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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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The impact of civil society on global efforts to advance the arms trade treaty: The perspective of a Costa Rican diplomat

The road to the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty was not only paved with compromises among Member States, but also with the active support and collaboration of many different stakeholders, including civil society organizations (CSOs). As delegates and representatives struggled with the balance between ideals and reality, peace and national interest, as well as dream and deed, so too did global CSOs. As inferred from the words of the poet Antonio Machado, a road is shaped by the trails marked by its travellers. The travellers of the road that led to the adoption of this Treaty included not only the national delegates, but also those who stood as partners in the journey.

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