Press Releases

                                                                17 May 2004

    NGO Committee Recommends Four Organizations for Consultation Status with Economic and Social Council

    Defers Consideration of Six Others; Discusses Special Reports Submitted by Two Organizations

    NEW YORK, 14 May (UN Headquarters) -- During its two meetings today, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations recommended 4 NGOs for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC), deferred 6 others until later in the session and considered special reports submitted by two organizations.

    The 19-member Committee uses various criteria to recommend general, special or roster status with the Economic and Social Council, including applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime.  Organizations that have general and special consultative status can attend meetings of the Council and circulate statements of a certain length; those with general status can, in addition, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda. NGOs with roster status can only attend meetings.

    Taking up applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification deferred from its previous session, the Committee recommended granting special status to:

    -- The World Organization for Education, Science and Development -- an international organization based in Libya, which seeks, among other things, to create youth links aiming to serve youth justice and discover and train youth talents for serving humanity;

    -- The United States-based Saratoga Foundation, which strives “to improve the quality of life for women worldwide”;

    -- Association tunisienne des femmes democratiques, which is devoted to the elimination of discrimination against women and promotion of equality between the sexes; and

    -- Lawyers without Borders, which, according to its statement, seeks to provide “the finest legal expertise available” to underprivileged societies around the world, advance the rule of law, and promote the honesty and integrity of the legal profession

    Prior to its action on the latter, the Committee engaged in a dialogue with the representative of that United States-based international organization, who explained that its members shared their experiences with local lawyers, provided training and assisted other NGOs.  Among the questions addressed today was the NGO’s association with certain countries and organizations, and the links provided on its web site. 

    Nigeria’s representative -- supported by the representatives of Senegal, Sudan, Cuba, Cameroon and China -- expressed reservations regarding the application of Federation of Ijaw Communities, saying that it represented an ethnic group in the oil-producing southern part of Nigeria, which sought to destabilize the country and “take hold” of oil production.  In fact, it was not really an NGO, but a political group, which had been “waging war” against the national forces. The power in that matter was vested in the national Government, which was taking numerous measures to meet aspirations of that people. 

    The Committee left action on that application pending until later in the session.

    Responding to objections by Pakistan’s representative, the Committee also deferred, the application of the Human Rights International Alliance, an international organization based in the United Kingdom.  The representative of Pakistan questioned the credibility of the organization and expressed disappointment in its responses to the Committee’s queries.  He insisted the organization was linked a secessionist movement and had a political agenda. However, several other delegations, including those of France, Germany, China and India were not yet ready to reject the application, asking for further information on the matter.

    As the Secretariat had been unable to establish contact with a Swiss-based international organization, Le Foyer Musulman, Association internationale pour les droits de l’homme, the Committee deferred action on its application, pending yet another attempt to contact the NGO in question.  

    Having received answers to several questions from a representative of the Kashmiri American Council -- a human rights organization based in Washington D.C. -- the Committee deferred until later in the session action on its application, as India insisted on receiving written responses to its previous questions.

    Pending responses to questions, action was also deferred on the application from Mulchand and Parpati Thadhani Foundation, a United States-based organization, whose mission is “to support empowerment as a process aimed at changing the forces which present barriers/obstacles to women, girl children and other disadvantaged masses by keeping them at bay”.

    Responses to questions were also provided by the World Youth Alliance, whose representative said that the organization did not sponsor religious activities.  If members of the organization did that, it was not under the patronage of the NGO in question.  Also covered in the question-and-answer session were the criteria for membership and the sources of funding of the organization.  The Committee deferred action on the application until later in the session.

    At the conclusion of the meeting, the Committee was informed about the outcome of its work for the week: on new applications, 29 organizations had been granted special consultative status; special status had been granted to 16 organizations ad referendum; four organizations had been granted roster status and seven had received the same status ad referendum. As the Committee had taken up reclassifications, two NGOs had been granted general and two special consultative status.  Considering deferred applications, the Committee had granted special consultative status to six organizations and placed one on the roster. 

    Briefing by Committee Secretary

    In a briefing yesterday to the Committee, Committee Secretary HANIFA MEZOUI presented the contribution of 18 non-governmental organizations or NGO networks which had been accredited by the 2004 high-level segment of ECOSOC on theme of resource mobilization for the financing of the least developed countries programme of action.  She underlined the importance of partnership between ECOSOC accredited NGOs, as 80 per cent of United Nations activities focused on social and economic activities.  The contributions would be taken into consideration by delegations in the elaboration of the ministerial declaration, which would be adopted during the segment.

    The United Nations role in African development including the follow-up to the outcomes of major United Nations conferences in the socio-economic areas and in access to technology, particularly Information and Communication Technologies, had figured among the themes since 1999.  She also summarized the various meetings of the NGO Forum Coalition on Civil Society, in which some 150 organizations had participated.  Those meetings had been the occasion for NGOs to present their concrete recommendations for action to be taken for the realization of the MDG.

    The Committee will continue its work at 10 a.m. Monday, 17 May.

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