Note prepared by Dr. Kashinath Pandita, Secretary General of the Headquarter, Delhi, and Vice President of the Geneva Office of our NGO named Asian-Eurasian Human Rights Forum AEHRF:
- NGOs are initially registered in some country. ECOSOC status, a privilege, is the aspiration of almost all of them.
- ECOSOC has set forth a procedure for NGOs to apply for its status. This enables them to participate in the GA sessions and the sessions of various subsidiary bodies of the UN. It gives them exposure and provides them a vast field for activity. NGO can become the eyes and ears of the civil society.
- Existing procedure is time consuming and rather complicated. It has to be simplified and made time bound
- ECOSOC NGO Committee that recommends applications behaves in a wayward manner. It is oblivious of the implications of its waywardness. The NGO applicants are made to go through an ordeal. The Committee begins with suspecting each applicant and then behaving with it like treating criminals in a court of law.
- The worst thing is politicizing of NGOs. If the country where an NGO is registered happens to be a political rival or antagonistic or ideological opponent of another member country, then the applicant NGO is doomed.
- Influential members in the NGO Committee can manage to obtain status for the applicants in whom they are interested. It takes a few minutes to see them through whereas others with no political support are made to cool their heels for any period say 5 to 10 years. This procrastination defeats the aims and objectives of the UN.
- The Committee is supposed to take decisions in a democratic manner. But allowing politics to supervene, the Committee has laid down the tradition of obtaining consensus of opinion. When that consensus is not forthcoming, applications are deferred year after year. This leads to loss of faith in the UN principles. This trend needs to be arrested.
- The importance of NGOs as a bridge between the civil society and the managers of administration is bound to increase with the passage of time. Therefore it is necessary that the process of admitting NGOs to ECOSOC status is simplified and streamlined.