Opening its regular session for 2018, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 95 organizations for special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 37 others.
The 19-member Committee vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), recommending general, special or roster status on the basis of 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 issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings.
At the start of the meeting, the Committee adopted its agenda (document E/C.2/2018/1) and programme of work. It re-elected by acclamation Jorge Dotta (Uruguay), on behalf of the Latin American and Caribbean Group as its Chair, and Ceren Hande Özgür (Turkey), on behalf of the Group of Western European and other States, as Vice-Chair. It postponed the election of its remaining Vice-Chairs.
Navid Hanif, Director, Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that the Committee on NGOs played a major role in the establishment of a global mobilization in support of sustainable development, as called for by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The realization of common goals and targets depended on the capacity of State and non-State actors to enter into a global partnership that would galvanize the energy and expertise of all.
The increased number of applications for consultative status testified to the strong interest, he said. While four years ago, 440 organizations had sent an application, 747 did so in 2017 and 774 did so in 2018. Those facts necessarily had an impact on the work of the Committee and his Office.
He stressed the need to ensure the appropriate level of resources to allow the NGO Branch to perform its much increased workload in a sustainable manner. Temporary resources were allocated to the Branch in 2016 but were not renewed by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) later that year. The resources needed were both human and technical. They related to the replacement of the electronic platforms being used. That included the CSO Net messaging system, through which questions posed by the Committee were sent to organizations and responses were brought to the attention of the Committee for its review.
Mr. Dotta echoed that sentiment, stressing that with the adoption of the transformative 2030 Agenda, the work of the Committee had gained even greater significance. There was global consensus that achieving the development goals would only be possible through the active engagement of all stakeholders, and in that context, civil society organizations had a critical role to play.
In 2018, the Committee would consider 321 new applications, in addition to 162 applications deferred from previous sessions, 412 quadrennial reports of NGOs in general and special consultative status and 82 quadrennial reports deferred from earlier sessions, he said.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 30 January, to continue its session, which runs from 29 January to 7 February.
The representative of Israel said civil society had an important role to play in the international arena and believed that the collaborative engagement with NGOs provided on-the-ground perspectives to result in better outcomes. Her delegation supported the proposal for a formal meeting to be held on the Committee’s working methods and the livestreaming of the subsidiary body’s work online.
The representative of the European Union described NGOs as a critical part of society, calling them indispensable partners for the United Nations, which was why the Committee’s work was of such importance. The bloc supported all efforts to ensure the Committee’s work was fair and transparent.
The representative of China then objected to a request for the floor from a member of civil society.
The representative of the United States said that there was a precedent that civil society organizations were allowed to participate in the Committee’s proceedings.
The representative of the Uruguay expressed concern that some delegations opposed allowing civil society to be heard during the Committee’s proceedings.
The representative of the United Kingdom, associating herself with the European Union, emphasized that a healthy, vibrant and free civil society sector was an asset to any country, not only with regard to the protection of human rights, but also when taking into account security and prosperity.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that allowing NGOs to participate in information consultations was beneficial and fruitful, but that allowing their participation during official meetings would not be the most beneficial use of the Committee’s time.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following organizations:
Fondation — Afrique développement international (Togo);
21st Century Community Empowerment for Youth and Women Initiative (Nigeria);
ABRACE — Associação Brasileira de Assistência às Famílias de Crianças Portadoras de Câncer e Hemopatias (Brazil);
Afri-health Optonet Association (Nigeria);
Africa Network for Animal Welfare (Kenya);
African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes Education Trust (South Africa);
African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development (Cameroon);
African Youths Initiative on Crime Prevention (Nigeria);
Ageing Nepal (Nepal);
Al-Shafa'a Humanitarian Organization (Iraq);
Amis d'Afrique Francophone-Bénin (Benin);
Asociación Cubana de Producción Animal (Cuba);
Asociación de Pedagogos de Cuba (Cuba);
Association Avenir NEPAD-Congo (Congo);
Association de lutte contre la dépendance (Mauritania);
Association de l’Unité Spéciale Républicaine (Cameroon);
Association nationale des partenaires migrants (Senegal);
Association pour l’amélioration des conditions de vie des prisonniers en Mauritanie (Mauritania);
Bahjat Al-Baqir Charity Foundation (Iraq);
Blessed Aid (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Centre Intercommunautaire Congolais Pour Les Personnes Avec Handicap (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Centre for Youth and Development Limited (Malawi);
Centre for Youth and Social Development (India);
China Water Engineering Association (China);
City2000 Youth Action International (Ghana);
Community Agenda for Peace Ltd./Gte. (Nigeria);
Community Restoration Initiative Project (Uganda);
Consejo de Iglesias de Cuba (Cuba);
Cooperation for Peace and Development (Afghanistan);
Corporación Equipo Colombiano Interdisciplinario de Trabajo Forense y Asistencia Psicosocial (Colombia);
Culture and Development East Africa (Tanzania);
Dave Omokaro Foundation (Nigeria);
Eau Vive Internationale (Burkina Faso);
Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress Church of Salvation (Jamaica);
Excellent World Foundation Ltd./Gte. (Nigeria);
First Modern Agro. Tools — Common Initiative Group (Cameroon);
Forum méditerranéen pour la promotion des droits du citoyen (Morocco);
Freehearts Africa Reach Out Foundation (Nigeria);
Fundacion Educando (Argentina);
Fundación Descúbreme (Chile);
Fundação Antonio Meneghetti (Brazil);
Giving Life Nature Volunteer (Ghana);
Global Medicare Foundation (Cameroon);
Goodness and Mercy Missions Common Initiative Group (Cameroon);
Great Africa Youth Empowerment & Development Initiative (Nigeria);
Hamraah Foundation (India);
HAPE Development & Welfare Association (Pakistan);
Heritage Life Buoy Foundation (Nigeria);
Hope for the Needy Association (Cameroon);
Human Development Initiatives (Nigeria);
Independent Development Council (Iraq);
Instituto Global Attitude (Brazil);
Instituto São Paulo Sustentável (Brazil);
Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade (Brazil);
Integrated Regional Support Programme (Pakistan);
International Academy of Environmental Sanitation and Public Health (India);
International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development (Cameroon);
International Centre for Women and Child (India);
International Confucian Association (China);
International Relief Services (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Jeunes Verts — Togo (Togo);
Kurdistan Institute for Human Rights (Iraq);
Majlis Kanser Nasional (Malaysia);
Media Foundation for West Africa (Ghana);
Mijoro Mandroso (Madagascar);
More Trust (India);
Mother of Hope Cameroon Common Initiative Group (Cameroon);
Mouvement alternatives citoyennes (Morocco);
Mukti Nari-O-Shishu Unnayan Sangstha (Bangladesh);
Murna Foundation (Nigeria);
Network of Organizations Working for People with Disabilities (Pakistan);
Nobel Laurate Mother Teresa Charitable Trust (India);
Organisation Sociale des Missionnaires pour l'Education des Enfants Démunis (Haiti);
Organisation des femmes pour la formation et le développement (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Organisation pour une nouvelle vision de la jeunesse d'Haiti (Haiti);
Oui Pour une Enfance Noble (Mali);
Partage et Action en Synergie pour le Développement (Togo);
Patriotic Vision (Lebanon);
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti, Selangor (Malaysia);
Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia (Malaysia);
Persons with Disability Initiative (Nigeria);
Radha Soami Sat Sang Beas (India);
Rastriya Adiwasi Janajati Mahila Manch (Nepal);
Reachout and Smile Initiative for Social Empowerment (Nigeria);
Rehabilitation International — Arab Region (Lebanon);
Reseau d’intervention, pour la protection et promotion de l’enfant et famille dans la communauté, (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Resource Centre for Environmental and Sustainable Development (Cameroon);
Resource Institute of Social Education (India);
Reyada for Capacity Building Studies & Consultations (Sudan); and
Rural Care Ministries, Jupudi (India).
The Committee postponed consideration of the following organizations:
İqtisadi və Sosial İnkişaf Mərkəzi ictimai birliyi (Azerbaijan) — as the representatives of Greece and China asked for further information about the organization’s funding sources.
Aryab Hatt Seva Sansthan (India) — as the representative of India requested more information about the organization’s previous name change as it related to any changes in its work, as well as information about the group’s funding sources.
ASPAM Foundation (India) — as the representative of India requested information about the activities that the organization had planned or undertaken at the international level.
Al-Anwar Al Najafia Foundation for Culture and Development (Iraq) — as the representative of India requested further information about the organization’s work.
Anciens esclaves nouveaux citoyens (Mauritania) — as the representative of Mauritania requested further information about the organization’s funding sources.
Association Najdeh (Lebanon) — as the representative of Israel requested further explanation about information found on the organization’s website.
Association du développement communautaire en Mauritanie (Mauritania) — as the representative of Mauritania requested more information about the organization’s project to address hunger.
Association mauritanienne d'appui aux nécessiteux (Mauritania) — as the representative of Mauritania requested further information about the organization’s funding sources.
Centre for Gender Justice and Women Empowerment (Cameroon) — as the representative of Nicaragua requested more information about the group’s partnerships with other organizations.
Club des Amis de la moughataa de Moudjeria (Mauritania) — as the representative of Mauritania requested more information about the dates in which certain projects were carried out.
Coalition of African Lesbians (South Africa) — as the representative of South Africa requested more information about how the organization would meet international reporting requirements, and as the representative of the Russian Federation requested further information about the group’s funding sources and how that funding was being utilized.
Community Initiatives for Development in Pakistan (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked whether the organization had any other offices in Pakistan or elsewhere.
Direct Focus Community Aid (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for further clarification about how the organization funded its projects.
EMPOWER (India) — as the representative of India requested a more detailed response regarding the organization’s projects.
Global Interfaith WASH Alliance India (India) — as the representative of India requested further information about the organization’s funding.
Goringhaicona Khoi Khoin Indeginious Traditional Council (South Africa) — as the representative of South Africa requested further information on the organization’s recent projects and budget.
Healthier Hearts Foundation (India) — as the representative of India requested more details about its recent projects and activities, as well as the foreign funding it received and the activities that had taken place with that funding.
Hope Ek Asha (India) — as the representative of India requested more information on sources of foreign funding and the activities it undertook with that funding.
Individual Land Trust (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested more information on activities in its organization that focused on democratic reforms.
International Integration Bond (India) — as the representative of India requested further information on how the organization would complete its projects given its limited budget.
International Public Foundation "Roza Otunbayeva Initiative" (Kyrgyzstan) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked for further information about the organization’s funding.
International Youth Committee (India) — as the representative of India questioned whether the organization had any other offices in other countries.
International Youth Council — Yemen Chapter (Yemen) — as the representative of India requested further information about the projects the organization had planned for the future.
Jamia Islamiya Umar Faruk Charitable Trust Solapur (India) — as the representative of India requested further information about the organization’s planned projects.
Justice Centre Hong Kong Ltd. (China) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for clarification on some of the organization’s work.
Ligue Mauritanienne pour l'appui aux initiatives associatives (Mauritania) — as the representative of Mauritania requested further information about the organization’s projects targeting women.
Lion Damien Club (South Africa) — as the representative of South Africa requested more information on the recent projects carried out related to management of conflict and crisis.
Organisation Attawassoul pour la Santé, la Femme et l'Enfant (Mauritania) — as the representative of Mauritania requested more information about the organization’s executive board.
Organisation tunisienne de développement social (Tunisia) — as the representative of Burundi requested further information about the groups of individuals the organization sought to assist.
Professional Evaluation & Certification Board — Educational & Welfare Society (India) — as the representative of India requested further information regarding the organization’s future projects.
Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Fiji) — as the representative of Cuba requested detailed information about the organization’s work in Fiji.
Patiala Foundation (India) — as the representative of India asked for further information about the organization’s partnerships.
People's Cultural Centre (India) — as the representative of India requested information about the organization’s sources of international funding.
Polis Instit de Estudos Forma e Asses em Politi Sociais (Brazil) — as the representative of Cuba asked, with regard to question 5 in the application, how it would implement the projects given its budgetary deficit. The representative of Uruguay asked the delegate from Cuba if in reviewing part 3 of the financial statement there was a comment that said they received more funds for a fiscal year and they actually had a surplus. Those surpluses were also part of their financial statements. The representative of Cuba said that would have clarified things if the information was received earlier.
Regional Centre for International Development Cooperation Ltd. (By Guarantee), (Uganda) — as the representative of Burundi would have liked to have had more information under part 3, regarding the international organization that is funding part of the organization’s budget.
SADHANA (India) — as the representative of India was interested to know the specific details of the collaboration it would have with other organizations with its sustainable farming plan.
During a question-and-answer session in the afternoon, NGO representatives faced questions posed by the Committee.
A representative of the organization Muslims for Progressive Values (United States) said that it was working to combat global sentiments of Islamophobia and the exploitation of Islamic narratives by violent extremists. Through its work, the organization reached Muslim and non-Muslim communities globally by promoting critical analysis of scripture and history, both within the international space and on the grassroots level. The organization supported progressive values, including, among others, gender equality and the freedom of expression. On the local level, the organization sought to facilitate the creation of inclusive spaces and on the global level was closely engaged in the promotion of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The representative of Iran questioned whether the organization’s understanding of Islam came from a theological source. He also requested a written breakdown of the group’s funding sources.
The representative of the organization Muslims for Progressive Values told the Committee that its board included a distinguished list of academics and scholars, although it did not have any formal institutional relationships.
The Committee then decided to defer the organization’s application.
A representative of the organization Children’s Hope India (United States) said that it was primarily a volunteer organization that worked towards promoting opportunities for children, including education and health care. The organization’s work focused on teenagers to encourage them to gain vocational skills if they were no longer in school, while also reaching out to communities in recognition of their important role of supporting young people.
The Committee then recommended that the organization be granted consultative status.