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PSPD  l  People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • UN Advocacy
  • 2018.06.25
  • 96

Joint NGO statement for meeting between the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs and accredited NGOs

 

June 25 2018

 

Thank you Mr. Chair

 

I am delivering this statement in the name of 259 NGOs. We welcome that the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs has convened this meeting with ECOSOC-accredited NGOs, and we look forward in the future to seeing a similar meeting take place before each session of the Committee, as required by paragraph 61(a) of resolution 1996/31.

 

We consider the relationship between the UN and NGOs to be one that should evolve in the direction of safeguarding and encouraging the right of NGOs to participate in UN processes.

 

The Committee on NGOs plays a vital role in ensuring NGOs that work in line with ‘the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations’ have access to UN spaces.

 

However, we are concerned by practices of the Committee that have inappropriately blocked the participation of some NGOs, in particular human rights NGOs, through procedural tactics including perpetual and repetitive questioning of applicants. In addition, we are deeply concerned by the Committee having acted in direct contradiction of the procedural rights of NGOs explicitly or implicitly required under resolution 1996/31 providing them with an opportunity to respond (as required under paragraph 56) to initiatives to close applications or withdraw accreditation. In recent times, the Committee has indefensibly denied some applicants and ECOSOC-accredited organisations the opportunity to defend themselves against accusations of terrorist sympathies. Indeed, certain actions of the Committee have been characterized by some States, UN officials and NGOs as constituting a form of

reprisal against NGOs seeking to cooperate with the UN.

 

We encourage the Committee on NGOs to consider the following changes to ensure that NGO applications for ECOSOC accreditation and other matters are considered in an objective, fair and expeditious manner:

 

The Committee should provide guidelines explaining the grounds on which applications for accreditation are assessed. These would assist both Committee members in the questioning of applicants and applicants in understanding Committee processes. The process of developing such guidance or guidelines should be open to all interested stakeholders including representatives of civil society, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and relevant Special Procedures.

 

Member States of the NGO Committee should ensure that NGOs always have the opportunity to respond to any objection to their obtaining consultative status, as explicitly required by resolution 1996/31, paragraph 15, and similarly to respond to any intention to suspend or withdraw status.

 

The Committee should allow applicants the right to participate in the daily Q&A sessions via videoconferencing, thus providing the opportunity for immediate responses to members’ concerns and speeding up the process of accreditation.

 

The Committee should allow one or more NGO speakers to make a general statement to the Committee on NGOs at the start of every open session, as per many historical precedents including most recently in June 2016.

 

In addition, Observer States should attend NGO Committee sessions and engage actively on behalf of NGO applicants, including in making statements.

 

Thank you Mr. Chair. 

 

 

 

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