How to get involved

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Lobbying - contributing to and influencing the process *

 

 

Working with Government Delegates

At all UN meetings - whether international or regional - influencing the outcomes depends upon the ability of NGOs to identify government delegates who are sympathetic to their views and willing to work collaboratively. However, it is also  important to identify and interact with delegates who have views very different from your own. In working with delegates, it is important to keep the following in mind:

Working with Other NGOs

Working with other NGOs is one of the most important strategies for influencing an international or regional UN meeting. Even NGOs that disagree about certain approaches and priorities may find areas of common interest and be able to work together to include their concerns on the agenda. As an NGO representative at an international or regional meeting, you could consider the following:

Working through a Caucus

At many UN meetings, NGOs form caucuses or groups of organizations and individuals interested in similar issues. Caucuses meet regularly (often daily) to exchange information, hold briefings, and formulate positions or statements relevant to the proceedings. A caucus can also meet with policy-makers who will be responsible for implementing the program of action produced by the Special Session. In addition, caucuses are often formed around a wide range of issues covered by a given meeting's agenda and on a regional basis. 
Make sure you are aware if there are any rules or procedures, as agreed by the NGOs themselves, on how to set up a caucus. For the sake of transparency, inclusiveness and democracy, NGOs are sometimes have given themselves rules of operation and collaboration.

Working with the Secretariat

The Secretariat plays an important role in the review process: it prepares the background documents for a review, drafts programs, and may be involved in implementing the results of the review. The Secretariat also handles accreditation, registration, and space for activities during the PrepCom and the Special Session. In addition, the Secretariat usually assigns at least one officer to work with NGOs. This person will answer enquiries from NGOs and keep them informed about recent developments. Check the Information for NGOs section for details.

Working with the Secretariat can include the following:

Making Statements

NGOs accredited to participate in the Special Session have some limited opportunities for making statements by requesting a place on the speakers' list, which is handled by the Secretariat. If you are going to make a statement:

NGOs often present joint statements at meetings or circulate joint position papers, for example regional or issue caucus papers. These can have an influence on the negotiations and are a way for NGOs to express their solidarity.

When presenting any statement, joint or otherwise, do not say that you are speaking on behalf of all the NGOs at the meeting unless you are sure that every NGO at the meeting supports your statement.

Working with the Media

Journalists from nationally and internationally circulated newspapers, television, and radio, as well as representatives from the alternative media, attend major UN meetings. Media work (press releases, contacts with journalists) could be integrated into your organization's overall strategy for attending the review and mobilizing public support for your position.

The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI): 

At UN meetings, DPI coordinates the UN relationship with the press (newspapers, radio, television, etc.). This involves organizing a press room, holding daily briefings, distributing press releases, and sponsoring press conferences and other events. For additional information about media accreditation, contact the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit at telephone +1-212-963-4642 (fax). For information about NGO activities, contact the NGO Section at telephone +1-212-963-6842.

 

* based on:

NGO Steering Committee to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, 1999. Guide to the 7th Session.

UNIFEM, 2000: Gender on the Agenda. A Guide to Participating in  Beijing+5.

 

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