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CoNGO’s mission is to facilitate the participation of NGOs in the UN system. Workiing to ensure that NGOs have adequate access to UN meetings, conferences, special events, and documentation is a central CoNGO activity. The UN-NGO relationship has been evolving and changing since the signing of the UN Charter in 1945. The issue of NGO Access to the UN has at times been under great scrutiny and debate, especially within the past several years. CoNGO’s mission is to ensure the free exchange of ideas among all parties at the United Nations, by defending and upholding the rights of NGOs, based on the UN Charter, to voice their concerns.

NGOs played an essential role in the discussions leading to the founding of the United Nations, and the United Nations Charter itself made provision for formal participation of NGOs through the mechanism of consultative status granted through the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). From the beginning, a combination of independence from, engagement with and support for the United Nations has been the hallmark of CoNGO.

CoNGO has drafted a voluntary “code of conduct” for NGOs as well as a draft set of ”Rules and Procedure for NGO Participation at UN Conferences.”

CoNGO is an active member of the NGO Working Group on UN-NGO Relations that brings together key NGO representatives based at UN headquarters. The Working Group was founded in 2009 and advocates for a positive and open partnership between the United Nations and NGOs, addressing issues such as the accreditation process, NGO participation in UN meetings and conferences, and physical access to the Headquarters complex. CoNGO convenes NGO meetings on access issues at the UN offices in Geneva and Vienna, and follows closely the relevant developments at other UN centres throughout the world, as well as in relation to UN Summits and major conferences.

Please, see also our page on ECOSOC and NGO Consultative Status.

Useful Links

  • Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) -NGO Branch: http://csonet.org
    The focal point within the UN Secretariat for non-governmental organizations in ECOSOC consultative status and for NGOs seeking status.