How can momentum be sustained during the process of getting countries on board an agreement?


A number of coalitions have run dedicated campaigns to promote further signatures, ratifications or accessions to the international treaty they have helped bring about. The ICBL and CMC both pursued such campaigns in the wake of the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. The Coalition for the International Criminal Court maintains a push for ratifications and accessions to the Rome Statute.

Where possible, obtaining institutional support for such a ‘universalisation’ drive can have a significant impact on success. Canada provided such leadership on landmines, devoting very significant resources in terms of staff time in Ottawa and at Canadian diplomatic posts abroad, as well as funding for advocacy work by civil society. In 2010 the United Nations, led by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, launched a two year campaign to achieve universal ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. The campaign ‘concept note’ suggests a range of activities for UN officials and member states, including events and media work focused on the campaign, direct advocacy with states outside the treaty, technical support to assist states with joining, and supporting civil society activities in aid of the campaign’s objectives.


A campaign to gather signatures and ratifications can sometimes be a starting point for coalition work. For example, the International Coalition against Enforced Disappearances was launched in September 2007, about a year after the adoption of the Convention For The Protection Of All Persons From Enforced Disappearances in 2006. The coalition ran an international campaign for ratification and on 23 December 2010 it achieved its initial goal of 20 ratifications necessary to trigger entry into force of the Convention.


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