NGO Committees in Geneva


(This listing of NGO Committees includes information provided by the Committee. Updates are entered as soon as they are received.)

(Ver. 22 February 2023)

NGO Committee on Ageing—Geneva | | Facebook | Email: | Twitter: @NgoAgeing  | YouTube

Executive Committee:

Chair: Kelly G. Fitzgerald | International Federation on Ageing (IFA)
Vice Chair: Ann Lindsay | World Federation for Mental Health | WFMH                                                                                                          Past Chair: Silvia Perel-Levin | International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) | The International Longevity Centre Global Alliance (ILC GA)
Treasurer: Valerie Bichelmeier | Make Mothers Matter | MMM
Co-Secretary: Liat Ayalon | International Psychogeriatric Association
Co-Secretary: Kimberly Stoeckel | BAGSO – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Seniorenorganistionen

The overall goals and objectives of the Committee are:

  • To further the United Nations’ mission of building a society for all ages;
  • To raise awareness of ageing and intergenerational issues and ensure that they are adequately addressed by the UN System;
  • To advocate for a new convention on the rights of older persons; and
  • To influence global policy and monitor the implementation of existing commitments.

The Committee strives to attain its objectives by:

  • Strengthening relationships with NGOs by providing a platform for strategy development;
  • Bringing diverse voices from local and national levels to international platforms;
  • Drawing on the experience of Committee members to share analyses on trends, needs and good practices; and
  • Maintaining regular communication with the Vienna and New York UN NGO Committees on Ageing and with the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG).


NGO Committee on Development

Co-Chair:   Jan Lönn | International Youth and Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN) |


NGO Committee on Disarmament

Chair:   Hayley Ramsay-Jones | Soka Gakkai International |

The NGO Committee for Disarmament facilitates and supports coordination and cooperation between civil society, NGOs, and the UN on peace and disarmament initiatives. For a very long time, the NGO Committee for Disarmament has played a crucial and expanding role in raising awareness in civil society and among NGOs worldwide on the status of negotiations, country positions, major obstacles and opportunities. It has helped NGOs transmit their expertise and creative proposals to appropriate decision-making fora.


NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief | |

The NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) in Geneva acts as a sub-committee of the CoNGO Special Committee on Human Rights. It aims to promote the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and ensure these fundamental freedoms are upheld according to international standards at the UN.

The Committee provides a forum for collaboration and joint initiatives for NGOs in Geneva and elsewhere. It is mainly engaged during the sessions of the Human Rights Council and seeks to follow and support the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. It also communicates with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, other relevant UN Offices, and UN member states; and works with concerned NGOs in Geneva where the right to FoRB intersects with other rights.

According to the Bylaws of the Committee, Membership is open to NGOs having consultative status with United Nations through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Other NGOs may be welcomed to join the Committee as observers and can participate in the discussions. There are no membership fees.

BUREAU (elected 23 June 2022)

Chair:  Elizabeth O’Casey | Humanists International |                                                                                   Vice-Chair: Wissam al-Saliby | World Evangelical Alliance | geneva@worldea.orgce
Secretary: Michelle Mack Fiore | Jus Cogens |


NGO Committee on Human Rights

Co-President: Léonie de Piccioto | International Council of Jewish Women |
Co-President: Claire de Lavernette | International Organization for the Right to Education and Freedom of Education | OIDEL |
Secretary: Mona M’Bikay | UPR Info |
Treasurer: Stacy Dry Lara | Graduate Women International |

The NGO Committee on Human Rights provides space for information exchange and collective reflection among its members, particularly in relation to the institution-building process of the UN Human Rights Council. It also organizes and co-sponsors information and orientation sessions during the sessions of the Council. It initiated the reflection on improving NGO information sharing and strategic collaboration on substantive issues, notably through promoting an online collaboration platform (


NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning (Reports to the NGO Committee on Human Rights)

Chair: Claire de Lavernette | International Organization for the Right to Education and Freedom of Education | OIDEL |

Co-Chair: Elisa Gazzotti | Soka Gakkai International |

The objective of the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning is to ensure the participation of NGOs in the processes of global policy-making on human rights education and learning in relation to the UN institutions, principally the UN Human Rights Council. The Working Group holds regular meetings for strategy-building and activity planning, organizes public meetings at the UN, delivers civil society views and proposals jointly by member NGOs, and consults and cooperates with the OHCHR and UN Member States and experts.

The NGO WG has a website: and an open web resource: It was set up in 2018 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to contribute to the goals of the World Programme for Human Rights Education; the website was developed by the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), HRE 2020, the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning, and the Platform for Human Rights Education and Training with thanks to Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)., which gives you the link to the panels of the exhibition on HRE (2017) and other material developed to promote human rights education.


NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva | Email:

President: Carolyn Handschin-Moser | Women’s Federation for World Peace, International |
Vice President: Carol McConkie | Latter Day Saint Charities |
Treasurer: Wendi Momen | Widows’ Rights International
Acting Secretary – Srruthi Lekha | Women’s Federation for World Peace, International
Senior Advisor and Immediate Past-President: Stacy Dry Lara | Graduate Women International |
Parliamentarian and Advisor: Paula Daeppen | Biovision, FAWCO |

Objectives and activities: The Committee and its Working Groups objective are to work in partnership with the UN and its specialised agencies to influence governments to respect their commitments at world conferences and through international conventions and principles, and to maintain a global momentum for mainstreaming gender equality. Through its Working Groups, the Committee shares information and provides a platform where women and men come together to show how society benefits from women’s equal access and opportunities to participate in policy and decision-making; to help women build their confidence in order to gain in advancing their status. Some of the significant activities of the Committee over the last decades have included: setting up workshops and panels at the NGO Forum in Huairou China prior to and during the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995; convened a panel of UN interagency focal points to evaluate implementation of Beijing Platform for Action in 1996; organized with CoNGO several panels within the theme Gender Equality at the Seoul International Conference of NGOs in Korea in 1999; organized jointly with the ECE Women’s Working Group the European preparatory regional meeting to Beijing Plus Five in January 2000 and collaborated with ECE governmental delegates in drafting the agreed conclusions; collaborated with its Working Groups to organize several panel meetings during the UN Special Session in Geneva in June 2000, on the Follow-up to the Copenhagen Summit on Social Development in 1995; organized jointly with the World Bank a presentation of its Gender Equality and Development programme; organized panels at the UNCTAD Third Conference on Least Developed Countries in Bruxelles in May 2000. Since 1997, the Committee has organized Gender/Women caucuses and panels during the Human Rights Council (and before the Commission on Human Rights) as well as facilitated other gender equality meetings during important UN conferences. Reports on these activities have been published.

History: Initially a CoNGO working group on the status of women, the NGO CSW Geneva was formally created in 1973 to prepare for the First World Conference on Women. Since then, it has become a strategic body for international advocacy toward the promotion of women’s rights to sustainable development, gender equality and empowerment.

The Committee has significantly contributed to the First World Conference of Women and the succeeding Women’s world conferences. It helped draft the Programmes and Platforms for Actions and the Vienna Declaration on Violence Against Women in 1994. It has also been an essential partner of the Office of the High commissioner in integrating gender equality and women’s rights in the UN system. Through national affiliates of its member organizations, it has also been working very closely with local and national governments to advance the status of women and the girlchild in economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights.

A short summary of the establishment of a CoNGO substantive committee devoted to the Status of Women.

In 1947, at the occasion of the creation of the ECOSOC Commission on Human Rights, it was first decided to integrate the question of gender in a working group, as was the case for the Indigenous and tribal peoples. The proposition was ill-received by Women’s organisations of all tendencies. Under the leadership of Eleanor Roosevelt and Adrienne Avril de Sainte Croix, French president of the oldest Women NGO (ICW-CIF), a new Commission on Status of women was finally created, which nowadays still allows women’s affairs to benefit from a special instance!

At the same moment, International NGOs decided to unite their strength to form the Conference of International NGOs, CoNGO,  with substantive committees.

Groups working on the Status of Women were created in each UN Center in New York, Geneva and Vienna from 1948 to 1949. It is the occasion to remind that, already during the League of Nations, Women NGOs were often associated with the work of the Mains Committees.

During the following years, the three groups were often subject to attacks from tenants of different systems concerning the Status of Women. Those attacks have mostly aimed at keeping the so-called impure gender in its low status.

We are still unhappily living at a time when customary laws and legislation aimed at keeping women in their place, i.e., under the control of men. Early marriages, land ownership, inheritance, healthcare and others are still under the supervision of male domination.

Therefore, the NGO CSW Geneva is still pursuing its primary objective: equality of rights between Women and Men.