The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), under its sustainability plan for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), has granted a special consultative status to Cleen Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Nigeria.
Mr Benson Olugbuo, the Executive Director of the Foundation, said this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
Olugbuo said that the Foundation received the special consultative grant from the ECOSOC of the United Nations in New York, U.S.
According to him, the special status is a step in the right direction and a unique advantageous opportunity toward amplifying Cleen Foundation’s developmental efforts on a broader scale.
“The opportunity presented by the consultative status with the UN ECOSOC is a welcome development which would create synergy between Nigerian and Africa-based CSOs.
“It would enable the Foundation to actively engage with ECOSOC and subsidiary bodies, as well as with the UN Secretariat programmes, funds and agencies in numerous ways.
“The consultative status would also create room for CSOs to leverage on each other to catalyse more targeted responses to developmental needs and sustainability within the African continent.
“The recognition would provide ample opportunity for Cleen Foundation to regularly participate in the work of ECOSOC based on the nature and scope of work of the organisation.
“And the relationship would also enable ECOSOC or one of its bodies to seek expert information or advice from Cleen Foundation with respect to matters in which the organisation possesses special competence,” he said.
He noted that the new status would afford the foundation the opportunity to participate at UN events and to observe ECOSOC, its subsidiary bodies, the Human Rights Council and under certain conditions, the General Assembly and other UN inter-governmental bodies.
Olugbuo said that in furtherance to the responsibilities and obligations accompanying the consultative status, the Foundation would inaugurate a Community of Practice Action Plan (CP-APS) for Civil Society Sustainability in Africa.
This he said is to help mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the activities of CSOs in Nigeria and in Africa continent.
According to him, several CSOs in Africa are facing a critical threat from the COVID-19 pandemic due to funding constraints which has forced several organisations to downsize and lay-off staff at a time when the work of non-profits was critical.
“The stark reality is that there has been an immediate and significant reduction in most civil society organisations cash liquidity which has affected operational mandates and work deliverables.
“As a result of the pandemic also, the ability of non-profits to respond to immediate and longer-term needs is fast reducing.
“Some of the challenges affecting organisations in the civil space include liquidity crisis, downsizing of operational capacity, financial and operational risks and shortfall in revenue as donor grants are dwindling drastically,” he said.
He said that it was therefore paramount to birth new ideas and innovative solutions to tackle the various challenges of the global health crises on non-profit organisations in the continent.
Olugbuo said that it was against this backdrop that the foundation was unveiling a platform for continent wide collaboration, sharing of innovative ideas and identification of creative solutions amongst CSOs in sub-Saharan Africa.
He noted that its Foundation’s sustainability model that had supported the work of the organisation in the last 22 years would be deployed.
According to him, the capacity building and sustainability project will begin with a pilot in Nigeria which will be extended to West Africa and the entire continent.
“The objectives of the CP-APS are:
“To promote a platform for cross-sector collaboration amongst CSOs in Africa on sustainability and resilience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Provide a platform for capacity building of CSOs on emerging operational trends within the challenges faced by CSOs in their operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Develop a community of practice sustainability action plan for CSOs in Africa leveraging on areas of mutual interest and expertise using cutting edge technology to amplify the voices of non-profits, amongst others,” he said.
Cleen Foundation is an NGO in Nigeria with a mission of promoting public safety, security and accessible justice through empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications.