|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Committee on NGOs
15th & 16th Meetings (AM & PM)
Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, Closing Session, Boasts Record
112 Entities Granted Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council
Wrapping up its 2011 regular session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended special consultative status for 24 entities to the Economic and Social Council, boosting the session to a record 112 organizations that had been recommended for status, said the Committee’s Chairman.
In the course of the two-week session, said Aydan Karamanoğlu ( Turkey), the Committee had reclassified five organizations and reviewed more than 200 quadrennial reports. Today, it postponed its consideration of 110 applications. That included both first-time applicants and those that had been deferred from previous sessions.
General, special or roster status is granted in accordance with such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Economic and Social Council and circulate statements, while those with general status can, in addition, address meetings and propose agenda items. Roster-status non-governmental organizations can only attend meetings. Organizations with general and special status must also submit a report every four years.
Due to time constraints, the Committee was not able to adopt its draft report on the current session (document E/C.2/2011/L.2), and informal paper containing the decisions taken during the session. Instead, it decided to finalize the text soon for adoption by the Committee on a date and location to be determined.
In closing statements, delegates discussed the possibility of holding an informal intersessional meeting where delegates could contribute to shaping an agenda for future sessions. Bulgaria voiced its serious concerns about the Committee’s efficiency and time management, as well as its tradition of deferring organizations time and time again. Bulgaria nonetheless stressed its willingness to continue to work towards improving the Committee’s working methods.
The Committee recommended special consultative status for the following organizations deferred from previous sessions:
Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control, a Switzerland-based international NGO working to protect present and future generations from tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke; promote and support a global coordination network for an international anti-smoking campaign; develop capabilities to control tobacco use, especially in developing countries; and monitor implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC);
HYDROAID Water for Development Institute, an Italian national organization working to develop activities of training, know-how transfer and capacity-building for developing and emerging countries in the field of water resources;
International Police Executive Symposium, an international NGO in the United States, which brings police researchers and practitioners together to facilitate cross-cultural, international and interdisciplinary exchanges for the enhancement of effective and humane policing and rule of law;
International Solidarity and Human Rights Institute, an international organization based in the United States working to advance solidarity based on respect for human dignity and authentic human rights through education and research, news gathering and reporting, public interest litigation, mediation, and works of mercy and cultural initiatives, so as to eliminate human rights violations;
Movement against Atrocities and Repression, an international organization based in Switzerland working to further the application of human rights, raise awareness on human rights questions, cooperation with other human rights organizations to support actions for human rights;
New York and New Jersey Asian American Law Enforcement Advisory Committee, a United States-based international organization promoting a mutual understanding between the New York and New Jersey Asian American community and all federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as to facilitate events that foster awareness of special needs of the Asian American community;
Niall Mellon Township Trust, an international organization in Ireland helping to build sustainable communities in South Africa by replacing shacks in townships with quality social housing with running water and sanitation facilities;
Not for Sale Campaign, a United States-based international NGO aiming to recruit, educate, and mobilize an international grass-roots social movement that effectively fights human trafficking and slavery through “Smart Activism”;
Pro-Life Campaign, a national organization in Ireland seeking to defend human life from conception to natural death; campaigning for resources to support and assist pregnant women and those in need of healing after abortion;
Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, a national NGO in the United States working to enhance human well-being and performance in organizational and work settings by promoting the science, practice, and teaching of industrial-organizational psychology;
Soroptimist International of Europe, an international organization based in Switzerland working to build a better world for women and children through awareness, advocacy, and action;
UNIFEM nationell kommitté – Sverige, the Swedish National Committee for UNIFEM, a national organization working to lobby in support of UNIFEM and its goals of reducing women’s poverty and exclusion; ending violence against women; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls; and supporting women’s leadership in governance and post-conflict reconstruction;
United Kingdom Association for the United Nations Development Fund for Women, a United Kingdom national organization working to further charitable work of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), with particular reference to developing countries, as defined by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The following 11 new applicants were granted special consultative status: Agewell Foundation; Association pour le développement durable ; Instituto para la Participation y el Desarrollo INPADE – Asociacion Civil; Univers de Solidarité et de développement; Women Watch Africa; Muhammadiyah Association; Rufaida Health Foundation (RHF); Social Initiative support Found; Terra-1530; OceanCare; and United Help for International Children.
It deferred to future sessions the consideration of the new applications of 65 organizations.
The Committee postponed review of the following 45 applications, deferred from previous sessions:
Defense Small Arms Advisory Council, a national organization in the United States comprised of American military small arms manufacturers. The organization serves as a means of communication between its member companies and Government agencies. Venezuela’s delegate did not see the link between the organization’s activities and the Council’s work, and thus, it should not receive consultative status.
Pakistan’s representative agreed, saying he was surprised by the “very frank” answers given by the NGO, which declared itself a promoter of the interests of United States’ entrepreneurs. The organization was really a trade association and was not working to promote the goals of the Council. He asked the NGO Branch to clarify whether a trade association could in fact be granted consultative status, to which the NGO Branch answered that many organizations classified as “trade association” or representing business interests did indeed enjoy consultative status. Cuba’s delegate shared those concerns.
On the other hand, the United States’ representative noted there were several subsidiary bodies of the Council — including the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice — and that the organization under consideration might have something to contribute to those bodies.
Irrespective of that discussion, several delegations had questions that they hoped would be transmitted to the organization. Posing additional questions, Pakistan’s delegate wondered whether the organization could be independent, in light of its prominent links to Government agencies, and whether it could point to specific activities that would support the Council’s aims. Cuba’s delegate asked for financial information, while India’s delegate inquired about work in a recent international working group on the arms trade.
Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association, a United States-based international organization committed to serving humanity by working to relieve various forms of human suffering — physical, emotional and spiritual and to support programmes which protect the natural environment. China’s representative inquired about work at the NGO’s China branch, the NGO’s relationship with its subsidiary, Dharma Drum Mountain, and about its most recent work.
Erevna International Peace Center, an international organization based in Cyprus and working on conflict resolution, mediation training, and research in conflict resolution methodologies. Turkey’s representative asked for more details about its activities.
European Humanist Federation, a United Kingdom-based international organization working to promote secularism and a humanist vision of cultural, social and ethical values in Europe and to work for social and cultural progress. China’s delegate asked about plans for an international conference on women and religion in Stockholm, Sweden, as well as about its high administrative expenditure.
Morocco’s representative, seconded by Belgium’s delegate, requested details about activities carried out by the NGO in various “cultural communities” in Europe, with an eye to developing a secular humanist society. He also inquired about work with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and whether an NGO without consultative status was permitted to contribute to the work of the United Nations.
Foundation for GAIA, an international United Kingdom-based NGO calling for “partnership with nature” in protecting the complex life-support system of the planet, to husband resources appropriately, and to develop clean energy sciences, among other things. China’s delegate asked about the vast number of projects supported by only a $10,000 expenditure and requested the NGO to use “normal” terminology on its website when referring to Taiwan, province of China.
Freedom Now, a national United States-based organization working to free prisoners of conscience through focused legal, political, and public relations advocacy efforts. Nicaragua’s representative asked about the NGO’s participation in the fourth session of the Human Rights Council under the accreditation of a different NGO. China’s delegate asked about the organization’s financial status, while Cuba’s representative asked about training provided to “non-lawyers”. He also wanted a copy of its 2009 report to the Human Rights Council concerning human rights in his country. Venezuela’s delegate asked for more details about the NGO’s structure.
Freemuse — The World Forum on Music and Censorship, an international NGO in Denmark, which joins together professionals from diverse fields and countries to examine, discuss and document violations of freedom of expression faced by musicians and composers worldwide. China’s representative asked for financial data and whether the artists tasked with protecting human rights through education actively conducted education in that area. Sudan’s delegate wondered in which African countries the NGO was active and asked for information about that work.
Global AIDS Alliance, a national United States-based NGO working to halt global HIV/AIDS, mitigate its impacts on poor countries, and address the epidemic’s links to poverty, gender inequality and lack of education. Pakistan’s delegate wondered about an apparent discrepancy between its aim of mitigating the impact of AIDS on “poor countries” and lack of international programmes. He also wished to know more about its promotion of “comprehensive sexuality education”, partners involved in that work, and if the right to abortion was included in the NGO’s advocacy of sexual and reproductive rights.
Global Family for Love and Peace, a national organization in the United States dedicated to building a harmonious world through promoting values-based education, organizing and directing activities for young people in the field of social service, and sponsoring interfaith dialogues. China’s delegate said the NGO should use the correct terminology when referring to “ Taiwan, China” on its website, and posed questions about its small income and expenditure.
Great Tao Foundation of America, a United States national organization that disseminates ethical principles of Tao to improve people’s lives, and promote harmony at the family, community, national and international levels, among other things. China’s representative asked the NGO to update its fundraising and United Nations participation activities from 2010 onward. She also asked how the various religious beliefs cited by the organization could in fact be “blended” together.
IOGT International, an international organization in Sweden — or a “community of non-governmental organizations” — comprised of people of all ages, gender, colour, nationality, creed, social position, or political persuasion who promote a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. China’s representative said the NGO had been reminded about using the correct terminology when referring to “ Taiwan, China” and asked that it make those corrections.
Institute of Noahide Code, a national educational and research division of Hafatzah/outreach organization in the United States that encourages the practice of “The Seven Laws of Noah” — with Pakistan’s delegate asking for clarity on how its work would contribute to the Council.
International Action Network on Small Arms, an international United Kingdom-based organization aiming to reduce gun violence by raising awareness among policymakers, the public and the media; and promote civil society efforts to reduce arms availability and demand through policy development, public education and research, among other things. China’s delegate asked about its work with Amnesty International and reminded the NGO about using correct terminology when referring to China.
International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a Swiss international NGO working for a worldwide ban on antipersonnel landmines, cluster munitions, and indiscriminate weapons that cause unacceptable harm to civilians; universal membership to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and universal adherence to the new treaty banning cluster munitions, among other goals. Turkey’s delegate asked if the group had engaged with non-State actors, some of which were on the international terrorist list, and whether it had had any contact with the European Organization for Human Rights.
International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an international organization in France, which works through volunteers in several countries for economic and social development. China’s representative asked that it change references to “ Hong Kong, China” to include the proper United Nations terminology.
International Council for Human Rights, a Belgium-based international organization, which provides assistance to the United Nations and its affiliated organs in the promotion and observance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; and facilitates efforts of oppressed peoples, minorities, unrepresented peoples and nations to gain access to international law and its enforcement mechanisms for the promotion of their human rights. China’s representative asked if high administrative spending could be reduced, while Sudan’s delegate requested more detailed information about its branches and activities in Africa, including about any partners it had in Sudan. India’s delegate asked for financial statements for the last three years.
High Atlas Foundation, an international organization in the United States working to establish development projects in different parts of Morroco that local communities design and manage, and that are in partnership with government and non-government agencies. Sudan’s delegate said the group’s private sector contributions seemed to contradict regulations for funding NGOs. He asked for more information about those contributors, and about work in the Maghreb region.
International Dalit Solidarity Network, an international NGO based in Denmark helping to eliminate caste-based discrimination worldwide — with India’s delegate wondering about its understanding of caste systems and whether it viewed people of different castes as belonging to different races. Also, did the NGO view policies that restricted the immigration of migrants and asylum-seekers as discriminatory?
International Federation of Liberal Youth, an umbrella organization for liberal and student youth organizations worldwide, which provides a forum for cooperation, and intercultural learning between liberal youth organizations. China’s delegate asked about its work in “ Taiwan, China” and that references to “ Taiwan” reflect the proper United Nations terminology, while Venezuela’s representative wanted an updated list of Latin American countries where the NGO had provided support or maintained offices. She also wondered what criteria were used in making those decisions. Cuba’s delegate asked about “committees” addressing thematic issues.
International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Inc., IFES, an international organization in the United States, which offers targeted expertise in strengthening developed and developing democracies, with Nicaragua’s delegate asking about work in her country, and Cuba’s representative asking whether the “IFES” civil society group spearheaded its work in election reform, and on what basis it believed reform should be made.
International Prison Chaplains’ Association, an international NGO in Sweden promoting human rights, especially freedom of religion, for prisoners around the world — with China’s delegate asking about work in “preventing relapse” of prisoners into criminal activities, and Peru’s delegate supporting a recommendation for consultative status.
International Reading Association, a United States-based NGO dedicated to promoting high levels of literacy by improving the quality of reading instruction, disseminating research and information about reading, and encouraging the lifetime reading habit — because Cuba’s delegate requested information about the NGO’s Cuban membership.
International Senior Lawyers Project, a national NGO in the United States, which enlists the resources of highly skilled and experienced attorneys and law firms from around the world to advance the rule of law, human rights and equitable economic development — with China’s delegate asking for details about “training, monitoring assistance” and related areas to lawyers in several Asian countries.
Kashmiri American Council, a United States-based international organization working in international education and the promotion of human rights and human dignity, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, self-determination and fundamental freedoms for all, irrespective of their racial, religious, linguistic or sexual preferences — with India’s delegate drawing attention to a response in which the NGO had promised to send more information by August 2010. He asked that reminders be sent to the NGO, to which the Secretariat said the Branch would send a reminder.
Kita Chosen Nanmin Kyuen Kikin, a national organization in Japan working to defend the human rights of, and advocate on behalf of, refugees from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and assist those resettling in Japan, among other things — because China’s delegate said the NGO had not responded to questions posed in the previous session, including on revising its terminology and providing a list of its members.
Law Council of Australia, a national NGO in Australia promoting and defending the rule of law and administration of justice in the public interest; aiming to be the national peak body to promote the interests of all Australian lawyers on national and international issues; and to represent the interests of the profession on all matters within the Federal jurisdiction, among other things — with China’s delegate asking about a memorandum to and project collaborations with several Asian organizations.
Mediators Beyond Borders, an international organization in the United States, which brings together experienced mediators to volunteer their skills worldwide, in collaboration with local, indigenous and global partners, to improve conflict resolution capacity and support alternative approaches to expressing, negotiating and resolving interpersonal, political, economic, social, ethnic and religious differences. Venezuela’s delegate asked about its “neutral” participation in the United Nations meeting on climate change.
Mundo Sin Guerras, an international organization in Spain working to promote ideas and actions leading to the elimination of war — with China’s delegate requesting information about the management roles of several “teams” mentioned on its website, as well as about a planned “world march”. Spain’s delegate, as an observer, said the NGO’s purposes, aims and working methods were fully in line with the Council’s goals and expressed hope that consultative status would be recommended.
Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, a United States-based international organization, comprised of family members of victims of homicide, State execution, extrajudicial assassinations, and “disappearances” who oppose the death penalty — with China’s representative asking about the NGO’s participation in side events of the Human Rights Council 2005 and 2006 sessions, and whether such contributions were permitted to NGOs without consultative status.
The Peacebuilders, an international organization based in Japan that works with people in conflict-affected countries who are struggling to build lasting, just peace. China wondered about the Dalai Lama’s visit to a Hiroshima Peace Summit organized by the organization, and asked whether the organization still maintained ties to the Dalai Lama. Additionally, it said that the NGO mentioned that it received funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and wondered if it still received such funds and how they were used.
Redress Trust, an international human rights organization based in the United Kingdom and dedicated to the eradication of torture, particularly through the promotion of justice for victims of torture and related international crimes. Venezuela requested more information about the organization’s lobbying activities, which did not seem to support the aims and purposes of “supporting victims” listed by the organization. Additionally, in a previous correspondence, the organization mentioned that it had taken part in the United Nations climate meeting, and Venezuela wondered how it had done so without having consultative status.
Scholars at Risk Network, a United States-based international network of universities and colleges dedicated to defending threatened scholars and scholarly communities worldwide and to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion and expression without fear, discrimination, censorship, intimidation or violence. China sought clarification regarding exchanges of information with UN agencies, which the NGO had listed in its application. Cuba said that the organization had also mentioned “threatened” academics, and asked for examples of such cases. Cuba further wondered why the NGO helped only academics and not other people.
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, a United States national organization advocating for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and sexual health services and working to create a world that ensures social justice and sexual rights. The representative of Pakistan sought further clarification on a response to a question posed to it in earlier sessions, which listed a number of rights. It also questioned whether the NGO considered that abortion was included under the category of reproductive rights.
Solicitors International Human Rights Group, a national United Kingdom-based organization working to promote awareness of international human rights within the legal profession in Britain; mobilize solicitors into effective action in support of those rights; encourage human rights lawyers overseas; and conduct related missions, research, campaigns and training. China wondered if the organization was affiliated with the NGO “FIDH”, with whom Solicitors International had mentioned that some work had been undertaken. Pakistan mentioned that the NGO had listed the promotion of “human rights enforcement mechanisms” of the United Nations, as well as “overseas missions” to those ends, and asked for more information on those activities. It also asked for details of activities of the organization’s “sub-ground on South Asia”.
Soroptimist International of the Americas, an international organization based in the United States working to improve the lives of women and girls; help women achieve economic and political equality; and serve as a global voice for women, among other goals. China asked whether the organization had legally registered in all 19 countries where it was working, and further asked for details about its more than 1,000 members in Taiwan, province of China.
Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council, an Austria-based international organization which was formed to direct, coordinate and implement activities for betterment of humanity welfare and to advance unity and peace by disseminating the messages of Mahatma Gandhi, in particular through cultural exchange, dialogue between religions and nationalities, ethic education and healthy lifestyle. China requested the organization to clarify its relationship with the NGO “Yoga in Daily Life”, with which the NGO under consideration had attended certain conferences. China also sought more information on the 2010 World Peace Summit, organized by the NGO under consideration. The observer from Austria then took the floor in support of the organization, which had “very good standing” in Austria. The representative was sure that the organization would make valuable contributions to ECOSOC’s work, and therefore hoped that it would be granted consultative status.
Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, a French national organization aiming to spread the culture and awareness of freedom of opinion and expression, belief, variety and tolerance inside the Syrian society by cooperation with the governmental associations and civil society organizations, among other goals. Cuba asked about the NGO’s financing of the “Arab Organization for Peace and Freedom”, and hoped to have more information on that matter, while Venezuela said that the NGO mentioned that it had received funding from the Syrian Government, and wondered if the Committee could be provided with relevant documentation. The representative from Morocco wondered if the organization was legally registered in Syria. It also wished for more information about the organization’s work in Morocco. Pakistan seconded Morocco’s questions and asked if the organization — which claimed to be a national organization in France — did in fact work in other countries. Secondly, the NGO had stated that it worked to revise local “laws” and “norms”, and Pakistan wished to know to which local legislation they referred specifically.
The representative of India asked the NGO to list its sources of income for the past three years in order to prove that it had “sustainable sources of income”. Additionally, could it elaborate on its relationship with international media?
The observer from Syria then took the floor, saying that the organization conducted workshops and issued reports on the state of information in Syria, but those activities were “unfounded” and there was in fact no relationship between the organization and the Syrian Government. The observer did not believe that the NGO had the right to base its claims on “forged facts” obtained by working “in an illegal way” in Syria.
The representative of Sudan seconded those complaints, noting that, while the NGO had claimed to have a license to operate in Syria, the Syrian Government claimed that no such license existed. Sudan also wanted to know about the organization’s activities in the Horn of Africa.
Thin and High, a United States-based international organization working to advocate for the underprivileged and the issues that require attention in order to achieve sustainable development in China, as well as to improve Sino-American relationships, appreciate nature and protect the environment. The representative of China wondered if the organization had legally registered in China or had any local partners in China, as all of its work was performed there.
WITNESS, an international organization based in the United States that uses video and online technologies to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. China requested the NGO to make adjustment to its website references to Tibet. It also wished to know more about its particular campaigns.
Windows for Peace Through Democracy, an international organization based in the United Kingdom and working to promote the status of widows in developing countries, particularly in conflict- and HIV/AIDS-afflicted countries. Turkey said it was awaiting additional information from this organization.
World Buddhist Supreme Tathagata Followers Peace Foundation, in international organization based in the Republic of Korea providing welfare facilities for the handicapped and aged, as well as cremation houses and pagodas. Besides, it promotes friendship among world Buddhists through international exchanges. In addition, it grants scholarships to those interested in religious culture and it creates world refugee relief and medical service. Recalling that the Committee had asked the NGO to introduce its non-religious activities, China said that, while the organization had replied, its answer was very general. It wished for more specific information on that matter.
The World Igbo Congress, a national organization based in the United States and working to provide general direction and guidance for Igbo land (south-east zone of Nigeria) in the coming years and are the basis for the preparation of the projected goals and objectives which reflect the input of the Executive Council, the Board of Directors, the House of Delegates, Igbo Professional, State Governments of Igbo land and the generality of Igbo people yearning for Introspective Development. Burundi wondered what place it gave to individuals who were not members of the Igbo group. The representative of Senegal noted that the organization claimed to be national in nature, but was based in the United States and worked in Nigeria. It asked the NGO to clarify this.
Yale International Relations Association, an international organization based in the United States dedicated to educating its members, the Yale University community, and others around the world about international affairs. Burundi asked for further clarification regarding the organization’s Council-related activities, and asked for examples where the NGO had “found a solution to an international challenge”, as stated on its website.
Yoga in Daily Life USA, a national organization devoted exclusively to charitable and educational activity. Its mission is to promote physical, mental, social and spiritual health of humankind, as well as spiritual development and God realization, world peace, humanitarian aid, human rights, protection of all living beings, and protection of the environment. China wondered if the organization had made a contribution to United Nations World Peace Day in 2009 and 2010. It also asked for clarification on the organization’s relationship with the NGO “Yoga in Daily Life International”.
e8, a Canada-based international organization representing the major electricity companies of the Group of Eight (G-8) countries, which aimed to advise and share its experiences on global electricity services and issues. India asked for clarification regarding the difference between this organization and one called “e7”, which was the same organization with one fewer member. India asked if this organization could receive consultative status while the former organization had its status withdrawn. Venezuela wanted more clarification on a response regarding the implementation of projects “proposed by UN agencies”. It wanted to know how the NGO maintained its relationship with United Nations agencies — and in particular whether it used its consultative status under the name “e7” to do so. Additionally, the organization mentioned that it was involved in programmes in six developing countries, and Venezuela wished to have more information on those.
In other business today, the Committee granted a change in the consultative status of International Union Against Cancer from roster to special status.
It also granted name changes to the following organizations: US Trademark Association to International Trademark Association; Soap and Detergent Association to American Cleaning Institute; Hariri Foundation to The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development; Friends of the Earth to Friends of the Earth International; Korea Freedom League to Korea Freedom International; and Izza Peace Foundation to International Peace and Development Organization.
The Committee also decided to close the applications of 24 organizations, which had not responded to three reminders from the Committee.
The Committee entered into yet another procedural discussion on that matter. The representative from Belgium said he wished to “give one last chance” to four specific organizations from the list (European Renewable Energy Council, Pain pour le Prochain, Solidarity NGO of the Orthodox Church Greece, and the UK Consortium on AIDS and International Development), while other delegates disagreed. China reminded the Committee that it had previously established “a very clear practice” on how to deal with NGOs that had not responded to three reminders. That was to close, without prejudice, the application of all 24 NGOs listed.
The Russian Federation agreed, saying that closing the applications of those organizations “sent a signal” that NGOs needed to respond to questions posed by the Committee.
On that point, Andrei Abramov, Chief of the NGO Branch of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, explained that the rules of the Committee dictated that those applications should indeed be closed without prejudice. In the end, it was announced that 23 were closed and one was withdrawn.
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