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Introduction of CSO Net - the Civil Society Network web portal

The first venue by which non-governmental organizations (NGOs) took a formal role in United Nations deliberations was through its consultative relationship with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). 41 NGOs were granted status by the Council in 1946, and the number has been increasing steadily ever since, today reaching over 3,200 organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC.

With the large number of organizations that today enjoy consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, it is essential to facilitate a networking platform among these groups in order to build sustainable partnerships and to better transcend the efforts being made by the civil society community into the work of the United Nations system, and the society at large.

In this regard, the NGO Branch, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, has developed a web portal devoted to non-governmental organizations, and to members of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, in order to share and promote best practices in the field of economic and social development, as well for the purpose of establish collaborative development solutions and partnerships among these groups.

Through the web portal, NGOs and UN entities may submit implemented best practices, request for development solutions, propose projects, publish news feeds, write articles, engage and moderate discussion groups and publish and manage events and meetings. Furthermore, the portal will contain capacity building and training modules, in order to increases the awareness of development issues and to generate technical cooperation within the development community.

Civil society plays an important role in reaching the internationally agreed development goals set out in the UN agenda, including the Millennium Development Goals. Strong relationships among NGOs working in the fields of development, the United Nations and other involved actors, along with a knowledge-based open networking platform will facilitate and strengthen their contribution towards these goals and universally important commitments.

- October 2009, NGO Branch, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations

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