Historic Breakthrough at the UN - CHOICE Granted ECOSOC Status
We are incredibly pleased to announce that we have been granted ECOSOC Consultative Status! This is a special status granted to NGOs at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Having this status means that we can finally ‘enter’ the UN’s ‘gates’, to attend official meetings, deliver oral interventions, participate in debates and panel discussions, and more essential contributions. Thus far, we have had to lean on other organizations with this status to grant us access to the UN. Now, we aim to broker opportunities and spaces for young people and use this status to open doors for youth and youth-led organizations.
We started the process of applying for ECOSOC consultative status in May 2016. It has been a long, tiring and cumbersome process, so we are thrilled for this news, which – in our opinion- was long overdue. There is a political nature to the decision of granting NGOs ECOSOC status, and CHOICE is not alone in being an organization focused on SRHR that has faced continued gatekeeping by UN member states. Our close allies at The Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR) were deferred 11 times before being granted the consultative status in 2016. The politics of the ECOSOC committee on NGOs has been a topic of much discussion in recent years, however there is still difficulty becoming ECOSOC certified, as some of the Committee members use procedural tactics to stop certain NGOs from being granted consultative status.
Now we ‘have the keys’ to be in the room, we aim to elevate the opportunities for our organization, ourpartners and other youth-led organizations to work within the UN system. With this barrier behind us, we can now focus this spared energy on further amplifying our voice and the content of our work. With this status we can make substantive progress in advancing youth’s human rights and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights at the UN.
Our Advocacy Coordinator to the UN in New York, Lewis, emphasized the exciting prospects ahead, “With consultative status we will be able to amplify youth issues and youth voices at the United Nations and provide a platform for young people to demand change and advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people around the world!”
We wish to express gratitude to all our allies that have supported us in accessing the UN spaces for all these years, and for the Dutch Mission in New York for their continued support to acquire this long sought-after status.
Exciting times ahead!