General House: Meeting of the International Commission of the Champagnat movement of the Marist Family
FMSI was granted Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations during the ECOSOC meeting held on 25 July at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. FMSI presented the application for the consultative status in May 2010; the application was reviewed by the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs during its Resumed Session held in New York (USA) in May 2011; on that occasion a positive recommendation for Special Consultative Status was granted to the Foundation. Yesterday, Br. Jim Jolley, FMSI Director for Child Rights Advocacy and Training attended to the ECOSOC meeting in Geneva, where the Council ratified the recommendation. FMSI is now in the list of the non-governmental organizations entitled to interact with the ECOSOC. We expect to receive official notification from ECOSOC within the next month regarding this decision.
The Economic and Social Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations, together with the General Assembly and the Security Council. It was established to coordinate economic and social work of the UN specialized agencies, funds and programmes. The ECOSOC serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and the United Nations system. It is responsible for:
In carrying out its mandate, ECOSOC consults with academics, business sector representatives and more than 3,500 registered non-governmental organizations. The ECOSOC is the main organ where NGOs can participate in the work of the United Nations, which remains, first and foremost, an organization with membership restricted to States.
NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC can attend its meetings. They can also attend meetings of many other bodies, such as the Human Rights Council. They are allowed to participate, present written contributions and make statements to the Council and its subsidiary bodies. To obtain the consultative status means for an organization to be recognized by the UN, to participate in its mechanisms and to have an input on its decision-making process with regards human rights issues. More specifically, Special consultative status is granted to NGOs which have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, certain fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC. For FMSI, this specific area is Child Rights.
This step is an important development for the effectiveness of FMSI in the promotion of children’s rights around the world and FMSI wishes to share this news with its members, partners and supporters, who now have a closer and more effective representation at the United Nations.