Advocacy may be defined as activities and actions with the intention of influencing decision-makers and with the aim of developing, establishing or changing policies and practices and of establishing and sustaining programmes and servcies. For the purposes of the VNGOC, advocacy in support of Beyond 2008 may be defined as:
the combined efforts of non-governmental organisations, working in cooperation and using a variety of activities, to persuade policy makers, influential individuals and organisations and governmental bodies at national, regional and international levels to support and to implement fully the Declaration and Resolutions adopted by consensus at the Beyond 2008 Forum
The VNGOC Committee discourages any adversarial challenges to government in order to advance the Beyond 2008 recommendations. Rather, it recommends that your organization sets out to:
a) Develop a transparent and professional relationship with the government
b) Articulate your organizations mission and your support for the Beyond 2008 recommendations
c) Inform first, discuss second, then follow up and develop opportunities to address the recommendations.
It should be recognized that this advocacy process is meant to initiate or support an existing relationship with the government over the long term. Equally, this process is meant to unite the different voices of NGO’s behind the shared platform adopted at the Vienna Forum. Our aim is to implement as fully as possible the Beyond 2008 Declaration and Resolutions. It is not appropriate to advocate for policies and programmes that are contrary to the spirit and word of the Beyond 2008 recommendations when seeking support for them or their implementation. Nor is it appropriate to select and focus on one recommendation. It is the comprehensiveness and synergy of the entire slate of recommendations that is the strength of the document. However, a start must be made somewhere and the VNGOC suggests you start with the area or areas which are most pressing to your particular country/region.
Finally, as we witnessed during the Beyond 2008 process itself, language and specific terms can either block discussions or create unnecessary arguements which prevent effective advocacy. That is why Beyond 2008 participants deliberately defined these terms as they relate to our Declaration and Resolutions. As such, these defined terms should help your advocacy outreach and ideally avoid or limit unnecessary or unwarranted concerns over the intent of our recommendations.