High demand for consultative status

2011 Regular Session of the NGO Committee will be held from 31 January to 9 February to examine applications for consultative status

The Committee on NGOs, a standing committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), will meet to review a record number of applications by NGOs seeking consultative status with ECOSOC. Accreditation is important to many NGOs, as it allows for access and participation in all of the subsidiary bodies of the Council, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Sustainable Development, and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In addition, ECOSOC consultative status allows for participation in the Human Rights Council and many of the human rights treaty bodies of the United Nations.

The Committee is expected to review over 170 new applications, and will also deal with an additional workload of reviewing 180 applications from NGOs deferred from earlier sessions.

Of the roughly 3,400 NGOs currently accredited to the Council, some 2,000 organizations in the highest two categories of accreditation, namely General and Special consultative status, are required to report every four years on the work they have undertaken in support of the goals of the Council and the United Nations. In January, over 200 of these reports will be reviewed.

With such a heavy work load, the deliberations of the Committee are facilitated by a unique conference services system, called the Paperless Committee. The 19 member States represented in the Committee are each provided with a laptop to review detailed documentation of each NGO being considered. The system has been recognized by the granting of the UN21 Award in 2008.

For more information: www.un.org/ecosoc/ngo