What is an NGO?

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens' concerns to Governments, monitor policies and encourage political participation at the community level. They provide analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor and implement international agreements. Some are organized around specific issues, such as human rights, the environment or health. Their relationship with offices and agencies of the United Nations System differs depending on their goals, their venue and their mandate.

Over 1,500 NGOs with strong information programmes on issues of concern to the United Nations are associated with the Department of Public Information (DPI), giving the United Nations valuable links to people around the world. DPI helps those NGOs gain access to and disseminate information about the range of issues in which the United Nations is involved, to enable the public to understand better the aims and objectives of the world Organization.

How do NGOs and DPI cooperate?

The Department of Public Information and NGOs cooperate regularly. NGOs associated with DPI disseminate information about the UN to their membership, thereby building knowledge of and support for the Organization at the grassroots level. This dissemination includes:

Publicizing UN activities around the world on such issues as peace and security, economic and social development, human rights, humanitarian affairs and international law; Promoting UN observances and international years established by the General Assembly to focus world attention on important issues facing humanity.

from http://www.un.org/MoreInfo/ngolink/brochure.htm

Most public information materials, including press releases, fact sheets and features, produced by the Department of Public Information are not copy righted and can be reproduced without prior permission.

from http://www.un.org/MoreInfo/pubsvs.html