How to apply for consultative status with ECOSOC?

NGO ECOSOC Status Brochure

Basic Facts about ECOSOC Status

  • Consultative status provides NGOs with access to not only ECOSOC, but also to its many subsidiary bodies, to the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, ad-hoc processes on small arms, as well as special events organized by the President of the General Assembly. See News and Events for samples.
  • Currently, more than 5,000 NGOs enjoy consultative status with ECOSOC.
  • ECOSOC accreditation is separate and distinct from NGOs who are associated the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). These organizations generally have far fewer privileges to participate in intergovernmental meetings of the United Nations. See list of DPI-associated NGOs here. See website here.
  • You can sort and review all NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status in an online database. Access the database here.
  • There are three types of consultative status: General, Special and Roster.
  • General and special status NGOs are required to submit a ‘quadrennial report’ every four years. Learn more.
  • The Committee on NGOs reviews new applications for consultative status twice a year, in January (‘regular session’) and in May (‘resumed session’). The Committee  does not decide but recommends. These recommendations, contained in one report for the January session and one report for the May session, are reviewed by ECOSOC in April and July respectively. See past reports here.
  • In most cases, ECOSOC decides to approve the recommendations. In very rare cases, it does not. The deadline for applications is 1 June of the year before the Committee reviews the application.

How to apply for consultative status with ECOSOC? Please follow the steps below to complete your application for consultative status online.

1. Profile registration

Your organization must have a registered profile before starting the application for consultative status. Before registering your organization, please check first, if your organization has not already been included. Many organizations that have participated in United Nations sponsored conferences have been added to this database.

The profile registration will take about 10 minutes. Once completed, your profile will be reviewed by a substantive officer of our Branch. You will be informed by email when your registration has been accepted. It might take a few days for your profile to be approved. Please ensure that you do not submit your profile more than once.

2. Online application: Questionnaire + Summary + Supporting Documents

As the next step, after you are notified that your profile registration was accepted, your organization has to submit the application, containing the online questionnaire and summary, and the supporting documents.The online application form can only be accepted in the two UN Secretariat working languages: English and French. All required documents submitted excluding publications should also be translated in English or French. If a document is too long, a translated summary may be accepted. Before applying you are strongly advised to check out the questionnaire and some hints to fill it out. Questionnaire of the Application for Consultative Status Components of supporting documents are:

  • Copy of constitution/charter and/or statutes/by-laws and amendments to those documents (pursuant to paragraph 10 of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31).
  • Copy of certificate of registration. According to resolution 1996/31 an organization “should attest that it has been in existence for at least two years as at the date of receipt of the application by the Secretariat”. Please provide a copy of the registration paper or, if your country does not require registration, please provide other proof of existence.
  • Copy of most recent financial statement and annual report.
  • Optional: Copy of examples of your publications and recent articles or statements.
  • Optional: Organization chart (if available).

Completed applications must be received by June 1st of the year before the NGO wishes to be considered for recommendation by the Committee. For example, complete applications (which include a completed questionnaire and all the required supporting documentation) submitted to the NGO Branch by 1 June 2015 will be taken up by the Committee on NGOs in the year 2016. Applications received between 2 June 2015 and 1 June 2016 will be taken up in the year 2017.Login here to submit your application online.

  • Click on the Consultative Status tab to start filling out the application form.
  • Supporting documents can be uploaded by using the Documents tab.

3. NGO Branch screening of applications

The period between 1st June and the date the Committee meets is dedicated by the NGO Branch to review the applications. During this time the NGO may be contacted and asked for more information or clarifications. Only after reviewed by an officer and considered complete, an application is submitted to the NGO Committee.When an application becomes part of the agenda of the NGO Committee a letter is sent to the NGO informing them of the upcoming session and inviting to send no more than two representatives to be present during the session. The presence of NGO representatives in the room is in no way mandatory and it does not imply any advantages. NGOs simply have the right to be present when their applications are being considered. Considering the cost involved in traveling to New York most NGOs do not attend the first time they are being considered. If the application raises many questions from member countries and gets deferred to another session, NGOs might consider useful to be present at the following session in order to be able to reply in person and avoid being deferred again.Among other requirements for obtaining consultative status are the following:

  • Applying organization’s activities must be relevant to the work of ECOSOC;
  • The NGO must have been in existence (officially registered) for at least 2 years in order to apply;
  • The NGO must have a democratic decision making mechanism;
  • The major portion of the organization’s funds should be derived from contributions from national affiliates, individual members, or other non-governmental components.

4. The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations

The Committee meets twice a year to decide which NGOs applying for consultative status it will recommend to the ECOSOC Council. During its Session, the Committee may ask questions to the NGO. Such questions are sent to the NGO by the Secretariat and should be replied by the NGO as fast as possible in order to help the Committee make a decision and avoid getting deferred to future sessions.The Committee RecommendsThe Committee recommendations are published in a report and submitted to the next ECOSOC meeting for final approval. Official notification is sent to all reviewed NGOs, informing them about the Committee’s recommendation.The Committee may decide to defer an application review until the next session, pending clarifications and answers to questions asked to the NGO.

5. ECOSOC Final Decision

When the Council finally approves the Committee recommendation to grant consultative status to an NGO, official notification is sent by the Secretariat. NGOs granted General or Special consultative status must submit to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, every fourth year, a brief report of their activities, in particular regarding their contribution to the work of the United Nations (Quadrennial Report). Working with ECOSOC: an NGOs Guide to Consultative Status Learn more about how to apply for consultative status with ECOSOC.