Advocating for Change
The need to advocate for protection
Our advocacy efforts are dedicated to interrupting cycles of violence and enhancing nonviolent responses to conflict. We focus on improving the protection of civilians from the perspective of the nonviolent and civilian-led practice of Unarmed Civilian Protection. Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) is a policy and practice that interrupts cycles of violence, protects civilians and enhances nonviolent responses to conflict, in order to move us closer to a vision of a worldwide culture of peace.
This advocacy is a whole-of-organisation function – from teams in the field supporting civilians to directly advocate for their needs, to direct engagement in advocacy with parties to a conflict, to high-level political advocacy in key international fora. This advocacy occurs through both direct engagement and contributions to public discussion and debate.
Globally, NP is a core member of Crisis Action and a member of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICR2P). NP is currently a member of the Global Protection Cluster's Strategic Advisory Group.
NP's Advocacy at the European Union
NP engages with the European Union (EU) both in Brussels, at the headquarters level, and through EU Delegations in the countries where NP is present.
Our team works on raising awareness and understanding of UCP among EU policymakers in order to increase political and financial support for UCP activities and better integrate UCP into the EU’s response to conflicts. In Brussels, our interlocutors include the European Commission, the European External Action Service (including but not limited to those working on the civilian and military missions under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), EU Member States and the European Parliament.
NP is also an active member of the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office (EPLO), a network of NGOs advocating for the EU to be more active and effective in supporting peace and nonviolent forms of conflict resolution in all regions of the world.
NP's Advocacy in Southeast Asia
NP engages with ASEAN to connect community-level UCP with government decision-makers. In addition to ASEAN, we engage with state ministries of foreign affairs, civil society and women's networks, and universities (for example Gadjah Mada University, Chiang Mai University, Prince of Songkla University, Chulalongkorn University, and the University of Malikul Saleh). We have an important opportunity to support the vision of ASEAN as a people-oriented and people-centred organization.
Our team works to advocate for a transition from traditional peacekeeping to UCP, support women's participation in peace and security, document and share UCP with students and decision-makers, and improve communication and engagement between community-level peace stakeholders and ASEAN member states.
NP's Advocacy at the United Nations
NP was granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in 2007. Consultative Status to ECOSOC is the highest status granted by the United Nations to non-governmental organizations (NGOs), thereby allowing them to participate in the work of the United Nations.
NP serves on the NGO Working Group on the Security Council. Since 1997, the NGO Working Group has provided this unique platform for NGOs to access and dialogue with the Member States on the UN Security Council and other senior UN officials. As the Security Council's decisions affect nearly all NGO constituencies - including peace and security, human rights, humanitarian relief, disarmament, governance, and the concerns of women and children - the Working Group works to maintain a diverse membership. NP is also a member of the New York Peacebuilding Group and the UN/NGO Working Group on Protection of Civilians.
Our team advocates for the necessity of non-militarized approaches and the importance of unarmed protection as both a complement to traditional peacekeeping and a key ingredient in attaining sustainable peace in communities facing violence and conflict. Through our work, unarmed civilian protection has been included in 27 UN and UN-related policies, recommendations, and resolutions that have recognized unarmed approaches for the protection of civilians.
NP's Advocacy in the United States
NP engages with the United States Congress and Government in Washington D.C., and through embassy presence in countries where NP is present. We also work closely with educational and research institutions, the humanitarian sector, and other UCP partners.
Our team works on raising awareness and understanding of UCP among policy and decision-makers in the United States in order to strengthen political and resourcing support for UCP activities and to better integrate UCP into the United States’ responses to conflicts. In Washington D.C., our interlocutors include Congressional members and their staff, US Government agencies, humanitarian and peacebuilding organisations, universities and policy think tanks.
NP is also an active member of a number of coalitions working to advocate for better approaches to civilian protection, humanitarian aid, and peacebuilding, including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, the US and Global Youth Peace and Security Coalitions, the Prevention and Protection Working Group, and InterAction.
Lobbyists who assist NP on a pro bono basis are Bobby Cunningham and Bob Van Heuvelen.
The future of NP's Advocacy work
A massive scale-up of UCP is needed. All present approaches for the protection of civilians—whether armed or unarmed—provided by governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations added together do not come close to meeting present needs. We need to continue to validate and share widely affordable and effective ways to protect civilians. We also need to advocate for adequate funding that is equivalent to the UN military peacekeeping budget—about $6.45 billion USD.
At the 2019 Commission on the Status of Women in New York.