Research on Civil Society and International Decision-Making
United Nations Headquarters

These pages aim to provide information and knowledge on civil society and its relationship with the United Nations. Papers presented here aim to analyze the level of participation and contribution of NGOs to the work of ECOSOC, identify successful models implemented in the field, and provide potential paths to strengthening their relationship with the United Nations.

Successful Models of Non-Governmental Organizations
This new series concentrates on innovative practices carried out by non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Even though each paper focuses on different regions and topics, they have a common objective to identify what makes each project unique and which elements were essential to guarantee the success of each initiative. By looking at these similarities, future researchers and practitioners might be able to replicate some of these best practices around the world.

Regional Participation of Civil Society in the work of ECOSOC
The series, developed with independence by a group of graduate interns experienced in the field, tackles a concrete region in an effort to analyze the level of participation and contribution to the work of ECOSOC and provides potential paths to strengthening this relationship. Views expressed are by the authors.

United Nations and NGOs
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), also known as civil society organizations (CSOs), have existed for hundreds of years, but since the mid-nineteenth century they have been increasing in number and gaining international recognition, particularly among intergovernmental organizations (IGOs). NGOs were accepted and consulted with by the League of Nations during its existence, and were often able to participate in the League's meetings and committees. Due to this recognition, when the United Nations was created in 1945, NGO participation was included in the UN Charter under Article 71 of Chapter 10. Article 71 created the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), whose task was to consult with NGOs on matters that concerned it. This article opened the door for the 3,287 NGOs in consultative status today. This sizeable number is a clear indicator that NGOs find consultative status to be of value; otherwise they would not bother applying. However, the usefulness and level of participation of NGOs in the UN has been hotly debated since NGOs were first granted consultative status, which has led to a number of barriers.