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How We Work at The UN

Unitarian Universalists are bold leaders in action for social justice around the world. In our daily lives, we strive to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Each day at the United Nations, the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) strives to affirm and promote every person’s human rights on the international stage.

Influence of the UU-UNO at the United Nations

The UU-UNO participates in meetings, conferences, and committees at the United Nations with key UN bodies such as Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Department of Public Information (DPI), the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), The United Nations Department of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the World Bank to discuss with them how they can act in the interest of creating a world community that is accepting, just, and compassionate.

United Nations Consultative Status

For a non-profit organization to have any influence at the UN it needs to have UN “consultative status,” of which there are two types:

  • Department of Public Information (DPI): The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) has DPI consultative status. DPI NGOs non-profits work to extend the UN's Department of Public Information's mission to explain and gain support for the UN's mission in the world. Our educational programs (Spring Seminar, UN Sunday, etc.) fit well into this mandate. Non-Profit organizations are referred to as “NGOs” or “Non-Governmental Organizations”)
  • Economic Social and Cultural Committee (ECOSOC): The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has ECOSOC consultative status and the UU-UNO exercises this status on behalf of the UUA. NGOs with ECOSOC status are those that are interested in policy issues within the UN system.  The UU-UNO’s work on human rights, climate change, disarmament, peace and security all fit into its ECOSOC status.

CoNGO Committees

The Conference of NGO's in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CoNGO) facilitates the participation of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the UN system. CoNGO works to ensure that NGOs have adequate access to UN meetings, conferences, special events, and documentation. The UU-UNO serves on the following CoNGO committees:

  • UN NGO Committee on Human Rights, Bruce Knotts is a co-chair
    • Subcommittee on anti-racism and other forms of intolerance.
  • UN NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, Bruce Knotts is the chair
  • UN NGO Committee on Sustainable Development which works on climate change related issues, Bruce Knotts is on the governing board.
  • UN NGO Committee on Migration which works on global migration issues.

Other Committees and Groups

  • UN Faith the Ethics Network for the International Criminal Court, which support faith and ethical engagement to promote the work of the ICC.  Bruce Knotts is the chair.
  • NGO Security Council Working Group which meets with all the members nations of the UN Security Council for off-the-record meetings.
  • UN Commission on the Status of Women which works to empower women for a better world.

DPI Committee

  • NGO/DPI Executive Committee which provides help to the 1,400 NGOs with DPI consultative status.  Bruce Knotts was elected the chair in 2015.

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For more information contact unitednations@uua.org.