In July of 2007 Dianova International was granted “Special Consultative Status” to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC). Consultative Status was awarded on the basis of a number of key criteria, including Dianova’s work in three of the United Nations’ principal fields of interest: addiction, youth and education.
Of what importance is Consultative Status?
Nongovernmental organizations are able to establish a mutually beneficial cooperative relationship with the UN, through consultative status to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the UN’s main bodies. In order to fulfill its mission more effectively, ECOSOC calls upon the resources offered by NGO’s whose activities and expertise may complement those of the UN.
In concrete terms, consultative status conveys a number of privileges, the principle ones being: attendance at ECOSOC meetings and conferences and those of its subsidiary bodies, the opportunity to submit written statements and, in certain cases, to make oral presentations; participation in UN-led international conferences; and attendance at General Assembly special sessions, as well as at other intergovernmental meetings.
Activities of Interest to the UN
Dianova is engaged in promoting social progress and individual self-reliance through numerous initiatives that so far impact nineteen items of the United Nations’ agenda, among which are:
- Residential and outpatient drug treatment programs (referral, treatment, reintegration)
- Prevention (addiction, delinquency and other at-risk behaviors)
- Youth personal development
- Access to formal schooling (primary and secondary education)
- Remedial work for homeless individuals
- Sustainable and adequate housing
- Remedial work for street youth
- Gender equality
Nearly twenty different programs are offered by Dianova member organizations in twelve countries of Europe, South America and North America, caring for approximately 5,000 persons every year, with an overall annual budget of 15 million Euros. To mention a few of these initiatives:
- In Nicaragua, disadvantaged and rural children have access to formal schooling, in addition to a social support program developed by Dianova with the cooperation with the national government. In 2008, more than 300 pupils entered our primary and secondary school programs.
- In Spain, educational programs address two different groups of adolescents at-risk for social exclusion: 1) adolescents with social maladjustments, including the use of illegal substances, delinquency or potential delinquency; and 2) unaccompanied migrant minors, confronting the same situation with no secure social or family environment.
- In the United States, programs provide personal development activities and workshops, including environmental education, all designed primarily to help disadvantaged young people build protection factors against social risks (delinquency, drug use, school drop-out, etc.)
- In Canada, a program is designed to help homeless individuals integrate into mainstream society while promoting a better understanding and acceptance of homelessness by the mainstream population.
- In Chile, substance abusing women with dependent children can enter a holistic residential program consisting of drug treatment and the development of family bonds, child care, education, nutrition, parenting skills reinforcement).
According to Ms. Montserrat Rafel, Executive Director of Dianova International, “the achievement of consultative status to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations represented a milestone in the development of the Dianova network.
Ms. Rafel further states: “Beyond the acknowledgement of the importance of the programs offered by our member organizations, it represents an opportunity to begin working with the United Nations, with other NGO’s and with UN member states. We strongly believe that the sharing of expertise and experience in areas of mutual concern works to the benefit of all those participating in the process”
“The experience of Dianova in its twelve member countries, and with the multiple people groups within and beyond these countries who seek our services, bring about an invaluable, multicultural outlook”, Ms. Rafel notes:
“We learn every day in the field, and we use what works best, depending of course on the characteristics of the individuals themselves, including their various cultural considerations. This is the reason why we expect great things of ourselves in our role as 'consultant' to ECOSOC, and why we wish to share our diverse sensibilities and contribute our experience and expertise to decision-making processes at the international level"