20 January 2006
Opening Current Session, NGO Committee Recommends 54 Organizations for Consultative Status with Eocnomic and Social Council
NEW YORK, 19 January (UN Headquarters) -- The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 54 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as it opened its 2006 regular session.
Following her election as Committee Chairperson, Beatriz Londoño (Colombia) said the Committee carried out an indispensable mandate by strengthening relations with NGOs. There were a great number of requests before the Committee, and she was sure delegations would work hard in considering those requests.
The Committee also elected Serhat Aksen (Turkey), Bilal Hayee (Pakistan), Hasan Hassan (Sudan), and Octavian Stamate (Romania) as its Vice-Chairpersons. In addition, it approved its agenda, work programme and schedule of work.
Outgoing Chairperson Paimaneh Hastaie (Iran) noted that NGOs made up one of the most vibrant and fastest growing segments of society. She highlighted two initiatives that had impacted the working methods of "one of the most dynamic and hard working committees in the United Nations system". The first was the implementation of the restructured meeting schedule, whereby the regular and resumed sessions of the Committee met during the same calendar year, and well in advance of the substantive session of ECOSOC. The second was the development of the "paperless committee" system, which provided online access to all documents used by the Committee. At the same time, she noted that the performance of the Committee had been compromised by the shortened formal sessions.
Addressing the Committee this morning, ECOSOC President Ali Hachani (Tunisia) said that civil society organizations played an important part in social and economic development, and contributed at the national level in the development and follow-up of crucial policies. In 1999, ECOSOC was the first intergovernmental organ to open its debates to NGOs, by inviting them to participate in its high-level segment. He drew attention to some of the Council's initiatives, such as the ICT Task Force, which was composed of representatives of NGOs, Governments and business and focused on reducing the digital divide.
He also mentioned the creation of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, which was composed of an equal number of NGO and government representatives. Civil society would be significant partners of the implementation of ECOSOC's functions. The NGO Committee had a decisive part to play in the current and future work of the Council, in particular by identifying NGOs that could help the international community carry out its commitments.
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said the work of the Committee must be seen in the context of the global development agenda. For that agenda to be translated into gains for people on the ground, it must mean a decisive shift to the actual implementation of commitments. The World Summit had provided crucial momentum in that direction, by unequivocally committing world leaders to the full and timely realization of internationally agreed development goals. It had also underlined the role civil society and other stakeholders had to play.
The evolution of the United Nations-NGO relationship had not always been smooth, he noted. Some organizations had expressed disappointment in the lack of NGO participation in meetings, including the recent World Summit. As part of its efforts, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs would be giving priority attention to its own relationship with NGOs. Among the questions to be considered were how to facilitate the contribution of NGOs to the newly reformed ECOSOC; what best practices and modalities had emerged regarding NGO participation in the work of the functional commissions; and how to build on the interactive hearings held between the United Nations and civil society in the General Assembly last year.
The Chief of the Non-Governmental Section, Hanifa Mezoui, drew attention to an increased commitment over the years by civil society organizations that lent support to Member States and international organizations, the private sector and academia to strengthening human capital. She also reported on the activities undertaken during her four-month sabbatical leave, from which she just returned.
The 19-member Committee uses various criteria to recommend general, special or roster status with the Economic and Social Council, 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, in two meetings today, recommended that ECOSOC grant special consultative status to:
-- Foster Care Organization International, an international organization based in the Netherlands, promoting family-based solutions for out-of-home children, and strengthening the service of family foster care for children, youth and adults;
-- Gaia Matter, an international citizens' network, based in France, for cooperation, education and social services based on the principles of humanistic ecology and humanism;
-- International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication, an international organization based in Canada, dedicated to promoting the best possible communication for people with complex communication needs through augmentative and alternative communication;
-- Movimiento Manuela Ramos, a national organization based in Peru, working to contribute to human development and the consolidation of democracy with gender equity based on women's empowerment;
-- Women's Right to Education Programme, a national organization based in Nigeria, providing a platform for women, youth and other stakeholders in education, and initiating projects to facilitate the quest for quality education;
-- Architectes de l'urgence, a national organization based in France, which seeks to, among other things, safeguard architectural heritage and provide safety and assistance to populations that have experienced natural, technological or human disasters;
-- European Federation for Transport and Environment, an international organization based in Belgium, promoting sustainable transport in Europe;
-- New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties, a national organization based in Australia, assisting in the maintenance and protection of the rights and liberties of persons in Australia and its territories;
-- All African Farmers Network, an international organization based in Ghana, acting as a focal point at the international level to link farmers all over Africa through various programmes and projects;
-- National Rural Support Programme, a national organization based in Pakistan, contributing to poverty alleviation through programmes at the grass-roots level;
-- Mercury Institute, an international organization based in the United States, promoting international cooperation, understanding, tolerance and appreciation by building relationships, providing education and assisting people and communities to live fuller and more functional lives;
-- Cercle de l'auto-promotion et de l'excellence, a national organization based in Togo, facilitating capacity-building in all economic and social sectors;
-- ECO-ECOLO, a national organization based in Benin, providing information, training and experience tailored to the needs of grass-roots communities;
-- Groupe pivot/Droit et Citoyenneté des femmes, a national organization based in Mali, seeking to influence the formulation and implementation of policies and strategies, and to define the rights and citizenship of the women in Mali;
-- Building and Social Housing Foundation, an international organization based in the United Kingdom, promoting sustainable development and innovation in housing through collaborative research and knowledge transfer;
-- AAHUNG, a national organization based in Pakistan, advocating the creation of an enabling environment where every individual's sexual rights were respected, protected and fulfilled as an inalienable human right;
-- Señores Españoles para la Cooperación Técnica, a national organization based in Spain, whose senior volunteers offer their experience and expertise in public utility;
-- To Love Children Educational Foundation International, Inc., an international organization based in the United States, seeking to educate and advocate for the development of the girl child in order to break the cycle of poverty;
-- Child Care Consortium, a national organization based in India, whose aim is to strengthen the moral and economic value of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) through the Council;
-- Ingénieurs du Monde, an international organization based in France, whose aims include promoting engineering in support of development;
-- Korean Progressive Network 'Jinbonet', a national organization based in the Republic of Korea, whose aims include protecting the human rights and promote sustainable development in the information society, such as freedom of expression, right to privacy, and access to knowledge and technology;
-- Lighthouse International, an international organization based in the United States, promoting the rights of people with impaired vision by enabling them to overcome the disabling effects of vision impairment;
-- Agence d'aide à la cooperation technique et au développement, an international organization based in France, whose mission is to save lives, assist vulnerable populations and bring hope to those in need of a better future;
-- Institut de la gestion déléguée, a national organization based in France, whose mission is to improve the quality and effectiveness of public services;
-- Réseau d'information des aînées et aînées du Québec, an international organization based in Canada, seeking to improve the quality of life of seniors through a variety of initiatives that involve the Internet;
-- Sinha Institute of Medical Science and Technology, an international organization based in India, promoting the educational and scientific development of people, especially in India;
-- UBUNTU Forum, an international organization based in Spain, promoting the construction of a more human, just, peaceful, diverse and sustainable world;
-- Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy, an international organization based in the United Kingdom, seeking to foster the development of the profession in all Commonwealth countries;
-- Institute of International Sociology of Gorizia, a national organization based in Italy, studying how people may be led to peaceful relations on the basis of mutual acceptance and understanding;
-- International Education for Peace Institute, an international organization based in Switzerland, conducting community and social development projects in different parts of the world with a focus on creating a more peaceful world;
-- Rozan, a national organization based in Pakistan, facilitating the process of self-reflection and self-growth in order to foster good emotional health;
-- Women's Welfare Centre, a national organization based in India, promoting a society where women's equality and dignity are respected and where children could grow up in a healthy way;
-- DiploFoundation, an international organization based in Malta, working to assist all countries, particularly those with limited resources, to participate meaningfully in international relations;
-- Imamia Medics International, an international organization based in the United States, championing the cause of education and health care in areas of need;
-- Society for Initiatives in Rural Development and Environmental Protection, a national organization based in Cameroon, working to enhance the standard of living of the rural poor;
-- Association of Former Diplomats of China, a national organization based in China, which, among other things, disseminates information on the Millennium Development Goals;
-- Fundación AlvarAlice, a national organization based in Colombia, contributing to the building of a more equitable Colombian society through support of innovative programmes and projects in various areas;
-- Centre for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia, a national organization based in Georgia, whose mission is to build a participatory democracy in that country;
-- Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology, an international organization based in Canada, providing technical training and support in the area of water and sanitation for the world's poor;
-- International Association for Women's Mental Health, an international organization based in the United States, which aims to create a network of national and international societies devoted to women's mental health;
-- Urban Justice Center, a national organization based in the United States, providing legal representation and advocacy to poor and homeless New Yorkers;
-- RITS- rede de informacoes para o terceiro setor, an international organization based in Brazil, focusing on strengthening civil society organizations and social movements;
-- Women's Environmental Development and Training, a national organization based in Cameroon, which, among other things, creates awareness environmental health problems with concrete approaches to solutions;
-- Centre d'études pour réaliser l'espoir de l'enfant du désert, a national organization based in Mauritania, seeking to improve the living conditions of the poor;
-- Institut de politique familiale, an international organization based in Spain, whose mission is to promote and defend the institution of the family;
-- Association femmes, enfants et développement, a national organization based in Mauritania, carrying out advisory and awareness-raising activities to ensure the social integration of women and children suffering from various hardships;
-- Group 484, a national organization based in Serbia and Montenegro, focusing on migration issues in the Balkans;
-- Half the Sky Foundation, an international organization based in the United States, seeking to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children living in China's State-run welfare institutions;
-- National Environmental Trust, a national organization based in the United States, informing citizens about environmental problems and how they affect health and quality of life;
-- Association of Language Testers in Europe, an international organization in the United Kingdom, which seeks to, among other things, enhance public understanding of language testing and assessment;
-- Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a national organization based in India, empowering grass-roots development activists so as to enhance the quality of democracy and voluntary social work; and
-- National Center for State Courts, a national organization based in the United States, whose mission is to improve the administration of justice through leadership and service to courts.
Following a dialogue with its representatives, the Committee also recommended special consultative status for The World Jewellery Confederation, an international organization based in Italy, whose purpose was to encourage harmonization and promote international cooperation in the jewellery industry, as well as to consider issues that concern the trade worldwide.
Responding to questions posed, the NGO's representative said that it was closely involved with the issue of conflict diamonds, as well as other issues connected to the mining of precious gemstones, such as child labour. Another representative added that the industry was affected by issues such as money laundering, human rights and terrorism. It was an industry based on transparency and honesty, and wanted to ensure legitimate transactions with legitimate products.
Roster consultative status was recommended for International Pharmaceutical Students' Federation, an international organization based in the Netherlands, promoting the interests of pharmaceutical students and encouraging international cooperation among them.
The Committee deferred the application of Nonviolent Peaceforce, an international organization based in Belgium, pending further clarifications, following a dialogue with its representative. Responding to a question by Pakistan, the NGO's representative stated that it had signed an agreement with UNICEF to work on the issues of child soldiers and the protection of women and children in Sri Lanka.
In other action, the Committee deferred consideration of the applications of Conectas Direitos Humanos, a national organization based in Brazil, and Associación Civil Consorcio Desarrollo y Justicia, a national organization based in Venezuela, upon the request of the representative of Cuba.
Regarding the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, an international organization based in Jordan, the Chairperson informed the Committee that, according to a note received from the Jordanian delegation, the organization was not an NGO but a trading establishment. The application was deferred pending further clarification from the organization on the matter.
The Committee postponed, pending receipt of replies to questions posed and the need for additional time for consideration, the applications of The International Organization for Peace, Care and Relief, an international organization based in Libya; Le Forum pour l'Intégration des Migrants, an international organization based in Switzerland; Southern Organizing Cooperative, a national organization based in the United States; Youth Empowerment Alliance, Inc., a national organization based in the United States; Group of 78, a national organization based in Canada; and Leonard Cheshire International, an international organization based in the United Kingdom.
Also postponed were the applications of Global Village for Rehabilitation and Development, a national organization based in India, and Association "For Sustainable Human Development", a national organization based in Armenia, since the representatives of India and Turkey, respectively, were awaiting instructions from their capitals. Regarding the latter's application, Armenia's representative informed the Committee that the NGO had done outstanding work in the field of sustainable development and environmental protection, including assisting in the elaboration of Armenia's human development report and national Millennium Development Goals report.
In addition, the Committee postponed the application of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international organization based in the United States, pending replies to questions, including those posed by Cuba's representative regarding the specific types of activities the NGO undertook in the areas of trafficking and human rights. China's representative reminded the NGO that when answering questions, it should use the standard language used by the United Nations in referring to China and Taiwan.
Since the representative of Senegal wanted further information on the activities of West Africa Network for Peacebuilding, an international organization based in Ghana, and whether it worked in conjunction with the Senegalese Government, that NGO's application was postponed.
Likewise, the application of Population Services International, an international organization based in the United States, was postponed since the representative of India requested further information on that NGO's association with his country.
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 Friday, 20 January, to continue consideration of new applications and new requests for reclassification.
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