Opening 2023 Resumed Session, Non-Governmental Organizations Committee Recommends 61 Groups for Consultative Status, Defers Action on 44 Others
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations resumed its 2023 session today, recommending 61 entities for special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and deferring action on 44 others.
The 19-member Committee vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), recommending general, special or roster status based on such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend Council meetings and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Those with roster status can only attend meetings.
At the meeting’s outset, Zavala Porras (Costa Rica), Committee Chair, said the subsidiary body had received 204 new applications for consultative status and has 296 applications deferred from previous sessions, which brings the total number of applications for consideration to 500. Further, the Committee has 280 new quadrennial reports, plus 112 reports deferred from previous sessions.
The Committee also heard from Neil Pierre, Acting Director, Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, who underscored the important role of non-governmental organizations and civil society. Noting that the Committee, following the resumed session, will convene informal consultations on 22 and 23 June to consider working methods and modalities, he highlighted various ideas under consideration, such as options for setting deadlines for receiving responses from non-governmental organizations to the Committee’s questions and for incorporating a hybrid component to the subsidiary body’s question and answer segment.
Despite resource concerns, he said, the NGO Branch will continue to provide effective support to non-governmental organizations. The Branch is currently conducting its annual outreach campaign on the benefits of consultative status to non-governmental organizations, he said, also highlighting “the new enhanced ICT [information and communications technology]-based system” to replace the electronic platforms currently used and managed by the NGO Branch.
Also today, the Committee approved its work programme and a tentative schedule.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 16 May, to continue its session.
The representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, recalled the high responsibility of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), calling for an end to the practice of unjustified deferrals of NGOs, sometimes for several years, with repeated questions despite the apparent good faith of the entities. Reform of the Committee is overdue, he reiterated, and should allow for a more inclusive, transparent and fair functioning, including limits to baseless deferrals and a method to review erroneous or baseless deferrals. He took note of the decision by the Economic and Social Council in 2022 to grant special consultative status to a number of organizations, changing the recommendation of the Committee, with the Council having the final authority therein and having exercised it previously when the subsidiary body failed to fulfil its mandate. There is no justification for the Committee to further delay a number of applications by European Union-based organizations that have been pending for a long time. He called for the Committee to allow organizations to intervene online as a permanent feature.
The representative of China, noting the role of non-governmental organizations promoting human rights and promoting economic progress, said that as an active practitioner of multilateralism, his country will fulfil its obligations as a member of this Committee. Expressing support for strengthening the capacity of the Committee, he said it is crucial to uphold its authority. As an intergovernmental body, members of the Committee should respect the established procedures and working methods and oppose acts that disrupt its work process. Calling on all Committee members to participate constructively and responsibly, he said it is crucial to examine the application materials in detail and treat all organizations equally. Supporting non-governmental organizations’ application for consultative status and their participation in the work of the United Nations is by no means giving them the green light unconditionally or indiscriminately, he added. Applicants must meet the qualifications and requirements, he stressed, adding that any reform of the Committee’s working methods should be made in consideration of operational realities and concerns of developing countries.
The representative of the United States said the world is at a critical inflection point as civic space continues to shrink and human rights defenders are increasingly attacked. Despite this, civil society organizations continue to do their work, often at great personal risk of reprisal and persecution. During the January session, he stressed, the Committee approved just 38 per cent of considered applications, stating, “colleagues, we’re moving in the wrong direction, and we have a collective responsibility as a Committee to do better”. He urged them not to shut the door on criticism and dissent, to put political considerations aside and avoid using endless questions as a procedural tactic to defer non-governmental organizations for years.
The representative of Türkiye said that his country has submitted its positions on the Committee’s working methods and is looking forward to actively engaging in the internal deliberations.
The representative of Cuba said informal discussions on some issues on working methods should in no way be construed as an attempt to undermine the Committee’s role. Noting that the proposed new digital platform should be up and running by the summer, he asked if the Committee could share even tentative dates for proposed training sessions — especially considering that the majority of delegations also attend other committees, and by the summer will be involved in preparatory work for the General Assembly session in September.
The representative of Chile acknowledged the important work of civil society. Human rights is not the only field in which non-governmental organizations work, he said, noting the broad range of work they facilitate and participate in. Expressing concern about how the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council overstep the mandate of this Committee on occasion, he said the subsidiary body should be given due time to do its work well. Noting that 6,000 organizations have taken part in the process, he said this deserves due respect. Further, allowing non-governmental organizations to participate in the Committee’s work online will be a big step forward, he added.
DANIEL ZAVALA PORRAS (Costa Rica), Vice-Chair of the Committee, cited comments on enhancing working methods and resources to strengthen the Committee. Informal consultations will be held on 22 and 23 June to address those issues, including the hybrid question and answer format with non-governmental organizations.
NEIL PIERRE, Acting Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, took note of questions from delegates and said that the NGO Branch plans to roll out training on the new platform in July and August.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following 61 organizations:
APCASO Foundation (Thailand);
African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development Initiative (Nigeria);
An Organization for Socio-Economic Development (Bangladesh);
Annpeters Global Humanitarian Foundation (Nigeria);
Apostle Johnson Suleman (South Africa);
Asian Drug Demand Reduction NGOs Association (Iran);
Association for Land Reform and Development (Bangladesh);
Association of Anti-Drug Abuse Coalitions of the Philippines Inc. (Philippines);
Associação Brasilia de Organizações Não Governamentais (Brazil);
Associação Pró Coalizões Comunitárias Antidrogas do Brasil (Brazil)
Bakergonj Forum (Bangladesh);
Center for Defending Freedom of Journalists (Jordan);
ChariLove Foundation (Nigeria);
China Agricultural University (China);
Coalition of Somali Human Rights Defenders (CSHRD) (Somalia);
Divine Women Of Purpose Association (Nigeria);
DoTheDream Youth Development Initiative (Nigeria);
Egypt Peace for Development and Human Rights (Egypt);
Enjaz Foundation for Development (Yemen);
Executives Helping Initiative (Nigeria);
Farah Foundation for Development (Egypt);
Food Security for Peace and Nutrition Africa (Kenya);
Forum for the Promotion of Gender Equity and Moral Values (Nigeria);
Fundación de Capellanes “Sendas de Dios” (Ecuador);
Gender Equality Network (Myanmar);
Gender Mobile Counseling Initiative (Nigeria);
Global Youth Network for Empowerment and Development (Sierra Leone);
God’s Arm Global Foundation (Nigeria);
Golden Doctrine Foundation (Sri Lanka);
Green Crescent Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe);
Health & Economy (Bangladesh);
Hope Centre (HC) for Children, Girls, and Women in Tanzania (United Republic of Tanzania);
IPANDETEC Centroamérica (Panama);
Improve Your Society Organization for Development and Peace Building (Yemen);
Instituto Dara (Brazil);
Instituto Sea Shepherd Brasil (Brazil);
Jami al Hakeem Foundation (Nigeria);
Ken. G. Morka Foundation (South Africa);
Lady Helen Child Health Foundation (Nigeria);
Matilda Carepath Health Foundation (Nigeria);
Nardo aviation innovation organization (Asia Pacific) Limited (China);
Natural Disaster Research Institute (Iran);
POS Foundation (Ghana);
Pax Press (Rwanda);
Pro Criança Cardíaca (Brazil);
Progressive People of Yorubaland Worldwide Association (Nigeria);
Red Argentina para la Cooperación Internacional (RACI) (Argentina);
Rhesus Solution Initiative (Nigeria);
Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (Rwanda);
Sons of the Prophet Network SADC with Apostle Johnson Suleman (South Africa);
Standup for Women Society (Nigeria);
Statewide Waste and Environmental Education Foundation (Nigeria);
Tamkeen for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Community Development and Training in Sohag (Egypt);
The Chaeli Campaign (South Africa);
Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA-U) (Uganda);
Voice of African Women (South Africa);
WACI Health (South Africa);
Watoto Wasoka (Uganda);
Women Initiative for Values Empowerment and Sustainability International (Nigeria);
Yemen International Agency for Development (Yemen); and
Young Visionary Leaders International (Ghana).
The Committee postponed consideration of the following 44 organizations:
ARTM - Associação de Reabilitação de Toxicodependentes de Macau (Macao) — as the representative of Nicaragua noted that more than 90 per cent of its income came from Government subsidies in 2020, and asked for it to provide disclosure;
Ambassadors of Dialogue, Climate and Reintegration (Nigeria) — as the representative of Eritrea asked for clarity on administrative costs;
Analog Ventures LLP (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for clarification on non-implementation of their projects;
Association Humaniste de France (Comoros) — as the representative of Eritrea asked which country the organization operates in, as it is unclear;
Association for Disabled People (India) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for clarification on financial statements and how their expenditures remain at zero;
Awaz-e-Niswan (AAN) (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for clarification on its policy pages;
Be Positive Association (Lebanon) — as the representative of Chile requested clarification on part three of the application regarding financial entries of $52 million and zero projects;
Beijing International Exchange Association (China) — as the representative of the United Kingdom noted its links to the Ministry of Science and Technology, requesting elaboration on how it remains non-governmental and independent from the Chinese Government;
Center for Research and Policy Making (North Macedonia) — as the representative of Armenia requested detailed relevant information on the names and titles of those on its advisory board;
China Council for the Promotion of National Trade (China) — as the representative of the United Kingdom noted its affiliation with Ministry of Commerce, requesting it detail how it maintains independence from Government;
China Oceanic Development Foundation (China) — as the representative of the United Kingdom noted that its website states it was established with the approval of the Government, expressing concerns over its independence and asking how it remains non-governmental;
Community Care and Social Development Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan noted the organization had carried out a survey on low-turnout in regional elections, asking for it to share the results;
Community Partners for Sustainable Development (Cameroon) — as the representative of Cameroon requested information on financial resources and the nature of its contracts, and if it is possible to obtain copies of them;
East-lake Institute for Social Advancement, Wuchang District, Wuhan (China) — as the representative of the United States noted the organization is under a public university, requesting information on funding and the oversight relationship between the two entities;
Equipo Argentino de Antropología Forense – Asociación Civil (Argentina) — as the representative of China noted over 70 per cent of its funding comes from the Government, requesting a detailed financial report;
Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas (Peru) — as the representative of China noted the organization’s documentation mentions Taiwan as a so-called country, when it should be “province of China” in line with United Nations terminology, requesting a correction;
Fountain of Hope Global Ministry (South Africa) — as the representative of Chile requested financial status details, as items indicate it spends on staff but not administration;
Fourth Wave Foundation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan, observing that the organization lists zero individual members, asked how it therefore carries out its operations;
Human Social Care Foundation (India) — as the representative of Pakistan noted the non-governmental organization has worked on many areas under the mandates of the Economic and Social Council, including girls and child protection against rape, and requested details on those projects;
Iltizam Relief Society (Malaysia) — as the representative of Cuba, observing that the group receives 100 per cent of income from public donations, asked for a breakdown of those numbers, and the representative of Nicaragua, noting it lists 10 full-time staff, asked for more information on how it carries out interregional projects and manages long distances with just 10 people;
Indian Economic Trade Organization (India) — as the representative of Pakistan cited a memorandum of understanding between the organization, the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, and the State of Karnataka in India, and requested a copy;
Institute of International Peace Leaders (Private) Limited (Pakistan) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for the organization to share the latest updates on a climate change initiative to plant 500,000 trees, and the representative of Georgia requested detailed information on its relationship with Patrick Poppel, founder of the Suvorov Institute in Vienna;
Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology Deemed to Be University (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for details regarding a course and its syllabus;
National Agro Foundation (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked how the group carries out its work without members;
National Association of Palliative Care for AYUSH & Integrative Medicine (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for details about course enrolment;
Nde Zachariah’s Descendants Foundation (Cameroon) — as Cameroon’s representative asked for a list of partner organizations, their areas of activity and countries they are based in;
People's Participation (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for more information about one of its projects;
Persatuan Cinta Gaza Malaysia (Malaysia) — as Israel’s representative asked for a list of supporting partners and donors;
Pragati Foundation (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for more details about one of its projects;
Prestige Education Foundation (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for more information about its participation in the work of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women;
Samaritan Help Mission (India) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked for more information about its charitable dispensary project;
Sewa International (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for more information about its women’s empowerment projects;
Shanghai Arbitration Commission (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for more information about its relationship with the municipal authority;
Shree Someshwar Education Trust (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for the website link for its action plans;
Sichuan Haihui Poverty Alleviation Center (China) — as Nicaragua’s representative asked for information about donors;
Subjective Physics Sciences (Iran) — as Cameroon’s representative asked how it carries out its activities without members;
Suchirindia Foundation (India) — as Pakistan’s delegate asked for more information about its donors;
The Belt and Road International Lawyers Association (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for information about the funding and oversight it receives from an organization associated with the Ministry of Justice;
The Ecumenical Christian Centre Bangalore (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for details of its work for children’s rights;
Voice of Youth Organization (India) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for the audited financial statements of 2021 and 2022;
WJ Mudolo Foundation (South Africa) — as the representative of the United States asked for more information about the founder’s current role;
Women Empowerment Association For Development In Africa (Cameroon) — as Cameroon’s representative asked for more information about its contracts process;
World Internet of Things Convention (China) — as Pakistan’s representative asked for sponsorship and financial information; and
Youchang Consulting (China) — as Bahrain’s representative asked for information about its participation in various non-governmental activities.