ECOSOC Resolution 1296 on Arrangements for Consultation with Non-Governmental Organisations (1968) (excerpt)

Arrangements for Consultation with Non-Governmental Organizations

ECOSOC Resolution 1296 (XLIV), 23 May 1968

(excerpts)

The Economic and Social Council,

Having regard to Article 71 of the Charter of the United Nations,

Recognizing that arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations provide an important means of furthering the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Considering that consultations between the Council and its subsidiary organs and the non-governmental organizations should be developed to the fullest practicable extent,

Approves the following arrangements, which supersede those set out in its resolution 288 B (X) of 27 February 1950:

ARRANGEMENTS FOR CONSULTATION WITH NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Part I

PRINCIPLES TO BE APPLIED IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF CONSULTATIVE RELATIONS

The following principles shall be applied in establishing consultative relations with non-governmental organizations

1. The organization shall be concerned with matters falling within the competence of the Economic and Social Council with respect to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health, scientific, technological and related matters and to questions of human rights.

2. The aims and purposes of the organization shall be in conformity with the spirit, purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

3. The organization shall undertake to support the work of the United Nations and to promote knowledge of its principles and activities, in accordance with its own aims and purposes and the nature and scope of its competence and activities.

4. The organization shall be of representative character and of recognized international standing; it shall represent a substantial proportion, and express the views of major sections, of the population or of the organized persons within the particular field of its competence, covering, where possible, a substantial number of countries in different regions of the world. Where there exist a number of organizations with similar objectives, interests and basic views in a given field, they shall, for the purposes of consultation with the Council, form a joint committee or other body authorized to carry on such consultation for the group as a whole. It is understood that when a minority opinion develops on a particular point within such a committee, it shall be presented along with the opinion of the majority.

5. The organization shall have an established headquarters, with an executive officer. It shall have a democratically adopted constitution, a copy of which shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and which shall provide for the determination of policy by a conference, congress or other representative body, and for an executive organ responsible to the policy-making body.

6. The organization shall have authority to speak for its members through its authorized representatives. Evidence of this authority shall be presented, if requested.

7. Subject to paragraph 9 below, the organization shall be international in its structure, with members who exercise voting rights in relation to the policies or action of the international organization. Any international organization which is not established by intergovernmental agreement shall be considered as a non-governmental organization for the purpose of these arrangements, including organizations which accept members designated by governmental authorities, provided that such membership does not interfere with the free expression of views of the organization.

8. The basic resources of the international organization shall be derived in the main part from contributions of the national affiliates or other components or from individual members. Where voluntary contributions have been received, their amounts and donors shall be faithfully revealed to the Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations. Where, however, the above criterion is not fulfilled and an organization is financed from other sources, it must explain to the satisfaction of the Committee its reasons for not meeting the requirements laid down in this paragraph. Any financial contribution or other support, direct or indirect, from a Government to the international organization shall be openly declared to the Committee through the Secretary-General and fully recorded in the financial and other records of the organization and shall be devoted to purposes in accordance with the aims of the United Nations.

9. National organizations shall normally present their views through international non-governmental organizations to which they belong. It would not, save in exceptional cases, be appropriate to admit national organizations which are affiliated to an international non-governmental organization covering the same subjects on an international basis. National organizations, however, may be admitted after consultation with the Member State concerned in order to help achieve a balanced and effective representation of non-governmental organizations reflecting major interests of all regions and areas of the world or where they have special experience upon which the Council may wish to draw.

10. Consultative arrangements shall not normally be made with an international organization which is a member of a committee or group composed of international organizations with which consultative arrangements have been made.

11. In considering the establishment of consultative relations with a non-governmental organization, the Council will take into account whether the field of activity of the organization is wholly or mainly within the field of a specialized agency, and whether or not it could be admitted when it has, or may have, a consultative arrangement with a specialized agency.

Part II

PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE NATURE OF THE CONSULTATIVE ARRANGEMENTS

12. A clear distinction is drawn in the Charter of the United Nations between participation without vote in the deliberations of the Council and the arrangements for consultation. Under Articles 69 and 70, participation is provided for only in the case of States not members of the Council, and of specialized agencies. Article 71, applying to non-governmental organizations, provides for suitable arrangements for consultation. This distinction, deliberately made in the Charter, is fundamental and the arrangements for consultation should not be such as to accord to non-governmental organizations the same rights of participation as are accorded to States not members of the Council and to the specialized agencies brought into relationship with the United Nations.

13. The arrangements should not be such as to overburden the Council or transform it from a body for co-ordination of policy and action, as contemplated in the Charter, into a general forum for discussion.

14. Decisions on arrangements for consultation should be guided by the principle that consultative arrangements are to be made, on the one hand, for the purpose of enabling the Council or one of its bodies to secure expert information or advice from organizations having special competence in the subjects for which consultative arrangements are made, and, on the other hand, to enable organizations which represent important elements of public opinion in a large number of countries to express their views. Therefore, the arrangements for consultation made with each organization should involve only the subjects for which that organization has a special competence or in which it has a special interest. The organizations given consultative status should be limited to those whose international activities in fields set out in paragraph 1 above qualify them to make a significant contribution to the work of the Council and should, in sum, as far as possible reflect in a balanced way the major viewpoints or interests in these fields in all areas and regions of the world.

Part III

ESTABLISHMENT OF CONSULTATIVE RELATIONSHIPS

15. In establishing consultative relationships with each organization, regard shall be had to the nature and scope of its activities and to the assistance it may be expected to give to the Council or its subsidiary bodies in carrying out the functions set out in Chapters IX and X of the Charter of the United Nations.

16. In establishing consultative relations with organizations, the Council will distinguish between:

(a) Organizations which are concerned with most of the activities of the Council and can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Council that they have marked and sustained contributions to make to the achievement of the objectives of the United Nations in the fields set out in paragraph 1 above, and are closely involved with the economic and social life of the peoples of the areas they represent and whose membership, which should be considerable, is broadly representative of major segments of population in a large number of countries (to be known as organizations in general consultative status, category I);

(b) Organizations which have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few the fields of activity covered by the Council, which are known internationally within the fields for which they have or seek consultative status (to be known as organizations in special consultative status, category II).

17. Organizations accorded consultative status in category II because of their interest in the field of human rights should have a general international concern with this matter, not restricted to the interests of a particular group of persons, a single nationality of the situation in a single State or restricted group States. Special consideration shall be given to the applications of organizations in this field whose aims place stress on combating colonialism, apartheid, racial intolerance and other gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

18. Major organizations one of whose primary purposes is to promote the aims, objectives and purposes of the United Nations and a furtherance of the understanding of its work may be accorded consultative status in category II.

19. Other organizations which do not have general or special consultative status but which the Council, or the Secretary-General of the United Nations, in consultation with the Council or its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, considers can make occasional and useful contributions to the work of the Council or its subsidiary bodies or other United Nations bodies within their competence shall be included in a list (to be known as the Roster). This list may also include organizations in consultative status or similar relationship with a specialized agency or a United Nations body. These organizations shall be available for consultation at the request of the Council or its subsidiary bodies. The fact that an organization is on the Roster shall not in itself be regarded as a qualification for general or special consultative should an organization seek such status.

Part IV

CONSULTATION WITH THE COUNCIL

Provisional agenda

20. The provisional agenda of the Council shall be communicated to organizations in categories I and II and to those on the Roster.

21. Organizations in category I may propose to the Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations that the Committee request the Secretary-General to place items of special interest to the organizations on the provisional agenda of the Council.

22. Organizations in categories I and II may designate authorized representatives to sit as observers at public meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies. Those on the Roster may have representatives present at such meetings concerned with matters within their field of competence.

Written statements

23. Written statements relevant to the work of the Council may be submitted by organizations in categories I and II on subjects in which these organizations have special competence. Such statements shall be circulated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the members of the Council, except those statements which have become obsolete, for example, those dealing with matters already disposed of and those which had already been circulated in some other form.

24. The following conditions shall be observed regarding the submission and circulation of such statements:

(a) The written statement shall be submitted in one of the official languages.

(b) It shall be submitted in sufficient time for appropriate Consultation to take place between the Secretary-General and the organization before circulation.

(c) The organization shall give due consideration to any comments which the Secretary-General may make in the course of such consultation before transmitting the statement in final form.

(d) A written statement submitted by an organization in category I will be circulated in full if it does not exceed 2,000 words. Where a statement is in excess of 2,000 words, the organizations shall submit a summary which will be circulated or shall supply sufficient copies of the full text in the working languages for distribution. A statement will also be circulated in full, however, upon a specific request of the Council or its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

(e) A written statement submitted by an organization in category II or on the Roster will be circulated in full if it does not exceed 500 words. Where a statement is in excess of 500 words, the organization shall submit a summary which will be circulated; such statements will be circulated in full, however, upon a specific request of the Council or its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

(f) The Secretary-General in consultation with the President of the Council, or the Council or its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, may invite organizations on the Roster to submit written statements. The provisions of sub-paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e) above shall apply to such statements.

(g) A written statement or summary, as the case may be, will be circulated by the Secretary-General in the working languages, and, upon the request of a member of the Council, in any of the official languages.

Hearings

25. (a) The Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations shall make recommendations to the Council as to which organizations in category I should be heard by the Council or by its sessional committees and on which items they should be heard. Such organizations shall be entitled to make one statement to the Council or the appropriate sessional committee, subject to the approval of the Council or of the sessional committee concerned. In the absence of a subsidiary body, of the Council with jurisdiction in a major field of interest to the Council and to an organization in category II, the Committee may recommend that an organization in category II be heard by the Council on the subject in its field of interest.

(b) Whenever the Council discusses the substance of an item proposed by a non-governmental organization in category I and included in the agenda of the Council, such an organization shall be entitled to present orally to the Council or a sessional committee of the Council, as appropriate, an introductory statement of an expository nature. Such an organization may be invited by the President of the Council or the Chairman of the committee, with the consent of the relevant body, to make, in the course of the discussion of the item before the Council or before the committee, an additional statement for purposes of clarification.

Part V

CONSULTATION WITH COMMISSIONS AND OTHER SUBSIDIARY ORGANS OF THE COUNCIL

26. The provisional agenda of sessions of commissions and other subsidiary organs of the Council shall be communicated to organizations in categories I and II and those on the Roster.

27. Organizations in category I may propose items for the provisional .agenda of commissions, subject to the following conditions:

(a) An organization which intends to propose such an item shall inform the Secretary-General of the United Nations at least sixty-three days before the commencement of the session and before formally proposing an item shall give due consideration to any comments the Secretary-General may make.

(b) The proposal shall be formally submitted with the relevant basic documentation not later than forty-nine days before the commencement of the session, The item shall be included in the agenda of the commission if it is adopted by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.

Attendance at meetings

28. Organizations in categories I and II may designate authorized representatives to sit as observers at public meetings of the commissions and other subsidiary organs of the Council. Organizations on the Roster may have representatives present at such meetings which are concerned with matters within their field of competence.

Written statements

29. Written statements relevant to the work of the commissions or other subsidiary organs may be submitted by organizations in categories I and II on subjects for which these organizations have a special competence. Such statements shall be circulated by the Secretary-General to members of the commission or other subsidiary organs, except those statements which have become obsolete, for example those dealing with matters already disposed of and those which have already been circulated in some other form to members of the commission or other subsidiary organs.

30. The following conditions shall be observed regarding the submission and circulation of such written statements:

(a) The written statement shall be submitted in one of the official languages.

(b) It shall be submitted in sufficient time for appropriate consultation to take place between the Secretary-General and the organization before circulation,

(c) the organization shall give due consideration to any comments which the Secretary-General may make in the course of such consultation before transmitting the statement in final form.

(d) A written statement submitted by an organization in category I will be circulated in full if it does not exceed 2,000 words. Where a statement is in excess of 2,000 words, the organization shall submit a summary, which will be circulated, or shall supply sufficient copies of the full text in the working languages for distribution. A statement will also be circulated in full, however, upon the specific request of the commission or other subsidiary organs.

(e) A written statement submitted by an organization in category II will be circulated in full if it does not exceed 1,500 words. Where a statement is in excess of 1,500 words, the organization shall submit a summary which will be circulated, or shall supply sufficient copies of the full text in the working languages for distribution. A statement will also be circulated in full, however, upon the specific request of the commission or other subsidiary organs.

(f) The Secretary-General, consultation with the Chairman of the relevant commission or other subsidiary organ, or the commission of other subsidiary organ itself, may invite organizations on the Roster to submit written statements. The provisions in sub-paragraphs (a), (b), (c) and (e) above shall apply to such statements.

(g) A written statement or summary, as the case may be, will be circulated by the Secretary-General in the working languages and, upon the request of a member of the commission or other subsidiary organ, in any of the official languages.

Hearings

31. (a) The commission or other subsidiary organs may consult with organizations in categories I and II either directly or through a committee or committees established for the purpose. In all cases, such consultations may be arranged on the request of the organization.

(b) On the recommendation of the Secretary-General and at the request of the commission or other subsidiary organs, organizations on the Roster may also be heard by the commission or other subsidiary organs.

Special studies

32. Subject to the relevant rules of procedure on financial implications, a commission may recommend that an organization which has special competence in a particular field should undertake specific studies or investigations or prepare specific papers for the commission. The limitations of paragraph 30 (d) and (e) above shall not apply in this case.

Part VI

CONSULTATIONS WITH AD HOC COMMITTEES OF THE COUNCIL

33. The arrangements for consultation between ad hoc committees of the Council authorized to meet between sessions of the Council and organizations in categories I and II and on the Roster shall follow those approved for commissions of the Council, unless the Council or the committee decides otherwise.

Part VII

CONSULTATION WITH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES CALLED BY THE COUNCIL

34. The Council may invite non-governmental organizations in categories I and II and on the Roster to take part in conferences called by the Council under Article 62, paragraph 4, of the Charter of the United Nations. The organizations shall be entitled to the same rights and privileges and shall undertake the same responsibilities as at sessions of the Council itself, unless the Council decides otherwise.

Part VIII

SUSPENSION AND WITHDRAWAL OF CONSULTATIVE STATUS

35. Organizations granted consultative status by the Council and those on the Roster shall conform at all times to the principles governing the establishment and nature of their consultative relations with the Council. In periodically reviewing the activities of the non-governmental organizations on the basis of reports submitted under paragraph 40 (b) below and other relevant information, the Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations shall determine the extent to which the organizations have complied with the principles governing consultative status and have contributed to the work of the Council, and may recommend to the Council suspension or exclusion from consultative status of organizations which have not met the requirements for consultative status as set forth in the present resolution.

36. The consultative status of non-governmental organizations with the Economic and Social Council and the listing of those on the Roster shall be suspended up to three years or withdrawn in the following cases:

(a) If there exists substantiated evidence of secret governmental financial influence to induce an organization to undertake acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations;

(b) If the organization clearly abuses its consultative status by systematically engaging in unsubstantiated or politically motivated acts against States Members of the United Nations contrary to and incompatible with the principles of the Charter;

(c) If, within the preceding three years, an organization had not made any positive or effective contribution to the work of the Council or its commissions or other subsidiary organs.

37. The consultative status of organizations on the categories I and II and the listing of those on the Roster will be suspended or withdrawn by the decision of the Economic and Social Council on the recommendation of its Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations.

38. An organization whose consultative status or whose listing on the Roster is withdrawn may be entitled to reapply for consultative status or for inclusion on the Roster not sooner than three years after the effective date of such withdrawal.

Part IX

COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

39. The members of the Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations shall be elected at the first session of the Council each year, on the basis of equitable geographic representation, in accordance with Council resolution 1099 (XL) of 4 March 1966 and rule 82 of the rules of procedure of the Council. The Committee shall elect its Chairman and other officers as necessary. A member shall serve until the next election unless it ceases to be a member of the Council.

40. The functions of the Committee shall include the following:

(a) The Committee shall hold a session before the first session of the Council each year to consider applications for consultative status in categories I and II and for listing on the Roster made by non-governmental organizations and request for changes in status, and to make recommendations thereon to the Council. Organizations shall give due consideration to any comments on technical matters which the Secretary-General of the United Nations may make in receiving such applications for the Committee. The Committee shall consider at each such session applications received by the Secretary-General not later than June 1 of the preceding year, on which sufficient data have been distributed to the members of the Committee not later than six weeks before the applications are considered by the Committee at the earliest at its first session in the second year following the session at which the substance of the previous application or request was considered, unless at the time of such consideration it was decided otherwise.

(b) Organizations in consultative status in categories I and II shall submit to the Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations through the Secretary-General every fourth year a brief report of their activities, specifically as regards the support they have given to the work of the United Nations, Based on findings of the Committee's examination of the report and other relevant information, the Committee may recommend to the Council any reclassification in status of the organization concerned as it deems appropriate. However, under exceptional circumstances, the Committee may ask for such a report from an individual organization in category I or II or on the Roster, between the regular reporting dates.

(c) The Committee may consult, in connexion with sessions of the Council or at such other times as it may decide, with organizations in categories I and II on matters within their competence, other than items on the agenda of the Council or the Committee or the organization requests consultation. The Committee shall report to the Council on such consultations.

(d) The Committee may consult, in connexion with any particular session of the Council, with organizations in categories I and II on matters within the competence of the organizations concerning specific items on the provisional agenda of the Council on which the Council of the Committee or the organization requests consultation, and shall make recommendation as to which organizations, subject to the provisions of paragraph 25 (a) above, should be heard by the Council or the appropriate committee and regarding which subjects should be heard, The Committee shall report to the Council on such consultations.

(e) The Committee shall consider matters concerning non-governmental organizations which may be referred to it by the Council or by commissions.

(f) The Committee shall consult with the Secretary-General, as appropriate, on matters affecting the consultative arrangements under Article 71 of the Charter, and arising therefrom.

41. The Committee, in considering a request from a non-governmental organization in category I that an item be placed on the agenda of the Council, shall take into account, among other things:

(a) The adequacy of the documentation submitted by the organization;

(b) The extent to which it is considered that the item lends itself to early and constructive action by the Council;

(c) The possibility that the item might be more appropriately dealt with elsewhere than in the Council.

42. Any decision by the Council Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations not to grant a request submitted by a non-governmental organization in category I that an item be placed on the provisional agenda of the Council shall be considered as final unless the Council decides otherwise.

Part X

CONSULTATION WITH THE SECRETARIAT

43. The Secretariat should be so organized as to enable it to carry out the duties assigned to it concerning the consultative arrangements as set forth in the present resolution.

44. All organizations in consultative relationship shall be able to consult with officers of the appropriate sections of the Secretariat on matters in which there is a mutual interest or a mutual concern. Such consultation shall be upon the request of the non-governmental organization or upon the request of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

45. The Secretary-General may request organizations in categories I and II and those on the Roster to carry out specific studies or prepare specific papers, subject to the relevant financial regulations.

46. The Secretary-General shall be authorized, within the means at his disposal, to offer to non-governmental organizations in consultative relationship facilities which include:

(a) Prompt and efficient distribution of such documents of the Council and its subsidiary bodies as shall in the judgement of the Secretary-General be appropriate;

(b) Access to the press documentation services provided by the United Nations;

(c) Arrangement of informal discussions on matters of special interest to groups or organizations;

(d) Use of the libraries of the United Nations;

(e) Provision of accommodation for conferences or smaller meetings of consultative organizations on the work of the Economic and Social Council;

(f) Appropriate seating arrangements and facilities for obtaining documents during public meetings of the General Assembly dealing with matters in the economic and social fields.

1520th plenary meeting, 23 May 1968