Since its inception in 1948, the Quaker United Nations
Office in New York and Geneva has been able to promote Friends concerns
for peace and the needs of God's world and God's people through accreditation
with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN. This office
works under the name of FWCC, which has Special Consultative Status
with ECOSOC. Special Status, as outlined below, is granted to organisations
with a specialized knowledge in one specific subject or geographic area
in which the UN works. organisations with General Status must demonstrate
a wider geographic base and subject area.
In July 2002, FWCC was moved from Special Status to General
Status. By this move, the UN has recognized that Friends do work of
importance in a very broad range of international concerns. Our new
status gives our representatives at the QUNO offices easier access to
UN bodies, the ability to submit longer statements than those with Specific
Status on specific areas of UN work, and also to suggest agenda items
to the Economic and Social Council.
Some of the
work that has led to this recognition:
- Study of financing for development, leading
to the writing of a booklet as a guide to the topic, which is in
- Involvement in the Campaign to Ban Landmines.
- Co-operation with groups from many countries
working on the supply of and demand for small arms.
- New work on the prevention of violent conflict;
promoting alternative ways to deal with disputes.
- 25 years' work to end the recruitment and deployment
of child soldiers, which has led to an international agreement. Work
continues in the areas of children's human rights, status in justice
systems, labor and health.
- Seminars over many years on forests which have
brought this concern firmly into the UN consciousness.
- Promotion (by volunteer FWCC representatives)
of restorative justice - moving from a punitive approach to involving
offender, victim and community in setting things right. The UN bodies
concerned have now taken up the restorative justice principle.
- Opportunities over many years for diplomats,
UN staff and other to meet in a quiet, non-combative setting, to listen
to one another and to work informally.
- Support of the process to reform the UN Security
- Assisting the World Trade organisation to hear
the voices of developing nations, unrepresented workers, small farmers
and indigenous peoples; working for better protection of labor rights
and traditional crop varieties, and availability of medicines.
- Work on conscientious objection to military
service which led to the UN recognizing
it as a human right
- An international Quaker presence at the World
Conference against Racism, offering opportunities for listening and
dialogue in a climate of anger and suspicion.
And much more.
Currently, there are 2143 Non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) affiliated
with the UN in all possible status categories. Of that number, only
130 have been accorded General Status.
ECOSOC Resolution on
The numbered paragraphs below come directly from
ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31, and further delineate NGO relationships
with the UN:
21.- In establishing consultative relationships with each
organisation, 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.
22.- organisations that are concerned with most of the activities of
the Council and its subsidiary bodies and can demonstrate to the satisfaction
of the Council that they have substantive and sustained contributions
to make to the achievement of the objectives of the United Nations in
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 society in a large number of countries in different
regions of the world shall be known as organisations in General consultative
23.- organisations that have a special competence in, and are concerned
specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity covered by the
Council and its subsidiary bodies, and that are known within the fields
for which they have or seek consultative status shall be known as organisations
in Special consultative status.
24.- Other organisations that do not have general or special consultative
status but that the Council, or the Secretary-General of the United
Nations in consultation with the Council or its Committee on Non-Governmental
organisations, 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 organisations in
consultative status or a similar relationship with a specialized agency
or a United Nations body. These organisations shall be available for
consultation at the request of the Council or its subsidiary bodies.
The fact that an organisation is on the Roster shall not in itself be
regarded as a qualification for general or special consultative status
should an organisation seek such status.
25.- organisations to be accorded special consultative status because
of their interest in the field of human rights should pursue the goals
of promotion and protection of human rights in accordance with the spirit
of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
26.- Major organisations 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
The entire resolution, containing all relevant information,
can be found at http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo.
Letter Granting General
The following letter was sent from the NGO Section
of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN to the Friends
World Committee for Consultation in November of 2002:
We would like to inform you that
the Economic and Social Council, at its Substantive Session on
July 2002, decided to grant
General consultative status to the organisation, "Friends World
Committee for Consultation".
The organisation may now designate official representatives
to the United Nations - to the United Nations Headquarters in New
York, and the United Nations offices in Geneva and Vienna. Designated
representatives must pick up their passes in person at the designated
site. Needless to say, the regular presence of your organisation will
allow your organisation to implement effectively and fruitfully the
provisions for this consultative relationship.
Please note, in particular, Parts II, IV, and VII and
the Council Resolution 1966/31 describing the procedures for carrying
out your consultative relationship with the Council. Also, kindly
note that in Part IX, paragraph 61c which requests that organisations
in General and Special consultative status submit quadrennial reports
on their activities for the four-year period 2002-2005 to the Committee
in 2006. You will be advised of the modalities for completing your
report in due course. Meanwhile, we suggest that you maintain detailed
records of your activities.
The United Nations issues a calendar
of meetings and conferences, which can be obtained by your representatives
United Nations sites. Every year, you will receive from this office
the "Calendar of United Nations meetings open to participation
by or of special interest to NGOs in consultative status". The
latest copy of the calendar and other NGO-related information can
also be found on the NGO Sections homepage at http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo.
Finally, should you wish to indicate
your status with the United Nations of your letterhead, please
use the following wording: "NGO in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social
Council of the United Nations". The United Nations emblem may
not be used, unless expressed approval has been granted by the Legal
Office of the United Nations. This is neither granted for stationery
use, nor for any printed materials describing your organisation.
We look forward to a productive relationship with your
organisation and its representatives.
The Quaker United Nations Office is deeply pleased
that the UN has granted FWCC General Consultative Status.
Geneva | New York
Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)
Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW)