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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

image of Civil Society and Disarmament 2014
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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Collaboration between governments and civil society on disarmament and non-proliferation education

Disarmament and non-proliferation education encompasses two critical objectives: to pass on the personal accounts of survivors for the future generation and to provide a factual and critical perspective to both policy practitioners and the general public. While the promotion of disarmament and non-proliferation has enjoyed overall support, these two objectives are not always recognized by either policy practitioners or civil society members involved. Furthermore, effective collaboration between Governments and civil society in this field are also not fully recognized, due, in part, to the presumption that there could be potential conflicts of interest between the two. This article outlines some recent developments in this arena and observes how these two key objectives have been achieved thus far by the synergies produced by both Governments and civil society. It also identifies challenges faced by the disarmament and non-proliferation community regarding compartmentalization and over-specialization of issues and the need to find ways to address cross-cutting issues in this field.

English

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