Contribution of NGOs to the work of the UN is indispensable
The Committee on NGOs: improving working methods and encouraging civil society engagement - Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanente Representative of France to the United Nations - 19 June 2017 - Statement on behalf of Member State co-hosts France, United Kingdom and Uruguay
Welcome Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, it is wonderful to see the great level of interest from both Member States and civil society on this issue through the large attendance this morning. I want to thank all of you for your commitment and participation in this important meeting.
It is my pleasure here to speak on behalf of the three co-sponsors, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and France. We are very supportive of the initiative taken by ISHR and Freedom Now to hold such an event. We welcome their efforts at the forefront of the Civil Society attention and activism on the work of the Committee on NGOs and the protection of civil society space at the UN and to boost the discussion on this issue.
The value that civil society brings to building inclusive, tolerant and resilient societies domestically is well recognized, but there should also be no doubt surrounding the indispensable contribution of NGOs to the work of the UN on all agenda items from human rights to development and international peace and security. Civil society brings enthusiasm, a fresh perspective, and valuable expertise which can enrich the discussions and deliberations of Member States. This is why their consultation by ECOSOC is enshrined in Article 71 of the UN Charter.
In this respect, the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs has a vital role to play in facilitating access and securing civil society participation at the UN. We all have a stake in ensuring that the Committee is fulfilling its mandate.
This is not a small job, and there are many challenges that we are all aware of: in recent years we have seen the number of applications from civil society steadily increase with hundreds of new applications coming in every year. It is vital that the Committee takes timely decisions on deferred applications and ensure that it carries out its work in an efficient, effective and transparent manner.
So we hope that such events like this one will draw in further interest and scrutiny for the broader UN Membership on the Committee which has the responsibility to consider recommendations of status of NGOs from all regions and which work on a variety of pressing global challenges.
We welcome the existing focus of ECOSOC on improving the working methods of the Committee, including by passing a decision earlier this year on webcasting all open sessions. This has opened up the deliberations of the Committee to NGOs, including remote ones, to civil society, Member States and all people across the globe. We hope that ECOSOC will continue to deliberate this important issue.
I don’t want to take up too much time here as this event is really about hearing from you, from civil society. We are keen to hear of their, of your experience with the process of accreditation and what it means for their organization, your organization and work.
It is our pleasure to facilitate this opportunity here at the UN. We’ve been disheartened to see precocious committee time taken up in debating procedural issues such as whether a single, ECOSOC accredited NGO can address the Committee. It is important also that the NGO Committee operates in a fair manner, and that it bases its decisions in compliance of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31. We need to collectively work, hand in hand, mano en la mano, member states and civil society, in the spirit of fairness and transparency that is at the basis of this resolution. We hope that this will be the case in the next Regular Session of the Committee, but in the meantime we look forward to working with each other to facilitate dialogue through events such as this one.
This was my long way to say a warm word of welcome to each and every one of you. I am very pleased to be here with my colleagues from the UK and Uruguay and we look forward to hearing from you.