Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
Non-governmental organization (NGO) is a term that has become widely accepted as referring to a legally constituted, non-governmental organization created by natural or legal persons with no participation or representation of any government. In the cases in which NGOs are funded totally or partially by governments, the NGO maintains its non-governmental status and excludes government representatives from membership in the organization. Unlike the term intergovernmental organization, “non-governmental organization” is a term in general use but is not a legal definition. In many jurisdictions these types of organization are defined as “civil society organizations” or referred to by other names.
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)
Civil society is composed of the totality of voluntary civic and social organizations and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society as opposed to the force-backed structures of a state (regardless of that state’s political system) and commercial institutions of the market.
UN: Effective partnerships with Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations
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, 1664 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, visit the DPI NGO website.
Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council
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 before 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’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 the International Day of Peace, the Commemoration of the Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, or the UN Millennium Campaign against Poverty “Stand up,Take Action”.
World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations
WANGO is an international organization uniting NGOs worldwide in the cause of advancing peace and global well being. WANGO helps to provide the mechanism and support needed for NGOs to connect, partner, share, inspire, and multiply their contributions to solve humanity’s basic problems.
Initiated in 2000 by a handful of international NGOs and prominent visionaries, WANGO has quickly become one of the premier international bodies for non-governmental organizations that are committed to the ideals of universal peace, justice, and well being for all humanity.
Concerned with universal values shared across the barriers of politics, culture, religion, race and ethnicity, the founding organizations and individuals envisioned an organization that would enable NGOs to work in partnership across those barriers, thereby weaving a selfless social fabric essential to establishing a worldwide culture of peace. By optimizing resources and sharing vital information, WANGO provides a means for NGOs to become more effective in completing their vital tasks.
With its global network of NGOs, as well as affiliates drawn from the ranks of governmental and intergovernmental bodies, business, and universities, WANGO has become an international leader in tackling issues of serious global concern.
For more information, visit wango.org