18 December 2003


NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- Continuing its resumed 2003 session, the United Nations Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations in two meetings today recommended special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council for seven non-governmental organizations.  The body also recommended roster status for three groups and upgraded the status of two others.

During its week-long session, the 19-member body will make recommendations on a non-governmental organization’s (NGO) standing or reclassification with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) using a variety of criteria, including applicant mandate, governance and financial regime.

Those organizations or groups with roster status can attend meetings; those with special status can attend meetings and circulate statements; and those with general status can attend meetings, circulate statements and propose items for the Council’s agenda.

The NGOs for which special consultative status was recommended are:

  • Archidonna Onlus, an Italian women’s advocacy group based in Palermo;
  • Comite national d’entraide de la jeunesse et de l’enfance, an Algerian group working with children and adolescence;
  • International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development, based in Jakarta;
  • Kindernothilfe (Help for Children in Need), a Germany-based group working for youth in the world’s poorest nations;
  • Partnership for Indigenous Peoples Environment, an international agency based in New York;
  • Christian Conference of Asia, an international organization based in Hong Kong, which aims to strengthen fellowship among Asian churches and Christian communities;
  • Myochikai, a Japan-based international organization promoting world peace by building a better world for children.

The NGOs for which roster status was recommended are:

  • Fire Rescue Development Programme, an international group based in Chicago, working to enhance emergency response services in developing countries;
  • Outreach Trust, an Indian agency working with older persons and other vulnerable groups;
  • Disarmament Archives, a Rome-based centre for the study of disarmament and international peace and security issues.

The Committee also discussed the applications of several organizations requesting reclassification of standing with ECOSOC.  The standing of the World Association of the Major Metropolises, which had been granted roster status in 1997, was today upgraded to special consultative status; and the standing of the Brussels-based World Confederation of Teachers was reclassified from roster status to special consultative status.

The Committee left unchanged the special consultative status of another Belgian Organization, the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity.

When the Committee took up the application of the Fazaldad Human Rights Institute, an organization based in Islamabad, Pakistan, the representative of India noted that it had been listed as a national agency, and she questioned why several foreign nationals were listed on its board.  She also wondered whether some of the board members had specific political or government affiliation.  The representative of Pakistan expressed disappointment at India’s question and noted that the only other Pakistani NGO that the Committee had slated for action during this session had also been questioned by India, after informals, forcing the Committee to postpone a decision.

He feared the same thing would happen to the Institute and told India’s representative that it would have been helpful if those questions had been posed during informals, so that the organization would have been able to answer in a timely manner.  The Committee left pending its decision on the organization.

The Committee held a wide-ranging debate on the Australian Reproductive Health Alliance.  Several delegates expressed concern about the scope of one of its stated aims, “ to support the right to the safe and legal termination of pregnancy”.  That was a sensitive issue that had not been thoroughly debated within the wider United Nations system.  They suggested that perhaps a decision could be made on the Alliance at the next session, after it had provided written responses to questions.

Others supported the Alliance, particularly since it had dealt openly with controversial issues, such as family planning and abortion.  One speaker urged the Committee to remember that the Alliance’s work reflected national consensus.  He said the Committee should remain neutral about a groups advocacy work and noted that, in the past, the body had granted status to agencies that had been strong advocates against abortion.  The Committee Chairperson urged delegations with further question to submit them today, so that the Alliance would have the opportunity to respond by the end of the week. 

The Committee also left pending decisions on a number of organizations, requesting more information from the Washington-based International Justice Mission; Saratoga Foundation, a New York-based international women’s group; World Vision Canada, a humanitarian aid organization; World Point Trade Federation, a Geneva-based group aiming to foster international trade, and the Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum of India.  A decision on the African Hebrew Organization was deferred until the Committee’s next session.

Current members of the NGO Committee are Cameroon, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Cuba, Russian Federation, Romania, Germany, France, United States and Turkey.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Wednesday, 17 December, to consider its consideration of new applications for consultative status and new requests for reclassification.

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