04.4 What happens at Registration for CSW in New York

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Registration dates and times are sent to you with your final registration documents. They are also listed on the NGOCSW website. Registration at CSW can take as little as 15 minutes or longer than five hours, depending on the number of NGOs registered and the time of day you go to register.

As stated above, if you are an NGO with the Australian Government Delegation, you will be informed of where to go and what to do by an Australian government representative. If you are registering under an ECOSOC-accredited organisation then you will need patience, time and a sense of humour. Look on it as a way to meet new and interesting people. The first time you register for CSW it is quite a large and often time-consuming event.

Your CSW grounds pass form and letter of Registration will inform you where registration will be taking place. While building renovations are taking place within the UN, the registration desk may be in either the North Lawn Building or in the UN General Assembly building. You access the UN via the Visitors Entrance on 1st Avenue near 45th Street. You enter the gates, walk up a small flight of steps and then you face a large white tent (there is also wheelchair access). In the white tent is the visitor security team and a number of stations of X-ray equipment (similar to those used at airports). Bags, coats, mobile phones and anything that will set off the metal detectors are placed onto trays on the conveyor belt to go through the X-ray machine, so you should be prepared to ensure efficiency of time, particularly during busy periods. Then you walk through the metal detector arch, collect your belongings and turn right into the Foyer of the General Assembly Building or left into the North Lawn Building. As you go through, if you are carrying large bags Security may ask you to leave them at the check in desk. This is directly in front of you as you come through the X-ray area. Following security, you follow the signs to registration it is normally clearly marked with signs.

To register you need to have with you:

  • your letter of confirmation,
  • your passport, and
  • registration forms.
Line of people
Photo: GETTY courtesy of the Telegraph

There can sometimes be delays while waiting for Registration and Entry

Progress to the first desk where they will check you are in the system and check your paperwork. If you have not attended CSW before, they will then ask you to join another queue to get a photo for your ID. If you have attended CSW before, your photo will be in the system and you will join a different queue to be issued with your UN Grounds Pass for CSW.

As stated above, the queues can be long and this means you may be standing for a while (at times for hours). Everyone is in the same situation so getting cross, frustrated and angry serves little purpose. However, should an incident occur where a guard or official is rude to you in any way, smile, be polite, get their name and make a note on the details of the event should you wish to follow it up at a later date.

Security is evident all around the UN and there are simple rules to getting in and out of the building efficiently. Large bags such as small, wheeled suitcases and at times backpacks, are not let into the building, so try to carry an appropriate sized bag and think about the weight you are carrying around. Make sure you have the correct passes for the meetings you are attending and if you are collecting a Special Event Tag (SETs) for an event make sure you know exactly where to go and who to collect it from.

The weather in New York in February and March is cold and often wet or snowy. There are no cloakrooms in the UN to leave your coat. This means you have to carry it around all day. Layers that you can peel off and put in a bag may be an easier option than a thick overcoat (see Chapter 13: Practical Tips for CSW). Some people put their overcoats into a large bag and leave the bag with the guards. However, this has to be done discreetly or the guard can refuse to take it.