The NGO Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs is the focal point within the United Nations Secretariat for non-governmental organizations seeking, or in consultative status, with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The NGO Branch services the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, a subsidiary body of the ECOSOC composed of 19 Member States. It also provides relevant advice and information concerning NGOs to representatives of the United Nations system, Member States and civil society.
The Branch works to strengthen and enhance dialogue between NGOs and the United Nations to enable NGOs to participate in the economic and social development activities of the organization. The nature of this support ranges from administrative and security procedures that give access to UN facilities to training, information and advice on the substance of the NGO contribution to the organization's goals and objectives.Consultative relationship with the ECOSOC is governed by the principles contained in Council resolution 1996/31. Consultative relationships with the ECOSOC may be established with international, regional, sub regional and national non-governmental, non-profit public or voluntary organizations that make a significant contribution to the work of the ECOSOC or its subsidiary bodies. Currently, more than 3200 NGOs have consultative status with the ECOSOC.