Continuing its 2019 regular session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 26 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 59 others.
The 19-member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGO). Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee it is considered recommended for consultative status. Organizations which are granted general and special status can attend meetings of the 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.
Action on several applications was postponed because Committee members requested further information from the candidates about, among other items, details of their respective organizations’ activities, partners, expenditures and sources of funding. Also, the representative of China noted that several organizations, in their applications or online, referred erroneously to Taiwan as a country, not as a province of China, and requested corrections.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Friday, 25 January, to continue its session.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following organizations:
Belgische associatie voor mensenrechten en ontwikkeling (Belgium);
Canadian Canola Growers Association (Canada);
Drug Reform Coordination Network Inc. (United States);
Federal Lezghin National and Cultural Autonomy (Russian Federation);
Fondazione del Monte di Bologna e Ravenna (Italy);
Fédération internationale des associations d'inventeurs (Switzerland) ;
Geneva Agape Foundation (Switzerland);
Gesellschaft Bosnischer Akademiker in Österreich (Austria);
Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage (United Kingdom);
Global Peace Foundation (United States);
Hazar Eğitim Kültür ve Dayanışma Derneği (Turkey);
Hellenic Initiative, Inc. (United States);
Knowledge for Development Without Borders (Austria);
Legal Action Worldwide (Switzerland);
Namati Inc (United States);
OneNess Foundation for the Aged, Disabled and Children (United States);
Open Net Incorporated Association (Republic of Korea);
PRO Leadership Global Inc. (United States);
Ranney School (United States);
SAM, Inc. (United States);
Specified Non-Profit Organization Diamonds for Peace (Japan);
Stephan Lewis Foundation (Canada);
The First Community Christian Pentecostal Church of God, Inc. (United States);
UCC Whale Center Inc. (United States); and
Women's Spirit (Ruach Nashit) — Financial Independence for Women Survivors of Violence (Israel).
The Committee postponed consideration of the following organizations:
Association pour la défense des droits de l'homme et des revendications démocratiques/culturelles du peuple Azerbaidjanais-Iran (ARC) (France) — as the representative of Pakistan asked that the organization inform the Committee when its website will be accessible, as that is where it has posted replies to the Committee’s earlier questions;
Assyrian Aid Society of America Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Turkey requested that the organization provide more details about its work in the printing and translation of textbooks;
Catholic Relief Services — United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (United States) — as the representative of India requested more information about the 15 funding proposals that the organization has submitted to various United Nations agencies for projects in 12 different countries;
Centre Zagros pour les Droits de l'Homme (Switzerland) — as the representative of India requested a breakdown of projects undertaken with volunteers;
Centre international pour la paix et les droits de l'homme (CIPADH) (Switzerland) — as the representative of China asked that it elaborate on how it would contribute to the work of the Economic and Social Council;
Cercle Martin Buber (Switzerland) — as the representative of Turkey requested further information about its financial management strategy;
Congres mondial Amazigh (France) — as the representative of Libya asked for a list of its affiliated organizations in Libya and details of their activities;
Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux (France) — as the representative of Turkey requested details about its projects and activities for 2019;
Coptic Solidarity (United States) — as the representative of Burundi requested more details about its activities;
Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of Cuba requested more information about its relationship with the Government of the Republic of Korea, including funding;
EGAM — European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (France) — as the representative of Turkey, noting that 49 per cent of its budget goes towards administrative expenses, asked that it elaborate on its financial situation;
Eri-Platform (Belgium) — as the representative of Sudan requested more details about its activities in Djibouti and Ethiopia;
Fédération Euro-Méditerranéenne contre les Disparitions Forcées (France) — as the representative of Libya requested the names of the non-governmental organizations with which it works in Libya, as well as details of any visits it has made to that country;
International Action Network for Gender Equity and Law (United States) — as the representative of Pakistan requested more information about the expansion of its projects into 10 new countries, including whether it is partnering with local governments;
International Child Rights Center (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of Cuba asked in which neighbouring countries it plans to undertake its projects and to elaborate on its projects in the area of children’s health;
International Organisation to Preserve Human Rights Ltd. (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China requested to know whether it has carried out activities in Iran;
Jerusalem Institute of Justice (Israel) — as the representative of Cuba requested information that would make it possible for the Committee to ascertain whether its research is carried out impartially;
Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation Ltd. (Australia) — as the representative of China requested that it use the correct United Nations terminology in referring, on its Facebook page, to Taiwan;
Le Collectif de la Paix au Sri Lanka (France) — as the representative of China asked for more details about its projects in Brussels;
Les femmes, la force du changement (France) — as the representative of Cuba requested information about its activities in 2018;
Mangfoldhuset (Norway) — as the representative of Pakistan requested details on any contracts the organization carries out with host Governments;
Partners for Peace and Prosperity, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Burundi asked for the names of international organizations from which it receives funding, as well as details of the partnerships it has with them;
Peace Brigades International (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China requested that it use the correct United Nations terminology in referring, on its website, to Taiwan and Tibet;
Peace Development Fund (United States) — as the representative of China requested that it use the correct United Nations terminology in referring, on its website, to Taiwan and Tibet;
Rohingya League Ltd. (United Kingdom) — as the representative of China, noting that the NGO stated on 11 December 2018 that it appointed fundraising experts, requested an update on its finances and limited budget, and as the representative of India, citing a dissolution certificate issued by Companies House on 15 January 2019, asked if it remains a registered entity in the United Kingdom;
Solidarity for Peace and Reunification of Korea (Republic of Korea) — as the representative of China requested a breakdown of its administrative expenses, which make up 33 per cent of its budget;
Stichting Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (Netherlands) — as the representative of China requested more information about its management structure;
Stichting Pro Papua (Netherlands) — as the representative of China requested more details about its advocacy work in 2018 with the European Union and United Nations;
The Center for Justice and Accountability (United States) — as the representative of China requested that it use the correct United Nations terminology in referring, on its website, to Taiwan and Tibet;
Tom Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice (United States) — as the representative of China requested that it use the correct United Nations terminology in referring, on its website, to Taiwan and Tibet;
Trocaire (Ireland) — as the representative of Nicaragua requested more information about its projects in her country;
United Sikhs (United States) — as the representative of India requested more details on a project with the New York State Department of Health, including funding and beneficiaries;
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Sudan asked for more information on its projects with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and the World Health Organization (WHO);
Women in International Security (United States) — as the representative of China, noting that it had spent only 12 per cent of its income, asked how it planned to use the surplus;
Women’s Freedom Forum, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details about the manner in which it evaluates its research reports, and as the representative of China requested that the organization use the correct United Nations terminology in referring, on its website, to Taiwan;
Women’s Ordination Conference (United States) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked for information on its latest projects, including the countries in which they are being carried out;
World Association for Sexual Health (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked if it could confirm, given its modest budget, that it is present in 40 countries, as stated in its application, and also to provide a progress report on its project with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF);
Akhil Bharatiya Human Rights Organisation (India) — as the representative of Bahrain requested more details about its rehabilitation centres;
Al-Imdaad Trust (South Africa) — as the representative of India, noting that the organization’s website cannot be accessed, requested details about its work in Syria;
Association Concerning Sexual Violence against Women (China) — as the representative of Pakistan requested details about its three projects, including expenditures;
China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (China) — as the representative of the United States asked the organization to explain how its leadership is determined or elected, and what activities it undertakes as an observer to the governing body of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
China Charity Alliance (China) — as the representative of the United States requested details on the process by which its general assembly decides to terminate what it terms “relevant matters”;
Chinese Culture Promotion Society (Beijing) — as the representative of the United States, noting that the organization failed to fully answer questions previously put to it by the Committee, reiterated those same questions relating to the NGO’s partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and several other entities for the holding of an international cultural industry forum, as well as its role in promoting collaboration between China and other countries;
Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity (Albania) — as the representative of Greece requested more details about its sources of income;
Direct Focus Community Aid (Pakistan) — as the representative of China asked that it clarify its financial situation;
East Human Rights Group (Ukraine) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked whether the funding it receives from the International Renaissance Foundation and Rosa Luxembourg Foundation is targeted and, if so, whether it could provide details;
Establishment of Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani for Humanitarian Services (Qatar) — as the representative of the United States, emphasizing that questions posed to NGOs come from the Committee as a whole, and not from any one delegation, asked which projects undertaken with United Nations agencies are ongoing and which have ended;
Etrat Fatemi Charity Institute (Iran) — as the representative of the United States requested more details about its fundraising activities, as well as a more detailed breakdown of cash donations;
Gulshan-e-John (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked that it clarify its relationship with Human Rights Missions Worldwide;
Habilian Association (Iran) — as the representative of the United States asked that it clarify whether any Government officials serve on its board or are involved in its operations;
Human Rights & Democratic Participation Center “SHAMS” (State of Palestine) — as the representative of the United States requested more details about a programme for which it received funding from the National Endowment for Democracy;
Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (Iran) — as the representative of the United States asked what processes the organization has in place to track funding through alms boxes, and for details about its “economic complex” including its governance structures and sources of funding;
Individual Land Trust (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for more details about the local and provincial governments with which is undertakes projects;
International Non-Olympic University (India) — as the representative of India asked which non-Olympic sports are being promoted through its projects and activities;
International Youth Committee (India) — as the representative of India asked what activities the NGO is undertaking or planning to undertake outside its home country;
Islamic African Relief Agency (Sudan) — as the representative of the United States requested details about the impact of its studies, field survey and data, including who benefits from that data. She also requested more details about the partners with which the organization currently works; and
Jamia Islamiya Umar Faruk Charitable Trust Solapur (India) — as the representative of India, noting that the organization indicates no expenditures on projects or administration, requested details on its financing structure.
During a question-and-answer period in the afternoon, NGO representatives faced questions posed by the Committee.
A representative of the World Association for Sexual Health said her group was established 40 years ago, working towards the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2019, it will hold in Mexico a conference, with more than 1,500 scientists and practitioners attending. Her group has been applying for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council for several years. Responding to queries from delegates, she said there are no current projects with UNICEF. Most projects are carried out by members. Regarding a question on finances, she said the budget reflects clearly the kind of work the group does, with more than 20 country members and many volunteers.
The representative of Nigeria asked for details in writing on projects in 2018 in Nigeria and whether they are in line with existing regulations. Mexico’s delegate, noting that this application dates back to 2015, with the group responding to more than 10 questions, said this dynamic of asking constant questions over years is worrisome for this group and for other organizations. The Russian Federation’s representative asked if in 2019 there will be a change in leadership or an addition of new members. The representative of Sudan wondered if the answers in the group’s application are updated with regard to members having Economic and Social Council memberships. Noting that all Committee members appreciated the presence of NGO representatives, he said they also have a right to request responses in writing. Greece’s delegate suggested the NGO representative answer the questions verbally, rather than in writing, as she is present before the Committee. The representative of the Russian Federation agreed with his counterparts from Nigeria and Sudan in support of requests for responses in writing.
Replying, the NGO representative said the group ensures that projects are in line with its regulations. A change in leadership occurred in 2017, completing a four-year cycle for its governing body, which comprises members from different countries. At the moment, no members are members of the Economic and Social Council. Projects in 2018 include research on sexuality and initiatives related to sexual health.
The Committee then decided to defer the organization’s application.
A representative of Catholic Relief Services — United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provided details on a list of pending funded projects in several countries.
The representative of India asked whether the projects in question are still pending. She also requested more information on the group’s status of membership with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and for any updates and details on Government funding for projects. Cuba’s delegate enquired about a survey on provisions made for refugees and migrants to ensure it complies with the recently adopted Global Compact. China’s representative requested details on the group’s $50,000 budget deficit and measures taken to address it.
Replying, the NGO representative said that of the 15 pending project proposals, all have moved to other status, with some approved and a small number rejected. A small number of projects failed to obtain adequate funding. On the refugee and migrant survey, he said the research has been concluded and disseminated publicly on his group’s website. Providing highlights, he said findings identified that social cohesion in host communities played an important role in refugee integration and demonstrated that local faith organizations in Lebanon contributed to integration. His group also collaborated with the Vatican on refugee-response efforts. Its UNFCCC membership was approved in 2018, with members attending a related conference in Poland primarily as observers for learning purposes. His group can collate an updated list of Government funding.
The Committee then decided to defer the organization’s application.
A representative of the Peace Development Fund said his group has addressed concerns, including about references to Taiwan on its website. Supported by individual donors, his group operates on donations and is located in the United States.
The representative of China, expressing hope that the organization will remove from its website the one remaining article referring to Taiwan, asked if it accepted Government donations.
Replying, the NGO representative said his group will address the matter of the article mentioning Taiwan. The organization does not accept Government money, with private donors coming mainly from the United States.
The Committee then decided to recommend the organization’s application.