Economic and Social Council



Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Committee on NGOs

22nd & 23rd Meetings (AM & PM)



Recommending consultative status with the Economic and Social Council for nine entities today, the 2009 resumed session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) also closed the file on two applications and postponed its consideration of 11 others pending receipt of additional information.

The 19-member Committee recommends general, special or roster status with the Council in accordance with such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime. Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Council and circulate statements, while those with general status can, in addition, speak at meetings and propose items for the Council’s agenda. Organizations that have roster status can only attend meetings.

Special consultative status was recommended for:

Actions Solidaires de Soutien aux Organisations et d’Appui aux Libert és, a Cameroon-based NGO aiming to strengthen citizen participation in the fight against poverty;

Association des Badinga du Congo (ABADIC), an organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which seeks to contribute to the empowerment of young women in their fight against violence and reduce their vulnerability in order to increase their contribution to development;

Benin Rural Assistance, an organization in Benin seeking to improve the situation of abandoned children and the elderly in rural areas by creating a centre for them, and fighting against the enslavement of children;

International Institute for the Development of Citizenship, a Brazilian NGO that works to assist the principal human development agencies around the world, particularly the United Nations, in the realization of their mandates, at the recommendation of the observer of Brazil;

Centre National d’Information sur les Droits des Femmes et des Familles, an organization based in France seeking to promote the independence of women and contribute to equality between men and women, at the recommendation of the representative of Burundi;

FATIMA Women’s Network, a United Kingdom-based NGO which works for gender equity as well as social, economic and environmental justice to support the empowerment of women and their families;

F éd ération Europ éenne des Centres de Recherche et d’Information sur le Sectarisme, an organization based in France which wants to represent its member groups in institutions dedicated to the protection of human rights and democratic societies;

Femmes Autochtone du Qu ébec, Inc., a Canada-based NGO which supports the efforts of indigenous women to improve their living conditions; and

International Women Judges Foundation, an organization based in the United States which believes that women judges are in a unique position to advance human rights, eliminate gender-based discrimination and promote equal justice for all.

Upon the proposal of the representative of China, supported by the representative of Pakistan, the Committee decided to close the file on the application of Coordination Internationale pour la D écennie, an organization based in France which seeks to promote the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for Children of the World (2001-2010), proclaimed by the General Assembly in 1998, owing to its continuing failure to adhere, in its publications, to correct United Nations terminology in the use of geographical names.

On the proposal of Egypt’s representative, the Committee also closed the file on the application of the Belgium-based Confederation of Organisations in Road Transport Enforcement, which aims to bring together national bodies from various European Union member States bearing a responsibility in the area of road transportation, because its members all represented Government entities with equal voting rights, so that its independence could not be guaranteed.

Pending receipt of additional information, the Committee postponed consideration of the following NGOs:

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, which strives to promote environmental human rights observance, because the representative of Egypt sought clarification as to whether the group was different from Friends of the Earth, and about its relationship with other organizations. They also asked about its finances and projects;

Amici dei Bambini, based in Italy, is devoted to the promotion and protection of children’s rights. The representative of Egypt asked for documentation of its registration;

Hope Medical Enterprises, Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, which strives to empower women and young girls through education, medical counselling, sociocultural counselling, and support for women and girls in respect of domestic violence and harmful cultural practices. The representative of Egypt requested clarification of its participation in United Nations events;

J. W. Bethany, Inc. dba Smile of a Child, based in the United States, which aims to represent God as ambassadors throughout the world and to help world leaders eliminate poverty while raising the quality of life for children. The representative of Sudan asked about the countries to which the organization had given support, while Egypt’s representative asked whether it carried out intercountry adoption activities;

Saferworld, based in the United Kingdom, which seeks to develop and implement comprehensive national, regional, and international initiatives to tackle the spread of arms and armed violence. The representative of the Russian Federation asked that it use correct United Nations terminology for Kosovo, while Egypt’s representative asked how it could contribute to the work of the Economic and Social Council;

Pew Charitable Trusts, based in the United States, which addresses climate change, the erosion of large wilderness systems and the destruction of oceans, with an emphasis on global fisheries. The representatives of India and Egypt posed questions about its finances, membership and activities, including electoral and lobbying activities, requesting documentation of its registration;

United Network of Young Peacebuilders, based in the Netherlands, is active in peacebuilding, working mostly in conflict and post-conflict situations. The representative of Egypt asked, among other things, whether it promoted certain sexual behaviour in countries emerging from conflict, and what activities it carried out in the Middle East. India’s representative sought clarification about its status and Sudan’s representative asked about its activities in Africa;

Universitas 21 Health Sciences, based in Guernsey (Channel Islands, United Kingdom), wants to be the leading higher education network and to make an impact on collaborative research of global relevance and significance. India’s representative asked how one could verify information if an NGO was not based in a Member State of the United Nations. He also had questions about the organization’s finances;

Verein zur F örderung der V ölkerverst ändigung, an NGO based in Austria which strives to further ties between peoples of different nationalities by means of common activities and events. The representatives of Pakistan, India and Egypt requested additional details of answers provided, including information on its legal status and membership;

National Association of Friendship Centres, an organization in Canada which strives to improve the quality of life for aboriginal peoples in an urban environment. A representative of the NGO answered questions posed to him, saying that the NGO comprised mostly indigenous members and organizations, including from the French-speaking province of Québec. As for its independence, the Association was separately incorporated and received direction only from its membership. It had contractual relationships with the Government, but Government-funded projects were planned and implemented by its membership. The organization also undertook advocacy work and in some instances opposed Government policies. Consideration of that application was postponed as China’s representative requested a written, detailed statement about its activities;

Orphans International Worldwide, a United States-based NGO seeking to help orphaned or abandoned children grow into solid citizens of an Internet-connected world, linked through a sound structure based on interfaith, interracial, international and intergenerational qualities. The group’s representative clarified its financial and structural status, describing it as an umbrella organization with local member entities in various countries.

Regarding registration of the local entities, he said it was hard for “New York” to verify registration requirements for each locality, but all local organizations were required to abide by local law, be it a local, provincial or national registration. Any local corporation worked within the global standards of the worldwide organization, which were among the highest for groups working with orphans. Each entity under the NGO’s worldwide umbrella was a stand-alone corporation, as required, because the custody of children was involved. The Committee postponed further consideration until documentation of the NGO’s registrations was received.

The representative of the United States asked whether resolution 1996/31, governing the application process, required the submission of registration documents in respect of the applicant or of organizations under its umbrella.

The Committee’s Secretary replied that the resolution did not stipulate such a requirement, but required that an organization must have an established headquarters. The only way for the Secretariat to verify legal status was to request an official document proving that the organization in question was a legal entity in a country or countries. The requirement for such documentation was therefore derived from practice rather than a requirement under the resolution, which did also not stipulate any documentation or accreditation requirement with respect to third countries in which an organization would operate.

However, Egypt’s representative remarked that paragraph 2 of the resolution stipulated that the aims of a given organization must be in conformity with the spirit and principles of the United Nations Charter. The Committee should consequently ascertain that there was nothing illegal in an NGO’s situation. Proof of registration was therefore necessary.

Members of the Committee are Angola, Burundi, China, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Egypt, Guinea, India, Israel, Pakistan, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Sudan, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

The Committee will convene again at 10 a.m., Thursday 21 May.

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For information media • not an official record