Building peace in the minds of men and women

Official partnership with NGOs

Statutory Framework

More than just an accreditation, the establishment of an official partnership is a mutual commitment to cooperate and work together in the Organization’s fields of competence, while embracing and upholding UNESCO’s ideals and values, and is often the recognition of an already established relationship between UNESCO and the organization concerned.

UNESCO's official partnership with NGOs is outlined in the Directives concerning UNESCO’s partnership with non-governmental organizations, which define two categories:

  • Consultative status, open to NGOs active in UNESCO’s fields of competence;
  • Associate status, only open to international or regional organizations already in consultative status for at least two years having made major contributions to UNESCO’s programme. 

Further to their individual collaboration with UNESCO, NGO partners also have the possibility to contribute collectively to UNESCO’s programme and interact with UNESCO’s community of NGOs through the International Conference of NGOs and the NGO-UNESCO Liaison Committee, a liaison body composed of NGOs elected by the International Conference.


Who may apply for an official partnership with UNESCO?

The Directives define an NGO as any organization that has not been established by intergovernmental agreement or by a government and whose purposes, functions, structure and operation are non-governmental, democratic and non-profit-making in character (Article I.1).

Any NGO may apply to become an official partner provided that it fulfills the following essential conditions:

  • It shall be engaged in activities in one or more specific fields of UNESCO’s competence, and be able and willing to make an effective contribution to accomplishing UNESCO’s objectives and/or implementing its programmes;
  • It shall be effectively engaged in activities in a spirit of cooperation, tolerance, and solidarity, in the interests of humankind and with respect for cultural identities;
  • It shall have a recognized legal status; It shall have an established headquarters and be governed by democratically adopted statutes;
  • Its general policy shall be determined by a conference, assembly or other representative body that functions democratically and elects representatives to the organization’s permanent, representative and regularly renewed governing body;
  • It shall have basic resources that enable it to function, originating mainly from member’s contributions, its activities and gifts or bequests;
  • It shall have been in existence and have been carrying out activities for at least two years at the time it requests the establishment of a partnership.


Article I.3.1 of the Directives

N.B.: national or local NGOs applying for an official partnership must be based in the territory of a Member State of UNESCO.

For details on the admission procedure please refer to this page.