Remarks at the opening session of the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

Sofija Korac
ECOSOC Adviser
New York, NY
August 29, 2022


Thank you, Madame Chair.

We welcome our fellow Committee members, observer states, and civil society representatives to this session and look forward to working together in the coming days.

In July, the United States joined likeminded countries in presenting for a vote at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) a group of organizations whose applications had been targeted for their work and had been deferred for too long. We acted to counter the continued misuse of the “no objection basis” by some members, which has led to the gross politicization of this Committee. We were pleased that ECOSOC members voted to accredit these legitimate and credible organizations on July 21.

Unfortunately, the organizations approved this past July represent only a few of the many legitimate organizations that have been waiting for years to be granted consultative status. Furthermore, NGOs working on issues of human rights, marginalized groups, and drug policy are frequently targeted and their applications are deferred year after year.

We also note the number of NGOs applying for consultative status has nearly doubled over the past decade, with the Committee reviewing 1,152 applications total in 2022, compared to 624 in 2012. At the same time, the percentage of applications deferred each session is also increasing, reaching 60 percent in the May 2022 session, compared to 47 percent a decade ago in 2012. As we face global challenges — including democratic backsliding, racial and ethnic discrimination, and the impacts of war and climate change — it is critical that we include civil society voices in the work of the UN. It is imperative that the Committee do more to accredit credible civil society organizations, without regard to political views.

We are pleased that the Secretariat will facilitate a much overdue NGO Committee consultation with civil society organizations at the end of the year. We look forward to receiving recommendations on how the Committee can better fulfill its mandate of enabling civil society voices in the UN.

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

Thank you, Madame Chair.