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NGO/917
26 May 2021
12th & 13th Meetings (AM & PM)

Non-governmental Organizations Committee Recommends Special Consultative Status for 7 Entities, Defers Action on 96 Others, as 2021 Session Continues

Continuing its 2021 regular session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 7 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 96 others.

The 19-member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee, it is considered recommended for consultative status.  Organizations which were 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 some 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.

During its consideration of applicants, the Committee took note that two non-governmental organizations withdrew their applications for special consultative status.  It also held an interactive dialogue with representatives of several non-governmental organizations.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 27 May, to continue its session.

Special Consultative Status

The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following organizations:

Carlsron Initiative for Peace and Human Rights (Nigeria);

Churches for Middle East Peace (United States);

Gaia Education (United Kingdom);

Partners for Progressive Israel (United States);

Peace Research Institute Oslo (Norway);

Scholé Futuro (Italy); and

Trocaire (Ireland).

The Committee postponed action on the applications of the following organizations:

Beijing People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on its working methods.

Beijing Volunteer Service Federation (China) — as the representative of the United States asked about where in China it operates youth programmes;

Belarusian Fund of Peace (Belarus) — as the representative of the United States asked for details about who pays employees’ salaries;

Blue Cross & Blue Crescent Society (India) — as the representative of Pakistan requested details about its goals and projects;

Caritas India (India) ‑ as the representative of Pakistan asked for programme details;

Chanan Development Association (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested further information on youth and skills training projects;

Charity Organization “International Charity Foundation Global Ukraine” (Ukraine) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked for clarification of its broken website and asked that it provide a new web address, if available;

Chinese Culture Promotion Society (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for details about funds received by entities and a list of countries it partners with;

Cosmos Ndukwe Foundation (Nigeria) — as the representative of the United States requested information about how grantees are selected and the amount it has paid out in grants to date;

Diplomatic Mission Peace and Prosperity (Albania) — as the representative of Greece asked for details about projects and lobbying activities;

Direct Focus Community Aid (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested details about projects reaching refugees;

Drug Free Pakistan Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details about its projects from 2018 to 2020;

Engineering Association for Development and Environment (Iraq) — as the representative of Turkey asked for details on its projects;

Environmental and Societal Development Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested information on where tree-planting campaigns were taking place and the related costs;

Formation Awareness and Community Empowerment Society (FACES) Pakistan (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for clarification about why it does not keep records of projects and requested details on its programmes;

Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (China) — as the representative of United States asked for details about countries that are the target of its projects and if they are Government-funded;

Global Village Forum Chakwal c/o Shaheen Degree College Chappar Bazar Chakwal (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details of projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals;

Gulshan-e-John (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details on office locations;

Habilian Association (Iran) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on current and future projects;

Human Development Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested clarification about whether it had withdrawn its application;

Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (Iran) — as the representative of the United States asked for clarification on previous responses and on how it operates;

Individual Land Trust (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details about its campaign on investigative journalism;

Institute of Rural Management (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for financial details;

International Human Right Organization (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details on projects related to the rights of children over the past five years;

International Non-Olympic Committee (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for financial details for 2019 and 2020;

International Non-Olympic University (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for clarification about details on its research work;

Janmitra Nyas (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details and outcomes of projects reaching vulnerable communities;

Kaarvan Crafts Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested further information on projects related to women’s empowerment;

Kafka Welfare Organization (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details on projects and on corporate entities that provide funds;

National Association of Seadogs (Nigeria) — as the representative of the United States asked for a list of countries in which it operates and for information on whether it plans to expand to other countries;

National Human Rights Civic Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” (Belarus) — as the representative of China requested further details on its informal cooperation with local offices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP);

Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) (Lebanon) — as the representative of Israel asked for details on partnerships with non-governmental organizations and other entities;

Pouya Institute for Communications and Social Development (Iran) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on current projects;

Research Society of International Law (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked for an updated financial statement and information on current projects;

Shenzhen Foundation for International Exchange and Cooperation (China) — as the representative of the United States requested more information on exchange projects and a list of countries in which it operates;

Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on its activities in 2020 and 2021;

Social Services Trust (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details on projects and outcomes related to its climate change initiatives;

Syrian Youth Council (Syria) — as the representative of the United States asked for details about projects implemented with the Government, including the type of support provided;

World Federation of Free Trade Zones Co., Limited (China) — as the representative of the United States requested a detailed list of cases it works on;

World Historic and Cultural Canal Cities Cooperation Organization (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for a list of activities related to the protection of water ecology and sustainable development;

Young League Pakistan (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked for a legal document to support its stated activities and for details explaining why it describes itself as a national organization when its activities occur in several countries;

Zhongguancun Belt and Road Industrial Promotion Association (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for details about projects carried out in her country;

Vishwa Manavadhikar Parishad (India) — as the representative of Pakistan, noting that the organization describes itself as addressing “social evils”, asked for details on how it carries out projects to do so;

Asociacion Enraizados en Cristo y en La Sociedad (Spain) — as the representative of Cuba requested a budget breakdown and details on funding shortfalls and how this was addressed;

American Center for International Labor Solidarity (United States) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on its funding sources and on how it can ensure its independence when most funding comes from the Government;

Anti-Corruption Foundation (Russian Federation) — as the representative of Cuba requested details on the size of its membership and countries where members are located and on the process on electing individuals.

Arab-European Center of Human Rights and International Law (AECHRIL) (Norway) — as the representative of Libya asked for details on its goals for tackling issues in the Arab region;

Association of Non-for-Profit Organizations to Facilitate the Drug Prevention and Socially Dangerous Behaviour “National Anti-Drug Union” (Russian Federation) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on projects related to individuals suffering from drug addiction;

Avaaz Foundation (United States) — as the representative of Cuba asked for details on membership roles;

Bahrain Center for Human Rights (Denmark) — as the representative of Bahrain asked why it is registered as a volunteer organization when it allocates salaries;

Canadian Human Rights International Organization (CHRIO) (Canada) — as the representative of Cuba requested details on financial information on income, which is listed as $6,000 in its application while its website indicates that it operates 233 projects in various countries, and how it manages to conduct and finance activities;

Centre international pour la paix et les droits de l’homme (CIPADH) (Switzerland) — as the representative of Burundi requested information on training activities and its target audience;

Child Foundation (USA) (United States) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on the amount and frequency of topics covered;

Christian Solidarity International (CSI) (Switzerland) — as the representative of Cuba asked for details on engagements with Governments and if the embassies it meets with provide financial contributions or donations;

Congrès National des Arméniens Occidentaux (CNAO) (France) — as the representative of Turkey requested details on working groups, including their responsibility and role in management and activities; and the representative of Armenia, in his capacity as observer, said that the non-governmental organization has already provided requested information in August 2019, adding that Member States serving on the NGO Committee are obliged to fulfil their duties.  The representative of Turkey said her delegation pursues an impartial approach, basing its evaluation on the United Nations Charter in full accordance with the NGO Committee’s duty and mandate;

Democracy Reporting International gGmbH (Germany) — as the representative of Libya asked how it has members in his country when its application is pending;

Diakonia (Sweden) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details of its relationship with its 400 partners, and the representative of Nicaragua noted that the website is in Swedish only, asking the Secretariat if the organization can translate it into an official United Nations language.  A representative of the Secretariat said it would not be appropriate to ask a non-governmental organization to translate its website;

Emberi Méltóság Központ (Hungary) — as the representative of Israel asked for details on payments to personnel;

Ensar Vakfı (Turkey) — as the representative of Greece asked for a list of private-sector donors;

Fundacja Otwarty Dialog (Poland) — as the representative of China asked for a full list of States it partners with;

Global Action for Trans* Equality Inc. (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation sought information on its participation and status in a meeting of the Human Rights Council given that its application is still pending;

Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) Limited (Ireland) — as the representative of Bahrain asked for elaboration on the organization’s connections;

Harvard International Relations Council, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Cuba requested more information regarding the “special programs” listed in its summary of expenditures;

Hokok Coalición Internacional Contra la Impunidad (Spain) — as the representative of Israel asked for its full financial statements for the last three years and updated application information;

Hope Worldwide Pakistan (New Zealand) — as the representative of Pakistan requested details regarding its poverty-eradication programme, including its areas of operation;

IFEX (Canada) — as the representative of Cuba requested disaggregation regarding which foundations contribute financially to the organization and for what such contributions are used;

Inimõiguste Instituut (Estonia) — as the representative of the Russian Federation requested information on its routine interactions with the partners listed on its website; 

International Commission on Violence against Women and Girls, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation inquired as to the imbalance between project and administrative expenditures and asked for a list of projects and related costs;

International Dalit Solidarity Network (Denmark) — as the representative of India requested details on meetings between the organization and diplomats during the Human Rights Council’s fortieth session, updated audited financial statements for the last two years and details of the organization’s activities in 2020;  

International Funders for Indigenous Peoples Inc. (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked for a list of partners that provided it with information regarding the situation of indigenous peoples in the Russian Federation;

International Legal Assistance Consortium (Sweden) — as the representative of the Russian Federation sought clarification regarding any guarantees of independence from government influence enshrined in the organization’s charter;

International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO) (Switzerland) — as the representative of the Russian Federation inquired about the financial relationships among its members;

Internet Sans Frontières (France) — as the representative of Pakistan asked in which countries it worked and whether these projects were carried out in collaboration with the Governments of the countries concerned;

Interregional non-governmental human rights organization “Man and Law” (Russian Federation) — as the representative of Nicaragua requested a list of all countries in which the organization works and information on whether its partners are officially registered with local authorities;

Muslim Hands (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Israel asked for details on its recent activities in Yemen;

National Committee on BRICS Research (Russian Federation) — as the representative of the United States sought information regarding the founding of the organization and how its funding is obtained;

Non c’è pace senza giustizia (Italy) — as the representative of Bahrain requested detailed, disaggregated data concerning the funds it receives from other international organizations;

Norwegian Church Aid (Norway) — as the representative of the Russian Federation, noting inconsistencies in the organization’s application, asked for an exhaustive list of the countries in which the organization works;

Organisation Suisse d’aide aux réfugiés (Switzerland) — as the representative of Nicaragua asked for a detailed explanation of its planned activities and projects for 2021 and 2022;

Panhellenic Union of Cappadocian Associations (Greece) — as the representative of Turkey sought further information regarding an event the organization held in concert with a governmental entity;

Peace Without Limits (PWL) International Organization, Inc. (Switzerland) — as the representative of Libya asked for more information regarding activities and projects it undertook in coordination with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, including the countries and cities in which they took place;

Razom Inc. (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation requested detailed financial reports that disaggregate contributions, gifts and grants;

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Cuba sought detailed information on which other organizations provide the applicant with funding, how much each organization contributes and for what these funds are used;

Salam for Democracy and Human Rights (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Bahrain asked for financial statements for the years 2018, 2019 and 2020;

Sheikh Abdullah Al Nouri Charity Society (Kuwait) — as the representative of Israel requested its most recent financial statement available;

Social Progress Imperative, Inc. (United States) — as the representative of Cuba sought detailed information regarding which Governments and foundations provide funding to the applicant and for what such funds are used;

Society of Social Psychiatry and Mental Health (Greece) — as the representative of Turkey asked that it elaborate on the international nature of its work;

Su Politikaları Derneği (Turkey) — as the representative of Greece sought details regarding the contracts it uses to generate financing, including the parties involved and amounts received;

Syrian American Medical Society Foundation (United States) — as the representative of the Russian Federation asked for financial statements from 2018 to 2020;

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (Russian Federation) — as the representative of China sought information on cooperation between the organization and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network; 

The Bar Human Rights Committee (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Bahrain requested information on its activities in 2020 and 2021 and the representative of China asked for information concerning the outcomes of the planned activities and projects mentioned in the organization’s application;

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children Limited (United Kingdom) — as the representative of Cuba noted that the organization is entirely funded by grants and asked for such funding information to be disaggregated; and

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) (United States) — as the representative of Cuba sought detailed information on the activities of staff listed as “voluntary political practitioners” in its application.

Withdrawal

The Committee took note that Establishment of Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani for Humanitarian Services (Qatar) withdrew its application for a special consultative status.

The Committee took note that the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, Inc (United States) withdrew its application for a special consultative status.

At the outset of the meeting, the representative of Pakistan informed the Committee that only two organizations have fully provided information requested on 21 May; one has provided partial information and the other six have not provided specific information regarding their financing.  She requested that the organizations concerned provide the remaining information in a timely manner.

Interactive Discussion

During a question-and-answer session, NGO representatives faced questions from Committee members.

The representative of Mentor Amiable Professional Society (Pakistan) said that his youth-led organization, founded in 2012, provides career expositions, mentors students and builds the capacity of young people from underprivileged communities in Pakistan.  The organization believes in including youth in the decision-making process and launched an international project in 2018 centered on the Sustainable Development Goals, providing peacebuilders with the opportunity to showcase the work they do to help their communities.  The organization also provides school supplies to children and, in 2020, partnered with local business to provide personal protective equipment to paramedical staff and frontline health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The representative of the Secretariat then detailed a previous question for the organization pertaining to its financial statements for 2020 and breakdown of its funding sources.

The representative of the Russian Federation asked for more details on the organization’s work on climate change.

The representative of Pakistan requested more information about the organization’s Digital School Project, including where the schools are located and whether the support provided comprises formal education or educational assistance.

Responding, the organization’s representative said that it has not been able to present its 2020 financial statement due to the pandemic and that, while it does not have any projects under way relating to climate change, it advocates on the importance of this issue.  Additionally, it provides educational assistance — rather than formal schooling — to children forced out of school due to a lack of financial resources to enable them to re-enroll.

The representative of the Secretariat then informed the Chair that an organization appearing during the question-and-answer portion of the meeting can be granted consultative status pending the submission of written financial statements.

The representative of Cuba, highlighting the importance of the information contained within financial statements, said the Committee should have the option to review this financial information.

The representative of Pakistan concurred.

The representative of China asked the Secretariat for clarification regarding the latest practice of granting status pending the submission of financial statements.

The representative of the Secretariat described a precedent of granting status to an organization participating in a question-and-answer session if it has not been able to respond in writing but has given sufficient answers during the interactive dialogue.

The representative of Cuba, distinguishing the current situation from such precedent, reiterated that the Committee should have the opportunity to review the requested financial information and then make an informed decision during its next session.

The representative of the United States asked for clarification regarding whether the request for financial documents automatically defers an organization’s application and whether the current organization’s application is being deferred because of a request for financial information or because a written response to a different question was requested.

Responding, the Chair said that more information has been requested of the organization, which may include both financial and substantial information.

The representative of the United States asked whether the Committee could choose not to defer an organization’s application simply because financial information was requested.

The representative of Pakistan, noting the impossibility of explaining an organization’s financial situation in a short period of time, pointed out that the organization’s representative agreed to provide the financial statement in writing.

The representative of the Secretariat stressed that the Committee always has control over its own decisions.

The Committee then deferred action on the organization’s application, pending a written response to its questions.

The representative of the National Human Rights Civic Association “Belarusian Helsinki Committee” (Belarus) said his organization works to advance human rights in Belarus and support the realization of the universality and indivisibility of all human rights.  It also works to advance United Nations mechanisms through civil society organizations, holding training and creating web resources designed to inform people about the United Nations system.  This helps to build capacity within civil society and to promote United Nations mechanisms in Belarus.

The representative of the Secretariat then detailed a previous question for the organization pertaining to its cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The representative of the Russian Federation asked about the organization’s experience with participating in United Nations meetings and discussions.

The representative of China sought more information on the organization’s cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2020.

Responding, the organization’s representative said that it had worked with UNDP in Belarus to provide technical and expert consultation to State entities and civil society on interacting with human-rights treaty bodies.  In 2020, it participated in consultations devoted to socioeconomic questions as part of the Universal Periodic Review and assisted UNDP in developing an online educational tool on non-discrimination for State entities, lawyers and business.  He stressed that his organization is one of the primary channels through which the human-rights community interacts with the United Nations in Belarus and has participated in United Nations mechanisms over the past 15 years, including sending reports to United Nations treaty bodies and Special Rapporteurs.

The representative of Cuba asked for clarification regarding whether a question posed by a Committee member constitutes a question from the Committee as a whole as, if so, this practice is not being respected when NGO representatives respond to questions.

The Chair said that this interpretation was correct, but that some organizations are unfamiliar with this practice and, in the interest of time, do not receive an explanation of such practice when they enter the meeting room.

The representative of the Russian Federation asked for written financial statements from 2018 to 2020.

The representative of Cuba suggested that the Secretariat could provide organizations with an explanation that questions raised by a Committee member are raised on behalf of the entire Committee.

The organization’s representative said that it submits financial statements to the Ministry of Justice every year, and that it is a “report of zeroes” as the organization has no financial activity.

The Committee then deferred action on the organization’s application, pending a written response to its questions.

The representative of the Syrian American Medical Society Foundation (United States) said his organization was founded in 1998 as a professional society for the Syrian-American diaspora of health-care workers.  When the conflict in Syria began in 2011, it shifted focus to provide humanitarian relief to Syrians in need.  Over the past 10 years, it has delivered $200 million of humanitarian aid to Syria, helping 12 million people with 20 million medical procedures, including birth, cancer treatment, emergency surgery and vaccination.  It works closely in Syria with the United Nations, World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  As an example of the organization’s work, he recalled an accident in February 2019 in Tartus that left an 11-year-old girl severely burned.  The organization worked with the Vatican to get the child to a hospital in Rome, and she now goes to school in the United States.

The representative of the Russian Federation requested information on the organization’s agreements with United Nations entities and written financial statements for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Responding, the organization’s representative said he would upload financial documents for 2018 and 2019, but the information for 2020 is currently being compiled due to pandemic-induced delays.  He also said that his organization receives support from the cross-border humanitarian fund in Syria, where it manages the case-management portion of the COVID-19 response in northern Syria.

The Committee then deferred action on the organization’s application, pending a written response to its question.

For information media. Not an official record.