"Opportunities and Prospects of Cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC)" event, initiated by the International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) and supported by the United Nations office in Azerbaijan and the Council on State Support to NGOs under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan was held in the office of the NGO Council. 
The event was aimed at discussion of possibilities to strengthen the relations of local NGOs with the UN Agencies, ECOSOC membership, support and promotion of the SDGs with an assistance of the IEPF.
More than 20 representatives from different NGOs in Azerbaijan, representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and UN Office in Azerbaijan attended the event.
Executive Director of the Council on State Support to NGOs under the Auspices of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Farasat Gurbanov opened the event. He said that the NGO Council is always ready to support the NGOs in their initiatives to cooperate with the UN entities and get the status of the UN ECOSOC membership. 
In his speech, the UN Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Ghulam Isaczai thanked the International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) for organization of such an important event and for sharing of its experience while being a member of the UN ECOSOC since 2007. 
“Since 1946, the UN in different mechanism and process has worked with civil society to promote sustainable development and good governance around the world. UN ECOSOC is a mechanism for the engagement of the UN with the civil society organizations. Now we have over 5000 NGOs that were registered with ECOSOC over 700 that we had in 1992. So, we can see the growth in a number of registered NCOs with ECOSOC over the last years”, he said.
Ghulam Isaczai highlighted some of the benefits for NGO of being a member of the UN ECOSOC system, such as an access to the UN premises and participation in its activity; participation in numerous UN sessions and consultations on social issues, climate issues, SDGs, and etc., where the NGOs can contribute in written or oral form; organize a number of parallel events.
The President of the IEPF, Umud Mirzayev thanked Ghulam Isaczai for his participation at the event. He also expressed the gratitude to the NGO Council for provision of the space for the event. 
In his speech, Umud Mirzayev presented the guidelines about how to become the member of the ECOSOC system, which were translated to Azerbaijani languages by the IEPF. 
“ECOSOC membership opens all the doors for the civil society to integrate with the UN entities all around the world. It creates the opportunities for the NGOs to expand the cooperation with different partners and work together on implementation of the UN SDGs. In 2007, the IEPF got a Special Consultative status with the UN ECOSOC which was re-classified to the highest, General Consultative status in the end of 2013”, he said.
According to Umud Mirzayev, today, only 134 NGOs, from around the world, are enjoying the General Consultative status with the UN ECOSOC, but the number of Azerbaijani NGOs can be increased in the list. “May is the last month for NGOs to apply for consultative status with ECOSOC if they wish to be considered by the NGO Committee in 2019. Those interested should submit their application and required documents on or before the deadline of 1 June 2018 and the IEPF is ready to share its own experience with other NGOs that are willing to apply”, he concluded.
Assistant to the IEPF President Anastasia Lavrina, made presentation on the benefits of cooperation with the UN ECOSOC for local NGOs in Azerbaijan on a sample of the IEPF. 
“Since 2007, the IEPF held a number of the parallel events in the UN headquarters in New York, Geneva and Vienna. These events touch the most actual issues, such as children and military conflicts, gender issues, promotions of the SDGs and etc.. Each year the IEPF designates 7 representatives to each of the headquarter, where they can represent the organization and make the voice of the civil society of Azerbaijan to be heard widely”, Anastasia Lavrina said. 
During the event, the video on effective cooperation and membership with the UN ECOSOC from the Officer-In-Charge of the Non-Governmental Organizations Branch of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Marc-Andre Dorel, translated by the IEPF to Azerbaijani language, was presented to the various NGOs representatives.  
The panel discussions kicked off the event.
The International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF), non-governmental organization (NGO), based in Azerbaijan, has a long and outstanding experience in collaboration with various UN entities, such as UNDP, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNEP and etc.. As for today, IEPF is the only NGO in Azerbaijan, which is enjoying the General Consultative Status with UN ECOSOC.