News

Are women making any progress in participation in leadership and decision-making? Three NGO leaders ask on the eve of 2021 International Women’s Day

New York, 5 March 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) – “Women enable a just, equitable and peaceful world,” said the presidents of Soroptimist International (Sharon Fisher), International Alliance of Women (Cheryl Hayles), and Associated Country Women of the World (Magdie de Kock) in a joint statement they issued on the occasion of the 2021 International Women’s Day on March 8.

“Women and girls of all ages deserve a seat at the table in public life, leadership and decision-making. Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. To make that a reality, all states, the private sector, civil society, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders must work in collaboration,” the women leaders asserted.

The statement also called on the sixty-fifth session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) to take leadership in the development and implementation of new laws, regulations and social justice programmes that respond to women’s and girls’ under-participation and under-representation in leadership. The theme of CSW65 is focused on women in public life and equal participation in decision-making.

The joint statement was warmly received by Liberato Bautista, the president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), who helped produce it. The three organizations issuing the statement are full members of CoNGO. Soroptimist International and International Alliance of Women are current members of the CoNGO Board.

“Joint statements are an effective means of conveying to the United Nations our collective understandings of, and agreements and unities, as segments of civil society, on substantive issues that are on the UN agenda,” Bautista said. “Consultation and collaboration are valued good NGO practices,” he added.

Other CoNGO members that have issued statements on the International Women’s Day include the International Council of Women and the Universal Esperanto Association.A statement issued on November 15, 2020 and submitted to the CSW65 by members of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women Vienna, underscored many of the points raised by these statements.

NGO concerns on the overall agenda of gender equality, equity and justice are highlighted once again this year at the NGO CSW FORUM65 with varied program offerings starting on March 14 and ending on March 26.

CoNGO president, three other NGO leaders, join in a statement on the International Day of Education 2021

News in French. News in Spanish.

New York City, 24 January 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) — Education is a human right. Inclusion and equity are crucial for transformative education. Education as common public good requires public funding. Education at primary and secondary levels is universal and adult education primordial. Online education has blessings and perils. Safety and wellbeing is crucial at education venues. Education must be portable across borders. Global citizenship education is critical to multilateral collaboration. Educate to increase hope and decrease fear.

These are the thematic headings of a 26-point statement issued on the occasion of the International Day of Education 2021 by Liberato C. Bautista, president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), and joined by Maria Helen Dabu, secretary general of the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), Franklin Shaffer, president and chief executive officer of CGFNS International, and Montse Rafel, director general of Dianova International.

The statement reaffirmed education as a human right, a public good and a public responsibility, and must be publicly funded.

The leaders recognized the blessings and perils of online education, naming the digital divide  exacerbated by the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the same vein, they recognized the importance of education especially for health and allied professions and their portability across borders, given the high demand but shortage of health workers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Education must foster civic engagement, democratic participation and social innovation, ” the statement said. “Now is the time to develop global civic consciousness and innovate on a global civics education that fosters global citizenship and multilateral collaboration. Each of our countries, our people and the planet will be better for it.”

The leaders spoke of basic and adult education in a time of intersecting pandemics. They called for “education to increase hope and decrease fear.”

“Education must expose fear brought about by threats to and violations against the dignity and human rights of persons, such as those generated by increasing racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance that alienate and divide people and communities from one another. These, on top of fears and anxieties resulting from intersecting crises of pandemic proportions—health crisis, racial crisis, climate crisis, migration crisis, economic crisis, violence, and more.”

The statement closed with an urgent call for “advocacy and partnerships for education among civil society organizations, and among NGOs, the UN System, and States.”

Read the full statement here.

See related story.

In new year message, CoNGO president rallies NGOs to increase hope and decrease fear

New York City, 4 January 2021 (CoNGO InfoNews) —  In a new year message, CoNGO president Liberato (Levi) Bautista called on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to decrease fear and increase hope. He lamented the surplus of fear and deficit of hope in the year just ended.

“To decrease fear, we must continually affirm human dignity and human rights as inherent, inalienable, indivisible and interdependent. To increase hope, we must build a common future for all the inhabitants of the earth and their natural ecology, refusing pillage and plunder in our economic life, and instead, promoting and safeguarding the common public goods and services indispensable to securing life and life’s flourishing” Bautista said.

President Bautista foresees more consultation and collaboration with all its members and partners, and with the numerous entities of the United Nations System. This statement comes  after meetings in late December of 2020 with Marc-André Dorel and Lydiya Grigoreva. Dorel is officer-in-charge of the NGO branch at the office of intergovernmental support and coordination for sustainable development at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Grigoreva is the head of the NGO liaison unit of the Office of the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

A global briefing on UN-NGO relations and areas of consultation and collaboration is envisioned to be held sometime in February. NGO liaison officers at UN Office at Vienna will be contacted.

In issuing President Bautista’s message in English, French, Spanish and Esperanto, CoNGO aimed to reach more of its growing membership and constituency, hoping to engage them in varied arenas of collaboration and cooperation. Membership recruitment is also ongoing. Under Bautista’s leadership, eighteen NGOs have been added to CoNGO’s membership roll which stands at a little over 500.

President Bautista also announced a discount of 25 percent in membership dues for NGOs whose applications for new membership are approved and paid by the end of February.

Read the full text of President Bautista’s new year message in four languages, here.

Learn more about how to become a CoNGO member here. Get the application form here.

UN Office at Geneva and World Academy of Art and Science lead e-Conference on Global Leadership in the 21st Century; partners include CoNGO

UPDATE: See UNOG news release.

14 December 2020, New York City (CoNGO InfoNews) – An e-conference on Global Leadership in the 21st Century will be held on 15 and 16 December, under the joint leadership of the  United Nations Office at Geneva and the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS). The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) is one among 24 partner organizations from the UN System, academia, civil society, foundations and the private sector.

In an advance message, CoNGO President Liberato C. Bautista said: “Global leadership today must have a focus and a locus at once local and global. It will require transborder and transnational organizing, and mobilizing for glocal consciousness and action.”

At this two-day conference, the results of a year-long project to develop catalytic strategies to address the challenges of global leadership facing the world will be presented.  Online events will include sessions on peace and human security, economy and employment, health and food security, environment, finance, education, civil society, the media, youth networks, social movements, and integration of research and implementation.

Speakers include UN Office at Geneva Director General Tatiana Valovaya, Columbia University Center for Sustainable Development Director Jeffrey Sachs, actress and activist Jane Fonda, WAAS President and CEO Garry Jacobs, and numerous political, civil society and thought leaders from around the world.

The President of CoNGO, Liberato C. Bautista, will address the conference at 11:00AM (Geneva) | 05:00AM (New York) at the panel on “Mobilizing Civil Society: Building Global Social Consciousness”.

For further information and registration, please see http://bit.ly/3oGUtOO, the agenda and schedule at https://bit.ly/3gNcuYF and speaker bios here. Videos will be available online after the event, at the World Academy of Art and Science.

NGOs reaffirm role at the UN, but worry about access restrictions especially in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic

New York, 30 November 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) – More than a hundred NGOs related to the United Nations have joined CoNGO—the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations—in a statement reaffirming the importance of NGO access to and at the United Nations. More NGOs are expected to endorse the statement according to Liberato Bautista, CoNGO President, who welcomed the big number of endorsements in the first thirty-six hours since the call to sign on was sent to NGO leaders. (List of endorsements is found at the end of this story).

CoNGO issued the statement on the eve of two important meetings at the United Nations this week, the UN General Assembly Special Session in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on 3 to 4 December 2020 and a panel discussion on 4 December dealing with strengthening participation, protection and participation of civic space.

The statement asserted that “NGO access to and at the UN is a major channel through which NGOs assert their voice and exercise their agency throughout the UN System, contributing their expertise, commitment, energy,  and substantive input to policy-making processes. CoNGO has constantly striven to ensure and defend the free exchange of ideas among all parties at the United Nations, including in relation to UN Summits and Conventions.”

A November 18 consultation convened by CoNGO provided the latest assessment by nongovernmental organizations of the state of access experienced by their representatives, especially in UN Centres like New York, Geneva and Vienna. Many participants agreed that the “current coronavirus disease pandemic restrictions are a serious, though unavoidable, handicap to regular NGO contacts with UN officials and government delegates.”

An earlier dialogue, also convened by CoNGO, held 5 March 2020, between NGOs and the acting chief of the civil society branch of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Marc-André Dorel, and the chair of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, Mr. Mohamed Sallam provided the opportunities for NGOs to illustrate their determination to reinforce their “long-term engagement in promoting and enhancing NGO access to and participation in the United Nations System”.

The full statement may be viewed here.

NGOs related to the UN may endorse the Statement here.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Organizational Endorsements as of 09 January 2020, 12:00 PM EST New York

  1. The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO)

and the following NGOs in consultative status with the UN, plus others in associated and observer relations (*) and other arrangements (**), have joined together to endorse the Statement on NGO Access to and at the United Nations in  the Time of COVID-19 Pandemic:

  1. AFEW International
  2. African Action on Aids (AAA)
  3. Africa Network of People Who Use Drugs (AfricanPUD)**
  4. Agora of the Inhabitants of the Earth**
  5. Alcohol and Drug Foundation
  6. Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice*
  7. American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA)*
  8. American Psychological Association
  9. Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS)
  10. Appui Solidaire pour le Renforcement de l’Aide au Developpement
  11. Arab Society for Academic Freedoms (ASAF)
  12. Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)**
  13. Asociación Latinoamericana de Derechos Humanos (ALDHU)**
  14. Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE)
  15. Association for Farmers Rights Defense (AFRD)
  16. Association for Promotion of Sustainable Development
  17. Association Montessori Internationale*
  18. Basel Peace Office**
  19. Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation
  20. CGFNS International, Inc.
  21. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  22. CREDO-ACTION
  23. Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI)
  24. Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  25. Centre for Social Research (CSR), India
  26. Childhood Education International (CEI)*
  27. Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI)
  28. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd
  29. Observatory of Crops and Cultivators Declared Illicit (OCCDI Global)**
  30. Congregation of the Mission
  31. DRCNet Foundation, Inc
  32. Dianova International
  33. Dominican Leadership Conference
  34. Drug Policy Australia
  35. Election Network in the Arab Region (ENAR)
  36. End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT-USA)
  37. Environment Liaison Centre International (ELCI)
  38. European Union of Women (EUW)
  39. Families of the Missing
  40. Fédération Internationale des Associations de Personnes Âgées (FIAPA)
  41. Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas (FAWCO)
  42. Feminist Task Force**
  43. Fondazione PROCLADE Internazionale-Onlus*
  44. Fondazione Villa Maraini**
  45. Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)**
  46. Fundacion Latinoamerica Reforma (LAR)
  47. Fundacion para Estudio e Investigacion de la Mujer
  48. Fundamental Human Rights & Rural Development Association (FHRRDA)
  49. Global Distribution Advocates, Inc.
  50. Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD)
  51. Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime*
  52. Grupo de Mujeres de la Argentina – Foro de VIH Mujeres Familia
  53. Guild of Service, The
  54. Haiti Cholera Research Funding Foundation, Inc. USA
  55. Initiative for Peace and Innovation (IPI)**
  56. Institute for Research and Development “Utrip” (UTRIP)**
  57. Inter Press Service (IPS)
  58. Intercambios Asociación Civil
  59. International Alliance of Women (IAW)
  60. International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
  61. International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG)
  62. International Association of Judges (IAJ-UIM)
  63. International Centre for Environmental Education and Community Development (ICENECDEV)
  64. International Council of Nurses (ICN)
  65. International Council of Women (ICW-CIF)
  66. International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
  67. International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW)
  68. International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers
  69. International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)
  70. International Federation of Women in Legal Careers (IFWLC)
  71. International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
  72. International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
  73. International Inner Wheel
  74. International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD)
  75. International Peace Research Association (IPRA)
  76. International Public Relations Association (IPRA)
  77. International Presentation Association (IPA)
  78. International Real Estate Federation, The (FIABCI)
  79. International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA)
  80. International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD)
  81. International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS)
  82. International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN)
  83. Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air (KRuHA) (People’s Coalition for the Right to Water)*
  84. Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP)
  85. Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
  86. Make Mothers Matter (MMM)
  87. Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Inc.
  88. Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA)
  89. Middle East & North Africa Harm Reduction Association (MENAHRA)**
  90. Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI)*
  91. Moms Stop the Harm**
  92. NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, Inc.
  93. Narconon Nigeria Initiative
  94. National Campaign for Sustainable Development, Nepal**
  95. New Future Foundation, Inc.
  96. New Humanity
  97. Nonviolence International
  98. Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF)
  99. Pan Pacific and South East Asia Women’s Association (PPSEAWA)
  100. Passionists International
  101. Peace, Education, Art, Communication (PEAC) Institute
  102. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
  103. Planetary Association for Clean Energy, The
  104. Red Dot Foundation
  105. Salesian Missions Inc.
  106. Save Cambodia
  107. Servas International
  108. Seventh Day Adventist Church
  109. Sisters of Charity Federation
  110. Soka Gakkai International (SGI)
  111. Socialist International Women (SIW)
  112. Soroptimist International (SI)
  113. Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem (OSMTH)
  114. Sri Swami Madhavananda World Peace Council (SSMWPC)
  115. TalentPlus Resources International (TRI)**
  116. Tanzania Peace, Legal Aid and Justice Center (PLAJC)**
  117. The Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Conservation
  118. Tinker Institute on International Law and Organizations
  119. To Love Children Educational Foundation International
  120. Tribal Link Foundation, Inc.
  121. Tripla Difesa Onlus
  122. Trust for Youth Child Leadership (TYCL)
  123. UNANIMA International
  124. UNIDOS – Rede Nacional Sobre Droga & HIV**
  125. Union of International Associations (UIA)
  126. Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)*
  127. United Methodist Church—General Board of Church and Society (UMC-GBCS)
  128. United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA)
  129. Universal Esperanto-Association (UEA)
  130. Universal Peace Federation (UPF)
  131. VIVAT International
  132. Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (DBA Women First International Fund)
  133. WUZDA Ghana
  134. West Africa Drug Policy Network*
  135. Women for Peace and Gender Equality Initiative*
  136. World Development Foundation (WDF)
  137. World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)
  138. World Student Christian Federation (WSCF)
  139. Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa
  140. Yayasan Wadah Titian Harapan (Wadah Foundation)
  141. Young Global Leadership Foundation, Inc. (YGLF)
  142. Youth Foundation of Bangladesh
  143. Zenab for Women Development
  144. Zonta International

Photo courtesy of Globalt Fokus.

________________

The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) is an international NGO founded in 1948. It has general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. For more information about this story, the Statement, and CoNGO, contact Liberato C. Bautista, CoNGO President at president@ngocongo.org.

CoNGO President joins heads of IPPNW and PEAC Institute in welcoming entry into force of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

NEWS FLASH:  (15 January 2021) With everything happening in the world right now, it’s wonderful to have a reason to celebrate. On January 22, 2021, the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons is entering into force, establishing in international law a categorical ban on nuclear weapons, seventy-five years after their development and first use! See PEAC’s invitation to celebrate.

New York, 16 November 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) – Three heads of organizations, including the president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), join to welcome the imminent entry into force of the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. “The TPNW fills a gap in international law that for far too long saw the most destructive weapon ever invented, the only weapon which poses an acute existential threat to all humanity and to the biosphere, as the only weapon of mass destruction not expressly prohibited under international law”, they said.

Together with Liberato Bautista of CoNGO, the statement was signed by Michael Christ, executive director of the 1985 Nobel Peace laureate International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and Rebecca Irby, president of Peace, Education, Art, Communication (PEAC) Institute. IPPNW and PEAC Institute are partners of the 2017 Nobel Peace laureate International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons. They are both full member organizations of CoNGO.

The full statement is available here.

Related stories:

PEAC Institute press release.

IPPNW

 

NGO Committee on Ageing and UN DESA mark the International Day of Older Persons, stress human rights of the ageing

New York City, 31 October 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) – “Older persons must be a priority and we must expand opportunities for their involvement,” according to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, speaking at the opening of a meeting on October 1, 2020, to mark the UN International Day of Older Persons.  Organized by the NGO Committee on Ageing (New York) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the on-line meeting addressed the question “Pandemics:  How Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”

Set in the context of the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and the Midwife and its Decade of Health Ageing 2020-2030, the meeting, viewed online by some 3500 people, was hosted by the International Federation on Aging and co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations in collaboration with the Group of Friends of Older Persons.

President of the UN General Assembly Ambassador Volkan Bozkir, in his video message to the meeting, pointed out that the seventy fifth anniversary of the United Nations will forever be remembered as the year of COVID-19.  Calling on all member states to reach out to older persons, he added: “We are only as safe as the most vulnerable members of society.”

Also addressing the meeting, the chair of the UN Commission on Social Development, Argentine ambassador Maria del Carmen Squeff stressed the need for added protections for the human rights of older persons.

Cynthia Stuen, chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing (New York) and UN representative of the  International Federation on Ageing, provided a historical overview of the UN’s attention to ageing issues, paying tribute to the late Julia T. Alvarez, known as “the Ambassador of Ageing”  to the UN, and to those UN agencies and NGO Committees which had helped put the issue of ageing on the UN agenda. Among the highlights: the First (1982) and Second (2002) World Assemblies on Ageing, the adoption of the UN Principles for Older Persons (1991), the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (2002), the International Year of Older Persons (1999),  International Year of Older Persons (1999, and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015).

“This pandemic,” Ms. Stuen concluded, “is a human rights issue.” The Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) must be “one of action and a reminder that older persons’ rights are human rights,” she added.

Also featured on the programme were an address by Elizabeth Iro, Chief Nursing Officer at the World Health Organization, on the four actions called for in the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030), and an interactive dialogue among five panellists, moderated by Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing. In the panel were Peggy Hicks, of the office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights; Sir Michael Marmot, Director of the Institute of Health Equity, University College London; John K. Shakpeh, Director of Nursing at Redemption Hospital, Monrovia. Liberia; Jean Accius, of AARP International, and Ritu Sadana, from the World Health Organization.

Concluding remarks came from the First Lady of Chile, Cecelia Morel Montes, on behalf of the Group of Friends of Older Persons, and Masumi Ono, on behalf of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). The programme was chaired by Martha Bial, with co-chair, Bette Levy, both leaders of the NGO Committee on Ageing (New York). Generous contributions from IFA, AARP and M&T Bank made this observance possible.

The NGO Committee on Ageing in New York is one of more than thirty substantive committees of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO). There are also counterpart committees on ageing in Geneva and Vienna.

View entire programme.
See UN story about the event.
See flyer and program schedule of the event.
See postcard of event.
Download HelpAge International’s communication toolkit.

CoNGO President congratulates the UN World Food Programme for receiving 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

New York City, 12 October 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) — The president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with the United Nations (CoNGO) issued today a statement congratulating the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for receiving the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

The full statement of President Liberato C. Bautista, is as follows:

On behalf of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), I congratulate the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) on its receiving the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition both of its many years of action to  alleviate hunger across the world and of its relief work during this time of pandemic.

The award to the WFP is a yes to food security and a no to “the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.” In their announcement of the award, the Norwegian Nobel Committee stated: “The link between hunger and armed conflict is a vicious circle: war and conflict can cause food insecurity and hunger, just as hunger and food insecurity can cause latent conflicts to flare up and trigger the use of violence. We will never achieve the goal of zero hunger unless we also put an end to war and armed conflict.”

Funded by the voluntary contributions of UN Member States and of civil society worldwide, the World Food Programme is a shining example of cooperation between government on the one hand and civil society on the other. Much of its work is dependent on partnership with non-governmental organizations of the kind that the Conference of NGOs is proud to represent.

At this time of crisis, when many governments are struggling to feed their people, and in which the incidence of poverty is rising because of economic disruption, CoNGO calls on UN Member States to support the global work of the World Food Programme, on nongovernmental organizations to work increasingly together to redouble their efforts to achieve the same goals, and on people of goodwill everywhere to play their part both in supporting the World Food Programme and in urging their governments to do the same.

__________________

For a printable version of the statement, visit www.ngocongo.org
Visit WFP for more information.
For more information on the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, visit the Nobel Prize.

Language and languages to get greater attention by NGOs at the UN

New York City, 30 September 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) — The formation of an NGO Committee on Language and Languages is underway under the auspices of CoNGO (The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations). The full text of the proposal is available here.

The Committee will be based in New York and will accept membership from NGO representatives from around the world. Its proponent, Humphrey Tonkin, propounds that “Fundamental to the work of the United Nations is the spoken and written word. The United Nations is a place of negotiation and action in which language and communication underlie everything that it does.”

“The UN Secretariat works in two languages; the General Assembly works in six; the various members of the UN family have their own language policies, intended to promote inclusion. Beyond its official languages, the United Nations interacts with the public in a host of other languages. “

Why language and languages? As the proposal says, the “Committee will cover both language use at the UN (sexist language, the language of hate, the language of peace, human rights language) and the use of languages at the UN (provision of translation and interpretation, documentation, outreach to speakers of other languages, parity among languages, protection and promotion of indigenous languages, etc.).”

Tonkin is on the board of directors of CoNGO. He represents the Universal Esperanto Association as an NGO representative at the United Nations. He is President and University Professor of the Humanities, emeritus, of the University of Hartford in Connecticut.

Tonkin and Chuck Mays recently penned an opinion piece about linguistic equality and justice, including Esperanto opposition “to discrimination on grounds of language, the suppression of minority languages” and how they “favor the promotion of linguistic rights as part of those rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Liberato Bautista, the president of CoNGO, welcomed the move to form the NGO Committee. “I look forward to constituting the committee and welcoming it as an important addition to the 35 NGO committees under CoNGO’s umbrella.”

NGO Committees are either based in New York, Geneva, or Vienna. Today, there are also committees focused on women and gender operating out of four political regions in the world.

The establishment of an NGO committee is guided by the CoNGO Rules, in particular Rules 38 to 48 (see sidebar). Twenty (20) NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status are needed to start the process of constituting the committee.

NGOs interested in becoming inaugural and constituting members of the NGO Committee on Language and Languages must send an email to Humphrey Tonkin (tonkin@hartford.edu) and Liberato Bautista (president@ngocongo.org), indicating their desire to join in forming the committee. Once twenty NGOs have formalized their request to form the Committee, the CoNGO president will call a meeting to constitute the Committee.

To join in forming this new Committee, fill out the form here.

Excerpts from the Rules of CoNGO 

COMMITTEES ON SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES:

38. Committees may be established under the auspices of the Conference in order to promote and facilitate collective work among NGOs on the substantive issues related to programmes, policies and activities of the United Nations system. These committees may organize activities which provide opportunities for NGOs to debate such issues, to articulate their views, to advocate positions with respect to UN resolutions or programmes, and to mobilize public opinion.

39. Committees may be established either by the General Assembly or by the Board at the request of twenty (20) or more Members, which shall specify whether the committee is to be a standing or fixed-term committee. When a decision has been taken to establish such a  committee, the Board shall notify the Members of the Conference and invite all Members to an initial meeting.

See  CoNGO Rules 38 to 48 here that govern NGO substantive committees.

CoNGO President Issues Statement Honoring United Nations Charter Day

We representatives of international NGOs in consultative relationship with the UN fear that while attention is focused on the global health crisis, efforts to address the ongoing climate crisis, achieve sustainable development and gender equality, protect human rights and promote peace are being neglected.”

New York City, 26 June 2020 (CoNGO InfoNews) — The president of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO), Liberato C. Bautista, today issued a statement honoring the United Nations Charter Day. The organization pleaded and demanded that governments “recognize that the civil society organizations in their countries and internationally are a powerful force working for the public good,  acting selflessly to promote and expand those same causes for which the United Nations was established.”

This statement from the CoNGO President follows two other statements by CoNGO. On October 12, 2019, it issued the “CoNGO Declaration on the Occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations”, emphasizing that “the 75th Anniversary…be an occasion for strengthening the United Nations, expanding its role to more effectively engage civil society everywhere.” It also urged “all governments to strengthen their commitment to the United Nations not only morally but also financially and materially.”

On May 12, 2020, it issued the statement “COVID-19 Recovery: Building Back Better.” In the statement, CoNGO called for “global cooperation and solidarity”, especially noting that “nationalism, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, and border closures have too often prevailed. Measures to fight the pandemic have led to restrictions of long-established civic rights and democratic structures. An effective global response will require building consensus and strengthening concerted action to mitigate the multiple challenges we all face.”

Together, the declaration and statement compose CoNGO’s contribution to global dialogue,  conversation, and stock taking around the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations this year.

______________

View a documentary here about the UN Charter’s past, present and future.

For more information about CoNGO and these statements, visit www.ngocongo.org.

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