Continuing Regular Session, Non-Governmental Organizations Committee Recommends Status for 91 Entities, Defers Action on 49 Applications

Continuing its 2019 regular session, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations today recommended 91 organizations for special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and deferred action on the status of 49 others.

The 19-member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non-governmental organizations (NGO). Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee it is considered recommended for consultative status. Organizations which were 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. Also, the representative of China noted that several organizations, in their applications or on their website, referred erroneously to Taiwan as a country, not as a province of China, and requested corrections.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations will meet again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 23 January, to continue its session.

During a question-and-answer session in the afternoon, NGO representatives faced questions from Committee members.

A representative of Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation (China) said the organization was founded in 2016 to promote energy interconnection so that clean energy can be produced, distributed and consumed on a large scale. It is dedicated to contributing to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. It includes both group and individual members, with its executive council elected by a general meeting of all members.

The representative of the United States requested information about the status of its application for observer status with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), income from research contracts, the benefits that result from membership and its activities relating to social issues.

She replied that the organization has been granted observer status with the UNFCC and that it attended the recent COP24 conference in Poland. It maintains a research team that provides income-generating services to members. Membership benefits include a bimonthly journal, seminars and conferences, and a platform to facilitate cooperation and collaboration between members. Duly registered as an NGO in China, it has 13 overseas branches, with projects that include the provision of electricity to a school in Ethiopia.

The representative of the United States requested further details, in writing, about its projects outside China.

The Committee then decided to defer the organization's application.

A representative of NORSAAC (Ghana) said the organization seeks to empower women and young people in the areas of health rights, gender and governance, education and livelihood. It makes suggestions to Governments and other policy implementors. On its sources of funding, he said it receives grants from many organizations in many countries, including Oxfam, Action Aid, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It has partnered with some organizations for 10 years already, he added.

The representative of Nicaragua asked about the sharing of best practices in countries outside Ghana. The representative of India wanted to know more about its work in the area of child marriage.

Replying, he underscored the importance of partnering with like-minded organizations and putting women and young people at the heart of its work by involving them in planning and implementation. It also networks to ensure that its actions get the needed attention, he said, underscoring the need to prioritize data and evidence in order to achieve effective advocacy. On child marriage, he discussed a community-level advocacy project whereby households are encouraged to post symbols to indicate their dislike and rejection of that phenomenon.

The representative of Pakistan requested more information, in writing, on projects the organization has undertaken with the Government of Ghana.

The Committee then decided to defer the organization's application.

A representative of International Council for Small Business (United States) said the organization was founded in 1955, a decade after the United Nations, to promote entrepreneurship and small business worldwide. Present in 85 countries it campaigned within the United Nations for the declaration by the General Assembly in 2017 of an international day for small business. He emphasized that, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the role of small business is essential and he requested Member States to help in that regard.

The representative of China asked for more information about how the General Assembly resolution on small business came to be adopted. He also pointed to articles found on the organization's website that contained erroneous references to Taiwan, a province of China, and requested that corrections be made, in line with the one-China policy.

Replying, he said that Argentina agreed to sponsor the resolution and that, after nine months of negotiations, the text was adopted unanimously by the Assembly on 6 April 2017. He noted China's recent adoption of a package for micro-, small- and medium-sized business, underscored the organization's adherence to the one-China policy and stated that a letter would be sent to confirm that position. He went on to apologize for any mix-up in that regard.

The Committee then decided to defer the organization's application.

A representative of Fondation europeenne d'etudes progressistes (Belgium) described the organization as the only progressive think tank at the European level. Reviewing its work, he said its projects include promoting resilience in various parts of the world and exploring the nexus between security, development and human rights. Going forward, it hopes to focus more on the migration issue.

The representative of China asked for details about the organization's work in China, and for an explanation of its funding from the European Parliament. The representative of Libya asked how it planned to support implementation of the Global Compact on Migration, which is not binding on Member States.

Replying, he said the organization has been invited by the Government of China to contribute to discussion on the Belt and Road Initiative. Funding is related to the representation of different political groups elected to the European Parliament. He added that the organization is aware that the Global Compact on Migration is non-binding, emphasizing however that the issue is a concern for many Europeans, particularly at the local level, where the organization is cooperating with municipalities to help them develop initiatives to assist migrants.

The Committee then decided to recommend the organization's application.

Source: United Nations