Image by UN Photo/Marie Gandois/2006. WITNESS Senior Program Manager, Bukeni Beck Waruzi, addresses the UN Security Council during a debate on children in armed conflict.

We are excited to announce that WITNESS has been granted special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This accreditation gives the organization broader access to the UN and its subsidiary bodies, enabling us to better support the advocacy goals of our partners, as well as participate in meetings and organize side-events aimed at helping human rights defenders use video safely, ethically and effectively.

ECOSOC, a founding UN Charter body, focuses its work on worldwide economic, social and environmental issues. While NGO participation is widespread throughout the UN, ECOSOC is the only main body with a framework dedicated to involving civil society groups.

After an extensive seven year process, in January 2013, we gained the unanimous support of the 19 member Committee which formally recommended our application to ECOSOC, and it was approved in August 2013.

Was it worth the wait? We think so. Having consultative status can strengthen our work by giving us the opportunity to:

  • attend and/or observe United Nations Security Council and General Assembly public debates, as well as attend Human Rights Council proceedings and submit written statements and make oral interventions.
  • organize meetings with key policy and law makers at the United Nations.
  • organize events and propose panels alongside main events, like the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
  • participate in various UN meetings, including but not limited to, the regular sessions of ECOSOC and its functional commissions, such as the Commission on Sustainable Development.
  • further participate in the quadrennial Universal Periodic Review (see what we did with the Testify! Project in 2010).
  • designate up to seven representatives for annual grounds passes and request daily or short-term passes for specific events.

Stay tuned for updates!

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