Located within the Office of the Director-General, the NGO Liaison Unit is the focal point for matters relating to relations between the United Nations and NGOs. The Office maintains liaison with non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and facilitates their participation in United Nations activities.
The main functions of the NGO Liaison are based on ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31 that sets out the arrangements for consultation with NGOs. These functions include:
- Providing information, assistance and guidance to representatives of NGOs on their contribution to the work of the United Nations as specified in ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31;
- Facilitating the participation of NGOs in meetings of ECOSOC and its subsidiary organs at the United Nations Office at Geneva, as set out in ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31, including authorizing and organizing appropriate accreditation;
- Providing information, assistance and guidance to representatives of NGOs on issues under consideration by appropriate United Nations bodies concerned with matters within the field of competence of the individual NGO;
- Assisting Permanent Missions concerning requests for information on the relationship between the United Nations and NGOs;
- Participating in seminars and workshops on issues of relevance to the engagement between the United Nations and NGOs;
- Arranging informal discussions, including seminars and workshops, on issues related to the relationship between the United Nations and NGOs;
- Maintaining liaison and information-sharing with NGO focal points within the United Nations family in Geneva;
- Collaborating with groupings of NGOs in order to develop mechanisms for better and more efficient cooperation between the United Nations and NGOs;
- Assisting NGOs in their request for the ECOSOC Consultative Status.