Committee on NGOs
22nd Meeting (PM)
NGO COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THREE ORGANIZATIONS FOR CONSULTATIVE STATUS,
CONSIDERS ISSUES CONCERNING 'UMBRELLA' ORGANIZATIONS
This afternoon, as it continued its consideration of new applications for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, the Committee on
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) recommended three organizations for consultative status and deferred the applications of three others.
Special consultative status was recommended for the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes, International Shinto Foundation and Irish Penal Reform Trust.
Pending further clarifications, the applications of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, African Region; IPPF, European Region; and World Permanent Organization for the Jamahiriyan Youth were deferred.
While members of the Committee supported the work of the International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), several questions were posed to the NGO’s representative. Germany’s representative wanted to know whether the NGO was a non-profit organization or a lobby group and whether the training courses it provided were free. Questions were also posed by India, Algeria and the Sudan on finances, projects and the organization’s participation with the Economic and Social Council.
The representative of the NGO clarified that the ICMCI was an association of national consultancy institutes, each made up of individual certified management consultants. The NGO enabled the transfer of learning from those countries that had spent much time setting up standards and developing a common body of knowledge and technical capabilities to lesser developed countries, who could then develop their own indigenous consulting industry. It was an umbrella organization, whose member associations had voting rights and whose fees were dependent on the number of individual members within the national associations.
The training provided, she said, was usually hands-on with consultants travelling from country to country, transferring knowledge and common standards. Training courses on the Web were free as were the hands-on courses, which were conducted by volunteers. Up until now, the NGO had worked with the International Labour Organization, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Asian Development Bank to assist countries in building up national institutes. The NGO was built almost completely on the services of volunteers.
The Certified Management Consultant (CMC), about which the Indian delegate had inquired, was recognized in 32 countries. The NGO had procedures for each country to trademark their own CMC.
Asked by the delegates of the United States and Ethiopia to provide examples of specific projects, the representative of the ICMCI cited a project in the former Czechoslovakia, in which she had personally taken part. Tremendous opportunities were available in privatization deals offered by the two Governments to create industries. She and other colleagues spent several weeks there and talked to a number of groups in both Bratislava and Prague about how to govern themselves and how to position themselves for putting in bids for unused factories. Several groups had developed to convert factories, assets which would have otherwise fallen into foreign hands. She also cited another example on micro-credit lending in Guyana.
On whether status was necessary, she said the NGO would be doing its work regardless because it felt it had something to give back to the profession. Status with the Economic and Social Council would spur more interest and, hopefully, spark more requests for assistance from the least developed countries. On the use of the logo, no fees were paid to the ICMCI but a fee might be payable to the specific government. Regarding participation in Africa, she said the organization was active with the Nigerian Consultancy Institute. The ICMCI had not done as much in Africa as it would have liked but it was mostly dependent on requests received from countries.
Concern was expressed by members of the Committee about why a member organization would need to seek status when its parent organization already enjoyed consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, as in the cases of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, African Region and the IPPF, European Region.
Germany’s representative noted that the IPPF had been granted general consultative status while one of its members -- the IPPF–South Asia -- had been granted special status. The fact that the parent organization had received one type of status while one of its member organizations had received another was a question to be addressed. The Chairman, Levent Bilman (Turkey) reminded the Committee that a member organization could apply for a different status than the one enjoyed by the parent organization.
The representative of Bolivia asked whether each of the member organizations could apply for separate status. Algeria’s representative noted that the organization, which called itself the African Regional Office, in fact only covered the region south of the Sahara. If it claimed to cover the African region, shouldn’t it cover all of Africa?
The Committee, stated the representative of the United States, needed to give serious consideration to the regional organizations due to the specific interests represented by them, which varied from region to region. Chile’s representative noted that the Committee had to be consistent with its decisions. It had in other cases granted status to member organizations of parent
organizations already enjoying status, such as the national scouts associations. Consultative status had already been granted to the IPPF-South Asia. The regional peculiarities of the member organizations should be examined.
If member organizations had separate constitutions from that of the parent organization, then how was the constitution of the parent organization related to those of its member organizations? asked the representative of India.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that it was clear that the Committee needed to determine whether an umbrella organization and its members could simultaneously have consultative status. If so, then the Committee would be in a difficult situation regarding procedures. If a member of an umbrella organization with status violated provisions of Council resolution 1996/31, then against whom should the penalty be directed? Should it be against the specific member organization or the umbrella organization, which was responsible for the actions of its members? Also, if the Committee decided to strip the umbrella organization of its status, would that automatically mean that all its member organizations would also lose their status?
The Committee had encountered the same situation before, noted China’s representative. Such applications should be approached on a case-by-case basis as there was no guiding principle on the matter. Perhaps, it was necessary to set up a panel to examine the issue. It was also necessary to look at the regional organization’s bylaws, constitution and activities to see whether it was acting in conformity with the umbrella organization.
The Chairman raised the issue of quadrennial reports. Would the umbrella organization report only on its activities or also on the activities of its regional members? If status was granted to the regional organizations and they submitted quadrennial reports, wouldn’t that duplicate their work? He suggested that both the umbrella organization and its members be asked to clarify the nature of their relationship and whether the regional organization could enjoy the privileges of consultative status through the parent organization?
Concerning the World Permanent Organization for the Jamahiriyan Youth, Germany’s representative expressed his dissatisfaction with the written responses provided by the NGO, particularly on its link with the Economic and Social Council. He also requested that the NGO reissue the list of its members, which had contained several mistakes. The representative of France also felt that some of the answers were “vague”, and the representative of the United States requested the NGO to elaborate on the revenue it derived from contracts.
Libya’s representative, in his capacity as observer, said that the document containing the responses of the NGO had been translated into English, which was not the mother tongue of his country. Therefore, some answers were brief and the attempt to translate them from Arabic into English led to further queries from members of the Committee. That did not mean that the NGO was not a serious one. It was an organization which did concrete work in his country and whose activities were well-known.
The 19-member Committee considers, among other things, applications submitted by NGOs for consultative status and their requests for reclassification. Non-governmental, non-profit voluntary organizations can be admitted into consultative status with the Council if they meet the requirements detailed in Council resolution 1996/31, regarding matters, including the organizations’ activities, decision-making processes and resources.
Non-governmental organizations with consultative status are classified under the "general", "special" or "roster" categories. Those in the general category must be "concerned with most of the activities of the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies". The special category concerns those "which have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity covered by the Council". The roster category relates to NGOs which "can make occasional and useful contributions to the work of the Council or its subsidiary bodies".
Different privileges and obligations are accorded to each category.
Non-governmental organizations with general status can propose items for the Council agenda, attend and speak at meetings and circulate statements. Those with special status can attend meetings and circulate statements, while those on the roster can only attend meetings. Organizations with general and special status must report every four years on their activities in support of the United Nations.
Statements were also made this afternoon by the representatives of Pakistan, Turkey and Cuba. In addition, the representative of Ireland spoke in her capacity as observer to express her gratitude to the Committee for its decision regarding the Irish Penal Reform Trust.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 22 May, to continue consideration of new applications for consultative status.
* *** *