The United Nations (UN) is a highly complex organisation. It can be difficult for civil society advocates to know where to start and the best way to exert any influence. This toolkit will help civil society organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders to navigate the politics and structure of the UN system and its main decision-making bodies. It will also provide a roadmap to help guide CSOs through the main types of UN agreements and how they are negotiated, with a focus on financing for development and global economic governance, in particular relating to debt issues.
The UN’s potential for making a positive impact on economic and financial justice – and the leading role it plays in shaping international relations and the future of humanity – makes it imperative for civil society organisations (CSOs) to try and influence its policy- and decision-making processes. With 193 Member States, the UN is the most inclusive of the international organisation. It is also the only international organisation that looks at economic and financial affairs through the lens of human rights, which is why we should support it.
The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 was a milestone in UN history, but achieving these goals by 2030 is a major challenge for the international community. At the heart of this challenge is how to finance the SDGs and how to ensure that the global financial and economic order is conducive – rather than harmful – to sustainable development.
The UN Member States hold most of the formal rights when it comes to participation in UN decision-making. However, CSOs do have some rights to participate formally in UN processes, and there are possibilities for influencing these processes informally. Moreover, they can influence their national government’s position both at the UN and at home.
The toolkit modules explain the main advocacy options, and provide useful information for CSOs wanting to influence the UN as a key body to create greater financial justice.