The purpose of collaboration with International Non-Governmental Organizations is to secure for the Codex Alimentarius Commission, expert information, advice and assistance from international non-governmental organizations and to enable organizations which represent important sections of public opinion and are authorities in their fields of professional and technical competence to express the views of their members and to play an appropriate role in ensuring the harmonizing of intersectoral interests among the various sectoral bodies concerned in a country, regional or global setting.
Arrangements made with such organizations shall be designed to advance the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission by securing maximum cooperation from International Non-Governmental Organizations in the execution of its programme.
2. Types of Relationship
Only one category of relationship shall be recognized, namely Observer Status; all other contacts, including working relations, shall be considered to be of an informal character.
3. Organizations eligible for Observer Status
The following shall be eligible for Observer Status:
(a) are international in structure and scope of activity, and representative of the specialized field of interest in which they operate;
(b) are concerned with matters covering a part or all of the Commissions field of activity;
(c) have aims and purposes in conformity with the Statutes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission; and
(d) have a permanent directing body, authorized representatives and systematic procedures and machinery for communicating with its membership in various countries. Its members shall exercise voting rights in relation to its policies or action or shall have other appropriate mechanisms to express their views.
4. Procedure for obtaining Observer Status
4.1 International Non-Governmental Organizations having status or official relations with FAO and WHO
Observer status shall be accorded to those International Non-Governmental Organizations in consultative status, specialized consultative status or liaison status with FAO or International Non-Governmental Organizations having official relations with WHO that inform the Secretary of the Codex Alimentarius Commission of their desire to participate in the work of the Commission and/or any or all of the Commissions subsidiary bodies on a regular basis. They may also request invitations to participate at specific sessions of the Commission or its subsidiary bodies on an ad hoc basis.
4.2 Non-Governmental Organizations not having status or official relations with FAO and WHO
Before any form of formal relationship is established with a Non-Governmental Organization, such Organization shall supply the Secretary of the Commission with the information outlined in the Annex to these Procedures. The Secretary shall transmit this information to the Directors-General of FAO and WHO.
Upon confirmation that the Directors-General are satisfied that the applicant Organization is in a position to make a significant contribution in advancing the purposes of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, Observer Status shall be granted to the applicant Organization.
Observer Status at specific meetings will not normally be granted to individual organizations that are members of a larger organization authorized and that intends to represent them at these meetings.
5. Privileges and Obligations
International Non-governmental Organizations in Observer status shall have the following privileges and obligations:
5.1 Privileges of International Non-governmental Organizations in Observer Status
An Organization in Observer Status:
(a) shall be entitled to send an observer (without the right to vote) to sessions of the Commission, who may be accompanied by advisers; to receive from the Secretary of the Commission, in advance of the session, all working documents and discussion papers; to circulate to the Commission its views in writing, without abridgement; and to participate in discussions when invited by the Chairperson;
(b) shall be entitled to send an observer (without the right to vote) to sessions of specified Subsidiary Bodies, who may be accompanied by advisers; to receive from the Secretaries of the Subsidiary Bodies, in advance of the session, all working documents and discussion papers; to circulate to these Bodies its views in writing, without abridgement; and to participate in discussions when invited by the Chairperson;(c) may be invited by the Directors-General to participate in meetings or seminars on subjects organized under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme which fall within its fields of interest, and if it does not so participate it may submit its views in writing to any such meeting or seminar;
(d) will receive documentation and information about meetings planned on subjects agreed upon with the Secretariat;
(e) may submit, under the authority of its governing body, written statements on matters before the Commission, in one of the languages of Commission, to the Secretary, who may communicate them to the Commission or the Executive Committee as appropriate.
5.2 Obligations of International Non-governmental Organizations in Observer Status
An Organization in Observer Status shall undertake:
(a) to cooperate fully with the Codex Alimentarius Commission for the furtherance of the objectives of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme;
(b) in cooperation with the Secretariat, to determine the ways and means of co-ordinating activities within the scope of the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, with a view to avoiding duplication and overlapping;
(c) to contribute, as far as possible, and at the request of the Directors-General, to the promotion of a better knowledge and understanding of the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme through appropriate discussions or other forms of publicity;
(d) to send to the Secretary of the Commission on an exchange basis, its reports and publications concerned with matters covering all or part of the Commissions field of activity;
(e) to keep the Secretary of the Commission informed of changes in its structure and membership, as well as of important changes in its secretariat.
6. Review of Observer Status
The Directors-General may terminate arrangements for Observer Status which are no longer considered necessary or appropriate in the light of changing programmes or other circumstances, and will report such action to the Commission. However, the international non-governmental organization concerned may appeal the termination of Observer Status.
An international non-governmental organization in Observer Status which has not shown any interest and has not attended any meetings during a period of four years may be deemed not to have sufficient interest to warrant the continuance of such relationship.
The Secretary shall report to the Codex Alimentarius Commission on the relations between the Codex Alimentarius Commission and international non-governmental organizations established in accordance with the present Procedures and shall provide a list of organizations granted Observer Status, with an indication of the membership that they represent.
The Commission shall periodically review these principles and procedures and shall consider, as necessary, any amendments which may seem desirable.
Annex: Information required of Non-Governmental Organizations requesting Observer Status
(a) Official name of the organization in different languages (with initials)
(b) Full postal address, Telephone, Telex address, Facsimile and Email as appropriate
(c) Aims and subject fields (mandate) of organization, and methods of operation. (Enclose charter, constitution, by-laws, rules of procedures, etc.)
(d) Member organizations (name and address of each national affiliate, method of affiliation, giving number of members where possible, and names of principal officers. If the organization has individual members, please indicate approximate number in each country)
(e) Structure (assembly or conference; council or other form of governing body; type of general secretariat; commissions on special topics, if any; etc.)
(f) Indication of source of funding (e.g., membership contributions, direct funding, external contributions, or grants)
(g) Meetings (indicate frequency and average attendance; send report of previous meeting, including any resolutions passed) that are concerned with matters covering all or part of the Commissions field of activity
(h) Relations with other international organizations:
(i) UN and organs (indicate consultative status or other relationship, if any)
(j) Other international organizations
(k) Expected contribution to the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme
(l) Past activities on behalf of, or in relation to, the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme (indicate any relationship by national affiliates with the Regional Coordinating Committees and/or the National Codex Contact Points or Committees)
(m) Area of activity in which participation as an observer is requested (Commission and/or Subsidiary Bodies). If more than one organization with similar interests is requesting observer status in any field of activity, such organizations will be encouraged to form themselves into a federation or association for the purpose of participation. If the formation of such a single organization is not feasible, the application should explain why this is so.
(n) Language (English, French or Spanish)in which documentation should be sent to the international non-governmental organizations
(o) Name, Function and address of the person providing the information
(p) Signature and date