On Friday 22nd June 2018, the UN NGO Committee convened consultations with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in consultative status with the United Nations. The consultations, the first of their kind, were an opportunity for NGOs to respond to questions from the committee on ways to improve NGO engagement with the United Nations. In total, 195 organisations submitted written statements and more than 50 organisations delivered oral statements. A summary of the written statements can be found here. CIVICUS' statement can be found below and our written submission here.
UN NGO Committee Consultations
Friday 22 June 2018
As a global alliance of civil society organisations with members in more than 175 countries, CIVICUS welcomes the opportunity to participate in this consultation.
We also welcome the committee’s call for inputs and recognition that organisations from the Global South continue to be less represented than organisations from the Global North at the United Nations.
This is also a priority for many of our members, who have indicated that they would most value additional opportunities to engage with the UN at the national and regional level at local ons outside of Geneva and New York. To this end we call on the committee to encourage more major ECOSOC meetings and consultatons to be held at regional centres.
We also note, that for non‐governmental organisations from the Global South, the barriers to fully participate at the UN remain considerably higher.
Organisations from the Global South in particular o en lack the resources to navigate complex accreditation on processes. As noted in the joint NGO statement delivered by our colleague from CONECTAS, we call for the the committee to make the accreditation on process as transparent and efficient as possible, including through publishing clear guidelines and allowing applicants to respond to questions posed to them in a reasonable me frame.
We also urge the Committee to enable robust participate on of NGOs in various activities of the UN. We share the concerns raised by our NGO colleagues that numerous NGO representatives were unable to obtain visas to a end this year’s Commission on that Status of Women despite receiving formal invitations and support from UN agencies and ECOSOC accredited organisations.
In order for non‐governmental organisations to fully participate in the UN’s work, it is also essen al that the committee considers the importance of enabling environments for non‐governmental organisations, both at the global and national level. It is critical that member States and the UN system take the lead in global efforts to create an enabling environment for civil society and support effective partnerships in line with Agenda 2030 commitments. States elected to the NGO Committee should demonstrate commitment to modeling enabling environments for NGOs domestically.
Notably, an important function of NGOs is to speak ‘truth to power’ and ensure that the voices of the excluded are factored in decision making. In this respect we urge the NGO Committee to remain ever vigilant with regards to reprisals against civil society members for engaging with UN mechanisms. UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has stressed that civil society is a key instrument for the success of today’s UN. We look forward to working with the NGO Committee.