Requirements for obtaining observer status

Arrangements for the participation of non-governmental organizations in the activities of UNCTAD are governed by rule 77 of the rules of procedure of the Trade and Development Board and its decision 43 (VII)

In order to be considered for status with UNCTAD, NGOs must be concerned with matters falling within the scope of the functions being carried out by UNCTAD and meet the criteria set out in Board decision 43 (VII).

NGOs applying for status with UNCTAD are required to complete an application questionnaire which has been prepared on the basis of the criteria contained in Board decision 43 (VII). The questionnaire seeks information on the organization's aims and objectives, activities, membership, structure and sources of revenue and requests the provision of supporting documents such as its Constitution, annual reports and annual budgets.

A document is prepared by the UNCTAD secretariat on the basis of the information, completed questionnaire and supporting documentation provided by the organization and is submitted for the approval of the Trade and Development Board, which meets annually in the autumn in regular session and in executive sessions (three times a year).

The Trade and Development Board approves applications for status and distinguishes between general and special category organizations.

  • General category organizations are those which are concerned with most of the activities of UNCTAD. Their representatives can participate in the public meetings of all the intergovernmental bodies of UNCTAD.

  • Special category organizations are those that have special competence in a few fields of the activities of UNCTAD. Their representatives are entitled to participate in public meetings on specific matters falling within the terms of reference of the Board or of one or two of its subsidiary bodies.


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