Press Releases

    NGO/536
                                                                            20 May 2004

    NGO Committee Recommends Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council for 11 Organizations, Defers Action on 15 Others

    Decided Not to Recommend Status for “Thirty-first December Women’s Movement”

    NEW YORK, 19 May (UN Headquarters) -- During two meetings today, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) recommended consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 11 NGOs, deferred action on applications for status from 15 other NGOs and decided not to recommend consultative status for the Thirty-first December Women’s Movement.

    In other action, the Committee recommended reclassification of status for one organization, took note of 27 quadrennial reports from NGOs, and deferred consideration of one report.

    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.

    The Committee recommended that the ECOSOC grant special consultative status to: Alulbayt Foundation, an international organization based in the United Kingdom working for the social welfare and educational development of Muslim communities; International School Psychology Association, an international organization based in Denmark aiming at fostering communication between psychologists working in educational settings; and Rehabilitation and Development Organization for the Landless, a national organization based in Bangladesh seeking to bring qualitative improvement in the socio-economic condition of landless poor people through credit for housing materials.

    Pending issuance of the relevant documents, the Committee recommended ad referendum special consultative status for the following organizations:

    -- Global Fund for Children, a United States-based international organization;

    -- International Children’s Dream Foundation, a national organization based in the United States;

    -- Reach the Children, an international organization based in the United States;

    -- DrugScope, a national organization based in the United Kingdom and independent centre of expertise on drugs;

    -- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, an international organization based in the United States, that provides the public and policymakers with realistic assessments of the power, promise and problems of information technology;

    -- Federation of Balkan Turks and Association for Emigrés, an international organization based in Turkey, focusing on the rights of migrants; and

    -- Association for Sustainable Community Development, a national organization based in India.

    The Committee recommended roster status, ad referendum pending issuance of the relevant documents, to Institute for Traffic Care, an international organization based in the Netherlands promoting road safety activities.

    Following a discussion that took place on 17 May, the Committee decided not to recommend consultative status to Thirty-first December Women’s Movement. (For discussion, please see Press Release NGO/534 of 17 May.)

    Action was deferred today on applications from the following NGOs:

    -- Angel Foundation, an international organization based in the United States, founded to help children worldwide, specifically in emergency situations, as no answers to earlier questions had been received;

    -- AIDS Action, a national organization based in the United States that conducts educational and advocacy activities in support of sound and effective HIV policies and funding, until a reply is received on questions posed;

    -- Arab Commission for Human Rights, an international organization based in France that promotes human rights and fundamental freedoms, as more time was needed to study answers to questions posed;

    -- Catholic Medical Mission Board, an international organization based in the United States, as representatives wanted more information about the organization’s activities in Sudan and China, and as a correction was needed in its use of the terminology “Hong Kong” and “Taiwan”;

    -- Foundation Inc. World Youth Alliance, an international organization in the United States promoting solidarity between developed and developing countries, pending informal consultations;

    -- Action Canada for Population Development, a national organization based in Canada, which, among other things, wants to urge the Canadian Government to meet its international commitments, in particular those made at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, as the representative of Senegal asked what strategy the organization used in influencing the Canadian Government;

    -- Alliance for Marriage, a national organization based in the United States that promotes strengthening the institution of marriage, as additional questions regarding discrimination against non-married people were asked by the representative of France;

    -- Planned Parenthood Federation of Korea, a national organization based in the Republic of Korea, as additional questions were asked by the representatives of China, Cuba and Senegal;

    -- Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar, a national organization based in India working for the protection and promotion of human rights, as the representative of Pakistan asked a number of questions, including on the topic of Jammu and Kashmir;

    -- Feminists for Life of America, a national organization based in the United States opposed to violence against women, including abortion, pending informal consultations;

    -- Action contre la faim, an international organization based in France aiming to combat hunger throughout the world in emergencies and post-crisis situations, as the representative of the Russian Federation asked a number of questions, including on the organization’s activities in Chechnya.  The representative of Cuba asked questions as well, while the representatives of the United States, Germany and France expressed their support for consultative status of the organization;

    -- SAHARA for Life Trust, an international organization based in the United Kingdom focusing on education and abolition of child labour, as Pakistan’s representative needed more time to study information provided;

    -- Ittijah Union of Arab Community Based Associations, an Israel-based national organization that is a network of Palestinian NGOs in Israel, as the representative of the United States asked for more time;

    -- Fondation Bertarelli, a national organization based in Switzerland aiming at humanizing the challenge of infertility, pending an answer to a question asked by the representative of Senegal; and

    -- Sign of Hope, a national inter-denominational human rights and relief organization based in Germany, as representatives needed more time to study answers provided to questions posed.

    The Foundation for the Social Promotion of Culture, based in Spain, had requested reclassification from special consultative status received in 2001 to general consultative status.  The Committee decided to recommend the requested reclassification, after that NGO’s representative emphasized the enormous expansion in scope and number of activities the organization had undertaken since 2001, as well as the growth in the number of countries it was active in.  It was noted, however, that the NGO did not strictly meet the requested criteria for general status, as its membership was strictly national.  Therefore, Cuba’s representative insisted that the decision would not set a precedent.

    The Committee also took note of documents E/C.2/2004/2 and Add.1, containing 19 quadrennial reports from NGOs for the period 1999-2002, submitted through the Secretary-General, pursuant to ECOSOC resolution 1996/31. In addition, it took note of document E/C.2/2004/2/Add. 2, which contained eight such reports for the period 1997-2000.

    Consideration of the deferred quadrennial report of the World Muslim Congress was deferred once more, after that NGO’s representative gave clarification on some points, but a written answer to questions posed had not been provided.

    At the outset of this morning’s meeting, the representative of the observer delegation of Mexico emphasized the great importance his Government attached to the work of NGOs, as their efforts had greatly contributed to the achievement of concrete results for society and as they reached the groups who needed their assistance most. Their participation in the multilateral system was also important.  The Committee, in deciding whether to recommend granting consultative status for NGOs, should, therefore, avoid making value judgments and carry out an objective examination of applications following the guidelines set out in ECOSOC resolution 1996/31.

    The Chief of the NGO Section, Hanifa Mezoui, announced that the “paperless committee”, whereby Committee members had computerized access to relevant information, had been established, now that the laptop computers to be used by delegations in the conference room had arrived.  The computers were the property of the NGO Section and were donated by an NGO.

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

    The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 20 May, to consider applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification deferred from the Committee’s previous session.

    * *** *