What is CoNGO?

What is CoNGO (Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations)?

The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) is an independent, international membership association founded in 1948, the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As a non-governmental organization (NGO) in general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council, our work relates to the entire United Nations System: the Secretariat, Agencies, Treaty Bodies, Regional Commissions, Institutes, Summits and World Conferences.

CoNGO wholeheartedly endorses the goals and values enshrined in the United Nations Charter, and is a strong advocate for multilateralism to resolve global political, environmental, health and other threats. We encourage NGOs around the world to cooperate with the United Nations to promote and support its work and to draw civil society into an enduring partnership with the world body. Close to 40 CoNGO Substantive Committees (called NGO Committees) related to CoNGO in New York, Geneva, Vienna and regions worldwide demonstrate our commitment to supporting the mission of the United Nations, systemwide.

CoNGO has a membership of diverse NGOs working in consultation with the United Nations, in collaboration with each other, and in cooperation with other like-minded stakeholders. CoNGO recognizes its role in adding value to the efforts of our members to effectively contribute to the achievement of goals agreed upon by the United Nations and its Member States. We particularly support young people and youth organizations as active participants and partners in all United Nations processes.

What are CoNGO’s aims and key objectives?

  • Ensure the presence of NGOs as one of three parties in exchanges that include government and UN entities, on issues of global, regional and national concern; this implies assisting CoNGO’s members in gaining access to and participating in consultative processes normally convened by UN entities at the request of governments;
  • Facilitate the ongoing substantive dialogue specifically between entities of the UN System and NGOs per se;
  • Inform CoNGO’s membership of new activities conducted and initiatives developed by UN entities and NGOs;
  • Empower NGOs, through the provision of expertise available within CoNGO’s member organizations and its substantive NGO committees, to develop further the quality and reach of their activities;
  • Promote and encourage the synergies of NGO partnerships and collaborative networks in and between regions; and,
  • Train NGOs to develop leadership, management, advocacy and capacity-building skills, and in turn exhibit best practices and conduct in inter-NGO and UN-NGO relations.

These objectives emanate from the aims provided for in the CoNGO Rules.

Who qualifies as a member of CoNGO?

CoNGO membership is open to national, regional and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that already possess accreditation granted by any of the entities within the United Nations System that grant NGO consultative, observer or some equivalent or similar status. Organizations as defined here, and not individuals, may become members of CoNGO.

An NGO with a consultative status (general, special, or roster) granted by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is eligible to become a CoNGO Full Member. An ECOSOC-accredited NGO with other accreditation(s) within the UN System will be classified under ECOSOC and hence, full membership.

An NGO accredited or admitted by an entity within the UN System (aside from ECOSOC) and granted observer or partner status is eligible to become a CoNGO Associate Member. This includes accreditation by the Department of Global Communications (DGC) and other UN entities such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), World Health Organization (WHO), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Rules of CoNGO describe in greater detail how to become an organizational member. Read this.