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Civil Society and Disarmament 2014

The Importance of Civil Society in United Nations and Intergovernmental Processes: Views from Four Delegates to the United Nations

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In recent years, non-governmental organizations and other members of civil society have had an ever greater impact on the international agenda. While States establish formal political positions and have the legal and legitimate authority to negotiate, sign and ratify treaties, the ability of organizations and institutions which are independent of a government (NGOs, religious groups, foundations, charities, etc.) to influence these processes is growing. Four delegates from Australia, Costa Rica, Japan, and Mexico, and who worked at the United Nations, share their personal views on the impact civil society stakeholders have had in matters relating to disarmament and arms control.

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The role of civil society in promoting disarmament education and advancing the arms trade treaty and small arms and light weapons agenda

As educators, campaigners, and advocates for change, civil society organizations (CSOs), including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), play an integral and crucial role in the United Nations disarmament infrastructure. In the politically sensitive and slow-moving field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, where substantive outcomes can be hard fought and seldom won, the energy and dedication that CSOs bring to their work can help to stimulate debate and move the agenda forward. These organizations keep the spotlight on key and emerging issues, bring new ideas and creative solutions to the table, and, importantly, work to keep Governments honest.

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