United Nations and NGOs
Controversial Issues in the NGO Committee

The purpose of this paper is to study the conflicts and debates that occur in the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs over specific NGOs applying for or already in consultative status. The Committee is formally a technical Committee but frequently becomes the stage for debate on political issues. It examines the debates that have taken place in the formal sessions of the Committee between 2008 and 2010 and try to identify recurrent controversial topics and patterns of conflict. The main issues identified for the purpose of this paper are: Separatism; Terrorism; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Rights; Freedom of Expression; and Human Rights. The outline of this paper is as follows: first, it presents a short background on the consultative relationship that eligible NGOs can establish with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, where the Committee on NGOs constitutes the main and only gateway. Then it proceeds to present each of the issues mentioned above and finally concludes with a short reflection on the implications of the findings of this study.

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NGO Participation at the United Nations: Barriers and Solutions

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), also known as civil society organizations (CSOs), have existed for hundreds of years, but since the mid-nineteenth century they have been increasing in number and gaining international recognition, particularly among intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). NGOs were accepted and consulted with by the League of Nations during its existence, and were often able to participate in the League's meetings and committees. Due to this recognition, when the United Nations was created in 1945, NGO participation was included in the UN Charter under Article 71 of Chapter 10. Article 71 created the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), whose task was to consult with NGOs on matters that concerned it. This article opened the door for the 3,287 NGOs in consultative status today. This sizeable number is a clear indicator that NGOs find consultative status to be of value; otherwise they would not bother applying. However, the usefulness and level of participation of NGOs in the UN has been hotly debated since NGOs were first granted consultative status, which has led to a number of barriers. This paper will explore some of these barriers, and then discuss some recommendations proposed in the 2004 Cardoso Report that could help reduce them. It concludes with the assertion that if implemented, these solutions from the Cardoso Report could assist NGOs in playing their vital role of carrying out the mission of the United Nations.

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Diaspora NGOs and the United Nations: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations

This paper aims to highlight the effect of the increasing number of diaspora Non-Governmental Organisations in consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with respect to development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It highlights a few examples of these organisations that are actively contributing to the development agenda in the region and to the Millennium Development Goals in general. The research would also draw analysis from the responses of diaspora NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status on problems affecting their functional capacity and suggestions on avenues through which the United Nations could support their activities. It concludes with recommendations on strategies which ECOSOC could consider adopting to improve the quality of the diaspora NGOs contributions through building their capacities, increasing support and strengthening partnership.

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Voices of Non-Governmental Organizations: A summary of civil society participation in the 2013 ECOSOC High-Level Segment

This paper attempts to summarize the views, concerns and policy recommendations raised by NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC on how science, technology, innovation and culture can be leveraged for sustainable development and achieving the MDGs. As the 2015 deadline is fast approaching, the majority of NGOs chose to perform a critical analysis of the progress of MDGs, as well as contributing to the debate on the post-2015 development agenda and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were being defined at the time of writing this report. The recommendations presented here will serve as complementary reference to the Ministerial declaration adopted at the end of the 2013 ECOSOC High-Level Segment, which provides policy guidance and recommendations for action.

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Voices of Non-Governmental Organizations: A summary of civil society participation in the 2012 ECOSOC High-Level Segment

In 2012, 120 NGOs submitted their written statement to the topic of the Annual Ministerial Review: "“Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDG". A total of 66 were recommended to speak at the sessions and 19 made oral presentations. 6 NGOs organized side events. The goal of this report is to show where the NGOs see the greatest challenges, obstacles, as well as opportunities for growth and how they suggest these challenges can be faced, obstacles overcome and opportunities explored. The report is divided into two parts: firstly, the context and a diagnosis of the current situation and secondly, the recommendations of how to solve the main issues. The recommendations further are grouped in four thematic blocs: Employment and Productive Capacity, Social Protection and Decent Work, Sustainability and Green Jobs, and finally International Cooperation and Coordination.

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Voices of Non-Governmental Organizations: A summary of civil society participation in the 2011 ECOSOC High-Level Segment

The NGOs in this paper are from various countries, operating in various fields and are of different size, nature and very distinct from each other. Their knowledge and experience contribute vastly to the research with regard to education and thus are of great value for the overall development of Nations. The goal of the paper is to provide a civil society perspective of the issues discussed at the 2011 ECOSOC High-Level Segment. In particular, it attempts to provide answers to the following questions: 1) What are the main issues identified by NGOs with regards to education?; 2) What are the main challenges of reaching the Millennium Development Goal 2 and the goals set by the “Education for All” campaign in the view of the NGOs?; and 3) What are the main recommendations made by NGOs?. It will complement the work that has already been done by the Annual Ministerial Review and Ministerial Declaration of the 2011 ECOSOC.

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