The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) is an inter-agency programme of the United Nations mandated to promote and develop constructive relations between the United Nations and civil society organizations.

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Frequently Asked Questions

To learn more about NGLS, visit the About Us page by clicking here

To learn more about UN-NGO relations, click here

Q1: How do I start the process of connecting the work of my NGO with the work of the UN? How can I become informed?
Q2: How can I attend UN meetings?
Q3: How can I receive NGLS mailings?
Q4: How can I get in touch with other offices in the UN that work with NGOs?
Q5: How do I get in touch with other NGOs working on the same issues as my organisation at the UN?
Q6: How can I establish an NGO or obtain funding for a project?
Q7: How can I get a job or an internship with the UN or NGLS?
Q8: How can I get visitors’ information about New York or Geneva?
Q9: How can I get an answer to a general or non-NGO question at the UN?

Q1: How do I start the process of connecting the work of my NGO with the work of the UN? How can I become informed?
A1: Start by identifying your most important issues and then investigate what parts of the UN are working on those issues. This can be done quickly online on the UN website. Then begin to follow the different intergovernmental process(es) and learn your country or region’s current policy on the issue(s). Become familiar with the UN website’s news centre. Pay attention to documentation on meetings relevant to your work. Request reports of meetings that interest you. Sign up for list servers or mailing lists on specific themes. Try to develop relationships with other NGOs working on the same issues as your group. Learn from others’ experience in working within the UN system. You can also get in touch with the NGO focal point in the relevant UN office to learn more about UN-NGO cooperation. Attend NGO briefings and meetings. Read NGLS’s semi-monthly newsletter, Go Between, for broad coverage of issues on the UN agenda, and RoundUp for specific issues. If you plan to attend a UN conference and are interested in advocacy and organizing work, read the NGLS publication “Intergovernmental Negotiations and Decison-making at the United Nations: A Guide”.

Q2: How can I attend UN meetings?
A2: To simply attend a meeting on UN premises, you will need a UN grounds pass. This pass can be obtained in several ways:

1) by applying for status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) - click here for instructions on applying.

2) by applying for association with the Department of Public Information (DPI) - click here for instructions on applying.

3) by applying for accreditation to a specific meeting or process - there are many different types of arrangements for NGO participation among the different UN meetings and processes. Each meeting or process generally has assigned a focal point for NGOs within its secretariat. Check the appropriate UN website. You can also contact NGLS with a specific inquiry.

4) by applying for accreditation to a specified UN agency, fund or programme - check the appropriate UN website, under the headings "NGOs", "civil society", or "partners", or contact the office of external relations to inquire.

5) by special occasional ad hoc arrangements with UN Security and Safety Services - these arrangements are made in connection with a specific meeting and will be announced in the invitation. Try contacting the organization holding the meeting to see if special arrangments have been made for people without UN grounds passes.

For more detailed information on accreditation and participation in UN processes, see our page on UN-NGO relations here.

Q3: How can I get in touch with other offices in the UN that work with NGOs on my issues?
A3: Click here for the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) list of NGO focal points in the UN. Click here for the UN & Civil Society website’s list. You can also search individual UN websites using keywords such as "NGOs", "civil society", and "partners". When there is no NGO focal point listed, you can contact the office of external relations to inquire.

For an overview of how each UN entity engages with civil society and NGOs - and for their civil society focal points - you can read the NGLS publication “UN System Engagement with NGOs, Civil Society, the Private Sector, and Other Actors: A Compendium.”

Q4: How do I get in touch with other NGOs working on the same issues as my organisation at the UN?
A4: You can search the lists of ECOSOC and DPI NGOs. These are available on the following websites:

ECOSOC: http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/documents.htm

DPI: http://www.un.org/dpi/ngosection/asp/form.asp

ECOSOC NGOs have formed an independent conference (CONGO), which has many committees and subcommittees working on specific issues. Click here to go to the CONGO website.

DPI NGOs have an Executive Committee - to visit their website, click here.

Many individual UN agencies, funds and programmes formally accredit or associate NGOs, or link with networks - search the relevant website for the lists.

There are also many other networks or informal groupings of NGOs with local, regional, national or international focus. Depending on your country or issue area, there may be umbrella groups that you can contact.

Q5: How can I receive NGLS mailings?
A5: NGLS publications in hard copy are sent to NGOs at no charge. If you are interested in receiving NGLS publications in hard copy, please contact <ngls@unctad.org> and ask to be sent a mailing list form or simply request the specific publication you are interested in receiving.

If you are in New York or Geneva, hard copies are available in the following locations: In New York, at the NGLS office in Room DC1-1106, the UN/DPI NGO Resource Centre in Room L-1B-31, and selected meetings; and in Geneva, at the NGLS office in Villa le Bocage 10, Route de Pregny, 1211 Geneva. You may also contact NGLS by telephone or e-mail to have specific publications sent to you by post.

The NGLS New York office also sends occasional electronic mailings to several distribution lists targeted by geographic region and issue area. If you are interested in receiving mailings of this kind, please send a message to <ngls@un.org> mentioning your area(s) of interest and geographic region(s), and requesting subscription to electronic mailings.

Q6: How can I establish an NGO, or obtain funding for a project?
A6: There are many good resources online which give NGOs basic tools for getting started, fundraising, and building capacity. The following list is a small selection of what can be found online:

Additional Resources for Nonprofits, on the US Government’s Small Business Administration website

Resources for Nonprofits of Western Michigan University

The European Foundation Centre

The Internet Nonprofit Center of the Evergreen State Society

The International Training and NGO Research Centre (INTRAC)

The Leader to Leader Institute (formerly Peter F. Drucker Foundation)

The Nonprofit Education Management Center of the University of Wisconsin

The Philanthropy News Network online

The Virtual Activist training guide, on NetAction.Org

At the national level, countries have different guidelines or regulations defining an NGO, non-profit or charity group, and some require registration with the government, while others are strictly financial requirements.

With regard to funding, NGLS is not able to provide information on UN funding. We often refer NGOs to the Foundation Center, located in New York City, with a website at the following address: http://www.fdncenter.org. There are many other funding resources online; for example, http://www.foundations.org, http://www.fundersonline.org, and http://www.fundsnetservices.com.

Q7: How can I get a job or an internship with the UN or NGLS?
A7: Please see the following UN websites: For Vacancies - See the UN Galaxy website by clicking here, or contact the following:

- For Professional positions with a master’s degree: UN Office of Human Resource Management Room S-2480, United Nations New York, NY 10017 USA telephone: ++1 / 212 - 963 1089

- For General Staff positions: UN Office of Human Resource Management Room DC1-0200, United Nations New York, NY 10017 USA

For Internships - http://www.un.org/Depts/OHRM/sds/internsh/index.htm or contact the following:

UN Office of Human Resource Management Room S-2590, United Nations New York, NY 10017 USA telephone: ++1 / 212 - 963 4437

Q8: How can I get visitors’ information about New York or Geneva?
A8: For hospitality/tourism information, please visit: Geneva: http://www.geneva-tourism.ch/eng/index.php3 New York: http://www.nycvisit.com/home/index.cfm

Q9: How can I get an answer to a general or non-NGO question at the UN?
A9: You can search the UN’s website here. The UN’s Dag Hammarskj÷ld Library also has a good website with many searchable databases. You can also contact the UN Department of Public Information’s Public Inquiries Unit, by e-mail at <inquiries@un.org>, by telephone at ++1 212 963 4475, or by post to Room GA-053, United Nations, New York, NY 10017 USA. To visit their website, click here

The Group Programmes Unit of DPI organizes tours and briefings on specific topics at UN headquarters in New York. These briefings can also include trainings for NGOs interested in learning more about their opportunities for participation at the UN that NGLS often participates in. To contact the Group Programmes Unit, send an email to unitg@un.org