19 May 2005

NGO Committee Recommends Six Organizations for Special Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council, Defers Two Applications

NEW YORK, 18 May (UN Headquarters) -- The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today adopted a decision regarding timely issuance of documentation and recommended that the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) grant consultative status to sixnon-governmental organizations (NGOs).  It deferred consideration of two applications and of the quadrennial report from the Transnational Radical Party.  The Committee also addressed its methods of work.

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.

Without a vote, the Committee adopted a decision (document E/C.2/2005/L.2) on the “Issuance of documentation for the Committee on NGOs”, by which it requested the Secretary-General to examine the causes for persistent delays in the availability of documentation, to take measures to address the problem and to present a report at the Committee’s 2006 regular session.  It did so, reaffirming the six-week rule for issuance of documents in the six official languages of the United Nations.

Thanking Committee members for their strong support in the matter, the representative of India said that the issue of documentation had been affecting the work of the Committee, and further work on the issue would help the efficient functioning of the Committee in future sessions.

The Committee recommended special consultative status for:

-- Unión de Asociaciones Familiares, a national organization in Spain, advocating for the recognition of families before all institutions whose policies directly affected the well-being of the family;

-- Federation of Islamic Medical Associations, an international organization, based in the United States, involved in medical care and health education, training and research;

-- Academy for Mobilizing Rural-Urban Action through Education, an Indian national organization desiring, among other things, accelerated realization of universal child rights and improvement in the situation of women’s rights;

-- All India Movement for Seva, Inc., a national organization with the objective of transforming and uniting Indian society through service with care;

-- S.M. Sehgal Foundation, a national organization from India that strives for integrated, sustainable development in India’s village communities;

-- Maharashtra Foundation, an international organization, headquartered in the United States, working in the fields of women’s employment, education, rural development, watershed management, bridging the digital divide and sustainable development;

The Committee deferred the applications from China Association for International Science and Technology Cooperation -- a national organization based in China, promoting China’s scientific and technological cooperation with other countries and regions -- as the representative of the United States asked how the organization dealt with issues regarding intellectual property rights;

The Committee also deferred the application from People in Need -- a national organization from the Czech Republic, assisting people in need in crises, disasters and post-conflict regions -- as Cuba’s representative asked that the organization provide specific information about joint projects with the “Centre for Free Cuba” and clarify its status as a “national” organization.

Several speakers, among them the representative of the observer State Czech Republic, expressed strong support for the organization, saying it did excellent work in the humanitarian, human rights and development fields.  The representative of Iran thanked the organization for its work done during the earthquake in Bam.  Some representatives, including from Germany and the United States, indicated that they were not prepared to defer the matter to the next session. 

The Committee further deferred consideration of the quadrennial report of the Transnational Radical Party, as representatives of the Russian Federation and China posed more questions to the organization.  The representative of observer State Viet Nam said the NGO had allowed some individuals to distribute fabricated information regarding his country.  Viet Nam had consistently objected to the participation of Kok Ksor and the Montagnard Foundation Inc. (MFI) under the NGO’s cover in meetings and conferences of the United Nations.  Mr. Ksor and his organization, the MFI, pursued separatist goals against Viet Nam and had resorted to violent and terrorist acts.  He described the NGO’s answers put to it by the Committee as “beating about the bush”.

The representative of observer State Italy said that analysis of quadrennial reports should be an occasion for scrutiny of NGOs.  It should be of a technical character, based on facts, and performed within reasonable time.  The Transnational Radical Party had always responded positively to requests of the NGO Section and had submitted its reports on time.  He hoped that the consideration of the current report would be held within a reasonable time frame.

Turning to its “methods of work”, the Committee discussed the workings of its Informal Working Group.  That Group had been established in 2000 to review its working methods, including accreditation issues and procedures, coordination with the secretariat of the Commission on Human Rights, enhancement of the NGOs informal briefing sessions, security issues, revision of the new application questionnaire and improving guidelines for preparing quadrennial reports.  The Working Group had prepared an informative letter on the responsibilities of NGOs in accrediting representatives to intergovernmental meetings and revised the application form for consultative status, among other things.

The representative of Germany called for clear parameters on the format, membership and facilitator of that Group and stressed that it should not be a decision-making body.  The representative of the United States supported convening a small working group on an as-needed basis for specific purposes.  Peru’s representative preferred an open-ended working group.

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

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Thursday, 19 May, to address various items on its agenda.

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