World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

CCIA granted General Consultative Status with ECOSOC

03 May 2000

New York, 3 May 2000.

In Decision 2000/214, adopted at its 7th plenary meeting on 3 May 2000, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) approved the request of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches for reclassification from Special to General consultative status.

The CCIA was among the first international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be granted consultative status with the UN in 1947 under the provisions of Art 71 of the UN Charter. At that time the CCIA and other major world religious organizations agreed to remain in what was then called "category B" (from 1969 "category II") consultative status. Only a small number of widely representative international NGOs like the international trade union federations and the World Federation of UN Associations were granted "category A" (later "category I"). In the 1980s, and especially in the decade of the 1990s ECOSOC responded to the rapid proliferation of civil society organizations around the world by granting consultative status to an ever-greater number of national and international NGOs. In that context, the CCIA decided to seek reclassification to a category that better reflected the character of the WCC as one of the world's largest and most widely representative international NGOs.

ECOSOC Resolution 1996/31, the current basis for consultative relations with non-governmental organizations, divides NGOs into general, special and roster categories. Those in general and special consultative status may send representatives to observe all public meetings of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies (roster organizations are restricted to meetings in their specific fields of competence). Organizations in general consultative status may, in addition, request the inclusion of specific items on the ECOSOC agenda, have greater latitude in the presentation of written statements to UN bodies (2000 words rather than 500), and can request to make an oral presentation to ECOSOC on items listed on its agenda.

Organizations in consultative status receive documentation on the UN's work in the social and economic fields and are granted access to UN premises for consultation with the secretariat and to attend meetings.