The Conference of NGo's in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO)

The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO)

The Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations is an independent, international, not-for-profit membership association of nongovernmental organizations that facilitates the participation of NGOs in United Nations debates and decisions.

CONGO’s roots go back to the role that NGOs played at the founding of the United Nations and the concept of “We the peoples”, with which the UN Charter begins. Shortly after its creation the United Nations encouraged nongovernmental organizations to request “consultative status” through a “Committee on Nongovernmental Organizations,” established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Some forty international NGOs were the first to receive consultative status; they quickly formed an association, called the “Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with ECOSOC”, or “CONGO”.

Since its founding in 1948, CONGO has worked to ensure that NGO voices are heard throughout the international arena. CONGO’s role in mobilizing NGOs to form the first worldwide NGO forum on human rights in 1968, its role in conceiving forms of NGO participation in UN conferences and its advocacy on behalf of NGOs at UN Headquarters highlight CONGO’s major objectives. The Conference attempts to ensure that NGOs are present when governments discuss issues of global concern at the United Nations and to facilitate NGO discussions on such issues.

CONGO does not take positions on substantive matters. However, the Conference does provide, through special and ad hoc NGO Committees, fora for discussion of substantive matters by its members and members of the UN Secretariat, UN delegations, and other experts. CONGO’s membership compromises national, regional and international nongovernmental organizations in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Members represent a vital range of interests, including human rights, gender, peace and disarmament, social justice, governance, environment and sustainable development. The Conference and its members collaborate with the large community of nongovernmental organizations through standing NGO committees, which follow issues of key substantive interest to NGOs.