Is the coalition making the most of the membership at the national level?
For some coalitions, much of the work is done at the national level where members work directly to influence their own government or private sector. There are different ways for coalitions to make the most of the national membership. Some coalitions have structured mechanisms for engaging members in different countries. Some work more loosely.
“Lobbying at international negotiating sessions is of limited effectiveness. By the time delegates get to the meeting, they have limited room to maneuver, the negotiating position has already been determined. You have to get them onside through campaigning back home well in advance.”
Kelly Rigg, Climate Action Network
The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court both have national affiliates in a number of countries that act as focal points for civil society on an issue in a particular country. Whichever way you choose to structure engagement with national members, the coalition can benefit from a capacity to promote coherence among different national members in the same country.
The coalition may sometimes need to mediate between members at a national level if they come into conflict with each other. However, the main role for the coalition is likely to be supporting or encouraging these organisations in their work – providing ideas, sharing experience from other locations and linking national level actions into the international effort.
Beyond national level advocacy, coalitions can also build links between specific sections of society in different countries or regions. Key partners such as youth, parliamentarians, and faith groups, have a wide reach through their networks of members, constituents and supporters. Coalitions can help connect members of these groups in different countries and encourage them to work together on the issue being promoted by the coalition.
Some of the individual NGO’s within the CMC took a leading role with specific groups of partners. Handicap International coordinated engagement by ‘Ban Advocates’ – a group of individuals directly affected by cluster munitions.1 Mines Action Canada continues to take a lead in engaging and building capacity among young people concerned with social justice issues. As well as promoting campaigining, their Young Professionals programme has provided benefits to individuals and to organisations internationally. Also within the CMC, Religions for Peace brought together faith leaders of different denominations and CMC staff worked through the Inter-Parliamentary Union to bring together parliamentarians from different countries. All of these different groups had important roles in promoting the overarching messages of the CMC.