Opening Remarks at the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

Sofija Korac
Advisor for Economic and Social Affairs
New York, New York
January 22, 2024

AS DELIVERED

Thank you, Madame Chair. I wanted to join others in congratulating you on your appointment.

We welcome our fellow Committee members, observer states, and civil society representatives to this session and look forward to a constructive session.

The United States is deeply committed to promoting the meaningful participation of non-governmental organizations in the United Nations system, without regard to their political beliefs.

We will continue to support the accreditation of non-governmental organizations, including those with whom we disagree and those that criticize the United States or our partners. Our rationale for this position is simple: providing diverse NGOs a platform to participate in the UN system makes this institution and its member states stronger and more responsive to their citizens.

We regret that the continued misuse of the “no objection basis” by some members of the NGO Committee has led to the politicization of this Committee. But we refuse to stand by and do nothing as legitimate NGOs are punished for seeking to hold governments accountable.

In 2022 and 2023, the United States was proud to join our partners in presenting for a vote at the Economic and Social Council a group of organizations who were targeted for political reasons and deferred accreditation for far too long. We were pleased that ECOSOC members voted to accredit these legitimate and credible organizations over the last several years.

Unfortunately, the organizations approved the last two years represent only a handful of the many legitimate organizations that have been waiting for years to be granted consultative status. We remain concerned that the percentage of applications deferred each session is increasing and

NGOs working on issues of human rights, marginalized groups, and drug policy are frequently targeted for deferral.

We also note the difficulty and undue burden that the working methods of this committee place on NGOs seeking NGO accreditation, especially those NGOs from the global south who do not have the funds to travel to New York and engage with the committee membership. Because of this, we were quite supportive of the hybrid Q&A proposal, and regret that we still have not come to consensus on this very important proposal, which would benefit all NGOs, especially those in the global south.

Finally, we were pleased that the Secretariat facilitated a long-overdue NGO Committee consultation with civil society organizations in 2022, but are disappointed that this was not continued in 2023. We will continue to insist that the NGO Committee facilitate these regular consultations, ideally ahead of each January and May session, as mandated by resolution 1996/31. Without these consultations, the Committee is failing to meet its mandate.

To this end, we welcome the joint initiative by the UK and Costa Rica as outlined by our colleague Daniel from Costa Rica. We will engage constructively and think this is long overdue.

We request that this statement be reflected in the report of the Committee.

Thank you.

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