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One of the six principal organs of the United Nations System established by the UN Charter in 1945 is the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It consists of 54 members of the United Nations nominated by the General Assembly and coordinates economic, social and related work of the fourteen United Nations specialized agencies, functional commissions, and five regional commissions. It serves as the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues, and for formulating policy recommendations addressed to the Member States and the United Nations system.

Its responsibilities are to encourage universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, facilitate international cultural and educational cooperation, identify solutions to international economic, social and health problems and promote higher standards of living, full employment, economic and social progress.

The open call for Non-Governmental Organisations to apply for Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Consultative Status with the United Nations, had reached its last month. Therefore, the ECOSOC is calling for the NGOs that are interested in applying for the consultative status to submit their application and required documents before the 1st of June 2018.

The NGOs that are affiliated to an international organisation that is in status would be admitted only if they can demonstrate that their programme of work is direct significance to the aims and purpose of the United Nations. Besides, they must have been in existence and formally registered with the appropriate government authorities as an NGO for at least two years. The interested NGO must also have a recognised headquarters, a democratically adopted constitution, authority to speak for its members, a representative structure, appropriate mechanisms of accountability and democratic and transparent decision making processes.

They are many benefits of obtaining the ECOSOC Consultative Status which are that NGOs will be able to participate in events, attend meetings, submit written statements prior to sessions, make oral statements, meet official government delegations and other NGO representatives, organise and attend parallel events that take place during the session and to participate in debates, interactive dialogues, panel discussions and informal meetings.

There are five steps on how to apply for the 2018 cycle. Firstly, your organization must have a registered profile before starting the application for consultative status. Secondly, after your profile registration is accepted, your organisation has to submit the application containing the online questionnaire and summary, and the supporting documents. When the application becomes part of the agenda of the NGO Committee, a letter is sent to the NGO informing them of the upcoming session and inviting to send no more than two representatives to be present during the session. The Committee meets twice a year to decide which NGOs applying for the consultative status it will recommend to the ECOSOC Council. Lastly, when the Council finally approves the committee recommendation to grant consultative status to an NGO, an official notification is sent by the Secretariat. NGOs granted General or Special Consultative Status must submit to the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, every fourth year, a brief report of their activities, in particular regarding their contribution to the work of the United Nations.

We, at the World Assembly of Youth, encourage all qualified NGOs around the world to apply for the ECOSOC Consultative Status to be able to partake in the events, meetings and to be recognised. The Consultative Status does not only provide NGOs with access to ECOSOC only but also to its many subsidiary bodies, to the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, as well as special events organised by the President of the General Assembly.