The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today concluded substantive work of its 2019 regular session with the presentation of the subsidiary body’s draft report, which will be finalized for adoption in February.
It also recommended 10 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 22 others. It recommended closing without prejudice the applications of 20 organizations that had not responded to its last three reminders.
The 19-member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee it is considered recommended for consultative status. Organizations which are granted general and special status can attend meetings of the Council and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings.
Action on several applications was postponed because Committee members requested further information from the candidates about, among other items, details of their respective organizations’ activities, partners, expenditures and sources of funding.
In closing remarks, Chair Mohamed Sallam (Sudan) said the Committee has made “considerable progress”. The Committee had before it 521 new and deferred applications for status, 6 requests for reclassification and 2 merger cases, for a total of 529 requests — a higher number than that considered in 2018. Of those, it recommended granting consultative status or reclassifying status to 236 organizations. It reviewed 528 quadrennial reports — a considerably high number that is expected to increase — and participated with 16 NGOs in interactive discussions.
Having suspended the session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will reconvene on Friday, 8 February, to conclude its work.
Special Consultative Status
The Committee recommended that the Economic and Social Council grant special consultative status to the following organizations:
International Society for Peace and Safety (Nigeria);
League of Women Voters of Nigeria (Nigeria);
Love Alliance Foundation for Orphans, Disabled and Abandoned Persons in Nigeria (Nigeria);
National Association for the Defense of Rights and Freedoms (Egypt);
Peace Initiative Network (Nigeria);
Poka Healthcare Foundation (Nigeria);
Silambam Asia (SILA) (Malaysia);
The Reality of Aid Africa Network (Kenya);
Universal Peace and Violence Amelioration Centre (Nigeria);
Youth Health and Development Organization (Afghanistan);
The Committee postponed consideration of the following organizations:
Burundi Rugby League Rugby A XIII Cooperative (Burundi) — as the representative of Turkey requested details on activities carried out since 2016;
Center for Sex education and Family Life Ltd/Gte (Nigeria) — as the representative of Bahrain requested the group’s audited financial reports for 2017 and 2018, including the costs and funding sources for its projects;
Chanan Development Association (Pakistan) — as the representative of India requested details of activities carried out under its “Right Here, Right Now” initiative;
Chavara Cultural Centre (India) — as the representative of India asked for details on the services referred to as matrimonial services, as well as about fees and the number of students trained in such courses;
Community Human Rights and Advocacy Centre (Cameroon) — as the representative of Turkey asked for information on its advocacy projects;
International Dalit Solidarity Network (Nepal) — as the representative of India requested as to whether funding was related to any particular activities and for an explanation of the “marginalized persons without citizenship programme”;
Environmental and Societal Development Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked the group to explain its finances, as it has a budget surplus, and to specify its receipt of private sector funding;
Envisions Institute of Development (India) — as the representative of India asked about its projects undertaken with and the funding received from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF);
Global Buddhist Foundation (India) — as the representative of China said the group’s response does not appear to answer the Committee’s question and he asked how it carries out its global projects and activities. That representative said the Secretariat does not issue value judgements on the responses provided by non‑governmental organizations, but rather, evaluates responses only in such cases when a new request emerges. Groups must fulfill their obligations regarding consultative status and financial information. Sometimes their responses do not respond directly to the questions posed to them by the Committee, he said, citing one such case and asking whether there was a technological error. Member States and the Secretariat should pool resources in analysing questions.
An official from the NGO Branch drew attention to the Committee’s limitations in being able to filter questions in a manner suggested by the representative of Cuba. “It is not entirely possible to do so, we just don’t have the capacity, given the timeframes in which we work,” he said, noting that the mail address is correct as it appears in the group’s application and that some questions were indeed answered correctly.
Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (China) — as the representative of the United States, citing the group’s response to question 4, requested details about its work with stakeholders on energy, climate change and sustainable development;
Helpage India (India) — as the representative of China said the group’s funding from Governments amounted to $23,000, but accounted for zero per cent of its income. He asked how it managed to raise such funding and how it collaborates with such banks as Deutsche Bank and HSBC;
Human is Right (Cameroon) — as the representative of Turkey asked about its gender equality and women’s empowerment projects, including funding, number of beneficiaries and results achieved;
Kaarvan Crafts Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of India said private sector funding comprises 70 per cent of the group’s budget and she asked for a breakdown of that funding and the activities undertaken with it;
NORSAAC (Ghana) — as the representative of the Russian Federation, citing question 4 of its application referencing an “innovative sexuality programme”, currently in its third stage, asked about the activities involved in the third stage, the goals for each stage, and about how many people are involved in the programme. He requested the same information for any future stages and about the group’s stated plans to include the programme in the overall education programme;
Rupani Foundation (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked how it plans to finance its “tech villages” and to address its budget deficit;
Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (China) — as the representative of the United States, citing its response to question 16 regarding its self‑financing through membership contributions, asked for details on its expected funding mechanisms;
Stichting Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) Foundation (China) — as the representative of China asked for details and plans for implementing its 2019 projects;
Union des peuples autochtones pour le réveil au développement (Burundi) — as the representative of Turkey asked for details about ongoing and planned activities and projects for 2019;
United National Organization of Human Rights (Egypt) — as the representative of China requested information on any partnerships with local, regional or international parties;
Welfare Association Jared (Pakistan) — as the representative of India asked about the funding sources, beneficiaries and intended outcomes of its current projects;
YouChange China Social Entrepreneur Foundation (China) — as the representative of the United States asked for details on its poverty alleviation platform, which is implemented through countryside education;
A New Dawn — Bedouin Jewish Centre in the Negev for Equality and Accessibility in Education, Research, Peace and Welfare Services (R.A.) (Israel) — as the representative of Pakistan asked for details about the “shared society” project referenced in response to question 4 on its application. The representative of Israel said the group’s 20 January response provided a booklet of its programmes and activities, among them, the “shared society” project, to which the representative of Pakistan, citing a reference to a collaboration with parliament members, replied that he would like to receive more information the group’s collaboration with public office holders.
The representative of Israel asked whether his counterpart from Pakistan was referencing the youth parliament, which is not part of the Government of Israel. The representative of Pakistan replied that the brochure does not reference a youth parliamentarian programme. The representative of Israel then asked for clarity on the specific question being posed, to which the representative of Pakistan again asked whether the group can provide more details on its “shared society” project. The representative of Israel said the “shared society” project is clearly outlined, including the involvement of Jewish sport teachers in Bedouin schools in the Negev area, and he requested that a more specific query be sent to the organization, as the group has specifically replied twice and provided the requisite information.
The representative of Pakistan said that, while the parliament referenced might not involve the Government, the problem is that the project is described differently in the brochure, the application and the letter sent by the organization. The response must be simple. He requested details about the “shared society” project, as the application does not mention it is being carried out with the United States Agency for International Development. The representative of Israel asked whether the question now is about the involvement of the United States Agency for International Development in the “shared society” project. The representative of Pakistan said the reference to the United States Agency for International Development’s involvement should have been included in the project’s description. Such information was left out of the initial application.
The representative of Mexico underscored the importance of sending the correct message to the groups to which the Committee poses questions. If the concern relates to the cooperation of a particular body with others, the Committee should be more precise in phrasing its question. The representative of Cuba reiterated that, in several cases, the Committee has sent questions to organizations and receives brief responses that do not include the requisite details. Greater details must be requested. He supported the right of Committee members to request further details from the organizations. The representative of China agreed with his counterpart from Cuba that posing questions is the right of Committee members and that many organizations do not answer questions with sufficient information. The representative of Israel agreed that it is every Committee member’s responsibility to pose questions. Nonetheless, his questions are still valid on the necessity that the questions must be posed in a productive nature. In the spirit of compromise, he is willing to adhere to the proposals by the representatives of Cuba and Mexico. The representative of Pakistan agreed that the question should be formulated as proposed by Mexico. Thus, he asked whether the organization can provide further details about the “shared society” project and the nature of its interaction with the United States Agency for International Development in its implementation.
Deferred Applications — Close of Applications
Next, the Committee decided to recommend to the Economic and Social Council to close consideration, without prejudice, of applications from the following organizations which had not responded to its last three reminders: Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad Al Thani Charitable Association; Ambedkar Center for Justice and Peace; Peace Islands Institute Inc; Danjuma Atta Eye Foundation; USA Refugees & Immigrants, Corp.; Norsk organisasjon for reform av marihuanalovgivningen; Aryab Hatt Seva Sansthan; Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL); Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture; Reproductive Health Matters; Organisation tunisienne de développement social; Anciens esclaves nouveaux citoyens; Mittetulundusühing G-Global Development Community; Al-Mehran Rural Development Organization (AMRDO); Green Lane Agricultural Assistance Non-Governmental Organization; Education des filles; Medair; Society for Participatory Research in Asia; La Vie Pour Tous; and Trade and Economic Development Council.
Adoption of Committee’s Report
NADAV YESOD (Israel), Committee Vice-Chair, introduced the subsidiary body’s draft report (document E/C.2/2019/CRP.34), saying it will be updated with substantive details for consideration by the Committee on 8 February following informal consultations.
The Committee then authorized the Vice-Chair to finalize the draft report.
MOHAMED SALLAM (Sudan), Committee Chair, summing up the body’s work, stated that, through concerted efforts, and working by consensus, it made “considerable progress” in reviewing a large number of applications, requests and quadrennial reports. He recalled that, at the outset of the session, the Committee had before it 521 new and deferred applications for status, 6 requests for reclassification and 2 merger cases, for a total of 529 requests — a higher number than that considered by the Committee during its 2018 resumed session.
Out of that number, he continued, the Committee recommended granting consultative status or reclassifying status to 236 organizations. The number of new applications recommended for consultative status (185) was much higher than the number of deferred applications recommended (51). Due to time constraints, the Committee did not complete a second round of review of new and deferred applications, as done in previous years — meaning that the increased number of deferred applications will impact on the body’s workload going forward.
He added that, during this session, the Committee reviewed a total of 528 quadrennial reports, a considerably high number that is bound to increase in the future. Sixteen NGOs participated in interactive discussions with Committee members. Turning to working methods, he said informal consultations will enable the Committee to discuss such issues as the questionnaire to NGOs that underpins the quadrennial reports and a proposal to screen applications for consultative status against the Security Council’s consolidated sanctions list.