by Soroptimist International Director of Advocacy, Bev Bucur
The first time that non-governmental organizations were granted consultative status was in 1946 when Article 71 of the United Nations (UN) Charter opened the door for consultation with Non-Governmental Organizations. Initially, 41 organisations were chosen. Soroptimist International received General Consultative Status with the UN in 1984. As of July 2018, there were a total of 5,081 organizations in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), however, only 134 hold general consultative status. Eleven of the 134 organizations focus on women and girls, so we have a very important role.
General Consultative Status is granted to organisations that are concerned with most of the activities of the Social and Economic Council and can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Council that they have substantial and sustained contributions to make to the achievement of the objectives of the United Nations in a wide range of activities and in a large number of countries.To maintain our consultative status Soroptimist International is required to submit a report every four years documenting our work in the UN Centers throughout the world, together with our international projects.
There are 3,975 organisations that have Specialized Consultative status. Organisations that have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity have special consultative status. Soroptimist International of Europe (SIE) received Specialized Consultative status in 2011, SI Great Britain and Ireland received Specialized Consultative Status in 2013, and Soroptimist International of Southwest Pacific received Specialized Consultative Status in 2014.
Organisations that do not have general or special consultative status but have special expertise and can contribute to the work of the Council are given the designation of Roster Status. There are 973 organizations on the Roster currently.
Soroptimist International and Soroptimist International of the Americas have status with UN DPI (Department of Public Information. In order to maintain DPI status an annual report must be submitted.
Soroptimist International has 20 UN reps in 7 UN centers, specialized agencies and regional centers focusing on issues that affect women and girls. Soroptimist International focuses on Sustainable Development Goals: 4 Education, 5 Gender Equality and and 6 Water for the President’s Appeal. While the focus is on these three, it is impossible to work on individual SDGs. All 17 SDGs intersect and it is impossible to achieve one without touching on the many of the others.
To learn more about the work of the UN Representatives, visit the Advocacy area of the Soroptimist International website: www.soroptimistinternational.org. You can find informative blogs by our UN reps, information about meetings that Soroptimist International has participated in, SI President’s Messages, Information about Women, Water and Leadership, the current SI President’s Appeal and much more. Be sure to sign up for the Global Voice to receive updates and links to current news.