ICM Obtains Consultative Status at UN

On July 21, 2022 Instituto Caminho do Meio was approved with Consultative Status for its participation in the United Nations. This participation refers to the action that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) exercise before the UN, its Committees and Special Procedures, especially before the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Despite the title referring to ECOSOC, the NGO with this status can act in all UN mechanisms and processes for specific purposes, as consultants, as well as special events organized by the General Assembly.

Acting in processes for specific purposes is as follows: at each period of time the UN, by its own will or by request, makes reports on specific topics in relation to the countries that are the focus of that report, such as racial, environmental, gender issues, etc. . Based on these reports, recommendations are drawn up for the country in focus to improve on that topic. The country, in sequence, produces another report to demonstrate to the UN what it did or did not do and becomes aware of the recommendations. At the same time, the UN opens the door to civil society (NGOs with consultative status) so that they can also make parallel reports or shadow reports on that topic and also present recommendations to the country. This space that the UN opens can be optional or required from NGOs.

Acting beyond the processes can take place in several ways: when this status is received, NGOs are automatically expected to monitor, support and prepare action plans aimed at the themes that the UN deals with (and for which it signaled as areas of activity). These actions can (and should) be included in an NGO action report that will be presented every four years to the UN as a demonstration of its activities.

ICM, as a consultant, has access to all UN mechanisms and procedural bodies, events and programmes. Likewise, the status gives the ICM a greater support network, as it is now part of the entire network of NGOs that have the same status and it is common practice for them to support each other, work together, etc., especially with regard to main activity which is advocacy. Advocacy is precisely this participation in processes and contribution to specific topics based on social actions that make the NGO have extensive knowledge on that topic (often closer to what the government itself has) and the production of recommendations directed at the country. The advocacy activity makes the NGO and the network of NGOs that are part of this status put pressure on the government and know how to put pressure on so that actions are effectively taken.