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UNITED
NATIONS
E

      Economic and Social Council
Distr.
GENERAL
E/2007/32 (Part II)
1 June 2007

Original: English

Substantive session of 2007
Geneva, 2-27 July 2007
Item 12 of the provisional agenda*
Non-governmental organizations





Report of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations on its resumed 2007 session


(New York, 14-18 May 2007)


    Summary

    At its resumed 2007 session, held from 14 to 18 May 2007, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, had before it 136 applications for consultative status, including applications deferred from its 1999 to 2007 sessions. Of those applications, the Committee recommended 89 applications for consultative status, deferred 42 organizations for further consideration at a later date and closed consideration of 3 organizations. It did not recommend consultative status for two organizations deferred from previous sessions. The Committee had before it two requests for reclassification of consultative status, of which it recommended one. In addition, it reviewed 63 quadrennial reports, 6 of which had been deferred from previous sessions. The Committee heard seven representatives of non-governmental organizations.

    The present report contains six draft decisions on matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council.

    /...




* E/2007/100 and Corr.1.



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Chapter II
Applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification


2. The Committee considered item 3 of its agenda at its 14th through 22nd meetings, from 14 to 18 May 2007. It had before it a memorandum by the Secretary-General containing new applications for consultative status received from non-governmental organizations (E/C.2/2007/R.2/Add.22-42), and a memorandum by the Secretary-General containing requests for reclassification from non-governmental organizations (E/C.2/2007/R.3/Add.1), as well as a compilation of applications for consultative status deferred from previous sessions (E/C.2/2007/CRP.7).


A. Applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification deferred from previous sessions of the Committee

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Applications not recommended

7. At its 16th, 17th 21st and 22nd meetings, on 15 and 18 May 2007, the Committee considered the application of the Jewish National Fund, a non-governmental organization deferred from the 2006 session of the Committee.

8. At the 22nd meeting, on 18 May, the representative of Egypt stated that the response provided by the organization to his questions were not sufficient to alleviate his delegation’s concerns vis-à-vis the relationship between the Jewish National Fund and the JNF-KKL (Keren Kayameth LeIsrael), which was established in 1901 and continued to support illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories since 5 June 1967 and to discriminate against Israeli Arabs. He urged the organization to take more time to better present its case and clarify its independence from JNF-KKL, in particular since the organization is registered in the United States of America with the same name. He stressed that the distinction between its activities within the Green Line and those carried out by JNF-KKL still needed to be clarified, noting that insistence on taking action regarding the application for consultative status during the session would leave very little options for many delegations, including his own.

9. The representative of Israel stated that the organization had removed from its website the reference to Gilo Park since the organization was not directly involved in it. He added that the organization had given numerous clarifications and had answered all the questions submitted to it. The organization gave clear answers regarding its independence from KKL. The organization was not political in its motives or activities. Moreover, it had made tremendous contributions to the countries of the Middle East. Its activities were clearly focused on sustainable development and environmental conservation.

10. Several delegations requested to put the application of the organization to a vote.

General statements before the vote

11. General statements before the vote were made by the representatives of the Israel, Qatar and the United States. Statements were also made by the observer delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic and the observer for Palestine. The representative of the United States underlined that the organization had responded to all questions posed by the Committee at the session and at previous ones. He emphasized that the organization was an independent United States charitable organization. The Jewish National Fund (United States) had raised $52 million in charitable donations. The Better Business Bureau and the Charity Navigator had recognized the organization with the highest ratings, based on evaluation of the organization’s financial practices and excellence in non-profit organizational governance. The organization had received support from some 600,000 donors, mostly American. It did not develop projects in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including the West Bank and the Golan Heights. However, the Jewish National Fund (United States) had built 189 reservoirs, providing 15 per cent of Israel’s water needs for agricultural purposes. Furthermore, the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan called for Israel to provide 50 million cubic metres of water per year to Jordan; much of that water was coming from Jewish National Fund (United States) reservoirs. Among other projects, the Jewish National Fund (United States) had founded the International Arid Lands Consortium in 1991 with six United States universities and the Ministries of Agriculture of Egypt and Jordan. The Consortium had worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and many other countries challenged by arid lands. The Jewish National Fund (United States) was not a political organization and deserved to be granted consultative status.

12. The representative of Israel stated that, regrettably, the Committee had failed to debate the professional aspect of the organization and had ignored the contributions of the organization to the work of the Economic and Social Council and related global issues. Instead, it was clear that questions and the process of examination were purely political and irrelevant to the work of the Committee. Israel supported the organization for its contribution to the environment and to issues related to arid land in Israel. Moreover, the organization’s environmental activities benefited other countries around the world, including those in the Middle East, such as Jordan and Egypt.

13. The observer for Palestine, supported by the representative of the Syrian Arab Republic, speaking as an observer State, stated that the organization had not provided information to show that it was not active in the occupied Palestinian territories. Its activities, including those on the Gilo Park project, violated the fourth Geneva Convention, representing a grave breach to Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions and an obstruction to the two-State solution. Consequently, it should not be granted consultative status.

Statement in explanation of vote before the vote

14. A statement in explanation of vote before the vote was made by the representative of Angola.

15. The Committee then proceeded to vote on the proposal to grant consultative status to the non-governmental organization Jewish National Fund, which was rejected by a roll-call vote of 7 in favour to 8 against, with 3 abstentions.

In favour:
Colombia, Israel, Peru, Romania, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America.

Against:
Burundi, China, Cuba, Egypt, Guinea, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sudan.

Abstaining:
Angola, India, Pakistan.

Statements in explanation of vote after the vote

16. Statements in explanation of vote after the vote were made by the representatives of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Pakistan. The representative of the United Kingdom said that he recognized the important environmental work done by the Jewish National Fund (United States). His delegation was greatly concerned, however, by various activities carried out by the organization JNF-KKL, particularly in the occupied Palestinian territories. United Nations resolutions had repeatedly called for all settlement activities to end. He voted in favour of the application of the Jewish National Fund (United States) on the basis of the assurances it had provided to the Committee that they did not undertake projects in the occupied Palestinian territories, or allow their funds to finance such projects. The organization had also been explicit in stating that it neither shared nor supported a land sale approach that discriminated against certain groups of Israeli society. His Government encouraged all members of the Jewish National Fund family to adopt the same policy.

General statement after the vote

17. A general statement after the vote was made by the representative of Israel. The delegate expressed his deep disappointment with the outcome of the vote taken by the Committee on the application submitted by the Jewish National Fund, an organization that played a vital and pivotal role in the field of combating desertification, a pressing issue that had significant implications for the Middle East and the entire world. The decision taken by the Committee was yet another example of an ill-founded procedural decision in a series of political debates that undermined the professional nature of the world body and of the Committee in particular.

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