The Economic and Social Council adopted the provisional agenda for the 2021 session of the Committee on Non‑Governmental Organizations today, adopting a decision that adjusts the subsidiary body’s meeting schedule in response to the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic.
It also elected, by acclamation, Juan Sandoval Mendiolea (Mexico), from the Latin American and Caribbean States, as Vice‑President of its 2021 session, thus completing its Bureau. He will be responsible for the Council’s integration segment, which meets annually to help Member States and others map ways to achieve the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development.
Mr. Sandoval, in brief remarks, thanked delegations for endorsing his candidacy as Vice‑President for a second consecutive year. The pandemic must not be an obstacle for multilateralism, but a catalyst for States to work more closely together, he said, adding that the world needs a comprehensive response from the United Nations to ensure a people‑centred recovery and fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Council elected other members of its Bureau on 23 July. (See Press Release ECOSOC/7025.)
Adopting the draft decision “Date of the 2020 resumed session and dates and provisional agenda of the 2021 session of the Committee on Non‑Governmental Organizations” (document E/2021/L.9), as orally corrected, the Council decided that the Committee will hold its 2020 resumed session to review the suspension, withdrawal and reinstatement of status of non‑governmental organizations. It also decided that, owing to the impossibility of convening a full‑scale resumed session in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Committee will hold its regular session from 18 to 29 January and on 10 February, and its resumed session from 17 to 25 May and on 7 June.
In addition to approving the provisional agenda, the Economic and Social Council further decided, on an exceptional basis, to authorize the Committee to consider during its 2021 session documentation issued for its 2020 resumed session.
The Committee normally holds its main sessions in January and its resumed sessions in May, but owing to the pandemic’s impact on working arrangements at Headquarters, its 2020 resumed session, rescheduled to August, did not take place.
The 19-member Committee considers applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by non‑governmental organizations. Once an application has been reviewed and approved by the Committee, it is considered recommended for consultative status. Organizations granted general and special status can attend meetings of the Economic and Social Council and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items. Organizations with roster status can only attend meetings.
The Economic and Social Council is expected to hold one further meeting in December in order to conduct outstanding elections.