The Committee on NGOs

Gift of the Ford Foundation to the United Nations

2021 regular session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations 17–27 May and 7 June 2021

Provisional agenda | Information Note

Meetings coverage:
Hearing sessions:

2020 regular session of the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations 20-29 January 2020

Report of the session Provisional agenda | Information Note

Meetings coverage:
Hearing sessions:

Click here to see the official reports of the Committee from 1993 to 2020

What is the Committee on NGOs?

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations is a standing committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), established by the Council in 1946. It reports directly to ECOSOC, and the two reports of its annual regular session (usually at the end of January) and resumed session (in May) include draft resolutions or decisions on matters calling for action by the Council.

The Committee has 19 members who are elected on the basis of equitable geographical representation:

  • 5 members from African States;
  • 4 members from Asian States;
  • 2 members from Eastern European States;
  • 4 members from Latin American and Caribbean States; and
  • 4 members from Western European and other States.

The term of office of its members is four years. The current terms of reference of the Committee are set out in Resolution 1996/31. In its proceedings the Committee is guided by the rules of procedure of the Council.

For the period 2019-2022, members of the NGO Committee are the following: Bahrain, Brazil, Burundi, China, Cuba, Estonia, Eswatini, Greece, India, Israel, Libya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Sudan, Turkey and United States of America.

The main tasks of the Committee are:

  • The consideration of applications for consultative status and requests for reclassification submitted by NGOs;
  • The consideration of quadrennial reports submitted by NGOs in General and Special categories;
  • The implementation of the provisions of Council resolution 1996/31 and the monitoring of the consultative relationship;
  • Any other issues which the ECOSOC may request the Committee to consider.

The Committee's decisions are considered recommendations, in the form of draft decisions calling for action by the Council. These recommendations are reflected in Part I of the Committee's reports. Once an application from an NGO has been reviewed and approved by the Committee it is only considered recommended for consultative status. At its next meeting, usually in July of the same year, the Economic and Social Council reviews these recommendations, takes note of the Committe's report and makes the decisions final. It is only after the recommendation becomes an ECOSOC decision that the NGO is granted the consultative status.

The work programme of the Committee on NGOs is supported and facilitated through a document and record management and retrieval system, called the Paperless Committee. Recognized with a UN 21 Award in 2008, in the area of process re-engineering, the system allows secure access to member delegations to review information on the current and past sessions of the Committee through laptops provided by the Secretariat or through other mobile devices.