23 May 2005

Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations Concludes Current Session

During Resumed Session, Committee Recommended 105 NGOs for Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council, Deferring Consideration of 41 Applications

NEW YORK, 20 May (UN Headquarters) -- “The internationally agreed development goals for the twenty-first century will never be achieved without the active participation of civil society partners”, Paimaneh Hasteh (Iran), Chairperson of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations(NGOs), said as she closed the Committee’s 2005 resumed session.

The Committee was the portal to bringing the invaluable contributions of the NGO sector to the work of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and to the United Nations at large, she continued.  Its often lengthy deliberations and recommendations determined the nature and make-up of the partnership between ECOSOC and the broad range of NGOs.  The Committee supported and enriched that dynamic partnership by ensuring that all the conditions of the reciprocal relationship were being met by both sides.

The departing Chairperson said that, during the successful resumed session, the Committee had recommended that 105 organizations, from a list of 148 new and deferred applications, be granted consultative status.  Consideration of 41 applications had been deferred.  Two files had been closed, and one organization had withdrawn its application.  The Committee had recommended reclassification for two NGOs and deferred the request for reclassification of one.  Of the 58 quadrennial reports reviewed, the Committee had taken note of 44, deferring 14 for further consideration.  Draft decisions would be submitted whereby the ECOSOC would decide:  to close the complaints by States against two organizations; to suspend the consultative status of A Woman’s Voice International for one year; and to withdraw the consultative status of Association of Peace in the Continents (ASOPAZCO).

The Committee had been a pioneer in initiating the “paperless committee” approach, she said.  Through the NGO outreach programme “United Nations Informal NGO Network (IRENE)”, the Committee had much to offer in terms of creative support, both as Committee and as representative of Member States.  Partnership between the NGO sections of the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) had resulted in a joint statement to the High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council.

Before closing its session, the Committee decided to close the file on Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism.  It also decided to consider closing other outstanding files during its 2006 session.

The Committee further adopted the draft report on the resumed session (document E/C.2/2005/L.3), as orally amended, introduced by its Rapporteur, Octavian Stamate (Romania).

In other matters, the Committee approved the dates recommended for its 2006 regular (19-27 January) and resumed (10-19 May) sessions, as well as its provisional agenda for those sessions.

Representatives of Cuba, Germany, Sudan (on behalf of the African members), Colombia (also on behalf of Chile and Peru), India (on behalf of the Asian Group) and the Russian Federation (on behalf of the Eastern European countries) congratulated the outgoing Chairperson on her excellent work and hailed the success of the resumed session, in particular in the field of applications.  They thanked all Secretariat staff involved, as well as the NGO Section of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.  Germany’s representative also thanked the Department of Public Information Press Officers for their excellent, detailed, accurate and helpful press releases.

Hanifa Mezoui, Chief, NGO Section of Department of Economic and Social Affairs, thanked all delegates for recognizing improvements of the Section’s work, but promised that the bar would be set even higher.  The quality of the work today, she said, was the result of true partnership, not only within her section, but also with the NGO Section of the Department of Public Information.  Between those two, there were now some 4,000 NGOs that had continuous access to the work of the United Nations.  She announced that, in coming months, she would be working with the Association internationale des conseils économiques et sociaux et institutions similaires (AICESIS) and the Institut d’études politiques de Paris on the involvement of NGOs in implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

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 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.

Its bureau consists of:  Paimaneh Hasteh (Iran), Chairperson; Beatrice Londano (Colombia), Hassan Hamid Hassan (Sudan), and Martin Thuemmel (Germany), Vice-Chairpersons; and Octavian Stamate (Romania), Rapporteur.

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