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 has been recognized since 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 Global Communications (DGC) 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 DGC 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, approximately 3,500 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 DGC/NGO Conference

Organized by the Department of Global Communications (DGC) in partnership with the NGO community, the annual DGC/NGO Conference is the largest gathering of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) jointly organized by the UN Department of Global Communications (DGC) and NGOs and relevant partners, as appropriate. The conference attracts an average of 2,000 representatives of more than 500 NGOs, from over 100 countries, and focuses on a different UN topic of interest related to the work of civil society and NGOs. This international forum gathers UN System officials, prominent international NGOs, public opinion makers, members of academia and media to discuss issues of global concern.

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
Email: Contact Form