Beijing+5: 23rd special session of the General Assembly

Summary of Debate on the Modalities of NGO Participation at the Special Session(3 December 1999)

African Group’s Proposal as introduced by Namibia

  1. In recognition of their important role in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action, non-governmental organizations should be invited to make statements to the Plenary.
    Non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council as well as those which were accredited to the Fourth World Conference on Women may make statements in the debate in the Plenary of the special session.
    Non-governmental organizations, selected by participating non-governmental themselves, will be invited to address the Plenary, ensuring that the all five regional groups of the United Nations are represented.
  2. The Office of the President of the General Assembly should be given clear instructions as to the participation of non-governmental organizations in the Plenary. (Original wording which was the basis of the initial discussions – depending on time available, the President of the General Assembly determines when and how many non-governmental organizations should address the Plenary)

Amendments to the African Proposal

5. China proposed to add the following sentence to Para 2:not including those NGOs whose application for consultative status with ECOSOC has been rejected or withdrawn by the NGO Committee.

  1. China proposed to insert in Para 3 a word "equally" after "…the United Nations are" and before "represented".
  2. EU proposed to replace the last part of Para 3 with the following:

Ensuring an equitable geographical balance, including regional perspectives, and diversity of NGOs.

8. EU – add to the original wording of para. 4 of the African Group’s proposal: …..throughout the meetings of the Special Session with a view to facilitating as wide a participation of NGOs as possible.

  1. Cuba proposed to add to Para 4 the following sentenses as contained in A/AC.253/L.13:
  2. In this regard, the President of the General Assembly is requested to present the list of selected non-governmental organizations to the Member States in a timely manner for approval. The President of the General Assembly is also requested to ensure that such selection is made on an equal and transparent basis, taking into account the geographical representation and diversity of non-governmental organizations.Some delegations felt that A/AC.253/L.13 was part of a package together with A/AC.253/L.12 and that if L.13 was to be considered, then it should be considered in its entirety.

  3. Senegal and China proposed to replace Para 2 with the following:
  4. NGOs holding consultative status with ECOSOC and those which were accredited to the Fourth World Conference on Women will select one representative to be their spokesperson in the plenary, taking into consideration the subject area, geography and time allocated.

    Other Issues

  5. Number of NGOs addressing the Plenary
    Types of NGOs addressing the Plenary – should non-ECOSOC NGOs be addressing the Plenary?
  6. Selection process – who will be selecting the speakers? NGOs themselves, GA President, DESA NGO Section, or Member States?

14. In response to a proposition from EU, discussion on the issue of NGO accreditation was deferred to a later date. The Chair undertook to raise the matter in the Bureau before opening up a debate with delegations.