UN - NGO Relations
organizations have been active in the United Nations since its founding.
They interact with the UN Secretariat, programmes, funds and agencies
and they consult with the Member States. NGO work related
to the UN comprises a number of activities including information
dissemination, awareness raising, development education, policy
advocacy, joint operational projects, and providing technical expertise
and collaborating with UN agencies, programmes and funds.
This work is undertaken in formal and informal ways at the national
level and at the UN.
Official UN Secretariat relations with NGOs fall into two main categories:
consultations with governments and information servicing by the
Secretariat. These functions are the responsibility of two
main offices of the UN Secretariat dealing with NGOs: the NGO Unit
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
(DESA) and the NGO Section of the
Department of Public Information.
Formal interactions between NGOs and the UN are governed by the
UN Charter and related resolutions of ECOSOC. In February
2003, the Secretary-General also appointed a High
Level Panel of Eminent Persons to produce a practical
set of recommendations as to how the UN's work with Civil Society
could be improved. The final report of the Panel has been
presented to the Secretary-General in June 2004.
Broadly speaking, NGOs may cooperate with the United Nations System
in at least four ways:
1. NGOs may receive accreditation for a conference, summit
or other event organized by the United Nations. Such accreditation
is issued through the Secretariat preparing the event and expires
upon completion of the event. It entitles NGOs to participate
in the preparation process and in the event itself, thus contributing
to its outcome. For a compilation of all legislation regarding NGO
accreditation and participation in UN Conferences and Summits from
1990 - 2001, please click
2. NGOs may establish working relations with particular Departments,
Programmes or Specialized Agencies of the United
Nations System, based on shared fields of interest and potential
for joint activities complementing the work of the United Nations
office in a particular area. For a list of NGO Focal points
throughout the UN System, please click here.
Handbook also provides a wealth of information on
Civil Society engagement throughout the UN system.
3. International NGOs active in the field of economic and social
development may seek to obtain consultative status with the United
Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
requirements concerning consultative status with ECOSOC, please
contact the ECOSOC NGO Section by clicking the link above.
4. NGOs that have at their disposal regular means of disseminating
information, either through their publications, radio or television
programmes, or through their public activities such as conferences,
lectures, seminars or workshops, and that are willing to devote
a portion of their information programmes to dissemination of information
about the United Nations, may apply for association with the United
Nations Department of Public Information (DPI). Please click
here for additional information.
affiliated with the United Nations system or not, NGOs can obtain
United Nations public information materials from the United Nations
Information Centres in countries of their operations (
) . They can also access the UN information on the web at
information on the role of NGOs at the UN can be found on the Global
Policy Forum website
UNITED NATIONS REFORM
UN-CIVIL SOCIETY RELATIONS