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History

DPI’s relationship with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) dates back to 1946 when a General Assembly resolution 13 (I) recommended that the Department:

“…actively assist and encourage national information services, educational institutions and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations of all kinds interested in spreading information about the United Nations. For this and other purposes, it should operate a fully equipped reference service, brief or supply lecturers, and make available its publications, documentary films, film strips, posters and other exhibits for use by these agencies and organizations.”

Ever since then, the NGOs have continued to play a key role in bringing the work of the United Nations to people around the world. In 1968, and in accordance with Resolution 1297 (XLIV), adopted by the Economic and Social Council, the Department of Public Information (DPI) has been associating NGOs that were then expected “to support the work of the United Nations and to promote knowledge of its principles and activities, in accordance with its own aims and purposes and the nature and scope of its competence and activities.”

The association of NGOs is based on their commitment to uphold the principles of the UN, support the UN’s activities and spread the word about issues on its agenda, while maintaining their independence and staying true to their own core values. With the passage of time, the relationship between DPI and NGOs has grown stronger and more important; Member States continue to recognize the benefits of NGO participation locally, regionally and internationally, and have expressed their willingness to assist and accommodate the work of NGOs as reflected in the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document. Since then, NGO global involvement in international issues, consultations, policy making and conferences is much more visible, accepted and recognized, The UN too has continued to actively engage the NGO community, and within DPI that relationship is fostered and nurtured by NGO Relations, in the Department’s Outreach Division.

NGOs and DPI have continued to work together spreading the word about the work and agenda of the UN while assisting NGOs to network globally, build their communication skills, acquire and utilize best practices, collect information, disseminate information about the UN agenda, and more effectively carry out their work. While the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) remains the only UN body with a formal framework for NGO participation, DPI provides NGOs with a wide range of information products, services and platforms that they can in turn use to enable a better understanding among their members of issues on the agenda of the United Nations.

DPI also offers a unique opportunity to NGOs to contribute to the global communications work of the Organization, and have their voices heard on global issues using all forms of traditional and social media and outreach tools and technologies. Many NGOs find it enriching to their UN experience to be affiliated with both DPI and ECOSOC.

DPI-associated NGOs constitute a diverse community ranging from small NGOs to subsidiaries of large networks. They deal with a wide range of UN subjects, from disarmament and development to sustainability, women’s issues, poverty, education, trafficking of women and girls, migration, refugees, food security and human rights, among many others. They bring passion and conviction to their work and keep the agenda of the ordinary citizen at the forefront of their information work thus ensuring that the message of the UN continues to be relevant to the poorest persons in the smallest village or the largest city, wherever they may be.