22 January 2007


22 January 2007
Economic and Social Council
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on NGOs

1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)




As Member States could not alone resolve today’s challenges in advancing the development agenda, “the need to fully realize the potential of NGOs with their expertise and resources has become crucial”, the President of the Economic and Social Council told the Committee on Non-governmental Organizations at the opening of its 2007 regular session. 

Dalius Cekuolis ( Lithuania) said that, over the years, the non-governmental organization community had contributed immensely to the work of the Council.  Now, the time had come to further advance the United Nations development agenda.  The Council had accordingly adjusted its working methods to respond to the changing environment with effective participation of development partners, particularly with the non-governmental organization community.  Assembly resolution 61/16 had asked the Council to bring together all development partners in order to scale-up partnerships that would lead to the realization of United Nations goals.

He said during the current year, the Council would introduce the Annual Ministerial Reviews (AMR) and a biennial Development Cooperation Forum (DCF) -- mechanisms to assess progress made in the internationally agreed-upon development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.  The NGOs were invited to the AMR and DCF to contribute to the discussions.  An “AMR Innovation Fair” would involve the NGOs and the private sector during the high-level segment of ECOSOC. 

Internationally, non-governmental organizations could mobilize support among key constituencies and work with Governments to advance development priorities, he said.  As Secretary-General Bank Ki-moon had pointed out in his first statement to ECOSOC on 17 January:  “ECOSOC remains our Organization’s primary forum for engaging this essential constituency [civil society] in our development work.” 

In his opening statement, the by acclamation elected new Chairman of the Committee, Pedro A. Roa Arboleda ( Colombia) welcomed the new Committee members:   Angola, Burundi, Dominica, Egypt, Guinea, Israel and the United Kingdom.  He said over the years the influence of the Committee had enabled non-governmental organizations to have a voice in the international process.  He also quoted the new Secretary-General as saying:  “Today, no United Nations development effort […] can make real headway without support of civil society.” 

He said the work programme for the current session was quiet heavy.  Applications and reports came from non-governmental organizations from all corners of the world and addressed all kinds of issues, but the organizations had one thing in common -- to contribute to partnerships to help achieve the development agenda, in particular the Millennium Development Goals.  He then read a letter from the former Chair of the Committee, Beatriz Londoño ( Colombia), who expressed regret that she could not continue her work with the Committee as her Government had given her other tasks.

Hanifa Mezoui, Chief, Non-Governmental Organization Section, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said the Committee was faced with a workload of 103 new applications, 6 reclassifications, 37 deferred applications and 100 new quadrennial reports.  It had, therefore, to consider some 237 cases.  Thanks to the staff of the section, all documents except one were now available in the six official languages.  In the framework of strengthening ECOSOC, the Section had incorporated reform of ECOSOC in its work.  Civil society and non-governmental organizations had been invited to participate in the new sub-segments of the Council, the AMR and the DCF, in order to identify gaps and obstacles in the development agenda. 

The 19-member Committee uses various criteria to recommend general, special or roster status with the Economic and Social Council, including the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime.  Organizations that have general and special consultative status can attend meetings of the Council and circulate statements of a certain length.  Those with general status can, in addition, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda, while NGOs with roster status can only attend meetings.

Non-governmental organizations with general and special consultative status must submit a report to ECOSOC every four years.  The Committee can request a special report in certain instances, such as after receipt of a complaint from a Member State about the behaviour of an NGO during a meeting of a United Nations body to which it was accredited.

During two meetings today, the Committee decided on a total of 52 recommendations, 48 for special consultative status and 4 for roster States.  It recommended that ECOSOC grant special consultative status to:

-- Association Proyecto Hobre, a national organization from Spain, which used a therapeutic educational method for the prevention of drug abuse and the treatment and socio-occupational reintegration of drug users;

-- Lutte contre les Violences Faites aux Femmes et Enfants Mineurs, a national organization from Niger that aims to promote the status of women and children, to improve living conditions of vulnerable groups and to combat poverty by setting up literacy and multidisciplinary training centres;

-- Projecto de Saúde em Lisboa, an international organization headquartered in Portugal, that works in the social sector in the areas of health and social solidarity, such as the treatment and reintegration of drug addicts;

-- Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, a national organization in Pakistan, which aims, among other things, to provide training to women artisans and entrepreneurs, to facilitate bank loans on convenient terms to women-led businesses and to improve the face of Pakistani women internationally;

-- Foundation for Ecological Security ( FES), an Indian organization that wants to work towards the ecological restoration and conservation of land and water resources of degraded and marginalized zones of the country;

-- Local Initiatives Program (LIP), a national NGO from Bangladesh that provides technical assistance to local-level public sector programmes through community participation;

-- The PRASAD Project, Inc., an international organization headquartered in the United States, which wants to uplift communities through health, education and sustainable development; 

-- “All Russian Society of the Deaf” All-Russian Public Organization of Persons with Disabilities, a national organization which wants to promote and protect the rights and interests of the deaf in the Russian Federation;

-- Transform Drug Policy Foundation, an international organization based in the United Kingdom wanting to minimize drug-related harm by bringing about a just, humane and effective system to regulate and control drugs at national and international levels;

-- International Network for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, an international organization headquartered in Italy with the mission of stimulating transnational cooperation and public and private partnership in the field of innovation and technology transfer to small and medium-sized enterprises;

-- Palakkad District Consumers’ Association, a national NGO from India that aims to protect the rights and interests of consumers and to provide free legal assistance on important consumer disputes;

-- Tribal Link Foundation, Inc., a national organization from the United States, which is a communications network linking indigenous peoples with information, media, resources and relevant networks, and provides information to the public regarding indigenous peoples and their issues;

-- Institut du Developpement Durable et des Relations Internationales, a French NGO which wants to carry out relevant research in the field of sustainable development, in conjunction with Governments, the scientific community, businesses and civil society and trade associations;

-- The Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement, an international NGO headquartered in Egypt that aims to reinforce the impact of the effective programmes, organizations and institutions at international, regional, national and local levels that are working for a world of peace;

-- Children of the World Fund, a national NGO from the Russian Federation that aims to promote physical activities and sports;

-- Geneva International Model United Nations, an international organization based in Switzerland that seeks to raise awareness among young people about the work, the aims and the purposes of the United Nations;

-- Mouvement “Ni Putes Ni Soumises”, an international organization based in France that aims, among other things, to promote equality of rights between men and women and to fight all forms of discrimination;

-- Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance, an international organization headquartered in the United Kingdom that wants to provide for the relief of refugees by the provision of legal advice on matters relating to asylum, settlement of migrants, family reunification and other matters relating to the enjoyment of their fundamental rights;

-- Global Metro City –- The Global Forum, an international NGO based in Italy that promotes “glocalization” -– a new balance between global and local forces that emphasizes the central role of cities and their leaders on the world stage;

-- International Eurasia Press Fund, based in Azerbaijan, the NGO is an international organization that wants to participate in community development and strengthen the role of media in that process.  It also wants to organize visits to conflict zones for journalists, intelligentsia and diplomats;

-- Association des Volontaires pour l’Assistance au Developpement and Guinee, a national NGO in Guinea that aims to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable population strata, in particular through carrying out integrated rural development;

-- Education pour la Population et la Vie Familiale, a national NGO from Niger aiming to foster understanding among target groups (women and children) of the problems in their environment;

-- African Youth for Transparency, an international NGO based in Nigeria that wants to eradicate all forms of corruption in public and private life;

-- Cojec International, an international organization headquartered in France, aiming to develop democratic citizenship and the sense of belonging to Europe among persons of different origins and cultures, while enabling them to maintain their diversity;

-- Du Pain pour Chaque Enfant, a national organization from Luxembourg that wants to provide primary education for all, combat all forms of discrimination and promote volunteerism;

-- Fondation Congo Assistance, an international NGO based in Congo, which promotes social activities in the areas of health, multifaceted development, nutrition, education and vocational training targeted at women, children and the aged;.

-- Bangwe et Dialogue, an international organization based in Switzerland, wanting to help women of the Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to bring about peace and reconciliation through specific field projects and the education-for-peace approach;

-- Company of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent DePaul, an international organization based in France, which, committed to the dignity of each person, responds to immediate health, education and social needs, but has as its ultimate goal the integral development of individuals and communities;

-- Fondation Humanus, an international organization headquartered in Cameroon, which wants to promote the rule of law and human dignity in Cameroon by promoting human rights, disseminating the principles of democratic governance and supporting development projects;

-- Samaritan Community Center, an international organization headquartered in the United States, committed to develop, among other things, systematic and sustainable solutions to critical socio-economic problems that impede the upward mobility of grassroots people;

-- Convention of Independent Financial Advisors, a national NGO from Switzerland that plays a coordinating role in the establishment of acceptable legislation and regulation at the international level for the independent financial advisors’ community;

-- Dianove International, an international organization headquartered in Spain that intervenes in social ills such as poverty, a lack of education, violence and addiction through the development and implementation of substance abuse treatment and prevention programs;

-- Centre d’etude et de recherche pour l’integration regionale et le developpement en Africque, a national organization based in Guinea, which aims to promote the economic, social and cultural development of Africa, in particular of West Africa;

-- Sudan Association for Combating Landmines, a national Sudanese organization that aims at confidence-building and peacemaking through mine action and mine risk reduction;

-- Alliance Niger-Nature, a national NGO that contributes to the socio-economic development of Niger and informs the public and decision makers about the importance of preserving nature and using natural resources rationally for sustainable development;

-- Kenyan Women’s Political Caucus, a national organization headquartered in Kenya, working to increase women’s participation in the National Assembly, among other policy making bodies, and advocating for gender equality in the country;

-- Christian Legal Fellowship, a national association headquartered in Ontario, Canada, which encourages practicing lawyers to maintain the highest ethical standards and provides information from a religious perspective on pertinent legal political and social issues;

-- Legal Services Coalition, a national organization in Croatia, aiming to strengthen the role of its members in civil society and seeking qualitative legal solutions according to international standards;

-- Solidarité Africaine pour la préservation de la paix et de l’environnement en République Centrafricaine, a national organization from the Central African Republic, aiming to create a free society without violence, reduce crime and identify the needs of victims;

--Sudanese Women General Union, a national organization headquartered in Khartoum, Sudan, which empowers women to participate effectively in development and mobilizes them at the grass-roots level to achieve their expectations, as the representatives of Qatar, Egypt, China, Cuba and Guinea expressed their support;

-- Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad, an Argentinean national organization, focusing on the study of social political and economic problems in Argentina and the rest of Latin America;

-- L’auravetli’ian Information and Education Network of Indigenous People, a national organization based in the Russian Federation, aiming to improve the abilities of indigenous peoples of the Russian Federation to fully participate in Russian’s multicultural society, and striving to diminish discrimination of indigenous peoples in the country;

-- Singamma Sreenivasan Foundation, an international organization headquartered in India, aiming to empower women through participatory democracy, and to provide support services to women for livelihood as well as to promote environmental conservation;

-- AIESEC International, an international organization headquartered in the Netherlands, aiming to enable young people to discover and develop their potential to provide leadership for a positive impact on society;

-- Isha Foundation, an international, non-religious, non-political organization based in India dedicated to advancing physical, mental and spiritual health for all human beings and serving as an educator, catalyst and resource for hogic science and natural health;

-- Safari Club International Foundation, an international organization headquartered in the United States that funds and manages worldwide programmes dedicated to wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian services;

-- Salesian Missions, an international organization headquartered in the United States, providing for the material and spiritual needs of poor and abandoned individuals, especially the young; and

-- Conseil International du Sport Militaire, an international sports association headquartered in Belgium, promoting sport activity and physical education between armed forces as a means to foster world peace.

Roster status was recommended for:

-- Marine Conservation Biology Institute, a national NGO in the United States that works to protect and restore marine life;

-- Build Jamaica Foundation, a Jamaican national organization that aims to promote economic and social prosperity and to encourage patriotism and practical involvement of the population in the process of national building, community care and development on the proposal of the representative of the Russian Federation;

-- Association Amis du Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Mohammed VI, an organization in Morocco that aims to combine the efforts of different actors in order to guarantee an effective solidarity pact in matters of health, as proposed by the representative of the Russian Federation; and

-- Association of International Automobile Carriers of the Republic of Tajikistan, a national organization focusing on the international passengers and freight transportation by automobile carriers, on the proposal for the representative of the United States. 

The Committee postponed consideration of Cercle National des droits de l’homme, an international organization headquartered in Cameroon, which wants to promote respect for human rights and human dignity and contribute to conflict prevention and resolution, as Colombia’s representative posed questions about the organization’s address and its relationship with the Government.

Taking up consideration of Jewish National Fund (JNF), a national organization in the United States that wants to share its expertise on environmental issues and collaborates with international partners to promote the global agenda of sustainable development, the Committee heard from the Permanent Observer of Palestine, who said that the NGO had been founded by a Zionist organization and that it had been affiliated with a long list of negative and dangerous projects in the land that was considered Occupied Palestinian Territory, as well as with the expansion of illegal settlements.  She warned that the Committee should look carefully at the organization to see if it acted in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.

The representative of the Sudan asked questions about the organization’s website, while the representatives of Cuba and Qatar pleaded for more time in light of the statement from the Permanent Observer of Palestine.  The representative of the United States asked the Permanent Observer to provide the Committee with any additional information she had, as the current application did not show anything contrary to the Charter.  Consideration of the issue would be resumed at a later time during the session.

The Committee decided to return later to the application of World Wind Energy Association -- an international organization based in Germany, promoting the utilization of wind energy on the global level –- as China’s representative pointed out that the organization, in his application and on its website, had referred to Taiwan, not to Taiwan, Province of China.  Furthermore, in listing its member-organizations from China, it had not listed those member-organizations from Taiwan, treating that Chinese Province as a sovereign country, which it was not.  The United States’ representative pointed out that the NGO had used the correct terminology in its answers to questions.  Colombia’s and Cuba’s representative proposed roster status, if the NGO corrected its application and website. 

Also left pending was the application of the International Harm Reduction Association -- an international organization based in the United Kingdom, promoting the reduction of drug and alcohol-related harm on a global basis in order to reduce the negative social, health, economic and criminal impacts of drug and alcohol use -– because the representative of China noted that the non-governmental organization treated the Chinese Province of China as a sovereign State. 

The same happened to the application of the Islamic Human Rights Commission -- a national organization based in the United Kingdom, aiming to promote human rights, equality and diversity throughout the world, and to promote good race relations -- because the representative of the Russian Federation noted that the organization’s website did not always correctly reflect the correct geographical terminology used in the United Nations.  It mentioned the Chechen Republic, without an indication to what State it belonged. 

After the representative of Ramola Bhar Charitable Trust –- Project STOP (Stop Trafficking and Oppression of Children & Women) -- a national Indian organization aiming at the complete eradication of trafficking and the establishment of an egalitarian society through political, social and economic empowerment of women and children -- had answered Pakistan’s questions regarding the NGO’s activities and its finances, the application was kept pending as its financial statement had to be amended.  The NGO’s representative stressed that the Trust’s main activity was to stop trafficking in women and children in a holistic way, including taking care of the rescued victims.  To that end, the NGO had bought land and a house where some 55 rescued children could live and farm.

The representative of Join Together Society Korea -- an international organization based in the Republic of Korea, providing assistance for sustainable livelihood and sustainable development of people in the Republic of Korea and abroad -- answered questions about the organization’s finances and its cooperation with local NGOs and Governments.  A decision on the application was postponed on the request of China’s representative.

On the request of the representatives of Colombia and China, consideration of the application of International Trade Union Confederation -- an international organization based in Belgium, with as primary mission the promotion and defence of workers’ rights and interests -- was also postponed.  The application was the result of a merger between the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and World Confederation of Labour (WCL), both organizations with general consultative status with ECOSOC.  While the representative of the United States had proposed general consultative status for the new organization, China’s representative pointed out that general status should not be given automatically and that the matter should be considered further.

In other matters, the Committee re-elected Hasan Hamid Hasan ( Sudan), Serhat Aksen ( Turkey), Octavian Stamate ( Romania) and Bilal Hayee ( Pakistan) as Vice-Chairpersons.   Octavian Stamate ( Romania) would also serve as Rapporteur.  The Committee also adopted its provisional agenda, its organization of work, as well as its Provisional Schedule of Work after some remarks by the representative of Pakistan.

The Committee members are Angola, Burundi, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Egypt, Guinea, India, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, the Sudan, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The Committee will continue its work tomorrow, Tuesday, 22 January, at 10 a.m.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.