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Governmental Support of International Non-governmental Organizations

Published in International Associations, 1968, 7, pp 466-473 [PDF version]
Also French version (Les contributions gouvernementales aux organisations internationales non-gouvernementales,
Associations Internationales, 1968, 7, pp. 477-508; PDF version)

A résolution adopted by the Economic and Social Council on June 6, 1967 [Res. 1225 .(XLII)] resulted in a laborious process of revision of the consultative status of non-governmental organizations in relation with the Council. Several times already this year there, has been reference to this subject in the columns of our magazine, in particular in the January and February numbers (pp 2-31 and 86-91). During the discussions of the NGO Committee of the Economic and Social Council held in March and April this year a final draft resolution (E/C. 2/L.28) was made of the revision of Resolution 288 B (X) which dates from 1950 and which up to now has determined the system of consultative relations between the United Nations and NGOs. The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with ECOSOC (1) has circulated to its members an excellent document containing the texts of Resolution 288 B (X) and the draft resolution E/. 2/L.28, a list of the paragraphs of the new text showing the most significant changes to the 1950 arrangements, and a commentary on the main trends in evidence during the sessions of the NGO Committee of ECOSOC in March and April.

The Committee's discussions dealt mainly with the character of NGOs : their international quality, their representativeness. In the May 1968 issue of ' International Associations 'the UAI published a documentary analysis of statistics relating to national participation in international NGOs and showing the progress made as regards the geographical extension of leadership and members.

The NGO Committee of ECOSOC also expressed concern over the presence of government representatives among the members and leading officials of NGOs and the question of direct or indirect financial support from governments, factors which could affect the non-governmental character of these NGOs.

There appears to be a good deal of ignorance of the facts and much confusion regarding this subject, and for this reason we are pleased to publish in the following pages a detailed analysis made by our collaborator A.J. Judge, together with a commentary on the findings by G.P. Speeckaert.

Part I: Survey
Purpose of Survey

The survey was conducted in order to determine to what extent governmental support of any kind was given to international non-governmental organizations. The distinction between intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is based on the definition adopted by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in its Resolution 288 b (x) of 27 February 1950, namely, 'Any international organization which is not established by intergovernmental agreement shall be considered as a non governmental organization'.

This survey is only concerned with government support of international non-profit, non-governmental organizations. Commercial organizations, international corporations, etc have therefore been excluded, except where they have linked together via a nonprofit organization.

Support was taken to have two meanings in this context. Governments or their subsidiary organs can either be direct members of non-governmental organizations in which there is a category permitting governmental membership. The governments are then providing partial support of the organization as members. Alternatively, as non-members, governments or their subsidiary organs can provide financial assistance of one kind or another. In the first case, this financial assistance will also include membership fees. In the second case, the financial assistance may take the form of direct grants, subsidies, etc. which may cover any percentage of the organization's budget.

of direct grants, subsidies, etc. which may cover any percentage of the organization's budget.

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