THE WLCU AS AN NGO. Summary from the Discussion paper prepared in 2005 (By Attorney Steve.J. STANTON)

Summary from the  Discussion paper prepared  in 2005
 (By Attorney Steve .J. STANTON)  

…..   The NGO must have the commitment and the means to conduct effective information programs with its constituents and to a broader audience (about UN activities).

•         The NGO should have statutes/by-laws providing for a transparent process of making decisions, election of officers and members of the Board of Directors.  T

           – The NGO should have a satisfactory record of collaboration with UN Information Centres/Services or other parts of UN System prior to association.

…..Evidence of recognition, nationally and internationally, can be supplied but should also be looked at to see just exactly in what light the WLCU is to be seen.  More importantly, not as a purely folkloric organisation but as a body that is committed to working with the United Nations and to implement and uphold its principles.  Clear and cogent evidence of this must be obtained.

The requirement for the transparent process of making decisions through a body of statutes/by-laws and that the election of officers and members has been at least partially addressed in the revision of the articles, but nevertheless further work is required in this regard…

An association between an NGO and the DPI carries a very solemn responsibility. Associated NGOs are expected to devote a portion of their information programs to promoting knowledge of the principles and activities of the UN.  In addition, an evaluation and review process took place in 2002 wherein NGOs associated with DPI are expected to keep the DPI/NGO Section abreast of their activities by providing a short summary of their UN-related activities and samples of their information materials every four years relating to the work of the UN.

This, in my opinion shows just how difficult it is and why an NGO that is to be effective must understand what it is required to be responsible for and what it has undertaken to carry out by seeking registration as an NGO and undertaking to perform.  While NGOs do not have their documents received and processed as “United Nations documents”, nor can they formally address the proceedings of the Committee on Human Rights, they nevertheless have a wide range of opportunities to convey information to the Pro-Sanction Working Group as well as informally to the Committee members and thus to influence proceedings.  This is but an example of the utility of being within an NGO and, more importantly, to highlight when Lebanon enacted the amended Article 49 to the Constitution, just how this was in breach of the fundamental values and freedom and more importantly why it represented a gross departure from the New Charter.

Accordingly, having set out the requirements and noted the matters at hand, it is now necessary, in my opinion, that the World Council, and more importantly the World Secretary-General, understanding what is required and seeking to resolve to move forward, should form a Consultative Committee where he can deliberate upon and assess and receive the information from around the world from the various Chapters and/or Geographic Regional Council to compile and format an application.  Such an application should be with a view to highlighting UN-related activities and/or dissemination of UN-related ideals. 

The equally critical component of the application, i.e. the Constitution and its transparency in terms of the electoral process, should also be fine-tuned to the point where it can go forward in an accepted state after being deliberated upon by all the member groups throughout the globe.

the reality is that NGO status can only come about after an integrated involvement, coupled with an unremitting dedication to the task at hand.  In this regard, it cannot be done by one person, although a person can be commanded to configure and collate all the material provided the co-operation of all of the Geographic Regional Councils is forthcoming.  It is only in the absence of a united resolve that the matter may fall flat on its face.  Equally, it does not mean that one is assured of NGO status just because there have been many folk nights, barbecues and attendances at social functions, which all amount to nothing if they are not demonstrative of a sensitivity to the UN Charter and its ideals.

Accordingly, I leave this discussion paper in the firm resolve that if the WLCU is realistically minded to go forward, it should move on the matter in no uncertain terms in accordance with the dictates and the requirements that I have set out above.

I commend the paper to the World President for his consideration and to his erstwhile World Secretary-General and to those other interested members of the World Council upon whom this onerous responsibility will devolve.

I wish them well.                                                                                                       S.J. STANTON

Windeyer Chambers

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