- This is being officially recognized as an organization affiliated with the United Nations.
Commission on the Status of Women
- The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, established in 1946 as a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council, has, as its objective, the promotion of equal rights between men and women. Following the Fourth World Conference on Women, the General Assembly further mandated it to integrate into its work a follow-up process to the Conference. In that context, the Commission should play a catalytic role regularly reviewing the critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action.
- The Commission consists of 45 members elected by the Council for four years. Members, who are appointed by governments, are elected on the following basis: 13 from African States; 11 from Asian States; four from Eastern European States; nine from Latin American and the Caribbean States; and eight from Western European and Other States. The Commission normally meets annually.
- In the context of the United Nations, a conference is an official international meeting planned to study some specific question. The latest cycle of conferences included the Cairo Population Conference in 1994, the Copenhagen Social Summit in 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, the Environment Conference, Habitat II, in Istanbul in 1996.
- FAWCO is a member of the Conference Of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) is an independent, international, not-for-profit membership association of NGOs that facilitates their participation in United Nations debates and decisions. CONGO is most active in the major UN centers of New York, Geneva, and Vienna, but extends its work to all regions of the world. CONGO's major objective is to ensure that NGOs are present when governments discuss issues of global concern at the United Nations and to facilitate NGO discussions on such issues. CONGO's membership comprises national, regional and international nongovernmental organizations in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Their broad membership email-network has become a major source of information for NGOs active within the United Nations and seeking collaboration/partnerships with other NGOs of similar concerns. For more information visit their website at www.ngocongo.org or email .
- NGOs may be admitted into a mutually beneficial working relationship with the United Nations by attaining consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This status is based on Article 71 of the Charter of the United Nations and on ECOSOC resolution1996/31, adopted in 1996. The rights and privileges, enable qualifying organizations to make a contribution to the work programs and goals of the United Nations by serving as technical experts, advisers and consultants to governments and Secretariat. Sometimes, as advocacy groups, they espouse UN themes, implementing plans of action, programs and declarations adopted by the United Nations. In concrete terms this entails their participation in ECOSOC and its various subsidiary bodies through attendance at these meetings, and also through oral interventions and written statements on agenda items of those bodies. In addition, organizations, qualifying for General Category consultative status, may propose new items for consideration by the ECOSOC. Organizations granted status are also invited to attend international conferences called by the UN, General Assembly special sessions, and other intergovernmental bodies.
- The Department of Public Information of the United Nations has its headquarters in New York, and has as its mission diffusion of United Nations news to accredited member organizations. The DPI was the first UN branch to officially accredit FAWCO to its list of members in July, 1995.
- The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations deals with economic and social questions, as its name implies. FAWCO was given special consultative status with ECOSOC in August 1997. These organizations have the privilege and opportunity to submit opinions to the Council and the responsibility to submit a report once every four years detailing their activities in support of the UN. (Refer to FAWCO's Report to ECOSOC ). The 54-member Economic and Social Council serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to Member States and to the United Nations. It makes or initiates studies and reports; makes recommendations on international economic, social, cultural, educational, health and related matters; and promotes respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms. Subsidiary bodies, commissions and committees of ECOSOC carry out its year-round work. ECOSOC strengthens cooperation within the UN system, coordinates the work of the specialized agencies and consults with non-governmental organizations. A substantive session of the Council is convened annually in July, and supplementary formal meetings as well as informal panels on topical issues are held throughout the year.
- Any non-governmental organization, big or small, international or local, which is permitted to participate in United Nations related activities as stated in Chapter 10 Article 71 of the United Nations Charter. The term NGO covers a range of organizations, as large as Amnesty International, Green Peace, "Medecins du Monde" - or as small as a community organization. The largest NGO, the Red Cross has 105 million members. The term originated as a means of distinguishing organizations which might take part in international or UN-related activities, and which were NOT sponsored by any government from those which ARE government-sponsored. FAWCO has been recognized as an NGO by the United Nations since 1995.
- Each official United Nations Conference has been accompanied by an NGO Forum, which is where the real interest and work is done. The Forums offer an opportunity to meet and network with people from every country and every sort of organization, all of whom are working to bring about change in the world, from whatever perspective. In addition, the NGO Forums prepare a statement which is presented to the official UN meeting, and which can and often does actually influence the content of the official paper written by conference members.
- As the name implies, observers do not participate in debate nor help to shape policies drafted at official meetings.
Platform for Action
- The official paper which came out of the Beijing Conference is called the "Platform for Action". It has 12 principal points to be worked on in connection with women's interests: Health, Violence, Armed Conflict, Economy, Decision Making, Institutional Mechanisms, Human Rights, Media, Environment, the Girl-Child, Poverty, Educational Training. Many of these are topics have long been addressed by FAWCO.