13 May 2005

NGO Committee Recommends Status Reclassification for One Organization, Roster Status for Another; Considers Quadriennal Reports

NEW YORK, 12 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended reclassification of the International Research Centre for Environmental Structures “Pio Manzu” to general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). 

The Committee recommended roster status for another non-governmental organization (NGO) and deferred one application.  It also took note of the quadrennial reports of 32 organizations, deferring 11 others, and considered NGO participation in the upcoming ECOSOC High-Level Segment.

The 19-member Committee uses various criteria to recommend general, special or roster status with ECOSOC, including the 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, while NGOs with 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.  “Taking note” of a quadrennial report implies that the Committee finds the report adequate for fulfilment of that obligation.

The Pio Manzu Research Centre had previously held roster status before the Committee recommended reclassification today.  Associated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), it was established for the economic and scientific study of the relationship between man and his environment.  India’s representative noted that such a reclassification, directly to the highest status, was unusual, but the recommendation was granted after a representative of the group substantiated the scope of its activities. 

Cuba’s representative concurred with the decision, though he registered an objection to a statement he attributed to the organization, to the effect that the poor and the sick were an obstacle to development.  The organization’s representative denied that such a statement represented his group’s position.

The Committee recommended roster consultative status for the Providence Center for Humanity International, based in the United States, which aims to apply the case-management model used in the United States in order to provide relief to HIV/AIDS patients and their families in Ghana.

The application deferred by the Committee today came from the International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA), based in the United States, which was created as the first international organization representing individuals who have personally been infected by leprosy.  Cuba’s representative requested further information on any activities in his country.

The Committee took note of quadrennial reports from:

Arab Network for Environment and Development, Coordination Française du Lobby Européen des Femmes, Global Policy Forum, International Movement of Apostolate in the Independent Social Milieus, Centre for Social Research, Institute of Social Studies Trust, International Association of Youth and Family Judges and Magistrates, Mukono Multi-Purpose Youth Organization, Peaceways—Young General Assembly, Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries, Medical Women’s International Association, Stree Aadhar Kendra (Women’s Development Centre), Women’s Union of Russia, Union Internationale des Avocats, Good Neighbours International, Sulabh International, AARP, Asia Crime Preventive Foundation, Network of Women’s Non-Governmental Organizations in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Associated Country Women of the World, Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations, Franciscans International, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, Teresian Association, Asian Centre for Organization, Research and Development, Association of Medical Doctors of Asia, Caritas International – International Confederation of Catholic Charities, International Federation of ACAT (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture), International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity, International Council on Alcohol and Addictions, Nippon International Cooperation for Community Development, and World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations.

It deferred action on quadrennial reports from:

-- Federación de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, Sociologists for Women in Society and Latin American Human Rights Association, as some delegations needed more review time; 

-- National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, due to a question from Cuba’s representative about a donation that was made in his country;

-- International Muslim Women’s Union, Association of United Families International, Mediterranean Women’s Studies Centre and Women’s World Summit Foundation, due to errors, vagueness, time gaps and/or confusions, as noted by various representatives;

-- Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants, as Cuba’s representative said that consultations between the group and his delegation were still ongoing; and

-- National Council of Women of Thailand, because China’s representative requested more details on a meeting that was reportedly held in Tibet, China.

The report of Centrist Democrat International, having previously been deferred, was deferred once more because of the continuing concerns of Cuba’s representative on NGOs connected to political parties, along with the evasive answers he said they gave in response to questions.  He requested clear answers on the group’s position on coercion in violation of international law and the financing of activities that contradicted the right of self-determination.

The representative of the United States countered that the group had already given clear answers to questions.  Moreover, he said, questions about opinions were not relevant, an assertion that the representatives of India and China denied.  Germany’s representative saw unfairness in what he called punitive treatment of the NGO, which was only one of many connected to political parties and deserved to be reclassified upward to general consultative status. 

Also today, the Committee considered requests for hearings, at the high-level segment of the 2005 substantive session of ECOSOC, by NGOs in consultative status with the Council.  They began by considering statements submitted by NGOs and their networks for presentation at the segment (document E/C.2/2005/CRP.14).  Introducing the item, Hanifa Mezoui, Chief of the NGO Unit of the Secretariat, outlined the history and parameters of NGO participation in such activities.  She said that NGOs that wanted to participate were involved in furthering the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  One challenge to their participation was the establishment of communication networks.  In that context, she described her unit’s progress in creating the NGO Informal Regional Network which, she said, was meant to draw even the most isolated organizations into a system of information, support and collaborative action.

The representatives of India, Cuba and United States welcomed the growing involvement of NGOs in development efforts and their participation at the upcoming ECOSOC meeting.  Cuba’s representative expressed hope that the meeting would go beyond the Millennium Development Goals toward redistribution of wealth.  The representative of the United States asked for more information on NGO networking.  After a procedural discussion, the item was deferred until next week.

The Committee members 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 will meet again tomorrow, Thursday, 13 May, at 10 a.m. to resume its consideration of its methods of work and then continue its consideration of quadrennial reports.

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