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3. Your opportunities to engage

3.6 How to plan a side event

This section provides information and tips on how to plan an engaging and effective side event at the Human Rights Council.

Side events


Strategic Tips:

ECOSOC accreditation requirements

Your organization needs ECOSOC status to book a room for a side event, as well as participate in side events. If your organization does not have this, your partners with ECOSOC status can book rooms for you. See ISHR Academy: Accessing the Human Rights Council.

Top Tips

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Tips on planning an engaging and effective side event:

  • Clearly identify your goals, the issues you want to raise and the audience you want to target in a particular side event

  • Aim for 3-5 speakers – more than that and you will just have a long series of speeches that participants are unlikely to pay attention to. Select panellists who are able to speak clearly and concisely on the topics

  • Consider diversity in the panellists and ensure that a range of voices are heard (you don’t want to find your side event showing up on All Male Panels!)

  • Think about how to make the format engaging: ideally speakers should talk for not more than 5 minutes, ensure that the audience can ask questions and hear the answers, maybe screen a short video, etc

Remote access

If you would like to have someone join remotely (e.g. by Skype), mention it in the event description when you request a room, and contact the UN conference services in advance.

Live streaming

Consider whether you want to live stream the event (you will have to organise this yourself, for example using Periscope on Twitter, or Facebook Live).


Remember that if you will be taking photos or live streaming the event, you need to warn the audience so that they can take steps to ensure their security. It may be good to have a part of the room where people can sit if they don’t want to be photographed or filmed.


If you are concerned about the security of the panellists (e.g. someone is intimidating the speakers), contact UN security.

Promotion and communications

Promote your event:

Prepare a flyer about the side event to distribute event at the UN, send to contacts, share on social media, etc.

Communications afterwards:

The reach of the event does not have to end at the Council. You can publish an article on the discussion, share the video, tweet about it, etc.

Continue to the next sections to find out how you can engage with the Human Rights Council in other ways, including through meetings with States, resolutions and Government statements.

Learn more

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