The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 16 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on 27 others, while voting to withdraw the roster status of two organizations, African Technology Development Link and African Technical Association.
The 19-member Committee vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations, 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.
Action on applications were deferred due to Committee members requesting further information from the candidates about, among other items, details of their respective organizations’ projects, partners, expenditures, sources of funding and relationship with United Nations system actors.
A recorded vote was held on a proposal by the delegation of Pakistan to withdraw the roster status of two accredited non-governmental organizations, African Technology Development Link and African Technical Association, with 13 members voting in favour of the withdrawal of the latter to 5 against (Greece, India, Israel, United States, Uruguay) and one member absent (Burundi).
As for African Technology Development Link, the Committee voted 12 in favour to 5 against (Greece, India, Israel, United States, Uruguay), with two members absent (Burundi, Sudan), to withdraw roster status.
Taking the floor prior to the first vote, the representative of Pakistan said that the organizations in question were “maligning the good name of Africa”, as they had made false statements against other Member States.
Some delegates, including those of Sudan and China, also supported withdrawing the consultative status of the organizations. The representative of China said that, while he was in favour of increasing the voice of civil society from developing countries at the United Nations, the organizations in question had conducted activities that smacked of political intentions and had launched “wanton political attacks” against other Member States.
Meanwhile, other representatives said that they felt more time was needed to consider the situation of the two organizations. The representative of India said that a more detailed consideration was required. “We still don’t know much about these organizations,” he said. Every organization should follow the principles of the United Nations Charter, and his delegation was against any organization that engaged in “naming and shaming”. However, every group should be given a fair chance to respond to the queries of the Committee, and no decisions should be taken in a hasty manner.
The delegate of the United States agreed that much was not known about the two organizations in question. Among other steps, updated applications could be requested from them, she said. Withdrawing the status of two organizations from Africa — which was underrepresented — was a “drastic step”, and she wished to see the process undertaken in a more transparent manner. The representatives from Greece, Israel and Uruguay said they shared those concerns.
“The loss here is for civil society,” she said in a general statement following the second vote. Stripping an organization of its status was not a decision to be taken lightly. “It will have a chilling effect on civil society as a whole and how they engage with the United Nations.”
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 3 June, to continue its resumed session.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following organizations:
Concepts of Truth, Inc. (United States);
Fairfood International (Netherlands);
Fondation pour l'éradication du travail des enfants dans la culture du tabac (Switzerland);
Institut de la démocratie et de la cooperation (France);
Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Loreto Generalate (Italy);
Kaurareg Aboriginal Land Trust (Australia);
México Unido contra la Delincuencia, A.C. (Mexico);
Stiftelsen Stockholm International Water Institute (Sweden);
The New Zealand Drug Foundation (New Zealand);
Nouveaux droits de l'homme (Cameroon);
Promotion pour le Développement (Haiti);
Agence pour les droits de l'homme (Switzerland);
Global Migration Policy Associates (Switzerland);
Privacy International (United Kingdom);
Specified Non-profit Corporation, Health and Global Policy Institute (Japan); and
Utah China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce (United States).
The Committee deferred applications of the following organizations:
Electronic Frontier Foundation, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of China asked the organization to explain further its non-profit status.
Fundación Novia Salcedo (Spain) — as the representative of Cuba asked for more information about the group’s budget and staff costs, including a list of its donors.
Gain International (United States) — as Iran’s delegate asked the organization to clarify its use of terminology on the Persian Gulf.
Global Network of Civil Society Organisations for Disaster Reduction (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China asked the organization to correct incorrect references to Taiwan and Tibet on its website.
Le Collectif de la Paix au Sri Lanka (France) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for a breakdown of the organization’s administrative expenditures, and the representative of India asked for more details on how the organization would contribute to the work of the Economic and Social Council.
Mouvement de la Paix (France) — as the delegate from China asked for more information about the group’s administrative expenses.
New Jersey Minority Educational Development NJ-MED (United States) — as the representative of Cuba asked for a list of the organizations to whom the group had provided free services over the past two years.
Oromia Support Group in Australia Inc. (Australia) — as the representative of Sudan asked for more information about the group’s activities in his country.
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Germany) — as Cuba’s delegate asked about the group’s cooperation with other organizations, and for a list of those organizations which were located in the Latin American and Caribbean region.
STUF United Fund Inc. (United States) — as the representative of China asked for information about the network of non-governmental organizations that had been created by the group, and requested more information about the organizations that had participated in that network.
Sukyo Mahikari (United States) — as the delegate from Venezuela asked for more information about the group’s work in her country.
The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty (United States) — as the representative of China asked about the group’s activities in Asian countries, and requested information about its related budget.
The Children's Investment Fund Foundation (UK) (United Kingdom) — as China’s delegate asked the organization to correct erroneous references to Taiwan on its website, and the representative of India asked for more information on the group’s work with children in his country.
The Death Penalty Project Limited (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Cuba asked about the group’s relationship with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and for information on the group’s work in judicial matters. The representative of Mauritania asked for more information on the group’s experience in human rights, and specifically on projects related to the death penalty. He also wished to know what activities the group had been engaged in. The representative of Sudan asked for more detailed information about the group’s work with organizations in Africa. In addition, Iran’s representative asked about particular grants received from the Government of the United Kingdom.
We Care for Humanity (United States) — as the representative of Sudan asked for more information about the organization’s finances.
US-Africa Synergy Inc. (United States) — as the representative of South Africa asked for more information about the organization’s work “giving African women access to life”, and for more details about its work with Government ministries in South Africa.
Work In Progress (France) — as the delegate from Sudan asked about the financial support given to the organization by a “certain entity”, and about the group’s activities in Iraq and Syria.
Conselho Indigenista Missionário (Brazil) — as the representative of China said that the organization had listed Taiwan as a country on its website, and hoped that it would correct that reference.
Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity (Albania) — as the delegate from Greece asked for more information about “collaboration agreements” with Governments, as listed on the group’s application
Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office (Armenia) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked which international organizations funded the group.
VOICE (Vietnamese Overseas Initiative for Conscience Empowerment) (Philippines) — as the representative of Cuba asked for an up-to-date, detailed list of organizations with which the group had worked over the last two years. The representative of Sudan also asked about the group’s cooperation with other organizations, specifically with regard to finances. In addition, he asked about funding from the private sector and about travel and meetings expenditures.
V‐Day Karama (Egypt) — as the representative of Sudan asked about a deficit listed on the organization’s application and support provided by Governments and other organizations. He requested a list of those entities. In addition, he asked about the activities that the group intended to carry out in the near future.
Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (Bulgaria) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked for more information about the group’s recent and future projects.
ELIGE Red de Jóvenes por los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos, A.C. (Mexico) — as the delegate from Sudan asked for more information about the organization’s budgetary deficit, as well as support received from other organizations. He also asked about travel and related expenses, as distinct from project costs.
Interregional Non-governmental Organization "Committee against Torture" (Russian Federation) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked about the resources received by the organization that came from the Government of the United Kingdom and other western sources, and asked whether the group received funds from sources in the Russian Federation.
Japan Federation of Democratic Medical Institutions (Japan) — as the representative of China asked the organization to correct erroneous references to Taiwan which the group had listed in various places.
Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd. (Australia) — as the representative of Iran asked for clarification about the organization’s registration, which was listed as Australia, while the organization carried out activities in other countries. The representative of China said that the organization had listed humanitarian activities in Sri Lanka on its application and asked for detailed information on those activities.