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Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

2011 RESUMED SESSION, 16-24 MAY 2011
The Committee on NGOs, a standing committee of ECOSOC, will meet for its 2011 resumed session from 16-24 May 2011 to review applications by NGOs seeking consultative status with ECOSOC and other items on its agenda. 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 also 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, at its 2011 resumed session, over 117 new applications, and will also deal with an additional workload of reviewing 216 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 May, over 130 of these quadrennial reports will be reviewed. More detailed information on the session's documentation will be available by 10 May 2011.

The work programme of the Committee on NGOs is supported and facilitated, for the ninth year in succession 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 the laptops provided by the Secretariat or through other mobile devices such as tablets/ e-readers and smart phones.

See updated list of all NGOs in status in 2010
Background to the Committee
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. Download the latest reports on the right side menu of this page.

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 of 25 July 1996. In its proceedings the Committee is guided by the rules of procedure of the Council.

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.
At the first formal meeting of the session, the Chairperson encourages the Committee to adopt its decisions by consensus. If requested, the Committee decides on proposals by a recorded roll-call vote. Otherwise, it takes action through resolutions and decisions by consensus. The Committee's decisions are considered recommendations, often in the form of draft decisions calling for action by the Council. These recommendations are reflected in Part I of the Committee's reports. (See, for example, the reports above.)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.

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