Conferences and CSO accreditation

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) provides an excellent platform for the full participation of civil society organizations (CSOs) not only at the national level as stakeholders responsible for the implementation of the UNCCD, but also at the decision making level ensuring their participation at the sessions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention. CSO representatives can participate as observers to the official sessions of the COP and its subsidiary bodies to bring the voice of the population living in affected areas to the international arena.

In addition to their interventions during the official sessions and the possibility to organize side events, the COP also agreed to organize at each session the so called Open Dialogue Sessions with the CSOs. During these sessions CSO representatives organize the agenda and set up a scenario to exchange with the Parties, United Nations agencies and Intergovernmental Organizations on issues that are of relevance to civil society.

CSOs that would like to attend the sessions of the COP and its subsidiary bodies will need to seek observer status through the accreditation to the sessions.

As of June 2017, 314 CSOs can now be accredited to the UNCCD COP. The secretariat maintains a database of accredited CSOs which you can view here


Since COP 10 the business and industry entities are also able to attend COP and its subsidiary bodies if they:

  • Express interest in participating
  • Have specific expertise in matters relating to the Convention
  • Participate in the United Nations Global Compact

Once accredited to the COP, organizations can apply for support to attend the following UNCCD meetings as observers:

Accredited CSOs

Following decision 5/COP.10, CSOs accredited to the COP were requested to submit to the secretariat by 30 March 2012 and every five years thereafter:

  • a written confirmation of their interest in remaining accredited to the COP;
  • a declaration that no changes have occurred in their status, juridical personality, governing bodies, membership and other requirements that may preclude their rights to be admitted to UNCCD meetings with observer status; and
  • any other information relevant to the accreditation, with particular regard to their activities and competence in matters relating to the Convention.

According to the decision the observer status was withdrawn from those CSOs failing to comply with the above mentioned obligations. In the future these organizations will need to request their observer status following the accreditation process.


Accreditation process

The UNCCD COP recognizes that the involvement and participation of the civil society is vital to the successful implementation of this Convention. It therefore welcomes the contribution of CSOs, with particular regard to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and including business and industry entities, to the official meetings of the UNCCD.


Reference texts

In accordance with Article 22, paragraph 7 of the UNCCD and Rule 7 of the rules of procedure of the COP, representatives from any body or agency, whether national or international, governmental or non-governmental, may be admitted to participate in the proceedings of the Convention’s bodies under the conditions that the organization:

  • is qualified in matters covered by the Convention
  • has informed the UNCCD secretariat of its wish to participate

For further information on the accreditation process, please contact