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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions are divided into four different topics. Click on each (in the listing to the right) to view the corresponding questions and answers.

Major Group Accreditation and Pre-Registration at CSD Meetings

  1. Who are the major groups?
  2. My organization would like to participate in the CSD. What do I need to do first?
  3. What is ECOSOC consultative status?
  4. What is the CSD Roster?
  5. I am not sure if my organization is accredited. What should I do?
  6. What about the NGOs that were accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development?
  7. How do I apply for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council?
  8. Can I still participate in CSD meetings if my organization is unaccredited?
  9. What if I do not belong to an organization? Can individuals participate?
  10. How can experts from the academic world participate?
  11. I am the mayor of a city. How can I participate?
  12. I represent a private company. How can I participate?
  13. How can journalists and other media representatives participate?
  14. My organization is accredited. What do I need to do now?
  15. My organization is in consultative status with ECOSOC, but we have not received an invitation letter to participate in CSD meetings. Do we need one?
  16. My organization is a WSSD accredited organization, but we have not received an invitation letter to participate in CSD meetings. Do we need one?
  17. Is there any funding available to support my organization's participation at CSD?
  18. How many representatives are allowed to register?
  19. My organization is not accredited but I am interested in contributing to the CSD process, how can do so?
  20. My organization would like to use visual recording equipment at the CSD. What is required?

Q1. Who are the major groups?

The major groups of civil society, as defined by Agenda 21, are women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, scientific and technological community, and farmers. These groups have participated in meetings of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) as representatives of a variety of different organizations who have been accredited to the United Nations.

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Q2. My organization would like to participate in the CSD. What do I need to do first?

First, you will need to determine if your organization is accredited to the United Nations, hence eligible to participate. In order to participate in official meetings of the CSD as a representative of the major groups, each individual participant must belong to, or be associated with, an international, regional, sub-regional, or national non-governmental, non-profit, or voluntary organization that is accredited, meaning that it is in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), or on the CSD Roster.

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Q3. What is ECOSOC consultative status?

ECOSOC consultative status is granted to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) by ECOSOC upon recommendation of the ECOSOC Committee on NGOs, which is comprised of 19 Member States. After meeting certain criteria and demonstrating that their work is relevant to the aims and purposes of the UN, these NGOs acquire consultative status with the ECOSOC, which entitles them to send representatives to attend intergovernmental meetings convened by the ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, such as the Commission on Sustainable Development. The list of organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC.

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Q4. What is the CSD Roster?

In 1992, under an ad hoc arrangement, out of the 1,378 NGOs that were accredited to the UNCED conference in Rio de Janeiro, a list of 539 organizations without ECOSOC status was drawn up for placement on the CSD Roster, expressly to enable them to attend meetings and participate subsequently in the work of the CSD without necessarily obtaining ECOSOC status (ECOSOC decision 1993/220).

By ECOSOC decision 1996/302 of 26 July 1996, it was decided that the 539 NGOs without ECOSOC status that had been placed on the CSD Roster for the purpose of the work of the CSD, would be accorded expedited consideration to obtain ECOSOC consultative status at the Roster Level, only upon completion of a simple request form submitted to the Committee on NGOs if they wished to expand their participation in the work of the Council.

In 2001, the Committee on NGOs amended the earlier 1996 provision by EOCOSC decision 2001/295 which stipulated that organizations wishing to establish a relationship with ECOSOC would have to go through the same application process as all other organizations requesting consultative status, with the sole provision that the Committee on NGOs would still undertake consideration of those applications as expeditiously as possible. No new organizations have been added to the CSD Roster since its creation.

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Q5. I am not sure if my organization is accredited. What should I do?

If you are unsure of your organization's accreditation status, you can search for your organization's name within the online database of NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC (a consolidated list is also available by clicking here). If your organization is in consultative status with ECOSOC, it will be listed. If your organization is on the CSD Roster, it will be listed here.

If your organization is not found in the ECOSOC database, or on the CSD Roster but you believe it is accredited, please contact the NGO Branch directly. The NGO Section maintains up-to-date lists of accredited organizations including those that have recently been granted consultative status but are not yet included in the lists available on the Internet. You can contact the NGO Branch by e-mail at ngoranch@un.org.

You may also contact the Major Groups Programme at the CSD Secretariat with questions about your accreditation status:

E-mail: csdmgregister@un.org
Tel. +1 917 367 8388 or +1 212-963 4704
Fax: +1 917-367 2341

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Q6. What about the NGOs that were accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development?

The accreditation process that allowed new organizations to get accredited to, and participate in, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was intended to apply only to the Summit process not beyond. A total of 737 organizations were accredited to the WSSD.

The CSD did extend the status of these organizations to allow their participation in its 11th Session in 2003 and recommended that ECOSOC consider, in accordance with established United Nations rules of procedure and taking note of the ongoing work of the NGO Committee, the status of NGOs that were accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development so that the Commission can benefit from their contributions as soon as possible.

In February 2004, ECOSOC decided (E/2004/212 [Arabic] [Chinese] [English] [French] [Russian] [Spanish]) that non-governmental organizations and other major groups accredited to the World Summit on Sustainable Development can participate in the first two-year implementation cycle of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

Currently the WSSD accredited NGOs are no longer allowed to participate in the works of the CSD as their accreditation has expired in April 2005, with the end of the first CSD implementation cycle.

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Q7. How do I apply for consultative status with the Economic and Social Council?

To apply for consultative status with ECOSOC, please visit the website of the ECOSOC NGO Branch. There you will find all the information and application materials you will need.

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Q8. Can I still participate in CSD meetings if my organization is unaccredited?

Welcome as it is, your organization's interest in CSD activities needs to converge with UN rules, which envisage that only accredited organizations can attend CSD meetings. Non-accredited major groups organizations may wish to check the ECOSOC Roster or the CSD Roster to see if they belong to any of the accredited networks.

If your organization is not accredited and you want to send representatives to CSD-19, you are welcome to contact an accredited organization within your networks and explore the possibility that they include your representatives in their delegation. The major groups organizing partners may also choose, at their discretion, to include representatives of unaccredited organizations under their umbrella so that they may participate in the meeting.

Alternatively, major groups may also wish to request that they be included in their Government delegation by contacting the relevant Ministry.

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Q9. What if I do not belong to an organization? Can individuals participate?

Unless you are affiliated to an accredited NGO or IGO, or are part of a Government delegation, UN rules do not allow individuals, interested as they may be, to participate in UN meetings.

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Q10. How can experts from the academic world participate?

Experts from the fields of science, technology and education will need to be members of or affiliated to an accredited organization. Query the NGO Branch database for organizations you may be affiliated with. You may also wish to contact the major groups organizing partners for the Scientific and Technological Community.

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Q11. I am the mayor of a city. How can I participate?

Local authorities who are members of accredited NGOs can register through those organizations to participate in CSD meetings. Query the NGO Branch database for organizations related to local authorities that you may be affiliated with. You may also contact the major groups organizing partners for Local Authorities for assistance.

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Q12. I represent a private company. How can I participate?

Representatives from the private sector who are members of accredited NGOs can register through those organizations to participate in CSD meetings. Query the NGO Branch database for business associations that you may be affiliated with.

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Q13. How can journalists and other media representatives participate?

Media representatives wishing to attend CSD meetings should contact the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, Department of Public Information, Room S-250, New York, NY 10017, USA; Fax: +1 212 963 4642; E-mail: mediainfo@un.org

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Q14. My organization is accredited. What do I need to do now?

If you are planning to attend the CSD, you must be pre-registered through an accredited organization in order to register at the meeting and receive a UN grounds pass. This includes any major groups’ representatives who participate in the Partnerships Fair, Learning Centre, and Side Events.

The pre-registation on-line system (UN-DESA Event Management System) will allow you to pre-register to CSD meetings, including adding or changing namesof representatives and printing confirmation letters.. Login information for your organization will be provided by the NGO Section. To request your username and password, please send an e-mail to: ngobranch@un.org.

The confirmation letter and a photo ID will need to be shown at the registration desk when your representative arrives at UN Headquarters for the CSD meeting. Details on the location and schedule for the registration desk will be posted on this page once available. Please make sure that your organization has the necessary consultative status BEFORE sending representatives to New York or making travel arrangements for them.

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Q15. My organization is in consultative status with ECOSOC, but we have not received an invitation letter to participate in CSD meetings. Do we need one?

If your organization is in consultative status with the ECOSOC or the CSD Roster, no invitation letter is required to participate in the CSD meetings.

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Q16. My organization is a WSSD accredited organization, but we have not received an invitation letter to participate in CSD meetings. Do we need one?

Currently the WSSD accredited NGOs are no longer allowed to participate in the works of the CSD as their accreditation expired in April 2005, with the end of the first CSD implementation cycle.

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Q17. Is there any funding available to support my organization's participation at CSD?

Limited funding will in most years support the participation of a maximum of two representatives per major group (excluding business and industry) to be nominated by the major group organising partners. In all other cases, your organization will be responsible for all arrangements and costs related to travel and accommodations while in New York.

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Q18. How many representatives are allowed to register?

The United Nations encourages a broad participation and representation of NGOs. There is no limit on the number of representatives each organization can register at the moment. However, due to limited space in the conference room, and security and safety concerns, the Security Officers at the doors of the conference rooms may limit the number of representatives attending the meetings.

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Q19. My organization is not accredited but I am interested in contributing to the CSD process, how can do so?

Being accredited to the UN is not a prerequisite for being active and effective in the field of sustainable development. There are several ways by which you can inform the CSD, including by submitting case studies, registering partnerships, inputting to the reports of the Secretary-General, and participating in the Regional Implementation Meetings.

If your organization is not accredited and you want to send representatives to CSD, you are welcome to contact an accredited organization within your networks and explore the possibility that they include your representatives in their delegation. The major groups organizing partners may also choose, at their discretion, to include representatives of unaccredited organizations under their umbrella so that they may participate in the meeting.

Alternatively, major groups may also wish to request that they be included in their Government delegation by contacting the relevant Ministry.

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Q20. My organization would like to use visual recording equipment at the CSD. What is required?

While media accreditation is not accorded to the information outlets of NGOs and other major groups, it is becoming common practice for NGO delegates to attend meetings, to which they are accredited, with photographic and video equipment. However, visual recording is only permitted during a meeting with the approval of the meeting or conference organizers.

In order to ensure that the presence of visual recording equipment by NGO delegates does not disrupt the meeting or interfere with interventions by participants, the following guidelines have been put in place:

• Photography (still and/or video) using tripods will only be allowed from the back and sides of the meeting room;
• Photography (still and/or video) by a delegate is allowed from their seat as long as it does not interfere with the sightlines of other delegates or disrupt the proceedings of the meeting.

The conference officer responsible for the meeting will inform Security of any problems that arise with the presence of visual recording devices used by delegates and if necessary Security will contact the Media Liaison and Accreditation Unit (+ 212 963 6934) to request their assistance in resolving the matter.

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