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.
As this process of obtaining consultative status is beneficial for both NGOs and the ECOSOC, many NGOs around the world fail to apply or get their applications rejected easily either because they have poor knowledge about the process involved in selection or they have less interest in it.
In order to increase awareness about the benefits of the consultative status, the United Nations has published a simple and useful guide outlining the meaning, benefits, process and selection of NGOs. The objectives of the guide are “to encourage relevant NGOs to apply for consultative status with the Council, as well as to help organizations already in consultative status to get the most of this relationship while increasing their contribution to the work of ECOSOC.”
Running to some 44 pages, the guide provides basic information about the way in which NGOs can interact with the United Nations in general and with ECOSOC in particular. It describes the different formal and informal mechanisms that civil society can utilize in order to work with the different ECOSOC Commissions.
The guide available in English and Portuguese versions can be downloaded from this link.