Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations(CONGO)
When governments met in San Francisco in 1945 to establish the United Nations, they were joined and strongly supported by many non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The NGO representatives worked with governmental delegates on the UN Charter provisions for human rights and fundamental freedoms and other economic, social and cultural fields. As a result, Article 71 was included in the Charter to enable NGOs to continue to play a role in UN affairs through a ’consultative status’, later elaborated in Resolution 1296 of the Economic and Social Council.
In 1948, NGOs holding consultative status decided to cooperate in order to improve the consultative process and subsequently they established CONGO, the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations in Consultative Relationship with the UN.
CONGO’s primary function is to keep NGO status at the UN open.
CONGO has many Committees based in Geneva, New York and Vienna that share information about issues of concern. The committees are active on human rights, sustainable development, disarmament, the status of women, racism, substance abuse, ageing, youth, population and other current topics.
The committees meet throughout the year for the purpose of keeping their membership informed of developments in their respective fields and to encourage joint activities among organizations in support of UN programmes.
WAGGGS was on the Board of CONGO from 2001- 2003 and was elected again for the term 2007-2009. WAGGGS’ World Board members and UN Teams in Geneva, New York and Vienna attend Board meetings and actively participate in CoNGO committees where they are based.