Press Releases

    14 January 2005

    NGO Committee Recommends Four Organizations for Consultative Status with ECOSOC, Postpones Actions on Nine Applications

    NEW YORK, 13 January (UN Headquarters) -- The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for four non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and postponed decisions on the applications of nine others. It deferred action on one quadrennial report and also addressed its methods of work.

    In recommending general, special or roster consultative status with the Council, the 19-member Committee uses various criteria, including the applying organization’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Non-governmental organizations enjoying general and special consultative status can attend Council meetings and circulate statements of a certain length. Those with general status may, in addition, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda, while organizations that have roster status can only attend meetings.

    Non-governmental organizations with general and special consultative status must submit a report to the Council every four years. The Committee can request a special report in certain instances, such as following a complaint by a Member State about an organization’s behaviour during a meeting of a United Nations body to which it has been accredited.

    The Committee decided to recommend to the Economic and Social Council that it grant general consultative status to United Cities and Local Governments, a merger of International Union of Local authorities and United Towns Organization, both of which already had general consultative status with ECOSOC.

    The Committee recommended special consultative status for Engender, a merger of Women’s Forum Scotland, which has special consultative status with ECOSOC, and Engender (Association for Voluntary Surgical Contraception), which has roster status.

    Special consultative status was also recommended for:

    -- Watson Institute for International Studies, an international organization with headquarters in the United States, dedicated to multidisciplinary research, teaching and public education on international affairs; and

    -- Association nationale pour l’appui à l’initiative feminine –- la protection enfantile et environnementale; a national organization based in Mauritania, working for the improvement of living conditions for women in society and at home, as well as the living conditions of children.

    The Committee deferred action on the applications of the following NGOs:

    -- Ambedkar Centre for Justice and Peace, an international organization with headquarters in the United States, which focuses on the marginalized people of South Asian countries, as India’s representative needed more time to study replies and ask more questions;

    -- Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, a national organization dedicated to the preservation of the cultural and natural heritage of India, because Pakistan’s representative had more questions about finances, participation in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) activities, and involvement of government officials in the organization;

    -- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international, India-based organization mandated to bring about the practical realization of human rights in Commonwealth countries, because Pakistan’s representative wanted to get more information on activities in countries where the NGO was not invited, while Germany’s representative, however, reiterated its strong support for the organization;

    -- Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum, an international, India-based organization working in the area of human rights, as Pakistan’s representative needed more time to study replies received, while other delegates urged that the matter be resolved by tomorrow;

    -- Association of Expelled Persons, a national organization in Germany that represents approximately 15 million expelled persons and emigrants of German origin who were or will be received in Germany, as China’s and the Sudan’s representative needed more time to study answers provided;

    -- World Assembly of Muslim Youth, a United States-based international organization promoting economic and social development, as the representative of the United States asked for deferral until legal procedures against the organization were satisfied;

    -- Catholic Organization for Relief and Development Aid (CORDAID)? an international organization based in the Netherlands active in alleviating poverty, which already had special consultative status with ECOSOC, but had merged with Memisa and Mensen in Nood, two other Dutch NGOs active in the same field, which do not enjoy consultative status with the ECOSOC, until replies to questions sent were received; and

    -- Fazaldad Human Rights Institute, a national organization in Pakistan that wants to eliminate human rights abuse and promote human rights education, as India’s representative was not satisfied with answers provided.

    The Committee also took up the application of the Israeli organization Yad Sarah, which had been discussed yesterday (see Press Release NGO/557 of 12 January). The representatives of the Sudan, Cuba, the observer State of Syria and the Observer Mission of Palestine had more questions, among other things regarding the organization’s activities in Ramallah and its relationship to the Government and the army. Germany’s representative, however, insisted that a decision be taken tomorrow.

    While considering the quadrennial report of the Transnational Radical Party, the Committee heard from that NGO’s representative, Marco Perduca. In answer to questions posed by China’s representative, he apologized for his organization’s reference to “East Turkestan” instead of “Xin Jian Uygur Autonomous Region in China”, and explained the accreditation procedures for its representatives to meetings of United Nations bodies. As there were still some concerns, the report will be taken up again at a later date.

    Continuing yesterday’s debate on reinstatement to consultative status after ASOPAZCO’s term of suspension had ended (see Press Release NGO/557), several speakers emphasized the need for the Committee to adopt a procedure dealing with reinstatement of NGOs following their suspension. Cuba’s representative reiterated that ASOPAZCO continued with politically motivated activities against Cuba and other countries and cooperated with other associations to subvert the constitutional order of Cuba.

    In other matters, the Committee decided to refer issues regarding NGOs with consultative status that had merged with NGOs without status to a working group. The Committee took note of the fact that International Family Health, the Committee for European Security and Cooperation, and Oceans Institute of Canada had requested to withdraw their consultative status because of their closure.

    The Committee would address matters related to the work of the Committee in: “We, the people: Civil society, the United Nations and global governance”, a report issued by the Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations/Civil Society Relations, at its next session after receiving additional information from the Secretariat. (See Press Release NGO/540 of 25 May 2004 for more background.)

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

    The Committee is expected to meet again at 10 a.m. Friday, 14 January.

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