The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) provides NGOs the opportunity to obtain consultative status which benefits NGOs in attending international conferences and events, make written and oral statements at these events, organize side events, enter the United Nations premises and have opportunities to network and lobby.
Every year, prior to June 1st, ECOSOC seeks applications from NGOs by first asking them to get their profiles registered in their database and then submit their online application for consideration to obtain the consultative status. The NGO Branch at the United Nations receives, reviews and forwards the applications to the Committee on NGOS which meets twice a year to decide which NGOs applying for consultative status it will recommend to the ECOSOC Council.
- Consultative status provides NGOs with access to not only ECOSOC, but also to its many subsidiary bodies, to the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, ad-hoc processes on small arms, as well as special events organized by the President of the General Assembly. See News and Events for samples.
- ECOSOC accreditation is separate and distinct from NGOs who are associated the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). These organizations generally have far fewer privileges to participate in intergovernmental meetings of the United Nations. See list of DPI-associated NGOs here. See website here.
- You can sort and review all NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status in an online database.
- There are three types of consultative status: General, Special and Roster. Most new accreditations are in the Special category.
- General and special status NGOs are required to submit a ‘quadrennial report’ every four years. Learn more.
- The Committee on NGOs reviews new applications for consultative status twice a year, in January (‘regular session’) and in May (‘resumed session’).
- The Committee does not decide but recommends. These recommendations, contained in one report for the January session and one report for the May session, are reviewed by ECOSOC in April and July respectively. See past reports here.
- In most cases, ECOSOC decides to approve the recommendations. In very rare cases, it does not.
- The deadline for applications is 1 June of the year before the Committee reviews the application.
- Therefore the next deadline for new applications is 1 June 2016. The Committee will review those applications in 2017.
- In 2013-2014, 530+ organizations applied for consultative status. On average 150 applications are recommended by the Committee in each of its two sessions per year.
- Roughly one-third of all new recommendations are recommended by the Committee immediately. Two-thirds are deferred to the next session of the Committee. Most applications get approved within two or three sessions of the Committee.