Why participate in International Conferences?

More and more national policies are coordinated at the international level. This is particularly necessary when the problems require a global response: climatic changes, the banning of antipersonnel landmines, health, campaigns against desertification, prevention of conflicts, human rights, campaigns against poverty, etc.  These policies are generally elaborated within the framework of international conferences. 

Why participate in international conferences?

1. Act globally:

Many local problems require a global response. You can contribute to the elaboration of these policies, knowing that even small progresses can have a world-wide impact.

2. International recognition:

Giving international visibility to local problems allows more resources to be mobilised to resolve them, and to have them taken into account within international policies.

3. Access to the knowledge and expertise of others:

Gain access to the information, knowledge, experience and expertise of other organisations.

4. Share your information and expertise:

Share your own expertise and your information with other organizations.

5. Impact on local reality:

International policies have a direct impact on national policies, and in the field, including through projects that are supported at the international level.

6. Network & contacts:

Conferences provide an excellent opportunity to develop contacts and to network with international organizations and NGOs working in your domain of activity.

7. Cooperate & coordinate your efforts:

Cooperate and join your forces with other organizations to attain your objectives.

8. Find partners:

International Conferences offer the possibility to identify and meet potential partners, notably for the financing of projects in the field.

9. Reinforce your position and negotiate:

Acquire an international visibility and benefit from a framework where the representatives of NGOs can have direct and more balanced contacts with their governmental representatives.

10. Contribute to more transparency in the making of international policies:

Follow the policies of your country, and contribute to more transparency in the elaboration of international policies, accordingly to the Agenda 21 on sustainable development.

 

Some examples:

Indigenous peoples
For more than twenty years, representatives of the indigenous peoples have fought to get the international community to take care of their problems. They have participated in the UN Working Group on the Indigenous Populations in Geneva, enabling them to: 

  1. Develop many links of cooperation between the organizations from different countries. 
  2. Put their problems on the table and attract the attention of the international community.
  3. Be able to negotiate with their governmental representatives in better conditions. This has allowed the resolution of certain conflicts, and resulted in many modifications to national legislation (recognition of indigenous peoples’ languages, their rights to specific education, etc.).
  4. Ensure that most of the international organizations develop a specific program for the indigenous peoples (ILO, WHO, UIT, etc.)
  5. Get the creation of a new UN body: the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, whose coordinating board gathers representatives from indigenous peoples from all over the World to overview international policies for the indigenous peoples.
  6. Participate in the drafting of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Declaration, that was adopted by the UN Commission on Human Rights.
  7. Mobilize financial resources to support projects in the field.

 

Antipersonel Landmines
When the NGOs began working on the idea of a convention to forbid the use of antipersonnel mines, most nation States were opposed to it. The NGOs then decided to work with a few States that were open to the idea and with the media. Little by little, the public opinions of the countries evolved towards supporting the idea that it was necessary to forbid the use of antipersonnel mines. As a result of their strong  convictions and hard work, a sufficient number of States finally accepted the elaboration and adoption of an international convention that forbids the use of such mines.  Today, this convention has been adopted by the vast majority of States and has significantly reduced the use of antipersonnel mines made or used in the world. 

Children’s Rights Convention

The Convention on the Rights of the Child, like several other conventions, was the result of the hard work of NGOs that fought for several years for its elaboration and adoption by nation States.  

 

If you are interested in following/participating in a conference, we invite you to read the Golden Rules.