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United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA)

I. Core Areas

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) acts as an interface between global policies and national action in the economic, social and environmental spheres. Its work spans three interlinked areas: (i) compiling, generating and analyzing a wide range of economic, social and environmental information to assist Member States with their review of common problems and taking stock of related policy options; (ii) facilitating intergovernmental negotiations to address ongoing and emerging global challenges; and (iii) advising governments on translating policies into tangible implementation efforts through technical assistance and national capacity-building programmes.

The Department services a number of intergovernmental processes including the Economic and Social Council of the UN and several of its functional commissions working on a range of issues. The Department, led by an Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang, houses several divisions including those on sustainable development, social development, advancement of women, financing for development, statistics, population issues and forests.

II. Engagement with External Actors

A large part of the Department’s engagement with NGOs is through formal arrangements made under Economic and Social Council Resolution 1996/31 (see Annex I). This resolution provides the framework for obtaining consultative status (accreditation) by NGOs wishing to contribute to the UN’s work in the economic and social fields. Certain Divisions of DESA have additional engagement mechanisms for non-state actors, often based on guidance from intergovernmentally agreed plans of action and similar documents.

However, to facilitate and strengthen DESA’s cooperation with civil society organizations, the Department launched the “integrated Civil Society Organizations (iCSO) System,” which provides online registration profiles for civil society organizations; facilitates application procedures for CSO that would like to receive consultative status with the Economic and Social Council; assists accredited NGOs in designating representatives to the UN and in submitting reports; includes an Event Management System, allows for pre-online registration; and participation in the Best Practices Network.

Descriptions follow for a number of DESA Divisions and Offices, including: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); the Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination (OESC); the Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD); the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII); the Division for Sustainable Development (DSD); the Financing for Development (FFD) Office; the Population Division; and the Secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).

III. Organizational Resources

Focal Point

Name: Mr. Marc-Andre Dorel
Title: Acting Chief, NGO Branch
Address: One UN Plaza, Room DC1-1480, New York, NY 10017, United States
Telephone: +1-212-963-8652
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

IV. Information Resources

* NGO Branch Website
* The UNDESA website provides extensive information on its various divisions and offices, new publications and policy briefs, technical cooperation and civil society participation
* iCSO System

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


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