Resuming its 2021 regular session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 116 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 31 others, pending responses to supplementary questions from its 19 members.
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
As the session opened, Committee Chair Mohammed Salam (Sudan) announced that members will have to consider 264 new status requests and 387 requests carried over from previous sessions. In addition, the Committee should take note of 315 new quadrennial NGO reports and 92 reports carried over from previous sessions.
Marc-André Dorel, Officer-in-Charge for the Non-Governmental Organizations Branch at the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, added that his service was unable to provide the Committee with all the requests presented by organizations in June 2020, specifying that there are 282 files still awaiting verification, which will be presented for consideration in the January 2022 session.
He explained that this situation was due to an inability to examine some 900 requests in a timely manner because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which altered the Committee's schedule. In addition, the service’s electronic platform was hacked, slowing down the process for three months in 2020 and 2021. Those reasons also explain the delay in providing the Committee with the quadrennial reports on NGOs with consultative status, he added. His Department is in the process of setting up a new platform which will be presented to the Committee as soon as the work is completed. He also announced the delay in the presentation of quadrennial NGO reports, also due to technical problems.
The representatives of Mexico, United States, United Kingdom and the European Union all stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of NGO work on the ground. Those delegations expressed concern over the practice of postponing decisions on quadrennial human rights NGO requests and reports. The United Kingdom’s delegate reported that 54 NGOs have seen the consideration of their requests for consultative status postponed for at least five sessions, presenting a declaration adopted in September 2020 condemning the crackdown on civil society signed by 75 Member States.
China’s representative called for NGO requests to comply with Council resolution 1996/31, noting that the Committee has recommended the three statuses to more than 5,000 NGOs.
Estonia’s delegate called on the Committee to be more transparent and efficient in its work. The United Kingdom’s representative said the Committee must be “less arbitrary”, citing a one-and-a-half‑year delay between the filing of an application for consultative status by an NGO and the date of its first examination by the Committee. Brazil’s delegate urged the Committee to reduce the backlog in its work.
Committee members also called for “fair treatment” of all NGOs around the world during the pandemic by encouraging their participation in dialogue with the Committee through the use of digital technology.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 31 August, to continue its session.
The representative of Mexico stressed the importance of NGO participation in the work of the Council, as recommending consultative status only strengthens the links between civil society and the United Nations, she said. “We cannot allow the pandemic to negatively influence the participation of NGOs in the work of the Committee,” she said. She urged that body to find hybrid solutions to facilitate remote online participation in dialogue sessions with NGOs, recommending that live in-room participation be encouraged while taking necessary health measures into account. Digital tools should be used to ensure fair treatment of all NGOs.
The representative of the United States noted that the pandemic highlights how important NGO action is on the ground. Adding the Committee's work should be accessible to all such organizations around the world, he expressed concern over postponing decisions on quadrennial reports, which present a significant additional workload for NGOs and the Committee. He called for greater NGO participation in United Nations activities, and more Committee accessibility to the work of NGOs.
The representative of the European Union denounced “the practice of endless questions to NGOs”, in particular on human rights issues. He also expressed concern over the increase in the number of NGO applicants that are affiliated with Governments. Requesting that NGOs participate online in the Committee's dialogue, he called for improving transparency and reviewing decisions made arbitrarily by the Committee, as well as consultations with NGOs to improve Committee function.
The representative of the United Kingdom recalled his 2020 declaration condemning the crackdown on civil society signed by 75 Member States, noting that 54 NGOs have seen consideration of their requests for consultative status postponed for at least five sessions, many of them human rights organizations. As the Committee’s role is to facilitate NGO access to the work of the United Nations, he pledged to work to improve the transparency of its work — which must also be “less arbitrary”, he stressed, citing an 18‑month delay between the filing of an NGO request and the date of its first examination.
The representative of Estonia denounced the lack of transparency and efficiency in Committee work, calling for access to digital technology so that NGOs worldwide can participate.
The representative of Brazil urged the Committee to reduce the backlog in its work.
The representative of Cuba asked if Member States will be consulted during the implementation phase of the new NGO service platform.
The representative of Pakistan requested clarification on how the new platform is designed and will be used, and the role Member States can play.
The representative of China expressed hope that NGO requests would comply with Council resolution 1996/31. She noted that the Committee recommended the three status levels to more than 5,000 NGOs, “a sign that the Committee is doing a remarkable job”.
Responding to questions, MARC-ANDRÉ DOREL, Officer-in-Charge for the Non‑Governmental Organizations Branch, at the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, said that the new platform project is a single and integrated system that will eventually replace the three existing tools. It is an ambitious project, but it is still too early to come up with a draft or test, he said.
The representative of Pakistan recommended the platform be accessible for people with disabilities, with the representative of the United States expressing support.
Consideration of Special Reports
The representative of Pakistan announced that two NGOs had responded to her delisting request presented to the Committee during the last session. The representative of Sudan asked the Committee to withdraw the status of nine NGOs that have worked in her country. These organizations, which cooperated with the former regime without a direct link to their status, have been dissolved, she said, urging the Committee to act while informing the organizations in question.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to 116 organizations:
AWTAD Organization for Combating Corruption (Yemen);
Achievers Mission Foundation (Nigeria);
Action pour le développement du Sahel- ADESA (Niger);
Adhyatma Vigyan Satsang Kendra, Jodpur (India);
Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (South Africa);
Ajemabelu Self Help- AJESH (Cameroon);
Al Gora Community Development Association (Egypt);
Asia-Pacific Entrepreneur Associate Chamber of Commerce (Malaysia);
Asociación Cultural para el Desarrollo Integral- ACDI (Argentina);
Association Espoir pour les Jeunes Batwa ou Hope for Youth Batwa (Burundi);
Association femmes leadership et développement durable- AFLED (Mali) ;
Association of Disabled People of Uzbekistan (Uzbekistan);
Associação dos Agentes de Saúde do Estado da Bahia (Brazil);
Bella Foundation for Child and Maternal Care (Nigeria);
Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation (Nigeria);
Calvary Foundation International (Nigeria);
Cecilia Nkemakolam Foundation (Nigeria);
Cercle d’action pour le développement des personnes handicapées, enfants et femmes – International (Togo);
Coalition des volontaires pour la paix et le développement (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Community Economic and Environmental Rights Initiative (Nigeria);
Convention pour le bien-être social (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Coordination africaine des droits de l’homme pour les armées- CADHA (Côte d’Ivoire);
Croissant Vert Sénégal (Senegal);
Dels Foundation (Ghana);
Development Assistance International, Inc. (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Development Educational Foundation – Ghana (Ghana);
Divine Act Charitable Trust (Nigeria);
Dr. Vivian Uduehi Medical Foundation Limited by Guarantee (Nigeria);
Eminence Associates for Social Development (Bangladesh);
Emirates Motorsport Organization (United Arab Emirates);
Emma & Grace Education Foundation (Nigeria);
Environmental and Rural Mediation Center (Nigeria);
Etihad Peace Minorities Welfare Foundation (India);
FABE International Foundation (Nigeria) ;
Family Health Options Kenya (Kenya);
Fondation Durane (Haiti);
Force juvénile pour un avenir rassurant (Benin);
Forsports Foundation (Ghana);
Forum des femmes autochtones du Cameroon- FFAC (Cameroon);
Forum for Women Law and Development (Nepal);
Fundacion MarViva (Costa Rica);
Fundación para la promoción de los derechos de accesibilidad y visibilidad‑Visibilia (Argentina);
Fédération des organisations non gouvernementales au Togo-FONGTO (Togo);
Glimmer of Hope Organization (Sudan);
Global Integrated Education Volunteers Association (Nigeria);
Global Peace and Development Association (Kenya);
Green Earth Organization (Ghana);
Home Makers Women Development Initiative (Nigeria);
Hope for a Better Future- H4BF (Cameroon);
Human Rights and Grassroots Development Society (Nigeria);
Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement and Conflict Transformation (I.M.P.AC.T.) Registered Trustees (Kenya);
Institute of Leadership and Development (Ghana);
International Silambam Committee (India);
Iraqi Journalists Rights Defense Association (Iraq);
Jeunesse et emplois verts pour une économie verte (Benin);
Justice & Rights Initiative (Nigeria);
Krida Vikas Sanstha, Nagpur (India);
Liberty and Rights Advocacy Organisation (Nigeria);
Mac-Jim Foundation (Nigeria);
Men End FGM Foundation (Kenya);
Michael and Francisca Foundation (Nigeria);
Ministère de l’évangile pour tous/Centres évangéliques inter viens et vois (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
National Campaign for Sustainable Development Nepal (Nepal);
National Foundation for development and Humanitarian Response (Yemen);
Niger Delta Women’s Forum (Limited by Guarantee) (Nigeria);
No Food Waste (India);
Observatoire de gestion de la formation et administration scolaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo);
Omonijuku Foundation (Nigeria);
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative (Nigeria);
Pan Africa Girl Child Education Foundation (Nigeria);
Persatuan Pakatan Berintegriti Sabah (Sabah Integrity Alliance Association) (SINAR) (Malaysia);
Poverty Reduction Initiative (Liberia);
Prime Diamond Initiative for Community Health (Nigeria);
Prime Initiative for Green Development (Nigeria);
Proactive Gender Initiatives (Nigeria);
Public Association “Green Crescent Society” (Kyrgyzstan;
Public Association “Zhasylai” (Kazakhstann);
Rescue Mission for Street Life Limited (By Guarantee) (Uganda);
Réseau d’association de ma ville (Tunisia) ;
Réseau des Femmes pour les Droits Environnementaux au Mali (Mali);
Sanya Public Diplomacy Institute (China);
Sierra Leone Autistic Society (Sierra Leone);
Society Without Violence Non-Governmental Organization (Armenia);
Solidarity Health Foundation (SHF - CIG) (Cameroon);
Sudanese Green Crescent Society (SGCS) (Sudan);
Sugur Development Agency (SDA), (An Indigenous NGO) (Uganda);
Talklove Africa Foundation (Nigeria) ;
Technology Motivation Empowerment Organization (Nigeria);
Teere (Ghana) ;
The Bridge Foundation for Youth Leadership (Nigeria);
The Volunteer Connection (Trinidad and Tobago);
UPADI – Pan American Union of Engineers (Brazil);
Union Nations Federation (Comoros);
Universal Versatile Society Nagathana, Ta./Dist.:Washim (India);
Value Health Africa (Cameroon);
Vision Spring Initiatives Ltd/Gte. (Nigeria) ;
Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa (Ghana) ;
Walking in Solidarity Group (Cameroon);
Women Access to Relief and Development Actions (Cameroon);
Women Against Violence and Exploitation Foundation (Nigeria);
Women in Distress Organisation (Nigeria);
World Vision National Research and Resource Management, Nepal (Nepal);
Your Hope Line (India);
Youth Leaders Foundation (Egypt);
Mothers2mothers South Africa (Association Incorporated Under Section 21) (South Africa);
A Chance in Life, Inc. (United States);
Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (Belgium) ;
African Sisters Education Collaborative (United States);
Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (Turkey);
Australasian Explosives Industry Safety Group Incorporated (Australia);
Autonomous non-profit organization for promoting the implementation of education, science and culture programs “Academic Mobility Сenter” (Russian Federation);
Bangladesh American Society of Muslim Aid for Humanity, Inc. (United States);
Batonga Foundation (United States);
Belady US: An Island for Humanity (United States);
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 31 organizations:
Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment NGO (Armenia) — as the representative of Turkey asked how the organization achieves its goals;
AAROHAN (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked how it receives funding from the Government;
Adharshila (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked it to provide its financial statements for 2020, as well as its sources of funding;
Association of Saharan Women for Integrated Development (Morocco) — as the representative of Nicaragua requested an explanation of its decision-making process, and for the latest decisions taken on project planning;
Association of the National Alliance of Chourafa Naciryiene and their cousins, responsible for the affairs of Zaouia Naciria (Morocco) — as the representative of Cuba asked for the number of its regional offices;
China Chamber of International Commerce (China) — as the representative of the United States sought details on the Governments and entities that are partners of the NGO, with a detailed list of the activities carried out;
El Hak Foundation for Freedom of Expression and Human Rights (Egypt) — as the representative of Israel asked for clarification on links with another organization with the same name carrying out the same activities;
Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue (Egypt) — as the representative of Turkey asked if it had any members;
Fundación Venezolana por el Derecho a la Vivienda (Venezuela) — as the representative of Cuba requested information on the origin of the $20 million which appears in its financial declaration;
Gender & Empowerment Organization (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan requested details of international donations received;
Human Rights Protection Group and MFP Federation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan noted the bulk of its financial resources come from the Government;
Iranian Anti-Tobacco Association (Iran) — as the representative of the United States sought clarification on the origin, amount and duration of its sources of funding;
Jaaniv Foundation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked how it works in the health, education and environment sectors with its income;
Judicial Administrative Drug Rehabilitation Association of China (China) — as the representative of United States asked about links with the Chinese Government and how much money it receives from the Government;
Kolkata Society for Cultural Heritage (India) — as the representative of Pakistan sought details on the differences between income and receipts;
Lanka Fundamental Rights Organization (Sri Lanka) – as the representative of China asked about the differences between income and receipts;
Mumbai Smiles Foundation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan sought details on its activities in 2020;
Populous Education Foundation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked about its activities in 2020;
L’Ange Gardien (Benin) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details on its presence and activities in Africa and Asia;
Peaceland Foundation (China) — as the representative of Estonia asked for its missing telephone, fax and website;
Prayas Juvenile Aid Center (Liberia) — as the representative of Pakistan asked about its activities to counter against sexual abuse;
Protection for Legal & Human Rights Foundation (Bangladesh) — as the representative of India asked for a list of its activities and their funding;
Public Association “Regional Consumer Protection Society” (PA “Regional Consumer Protection Society”) (Belarus) — as the representative of Estonia asked about its cooperation with the Government;
Saksham Bharti (India) — as the representative of Pakistan sought details on what it implemented in 2020;
Shaanxi Patriotic Volunteer Association (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for clarification on the nature of its “patriotic diplomacy” centre;
World Eco-Design Conference (China) — as the representative of the United States sought details on the link between its activities and iCLoud;
Youth for Human Rights Pakistan (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked who its members are;
ARCS Arci Culture Solidali APS (Italy) — as the representative of Turkey sought clarification about its activities outside Italy;
Association of 3 Hedgehogs (France) — as the representative of China asked about its position on Taiwan;
Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “International Center Save the Children from Cybercrimes” (Russian Federation) — as the representative of Estonia asked for details on its activities in 2020;
C.A.R.E Scandinavia — Citizens Against Radicalism & Extremism (Denmark) — as the representative of Israel requested information on its partners and the activities carried out with them;
Dialogue with Non-Governmental Organizations
During a question-and-answer session in the afternoon, NGO representatives faced queries from Committee members.
The representative of China asked which foreign organizations are working with the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation (India), while Pakistan’s delegate asked how many trees the NGO had planted.
The NGO representative responded that his organization has partnerships with many philanthropic organizations in the solar energy sector.
A representative of Human Rights for Kids (United States) explained that the organization is campaigning for the reform of the United States prison, judicial and penal system to comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international instruments. China’s delegate asked for details on its position on Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
The representative of Goal (Ireland) then explained that the humanitarian aid organization is particularly present in Syria and Haiti, employing more than 2,500 people, has helped more than 15 million people in 14 countries and has a budget of $96 million, mainly from the United States.
The representative of the Russian Federation asked which region of Syria the group works in, further asking whether it has received permission from the Syrian authorities, and to specify who its Syrian partners are. The NGO representative clarified that the organization works in Idlib, where it provides water and food security through its national staff, adding that its bases are in Turkey. The Russian Federation’s representative then requested a precise list of all activities and all the regions where the organization is present in Syria.
The representative of Asociación Civil Grupo SURES (Venezuela) explained the group works on migration in Venezuela, providing the most vulnerable people with training on migrant and human rights. The representative of the United States asked about its presence at the forty-first session of the Human Rights Council, with the NGO representative responding that the group had been invited by an international association of democratic jurists with consultative status since 1960. The United States' representative further asked about its financial resources for travel, and the extent of its cooperation with the Government of Venezuela. The organization’s representative then clarified that its resources come from its members, who also cover their own travel costs, as the group does not receive money from any Government.