UN representative network
R otary International appoints representatives each year to UN bodies and nongovernmental organizations worldwide. These representatives increase awareness and recognition of Rotary's programs, policies, and activities within the global community. They meet regularly with officers and staff from international agencies to
- Discuss parallel concerns and potential areas for cooperation
- Inform organizations about Rotary’s programs
- Gather information about other groups’ developments and programs
Rotary and the United Nations have a long history of working together and sharing similar visions for a more peaceful world. In 1942, Rotary clubs from 21 nations organized a conference in London to develop a vision for advancing education, science, and culture after World War II. That event was a precursor to UNESCO. In 1945, 49 Rotarians went to San Francisco to help draft the UN Charter. Rotary and the UN have been close partners ever since, a relationship that’s apparent through PolioPlus and work with UN agencies.
Rotary currently holds the highest consultative status offered to a nongovernmental organization by the UN’s Economic and Social Council, which oversees many specialized UN agencies. Rotary maintains and furthers its relationship with a number of UN bodies, programs, commissions, and agencies through its representative network. Contact External Relations staff for more information.
Rotary International appoints representatives to:
In 1997, Rotary International became the first nongovernmental organization headquartered outside of Africa to establish official communications with the African Union. Together, they have addressed critical issues in Africa, including health care, education, family planning, and shelter.
Council of Europe
Rotary International established official relations with the Council of Europe in 1995 to strengthen cooperation with entities in the region. Through the council, representatives proactively share information about Rotary’s work with influential members of the European community. RI representatives actively participate in the council’s committees for nongovernmental organizations.
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
Rotary International appointed a representative to this UN agency in 2002 to focus on the diverse Asia-Pacific region. During Rotary’s 2004-05 centennial celebration, the commission honored Rotary by housing the centennial bell at its headquarters. As the UN’s development arm in the region, it aims to reduce poverty, manage globalization, and tackle emerging social issues.
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
This a regional commission within the UN promotes economic and social development throughout western Asia. In 2004, Rotary International appointed a representative to the agency, which hosted a Rotary-UN Day event that was attended by hundreds of Rotarians and guests.
Economic Commission for Africa
This commission promotes the economic and social development of its 53 member states. It also works toward regional cooperation and international development assistance for Africa. Its relationship with Rotary began in 2004.
Economic Commission for Europe
This commission strives to promote sustainable economic growth among its 56 member countries. It analyzes economic and environmental issues and serves as a forum for communication among its members on topics such as trade, the environment, and transportation. The commission’s relationship with Rotary dates back to 2004.
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
Rotary International appointed a representative to this commission in 2004. It works to promote economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean by coordinating and strengthening relationships among countries in the region and conducting outreach to other nations.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Since 1997, Rotary has maintained official relations with this organization, which works with both developed and developing countries to ensure good nutrition for all and to improve agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
International Fund for Agricultural Development
As a specialized agency of the United Nations, IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries. IFAD works with rural poor people, governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, and other partners to create country-specific solutions to poverty, such as increasing access to financial services, markets, technology, land, and other natural resources.
Organisation interational de la Francophonie
This organization represents French-speaking governments and communities worldwide, united to prevent conflict, promote cultural diversity, and ensure human rights. In 2006, Rotary appointed its first representative to this body.
Organization of American States
In 1997, Rotary International extended its representative network to this regional organization. It brings together nations in the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation on democratic values and debate major regional and global issues.
Rotary's relationship with UNESCO dates back to a 1942 Rotary conference in London to promote international cultural and educational exchanges. This event was an impetus to establish UNESCO, whose mission Rotary has supported for several decades. Rotary recently launched the university-based Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution, which directly reflect UNESCO's goals for global peace and understanding.
United Nations Environmental Programme
In the late 1990s, Rotary International established official relations with this organization to help address environmental concerns and promote the wise use of natural resources for sustainable development. In particular, Rotary has addressed environmental challenges through its emphasis on water conservation and management.
United Nations Headquarters
Rotary maintains an office at UN headquarters in New York City. It’s staffed by representatives who attend meetings and events of various UN agencies, as well as programs of other nongovernmental organizations in the international community.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It promotes socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.
United Nations Office at Geneva
RI representatives are involved with many Geneva-based UN agencies and programs, including the International Labor Organization, the UN High Commissioner on Refugees, and the World Health Organization.
United Nations Office at Vienna
Since 1984, RI representatives in Vienna have worked with focused intergovernmental bodies on the issues of substance abuse, youth, peace, and aging.
Rotary appointed a representative to the World Bank in 1997 to help promote economic growth, reduce poverty, and protect the environment in developing countries. With the World Bank's innovative financial support, Rotary, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization have leveraged about US$165 million to help eradicate polio in priority countries.
World Food Programme
Rotary has maintained official relations with this agency since 1997. As the food arm of the UN, it works to eradicate global hunger and poverty by providing emergency food aid and supporting economic and social development.