Working with Civil Society

The importance of working with and through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) as an integral part of the United Nations information activities was recognized when the Department of Public Information (DPI) was first established in 1946. Today, more than 1,400 NGOs/CSOs with strong information programmes on issues of concern to the United Nations are associated with the Department of Public Information (DPI) giving the United Nations valuable links to people around the world. For more information, contact the NGO/CSO Liaison Service of UNIS Vienna or visit the DPI NGO/CSO Relations website.

Many NGOs/CSOs active in the field of economic and social development have consultative status with the Economic and Social Council. CONGO, the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council, serves as a representative voice of NGOs/CSOs in consultative status with ECOSOC. The Conference of NGOs assists a wide variety of NGOs/CSOs in consultative status to promote their common aim of supporting the UN Charter. It works on behalf of NGOs/CSOs in consultative status to develop that status further and enhance their relationship and cooperation with the UN and its various organs and provides a forum for NGOs/CSOs with common interests to come together to study, plan, support and act on issues relating to the principles and programmes of the UN and its network of agencies. Currently, more than 3,290 NGOs have consultative status with the ECOSOC. For more information, visit the CONGO website.

CONGO Committees

CONGO's NGO Committees bring together NGOs/CSOs, members of the CONGO secretariat and government delegations to discuss pertinent themes and issues before the UN and the international community. CONGO members and the larger NGO/CSO community work together through these committees to share information, to cooperate on substantive issues and to bring NGO/CSO expertise into the discussions of governments in UN fora. CONGO's NGO Committees operate in Geneva, New York and Vienna.

The NGO/CSO Liaison Service of UNIS Vienna maintains a distribution list of approximately 500 NGO representatives, research institutes, political think tanks and initiatives of civil society. Information on issues relevant to the respective NGOs/CSOs is distributed to them on a regular basis and NGO/CSO representatives are invited to briefings and events.

The NGO/CSO Liaison Service of UNIS also cooperates with NGOs/CSOs in the organization of special United Nations observances, campaigns, and events on UN issues, such as peace, the environment, human rights and the implementation of the sustainable development goals and the 2030 Development Agenda

Annual DPI/NGO Conference

Organized by the Department of Public Information (DPI) in partnership with the NGO community, the annual DPI/NGO Conference is the largest gathering of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) jointly organized by the UN Department of Public Information and NGOs and relevant partners, as appropriate. The Conference brings together over 1,500 NGO representatives from around the globe to focus on a theme related to current UN and NGO priorities.

The 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference was held in the City of Gyeongju, Republic of Korea from 30 May to 1 June 2016. The Conference title was "Education for Global Citizenship: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals Together." The Conference took place in the first year of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by Member States in September 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure human rights and prosperous and fulfilling lives for all, as part of a new sustainable development agenda to be achieved by 2030. 2016 was a globally unprecedented opportunity to spark these transformational changes, following also on the successful conclusion of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of Parties (COP) agreement in Paris in December 2015.

The Conference was an important opportunity to mobilize global civil society around the Sustainable Development Goals. By focusing on education for global citizenship, the 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference aimed to build on the centrality of education and global citizenship as the bedrock of sustainable development and climate action. The 66th UN DPI/NGO Conference was the first in the Conference's history to be held in Asia. The first 60 conferences were held in New York at United Nations Headquarters, as was the 65th conference. In between, the conference was held in Paris, Mexico City, Melbourne and Bonn.

For further information, please contact:

Maria Naderhirn
NGO/CSO Liaison
United Nations Information Service (UNIS)
PO Box 500, 1400 Vienna, Austria
Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-3324
Fax: (+43-1) 26060-7-3324
Email: Contact Form