebanon) — as China’s delegate asked it to refer to Taiwan in line with proper United Nations terminology;
Business and Professional Women Voluntary Organization — Sudan (Sudan) — as Sudan’s delegate asked from which bank or commercial entity the organization had received funding, and where its fairs, workshops and other activities took place. The United States’ representative said the organization’s financial statement listed the names of its financial contributors, which included a private sector organization. Sudan’s representative said it was still not clear if the organization’s loans were derived from banks or a commercial enterprise. Belgium’s representative asked about the relevance of that issue to the Economic and Social Council’s aims. Sudan’s representative asked if Belgium’s representative objected to his question or if he was answering for the organization.
The United States’ representative noted that the organization had already answered questions in March 2011 and May 2012 about its funding sources. Belgium’s representative asked why the organization had been subjected to questions for subsequent sessions since 2011, saying that three years was ample time for the Committee to understand the funding and nature of the activities of organizations seeking accreditation. Sudan’s representative said he had asked more than one question and sought some clarification. China’s representative said Committee members had the right to raise questions, which were not to block applications, but were aimed at safeguarding the Charter’s principles;
ELA-Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género (Argentina) — as Nicaragua’s delegate asked if the organization intended to work in Central America;
Grupo de Mujeres de la Argentina — Foro de VIH, mujeres y familia (Argentina) — Morocco’s representative said there was no indication of its members’ contribution from the budget, and as the organization claimed to be international, he asked about its activities in Africa and whether it had representatives in certain African countries. Pakistan’s representative asked for an explanation about its use of the words “queer” and “intersex community”.
A representative of the African Hope Committee (United States), responding to a request from Cuba’s delegate yesterday for a list of countries in which it carried out activities, said it was currently focused on empowering women and girls, particularly those affected by HIV/AIDS, with leadership skills, in Cameroon and elsewhere in Africa. It recently had disseminated 8,000 books to a school in Cameroon, but the organization had yet to expand into Latin America.
Sudan’s representative asked why the organization was registered in the United States when it worked in Africa; the delegate also sought additional information about the Government funding it received. The African Hope Committee representative explained that the organization was founded 10 years ago to do work in the United States, but new funding would enable it to expand into Senegal, Mauritania and elsewhere in Africa.
The Committee then granted special consultative status to the organization.
A representative of The Rainforest Fund, Inc. (United States), responding to a question from Cuba’s delegate yesterday about why the Fund’s income was $216,000, while its expenditures were $2 million, said the Fund had a biennial budget whereby it used funding from the first year of it’s current biennium to pay for expenditures in the second. She offered to present the Fund’s financial statements for the current biennium. Cuba’s representative said it was satisfied with that explanation.
The Committee then granted special consultative status to the Fund.
A representative of Natural Justice (South Africa), asked for details about the countries in which it operated, said the organization worked with indigenous communities on local empowerment and the development of laws and policies related to the conservation and customary uses of biodiversity and the protection of associated cultural heritage. It helped such communities negotiate with companies that could affect their livelihoods. Established in South Africa in 2007, it had projects in Kenya, Ghana and other parts of southern and eastern Africa, and had met with communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also worked in India and Latin America.
In response to a question from Peru’s delegate about its projects in that country and others in Latin America, the representative said it had worked with the organization Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental to bring indigenous communities together to discuss challenges to decisions made by companies, and with an indigenous community in Colombia to develop a community protocol. He personally had travelled to Guatemala early last year to give advice on a community protocol. The organization also had a project in Honduras.
The Committee then granted special consultative to that organization.
Regarding African Refugee Development Center (Israel), Sudan’s delegate sought additional information on its activities in the continent. The organization’s representative said it worked exclusively in Israel and had Eritrean and Sudanese nationals as its clients. Israel’s delegate acknowledged the organization’s important work.
The Committee granted special consultative status to the organization.
To a representative of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (United States), Venezuela’s delegate asked in what countries it operated. The organization’s representative said it focused on international policy impacting various countries and it did not work inside a State. To a similar query from Sudan’s delegate, the representative said it carried out activities at the United Nations and elsewhere, working with Member State representatives, international and non-governmental organizations. The delegates of the Russian Federation and Nicaragua expressed support for the organization.
The Committee then granted it special consultative status.
Regarding Curio Generelizia Augustinia (Italy), Cuba’s delegate asked whether it had expanded its activities there. The religious organization’s representative said it had not expanded its activities beyond what it had previously described. Sudan’s delegate sought details on its activities in Africa. The organization worked in Nigeria, Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the representative replied, adding that it had members in many countries who helped identify particular needs.
The Committee granted the organization special consultative status.
Committee members had no questions for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Education Fund (United States), granting it special consultative status.