22. All multilateral institutions shall heed the demands of international civil society alliances for justice.

Rapporteurs: Robin Collins, Karen Hamilton and Fergus Watt

Some Takeaways:

  • Civil Society should concentrate on informing the public, to pressure governments
  • International Campaigns are influential when they are credible, expert and sophisticated
  • There is a place for both CSO activism, and CSO collaboration with governments
  • Civil society alliances must understand how multilateral institutions make and alter policy
  • Observe: Interconnectedness of issues.
  • Democracies have obligations to listen to civil society. What about autocracies and undemocratic governments?
  • International civil society, working with small and medium governments through the UN General Assembly, has the ability to drive change, even without big powers.
  • The international system is still based on sovereign governments as the primary actors. A good idea without a critical mass of governments in support won’t get very far.
  • Civil society can mobilize public and political support across boundaries and with various stakeholder constituencies in ways that governments can’t.
  • Civil society organization is much more effective when there is a high degree of prior agreement among constituent CSOs on the outcome(s) being pursued. The more focused the campaign, the more effective the outcomes.

This overview focuses on multilateral institutions that relate to existential threats such as war/nuclear war (peace and disarmament) and climate change.

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