The Role of Servas and Other NGOs at the UN

NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) are crucial to the implementation of UN goals.   They bring a broad range of knowledge and experience, which enables the UN to make informed decisions that reflects the needs of civil society; and they are a conduit to help civil society understand and support those decisions.  In 1973, SERVAS INTERNATIONAL was granted “consultative status” by UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  Along with 5000 NGOs, it can contribute through information dissemination, awareness raising, policy advocacy, participation in intergovernmental processes and providing technical expertise.


Each NGO affiliated with the UN is entitled to five (5) annual passes at each of three (3UN venues – New York, Geneva (Switzerland) and Vienna (Austria). The SI President and SI Peace Secretary/UN Coordinator are also entitled to annual grounds passes. NGO representatives attend conferences and events, make written and oral statements, organize side events, and have opportunities to network and lobby.   In short NGOs join the UN in the peace-building process of building a world free of violence, poverty and inequality.

SERVAS INTERNATIONAL Representatives to the United Nations in New York:

  1. Jeanne Devine - Arizona
  2. Gopal Rajan - New York
  3. Fanny Bello -New York
  4. Alison Telsey -New York City
  5. Brita Schmitz -New Jersey



See Our latest UN news 

March 9th — 20th, 2020

in NYC:
The UN Commission on the Status of Women CSW64


Purpose: 25-year review and appraisal of the “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” adopted September 4-15th, 1995. Read online the Brief history and Beijing Declaration.

(All Full!) Registration open: October 9, 2019 through January 27, 2020

Servas International can designate up to 20 reps, which means you can potentially be one as a US Servas member.

This from our International Peace Secretary:

We have received an overwhelming amount of applications from Servas International Members to attend and be representatives at the 64th Session of the Commission about the Status of Women this year. We would like to thank you for your interest, but unfortunately the 20 positions have been filled. However, we would like to encourage you to be on our priority wait list for next year 2021. If you are interested, please send us a bit about yourself and how you will further the mission of Servas. We hope you will join us in 2021.  Warm Regards, Paige LaCombe


Read the article below, by board member Barbara Pioli, after the UN Civil Society Conference was held in Salt Lake, August, 2019:

Article on UN Civil Society Conference

Servas at the 68th UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City / August 26-28, 2019 / Reflection and Summary 

Jeanne Devine, Servas Representative to the UN in New York

Forty Servas members from the US, Mexico, and France attended the annual UN conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Salt Lake City. They joined 4000+ people from 130 countries. Being exposed to so many experiences and points of view from around the world and across cultures gave participants an understanding of the complexities of achieving world peace. 

Major themes of the conference were Peaceful Societies, Climate Change, and Opportunities for Youth. Keynote speeches, panels and hundreds of sessions gave opportunities to learn and provide input. Commitments were made to build peace at local levels by addressing global warming, poverty, and gender equality.  Recognizing peace as a fundamental component of sustainable societies was affirmed, as was the significance and potential of youth participation.  

Servas members brought their hopes to grow peace through intercultural communication, expanded partnerships and implementation of the UN’s SDG #11: “Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable by 2030.” 

At this conference, Servas partnered with the United Nations Association and Wasatch Cohousing Community to offer a workshop intended to help organizations commit to actions addressing climate change. This panel discussion, entitled “NGOs: Activate Your Networks to Combat Climate Change,” was enthusiastically received by the 50 or so conference delegates who attended on the last morning of the conference. 

A takeaway from the panel is that we, as Servas members, can make climate change and how to stop it a topic of conversation during personal home visits. A little math tells us that doing so would have the potential of reaching 15,000 Servas members in 120 countries. Through partnerships, the impact is multiplied to address the UN imperative that “no one be left behind.”  

A Servas exhibit, “Grassroots Goes Global,” illustrated a worldwide range of Servas peacebuilding activities: Peace Walks, Peace Schools, Youth conferences, etc.    

Thanks to many Servas members for huge contributions of time and efforts — especially Paige LaCombe, Vicky Wason, Teresa Crockett, Earlene Cruz, Gopal Rajan and all who participated in the conference.  

Act to attain the UN Global Goals by 2030!  Share ideas with Servas guests and hosts, friends and connections. Young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural—we all have a voice in creating a peaceful world!  

Read the Outcome Document  and Youth Climate Compact and listen to the final evaluation.

UN SI team 2018