For Immediate Release
25 July 2016
New York –The Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR or Youth Coalition) was granted consultative status by the United Nations Economic Social Council (ECOSOC) this afternoon. The decision came after Australian Ambassador Gillian Bird made a motion to overturn the decision made in May by the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations rejecting YCSRR’s bid. In the final vote, 26 countries voted in support of consultative status, 7 against, and 13 countries abstained.
This positive outcome comes after a prolonged deferral process that lasted over six years. Youth Coalition first applied for Economic Social Council consultative status in 2010, but its application was deferred eleven times before being rejected at the NGO Committee Meeting. Consultative status allows organizations to access UN bodies and processes, host side events and participate in UN negotiations.
The NGO Committee has recently come under fire for its procedural tactics and delays that have served to block civil society organizations, and specifically human rights organizations, from gaining accreditation. Organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), and Youth Coalition have all faced numerous deferrals and repetitive questioning from the NGO Committee. With statements of concern coming from both the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the politicization of the NGO Committee, there is increasing pressure on the Committee to support the inclusion of civil society at the United Nations.
With the support of Canada and Australia, which is currently an ECOSOC Council member, Youth Coalition’s rejection was brought to the wider 54 member Economic and Social Council. In her speech, Ambassador Bird noted the long history of YCSRR’s participation in UN processes and the important role of youth organizations and young people at the United Nations. Several other states spoke in support of the motion citing the need for accountability and civil society engagement in UN processes.
The Youth Coalition is a youth-led organization made up of young people from over 25 countries and has been engaging in advocacy at the UN for more than fifteen years. With its ECOSOC accreditation finally intact, the organization plans to ramp up its advocacy efforts in order to influence the inclusion of young people and their sexual and reproductive rights in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Program & Communications Officer
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights