Nongovernmental organization (NGOs)
International, national and local organizations created through citizen initiative, with common extra-governmental objectives of a social, political, religious, cultural, scientific, sporting, recreational, or other nature. NGOs form the foundation and structure of civil society, the basis of democratic regimes. Today these organizations are principally dedicated to the protection of the environment, charitable works, the defense of human rights, contributing to the settlement of social and ethnogeny-religious conflicts, disarmament and the search for solutions to the global crisis looming over humankind. Due to the active participation of scientists and professionals, the intellectual potential of such organizations is significant. The 1945 United Nations conference in San Francisco established in Article 71 of the UN charter that nongovernmental organizations would advise the Economic and Social Council on problems that lay within the province of their expertise. In 1950 the Conference of Nongovernmental Consultative Organizations was instituted, comprising three categories, which maintain permanent contacts with the corresponding committee of UNESCO. A conference is held every three years at which an executive committee is elected, with the organization’s offices in New York (U.S.A.) and Geneva (Switzerland). Various nongovernmental organizations cooperate with specialized organizations of the UN. Thus, subsequent to its creation in Florence, Italy in May 1950, the Conference of International Non-Governmental Organizations had been authorized by UNESCO to participate in the Benefit for Consultative Agencies. It meets every other year in Paris, France, where it is headquartered.