COMMITTEE ON NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS TAKES
NOTE OF 52 QUADRENNIAL REPORTS AS IT
CONTINUES 2003 SESSION
It Also Grants Six Reports for Special Consultative Status
With Economic and Social Council
NEW YORK, 18 December (UN Headquarters) – The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations took note today of the quadrennial reports of 52 organizations, including four reports deferred from previous sessions of the Committee. It also granted special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council to six additional organizations, and roster consultative status to one.
Continuing its 2003 session in two meetings today, the Committee took up consideration of the quadrennial reports submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in general and special consultative status with the Economic and Social, contained in document E/C.2/2003/2/Add.11-17.
The 19-member Committee, which makes recommendations on an NGO’s standing or its reclassification with the Council, uses a variety of criteria, including applicant mandate, governance and financial regime. Those with roster status can attend meetings; those with special status can attend meetings and circulate statements; and those with general status can attend meetings, circulate statements and propose items for the Council’s agenda.
All NGOs with general and special consultative status are required to submit reports every four years on their activities to support the United Nations. Special reports may be required if delegations desire clarification of the quadrennial reports or related issues.
Thus, the Committee took note of the quadrennial reports of Airports Council International; Centre de recherché et de promotion pour la sauvegarde des sites et monuments historiques en Afrique; European Federation of Women Working in the Home; World Student Christian Federation; United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation; World Federation of the Ukrainian Women’s Organizations; World Road Association; Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development; Ibero-American Institute of Aeronautic and Space Law and Commercial Aviation; Nature Conservancy; South North Development Initiative; Together Foundation for Global Unity; Association pour la protection de la nature et de l’environnement; International Association against Drug Abuse and Drug Trafficking; International Union of Architects; National Association of Cuban Economists; National Society for Human Rights; ORBICOM – Réseau des chaires UNESCO en communications; Organisation tunisienne de l’éducation et de la famille; and World LPG Association.
It also took note of the reports of the African-American Islamic Institute; Association pour la promotion de l’emploi et du logement; Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University; Cohort for Research on Environment, Urban Management and Human Settlements; International Association of Ports and Harbors; International Chamber of Commerce; INCORVUZ XXI; Centre Europe-Tiers Monde; International Council of Chemical Associations; International Federation of Settlements and Neighbourhood Centres; International First Aid Society; MiraMed Institute; All India Women’s Education Fund Association; International Association for Volunteer Effort; International Council of Women; Japan Federation of Bar Associations; Korean Institute for Women and Politics; CITYNET – Regional Network of Local Authorities; Rural Women Environmental Protection Association; Congregations of St. Joseph; Foundation for the Rights of the Family; Global Volunteers; Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation; International Federation for Family Development; International Federation of Business and Professional Women; New Humanity; Women Justice Program; and World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations.
However, the Committee postponed its consideration of the reports of six NGOs, as several members requested additional information on them. For example, the representative of China asked the International League for Human Rights to provide further clarification on the statement “The League has undertaken interventions concerning countries ...”. Specifically, how did the organization carry out such interventions in respect of both governments and other NGOs? What were its sources of information? And how did it verify those sources?
The representative of India requested additional information on the activities of the World Muslim Congress regarding its promotion of inter-faith dialogue, as well as the nature of its participation in various United Nations meetings.
She added that her country was not ready to take note of the report of Interfaith International, which referred to the region of Kashmir as a country. Kashmir was not a country and such references should be corrected before note was taken of the report.
The representatives of Turkey and Iran asked the World Organization against Torture to provide additional information on the sources relied upon in the preparation of the more than 50 reports submitted to various United Nations committees, as stated in the NGO’s report. In particular, had the views of the Governments concerned been sought before the preparation of those reports?
The representative of Colombia requested clarification from Association internationale des mouvements familiaux de formation rurale on the exact nature of the “new projects” established in several Latin American and Caribbean countries, according to the report.
Regarding the activities of the NGO Rural Women Environmental Protection Association, the representative of Cameroon expressed appreciation for its activities in her country as they were aimed at the advancement of rural people. While a summary of the exact nature of activities undertaken in those programmes was requested, the request did not prevent the Committee from taking note of the related report.
As for the report of International Association for Religious Freedom, the representative of Cuba sought additional information about the location of the NGO’s national chapters and individual members. There seemed to have been an evolution in the organization’s membership, which should be clarified before the Committee took note of its report.
The Committee also considered several quadrennial reports deferred from previous sessions, taking note of those submitted by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (document E/C.2/2001/2); France Libertés: Fondation Danielle Mitterrand (document E/C.2/2001/2/Add.6); World Safety Organization (document E/C.2/2001/2/Add.10); and Robert F. Kennedy Memorial (document E/C.2/2003/2).
During this morning’s meeting, some members of the Committee had posed questions to the representative of Human Rights Watch, in conjunction with the consideration of that organization’s report, among them, its view on the responsibility of transnational organizations and other non-State actors in the emerging global society to respect human rights, and of the NGO’s responsibility to critique such non-State actors in that respect; its views on the mechanisms adopted by some States in the international fight against terror; and whether it prized some human rights above others. However, there was insufficient time for the NGO’s representative to respond to those questions before the meeting adjourned.
In other action, the Committee granted special consultative status to six NGOs: Fondation Mohammed V pour la solidarité, a national organization based in Morocco; Human Rights Information and Training Center, an international organization based in Yemen; Women Cultural Social Society, a national organization based in Kuwait; World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action, an international organization based in Malaysia; Lay Movement for Latin America, an international organization based in Italy; and International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association, an international organization based in Canada. It also granted roster consultative status to the NGO Heinrich Böll Foundation, an international organization based in Germany.
Hanifa Mezoui, Chief of the Non-Governmental Organizations Section, also addressed the Committee today on the strengthening of the NGO Section, with specific reference to the addition of a P-5 post and to the “paperless committee”. At its 1999 session, she recalled, the Committee had recognized that strengthening the Secretariat’s NGO Section was of great importance as there was concern about the effect that an inadequately staffed Secretariat could have upon the Committee’s work. The Committee had requested a report, which among other things, requested the Secretary-General to consider measures to enable the Committee to carry out its mandate efficiently, effectively and responsibly.
The first step had been to raise the post of the section Chief from P-5 to D-1, she recalled. Then it had become apparent that the move had resulted in a break in the structure of the section and the creation of an additional P-5 post had been requested to assist the chief. And while the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) had recommended reclassifying the current P-4 post to a P-5 in 2001, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) had refused the move. In the current year, the idea had been taken up again, but the ACABQ had not made a similar recommendation. The Committee’s advice on how to proceed was now requested.
With support for the creation of an additional P-5 post generally reiterated, the representatives of Iran and Cuba, among others, suggested that the Committee pass a new resolution on the issue, which could reinvigorate debate on the subject. However, some delegations expressed doubt about the utility of a new resolution, suggesting instead that the discussion on finding a way forward might be more constructively undertaken in the Committee’s informal working group.
Continuing her address, Ms. Mezoui reviewed the history of the “paperless committee” and reaffirmed that it represented an attempt by the Secretariat to adapt to new challenges. The NGO Committee had advocated the use of new technologies for change, including through the implementation of the “paperless committee”. A Canadian NGO, World Job and Food Bank, had offered to support the implementation of the paperless committee.
Current members of the NGO Committee are Cameroon, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, China, Pakistan, India, Iran, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Cuba, Russian Federation, Romania, Germany, France, United States and Turkey.
The NGO Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, 19 December, to consider those items remaining on its agenda and to adopt the report of the Committee.
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