Non-Governmental Organizations Committee Considers Report of 2023 Regular Session
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today met to consider a skeleton report of its 2023 regular session — held from 23 January to 1 February and 13 February. The report, which will be introduced for adoption on 13 February, will contain the Committee’s recommendations that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to various entities while deferring a number of other organizations’ requests for further consideration.
In her closing remarks, Petronellar Nyagura (Zimbabwe), Vice-Chair of the Committee, noted that it successfully reviewed a total of 239 new applications for consultative status from 66 different countries, as well as 321 applications deferred from previous sessions, bringing the total number of applications considered by the Committee to 560. By the end of the day on 31 January, 206 organizations were recommended for special consultative status representing almost 40 per cent of the total number under review by the Committee. In addition to the applications, the Committee reviewed 560 new quadrennial reports and 95 deferred ones, she said.
In the ensuing discussion, delegates highlighted the importance of the Committee’s work and offered suggestions for improving its working methods. The representative of Türkiye said the Committee must assess its rules, particularly those relating to the second round of reviewing. Stressing that the Committee must aim for set deadlines and clear timeframes in which such responses can be accepted and inspected, he added that this must be done in such a way that ensures applications are reviewed fairly.
The representative of India also echoed the need for a reasonable amount of time before the second round of reading. Four minutes is not sufficient, he said, also urging the Committee to consider how best to streamline its interaction with non-governmental organizations during the dialogue.
Noting the “friendly but heated” procedural discussions, Cuba’s delegate said it is essential to use resources more efficiently, without affecting the role and authority of the Committee. Further, the skeleton report could have been adopted the day before, he said.
China’s delegate emphasized that the Committee should be the master of its own working methods, adding that it should better organize the way in which it considers the responses it receives. He also encouraged more non-governmental organizations from the global South to apply for consultative status.
The representatives of the United States and India also asked for clarifications on the report.
The 19-member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee, it is considered recommended for consultative status. Organizations which were granted general and special status can attend meetings of the Council and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings.
Special consultative status is reserved for NGOs working in a specific area and allows them to submit written communications and petitions to the Council. Further, NGOs that work in a more technical and/or restricted manner can only submit written communications to the Council.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 13 February, to conclude its session.