UNCTAD grants four NGOs observer status

04 October 2019

Non-governmental organizations working on trade and development issues that receive observer status play a special role in UNCTAD's policy discussions and debates.

UNCTAD member countries granted observer status to four non-governmental organizations on 2 October during the 68th executive session of the organization’s governing body, the Trade and Development Board.

Human Action for Integrated Development in Senegal (AHDIS), the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), the National Association for Consumer Protection of Bulgaria (NACP) and the World Assembly of Youth (WAY) join 237 other NGOs that play a special role in UNCTAD’s policy discussions and debates.

For example, only organizations with observer status may take the floor during certain UNCTAD meetings. This is the case for the Trade and Development Board and for the ministerial conferences, which gather every four years to set the organization’s work programme.

World Assembly of Youth

Addressing the board, the World Assembly of Youth’s secretary-general, Ediola Pashollari, said: “WAY is looking forward to working hand-in-hand with UNCTAD through various platforms, including awareness activities, policy and strategy dialogues, and participation at WAY’s events and programmes.”

“I would like to thank UNCTAD for being an inclusive platform and for recognizing young people as partners, and owners of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.”

World Assembly of Youth

Headquartered in Malaysia, the World Assembly of Youth is the international coordinating body of 140 national youth councils and organizations from all continents.

Founded in 1949, WAY works to promote youth and youth organizations in areas such as youth employment, environment, human rights, democracy, population, health, drugs, community development and leadership training.

International Pole & Line Foundation

The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) is a UK-based charity organization that supports coastal fisheries, including the people, communities, businesses and seas connected with them.

Established in 2012, the foundation promotes “one-by-one” tuna fisheries – tuna caught with one hook and line, one fish at a time. Its membership includes 65 organizations from across the globe involved in the one-by-one tuna supply chain.

Human Action for Integrated Development in Senegal

The Dakar-based Human Action for Integrated Development in Senegal (Action humaine pour le développement intégré au Sénégal) is a grassroots association created in 1988 that works on social and economic issues affecting communities in the west African nation.

These include microfinance, health, sanitation and nutrition, technical capacity building and agriculture production.

National Association for Consumer Protection (Bulgaria)

Established in Sofia in 2015, the National Association for Consumer Protection is a self-governing, non-profit association working to protect the rights and interests of Bulgarian consumers.

The association’s work focuses on two areas: unfair trading practices and dispute resolution. The organization is qualified to defend consumers in court in Bulgaria or to seek legal action against businesses whose commercial practices are against their collective interest.

Become an observer

Non-governmental organizations, trade unions, business associations and other civil society organizations that are not yet part of UNCTAD’s family are encouraged to apply for observer status.

The status grants the organizations access to UNCTAD’s public meetings, including its quadrennial ministerial conferences, whose next edition will take place in 2020 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The eligibility criteria are set by the Trade and Development Board and includes the organizations’ involvement in issues relevant to UNCTAD’s work. Member states have the final word on whether an organization meet these requirements.