Social Watch Strategy Document and Framework of Activities 2010-2011
Published on Fri, 2009-11-13 09:00
The following strategy paper is based on the input from the various discussions in the 4th General Assembly of Social Watch, held in Accra in October 26 to 29, 2009. This strategy document elaborates and updates the strategy adopted in Sofia (2006) which outlined our principles, goals and objectives.
Social Watch was created in 1995 as a “meeting place for non-governmental organizations concerned about social development and gender discrimination, and engaged in monitoring the policies which have an impact on inequality and on people who live in poverty.”
The basic methodology of Social Watch still remains the same: to make governments accountable for their commitments and thus promote the political will to implement them.
These commitments include:
Social Watch believes that the key action to achieve poverty eradication, gender equality and social justice happen primarily at local and national level and, therefore, its international activities and structures should be accountable and at the service of national and local constituencies, and not the other way around.
Peace is a precondition for the realization of human and womens’ rights and the eradication of poverty. However, poverty and lack of respect for human rights are at the root of many armed conflicts. Therefore the devastating impact of conflict and post-conflict situations on people is of particular concern.
The governance structure of Social Watch is explained in a separate document that was adopted by the Assembly.
2. Mission Statement
At its first General Assembly held in Rome in November 2000, Social Watch approved a mission statement as the framework for its work. The Beirut Assembly (October 2003) reaffirmed this mission statement. In Sofia a particular emphasis on the rights-based approach has been added:
“Social Watch is an international network of citizens’ organizations in the struggle to eradicate poverty and the causes of poverty, to end all forms of discrimination and racism, to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights. We are committed to peace, social, economic, environment and gender justice, and we emphasize the right of all people not to be poor.
Social Watch holds governments, the UN system and international organizations accountable for the fulfilment of national, regional and international commitments to eradicate poverty.
Social Watch will achieve its objectives through a comprehensive strategy of advocacy, awareness-building, monitoring, organizational development and networking. Social Watch promotes people-centred sustainable development.”
The Accra Assembly reaffirmed the mission statement with the changes listed above.
3. Social Watch in a changing environment
Many things have changed in the context in which we operate since the Sofia Assembly:
The Assembly was reminded of those trends by the opening speech from doctor Yao Graham and they were considered as the new framework in which this strategy was defined.
4. Influencing global and regional decision-making
In August 2009, Social Watch established a permanent office in New York to enable a continuous presence at the United Nations and to coordinate advocacy efforts with country missions at the UN, international agencies and other NGO networks. It will assist the participation of members in global decision making processes and inform regularly about them to the national coalitions.
Advocacy, communications and campaigning strategies will complement each other to achieve our goals. The key advocacy events for the coming years are listed in the attached calendar.
5. Strengthening and expanding the network
The major tools of Social Watch are:
Additional advocacy tools will be “benchmark documents”, collections of papers (SW series or “occasional papers”) and position papers, frequently authored and published in association with other organizations and networks.
Social Watch will make efforts to publish the report in additional languages and formats that allow reaching wider audiences. In addition, we will diversify our use of innovative communication tools.
Social Watch has started a three year programme to improve the capacity of its members in developing countries through a series of workshops in Africa, Asia and Latin America. There is an ongoing program to build the capacity of some members in Europe.
The content and methodology will be defined by the host organizations and the participants with support from the secretariat. Improving the media outreach of the national coalitions is one of the areas to be addressed.
Social Watch will actively support the efforts of other regions and subregions to design and implement capacity building programmes for watchers.
In its advocacy, Social Watch will build alliances with trade unions, social movements and other civil society organizations and networks, in particular those advocating for climate justice, and it will participate in the World Social Forum.
Recognizing the growing importance of regional and sub-regional decision-making venues, Social Watch encourages regional and sub-regional cooperation among members and other actors to engage in advocacy and campaigning at that level. An organizational strategy will be developed, with the involvement of the CC and Secretariat, in order to support and enhance regional work.
In the coming years, Social Watch will increase the number of its members in developing countries, especially Africa, and will initiate efforts to publish a Russian language version of the report as a tool to increase membership in “transition countries” of the former Warsaw Pact and Soviet Union in Central Asia and Central and Eastern Europe.
In order to achieve these goals that we are setting and to strengthen the following working groups were created:
The secretariat will create the necessary communication mechanisms and facilitate the activities of the working groups and of the regional groups.
The 2011 Assembly will be held in the Philippines.