Observer status

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At the Executive Committee plenary session

Annual sessions of the Executive Committee (ExCom) are public and held in October. In addition to members, they are attended by observers: representatives of UN member states, the UN system, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations (NGO). The ExCom chairperson can allow non-members to speak. Where observer states are concerned, this has become, to all intents and purposes, an acquired right. Nevertheless, observers would not be entitled to vote were that ever to happen (to date, all decisions and conclusions adopted by ExCom have been by consensus).

At Standing Committee meetings

Meetings of the Standing Committee are open to non-member states who request observer status. In 1996, the Executive Committee authorized the High Commissioner to draw up a list of intergovernmental and international organizations to be invited to Standing Committee meetings, and a year later the Standing Committee adopted a decision admitting NGO observers (while reaffirming that consultations on decisions and conclusions should be restricted to ExCom members).