IPRA and the United Nations

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)



 The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) assists the General Assembly in promoting international economic and social cooperation and development. As a result of reforms initiated in the 1990's ECOSOC's policy responsibilities in economic, social, and related fields were strengthened. It became the oversight and policy-setting body for UN operational development activities and was given a strong hand in ensuring that UN agencies, e.g. UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), coordinated their work on issues of common interest, such as narcotics control, human rights, the alleviation of poverty, and the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

Several of ECOSOC's functional commissions and the recently established Human Rights Council are related to the interests and concerns of IPRA commissions, i.e United Nations Forum on Forests, Commissions on Population and Development, Science and Technology for Development, Social Development, the Status of Women , Sustainable Development and a Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) . The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) was disbanded in 2006, replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly.

ECOSOC also has regional commissions in Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia, Western Asia and the Pacific and coordinates the workings of specialized agencies, such as the ILA, FAO, UNESCO, and WHO. For more information on ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies visit www.un.org/docs/ecosoc


NGO's may apply to be in consultative status with ECOSOC, with its rights and responsibilities varying depending on whether they are classified as general, specific expertise, or roster. Some years ago, due to the efforts of Elise Boulding, IPRA was granted consultative status as a roster organization.

As a roster organization, IPRA is granted passes for two organizational heads, for one main representative and four additional ones at New York headquarters and the Vienna and Geneva offices. These representatives bring IPRA's voice to the UN as follows:

According to article 71 of the UN Charter and ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, roster organizations can contribute to the goals and programs of the UN by serving as technical experts, advisors and consultants at the meetings of the ECOSOC Council or its Commissions, when invited by the Secretary General.

As advocacy groups, they can espouse UN themes, implementing plans of action, programs and declarations adopted by the UN.

They can provide input on the final documents of the ECOSOC commissions through participation in the NGO caucuses that are formed during their conferences and in so doing introduce a discourse that is an alternative to the dominant one on various issues.

They can also take part in activities organized by the Conference on NGO's in consultative status with the UN (CONGO), a network of organizations which work together to bring NGO expertise into the discussions of governments in UN fora. www.ngocongo.org.

Temporary passes

The secretary general or his/her designee, the main representative at each of the UN offices, can request temporary passes for IPRA members, who may wish to attend a particular meeting. For information on upcoming meetings, visit www.un.org ; choose your language and click conferences and events/UN Calendar of events. For a pass to meetings at the UN headquarters in New York contact: 

IPRA representatives to the UN (2014-2016)

  • Dr. Emily Welty: Main representative
  • Dr. Kurt Schock  (other Representative)
  • Matthew Bolton (other Representative)
  • Fran Petersen (other Representative)
  • Matt Meyer (other Representative)

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