Approximately 500 representatives of non- governmental organizations (NGOs), research institutes, political think tanks and initiatives of civil society are accredited to the United Nations Vienna and work in a large number of different Committees.
The Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women accredited at the United Nations Office in Vienna was founded in 1982 and works on a voluntary basis on the national and international level. The committee is comprised of 40 international organizations with a focus on women's issues. The Committee's main purpose is to facilitate the activities of its member organisations in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women both among these member organisations and in relation to the UN Division for the Advancement of Women. It acts as a forum for the exchange of information and views on matters of common interest and co-ordinates the drafting of joint statements to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Its three goals are: Following the work of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and submission of statements to its sessions, dissemination of related documents, as well as following meetings of the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women; Following the work of Vienna based UN Commissions and Agencies and submission of statements to respective sessions, dissemination of related documents; Dissemination of information on the Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action, etc.
The Vienna NGO Committee on Ageing brings together representatives of NGOs with interest and expertise in the field of ageing, which are in Consultative Status with the United Nations. Associate membership is also open to national and international organizations with relevant concern for the ageing society. Two additional NGO Committees on Ageing exist, one in New York, as well as one in Geneva.
The Committee acts as advocate on behalf of older persons before UN Commissions, promotes the inclusion of ageing issues in UN policies and programmes and encourages member states to include needs and rights of an ageing population in their policies. On December 14th 1990, the UN General Assembly designated October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons. This was based on initiatives such as the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing which was adopted by the 1982 World Assembly on Ageing, and endorsed later that year by the UN General Assembly.
In 1991, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons. In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, to respond to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages.
The Vienna NGO Committee on the Family was founded in 1985 with the support of the United Nations Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs as a forum for the exchange of information on family-related issues. It coordinates, facilitates and promotes the activities of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) represented at the United Nations, who are interested in questions relating to the Family. It convenes meetings and facilitates liaison with United Nations agencies, governments, other NGOs, research institutions etc. It's web-based platform "Families International" connects thousands of organizations and individuals in this field.
A Plan of Action for each year is proposed by the Board and, after discussion in a Full Committee Meeting, approved by the membership. This includes statements and proposals for actions submitted to the Economic and Social Council of the UN in New York.
The International Day of Families is observed on May 15th of every year. This Day was proclaimed by a UN General Assembly resolution in 1993 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families. The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.
The Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs is a vital link between NGOs and the key intergovernmental and international agencies involved in drug policy, strategy and control: the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), the International Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Established in 1983, the Committee works with these organisations to provide information on NGO activities, draw attention to areas of concern, build partnerships between governmental and non-governmental organisations and to involve a wide sector of civil society in contributing to the development of global drug policies.