Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

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Russian Federation



United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Upcoming Sessions: 2008 Regular Session, 21 Jan - 30 Jan 2008 - New York

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations is a standing committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It was established by Council resolution 3(II) on the 21st of June 1946. The Committee reports directly to ECOSOC (rule 82 of its rules of procedure) and its report includes draft resolutions on matters calling for action by the Council.

The Committee has 19 members (Council resolution 1981/50 of 20 July 1981) who are elected on the basis of equitable geographical representation: 5 members from African States; 4 members from Asian States; 2 members from Eastern European States; 4 members from Latin American and Caribbean States; and 4 members from Western European and other States. In accordance with ECOSOC decision 70 (ORG-75) of 28 January 1975, the term of office of its members is four years

The Committee's original terms of reference were set out in ECOSOC resolution 288 B (X) of 27 February 1950, which was superseded by ECOSOC resolution 1296 (XLIV) of 25 May 1968. The current terms of reference of the Committee are set out in Resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996. In its proceedings the Committee is guided by the rules of procedure of the Council.

The main tasks of the Committee are:

The consideration of applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by NGOs;
The consideration of quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in General and Special categories;
The implementation of the provisions of Council resolution 1996/31 and the monitoring of the consultative relationship;
Any other issues which the ECOSOC may request the Committee to consider.

At the first formal meeting of the session, the Chairperson encourages the Committee to adopt its decisions by consensus. If requested, the Committee decides on proposals by a recorded roll-call vote. Otherwise, it takes action through resolutions and decisions by consensus. The Committee's decisions are considered recommendations, often in the form of draft decisions calling for action by the Council. Once an application from an NGO has been reviewed and approved by the Committee it is only considered recommended for consultative status. As soon as possible during its next meeting, the Economic and Social Council reviews these recommendations, takes note of the Committe's report and makes the decisions final. It is only after the recommendation becomes an ECOSOC decision that the NGO is granted the consultative status.

The Committee meets annually for three weeks (Council decision 1995/304 of 26 July 1995 and 1997/297 of 23 July 1997). The Committee also holds informal meetings prior to each session for the purpose of clarifying matters arising from applications for consultative status. If necessary, with the approval of the Council, the Committee holds a resumed session of up to two weeks annually. Informal consultations may take place on an ad hoc basis.

In accordance with rule 18 of the ECOSOC Rules of Procedure, each year, at the commencement of its first meeting, the Committee elects its Chairperson and four Vice-Chairpersons. The Chairperson is usually re-elected for another year. In accordance with rule 19, Bureau members are eligible for re-election. One of the Vice-Chairpersons is later designated also to serve as Rapporteur.

The Bureau is always elected on the basis of equitable geographical distribution. A Vice-Chairperson may not be elected Chairperson at the next session. The rotation of Chairpersonship on a geographical basis has not been strictly established.