20 Ways for You to engage with the United Nations: Grants, Conferences and Networking Opportunities

The United Nations (UN) refers to NGOs and the civil society as the ‘third sector’ after government and the private business. It has always given high importance to NGOs in research, policy-making and execution of programs worldwide. The UN believes in building partnerships with NGOs and supporting them in terms of grant opportunities, networking, conferences and capacity building.

UN offers a range of opportunities for NGOs to collaborate and address sustainable development challenges worldwide. One of its most important programs on civil society collaboration is the ECOSOC that offers you an opportunity to enter into its database of NGO partners and attain a consultative status. With this opportunity, you will also be able to attend various international conferences and events of the UN.

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Funding opportunities for NGOs at the UN are available every now on then. Some of the best funding programs are the UN Democracy Fund, UN Women grants, UN GEF Small Grants and UN-HABITAT Youth Grant. These opportunities are announced annually during different times of the year and there is a strong focus on funding small and medium-sized organizations in developing countries to address issues related to democracy, youth, good governance, environment, climate change and women empowerment.

Fellowship opportunities for NGO professionals are also announced from time to time. The OHCHR fellowships not only introduce selected fellows to human rights knowledge but they also provide an excellent understanding of the UN system and its approach towards sustainable development.

Apart from the above funding and fellowship opportunities, there are also dedicated channels opened up by the UN for NGOs to enter into partnerships. The United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service and the United Nations Youth Delegate Programme are some of these programs that enable selected NGOs to participate in various conferences and events and ensure long-term benefits of capacity bulding and networking.

In this guide, we look at various channels, including funding and networking opportunities that offer NGOs the prospects of partnering with the UN for better delivery and sustainability. Please note that some of these programs are now closed and they are no longer accepting new applications until further notice. Nevertheless, we have listed them here so that you can prepare early as they open up for the next year. Also you will find out information about two upcoming conferences where NGOs are invited to attend them.

Click on ‘Next’ below to start learning about the UN opportunities.

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