The IFP seeks to create the conditions for greater participation of NGOs in the international public debate so that they can influence international negotiations in the areas of development, fundamental rights and international solidarity. It promotes Non-Governmental Diplomacy in order to monitor intergovernmental negotiations at the national, regional and global level, and to ensure civil society’s participation in decision-making processes and mechanisms of global governance.
The IFP’s founding members (National Platforms from Chile, Brazil, France, India and Senegal) and the IFP’s First General Assembly of 2011 provided the three strategic pillars for the Forum: Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) capacity development; advocacy on the international agenda; and the promotion of an enabling environment for CSOs.
The IFP is governed by shared principles: democratic governance, transparency and information sharing; and equal participation of its members.
Non-Governmental Diplomacy Exercises
The IFP launched in 2011 the Non-Governmental Diplomacy Exercises (NGDEs), which consist in cross-regional working groups dedicated to specific themes, covering seven key topics, with tangible outcomes. Following this three-year process, a systematization document was elaborated, to capitalize on the main activities and outlining key achievements of each NGDE. This ‘learning’ document shows particularly that the dissemination of information and tools supporting evidenced-based advocacy generates a genuine solidarity among CSOs, and promotes the emergence of international synergies contributing to a more effective and impactful advocacy.
The 7 NGDEs outputs have been presented and promoted by IFP members attending international meetings on behalf of the network. The 7 themes were: Financing for Development; Prevention and Conflict Resolution; Access to Water and Sanitation; Fight against Inequalities and Exclusion; Regulation of Agricultural Markets; Climate Change; Enabling Environment for CSOs.
Advocacy work on the post-2015 agenda
Along with Beyond 2015, the IFP has shaped the main advocacy campaign of civil society on the post-2015 agenda with CAN International and Participate. The IFP is responsible for the coordination of five regional advocacy coordinators in order to facilitate the articulation and the coherence of the global dialogue and strategy between the global, regional and national levels. Four of regional organizations in charge of the coordination are Regional Coalitions associated members of the IFP. Over 20 IFP member National Platforms actively take part in the coordinated advocacy strategy on the post-2015 agenda on 5 continents. They contribute to the development of global advocacy documents by bringing national perspectives into the discussions; they coordinate the national dialogue between CSOs and their governments on the promotion of an agenda that puts the issues of equity and sustainability at its core. IFP members also allow grassroots NGOs to be connected to the global campaign by sharing their messages and by providing them with critical information on the process.
The IFP has significantly contributed to the emergence and the strengthening of regional structures, the last one being the Asian Development Alliance (ADA). The coalitions of West Africa (REPAOC), Central Africa (REPONGAC), of Latin America (Mesa de Articulación) and of the Pacific (PIANGO) have also reinforced their advocacy and organizational capacity with the IFP’s support.
At the national level, since several IFP members have been involved in Non-Governmental Diplomacy Exercises, it gave them opportunities to work collaboratively with their peers from other countries and improve their advocacy capacities as well as their intercultural working skills. This set of skills has been further strengthened through their participation in regional and international events.
• Building common advocacy positions at the national, regional and global level on topics of general interest
• Participation in multi-stakeholder dialogues and mechanisms for regional and global governance;
• Strengthening the capacity of the National Platforms and the regional NGO coalitions through the exchange of best practices and institutional support;
• Sharing tools and services platforms for the benefit of member Platforms;
Some important initiatives:
IFP’s General Assemblies
47 NGO Platforms and six Regional Coalitions met in Dakar from 2 to 5 February 2011 at the first IFP General Assembly. This meeting was an important step in structuring the IFP as a space for exchange and political articulation among NGO associations. During the three days of discussions, the charter and bylaws of the IFP were voted on and unanimously approved.
Four years later, the second IFP General Assembly was held in Tunis on the 23rd of March 2015, on the sidelines of the World Social Forum 2015. On this occasion, after eight months of strategic planning through consultations with members and partners, the IFP Council presented three key strategic priorities which were endorsed by the GA: capacity development & learning, international advocacy and enabling environment.
With the adoption of the new post-2015 development agenda this year, the 2015 GA was considered by the members as the appropriate and timely forum to decide upon new strategic directions. The members renewed their commitment and their support to the IFP. This GA has also renewed the Council of the organization which is mandated to operationalize the next strategy 2016-2020.
Organizing debates and meetings at the World Social Forum
Historically the IFP is closely linked to the World Social Forum. The IFP and its members organize events and debates around every forum on subjects of interest for national and regional networks, in collaboration with organizations working on similar topics.
In alliance with Abong and the Brazilian Collective towards the World Social Forum 2015 in Tunis, the IFP co-organized the debate on “Global Civil Society and the development agenda post-2015″. The IFP also co-organized with AGNA/CIVICUS and GCAP the event “Delivering a more just and sustainable world after 2015: accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals”, on accountability for the post-2015 agenda and the role of national platforms and civil society in a broad sense.
The IFP was also present at the WSF in Tunis in 2013, where it conducted workshops on the creation of an NGO Platform and on enabling environment for CSOs. The IFP organized eight open workshops on access to water and sanitation, conflict prevention and resolution, development financing, regulation of agricultural markets, climate change, fight against social inequality and exclusion, debate on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and meeting with the Portuguese-speaking platforms.
Participation and advocacy in international events
Every year, the IFP participates in several international events, either institutional events or those organized by civil society. Members regularly take part in Civil Society Forums organized alongside official Summits, as the Peoples’ Summit in the margins of Rio+20 Summit and the Latin American and Caribbean- European Union CS Forum every two years.
The IFP was present during the United Nations General Assemblies (UNGA) in 2013 and 2014. In 2013, the IFP published a major document of capitalization of its exercises non-governmental diplomacy: Bringing the Voices of NGOs to a Global Scale: Non-Governmental Diplomacy. The network also expanded its advocacy on the post-2015 development agenda, especially co-hosting alongside CIVICUS, Beyond 2015 and GCAP a special event on Civil Society’s demands on the post-2105 development agenda at the United Nations General Assembly. This event enabled the IFP to distribute its position paper: Civil Society’s Call for a Fair and Sustainable Future.
During the UNGA of 2014, the IFP co-organized a special event gathering CSO representatives from the five regions as well as UN Permanent Representatives in order to call for a higher level of ambition in the process of the post-2015 agenda. Following this UNGA, the IFP and Beyond 2015 initiated a political mapping of governments’ positions cross- referenced with their values in order to facilitate the access to information for the IFP members and partners at the global, regional and national levels and facilitate their targeted advocacy on the post-2015 issues.
The IFP is one of the few NGO networks to have a regular seat at the Civil Society Mechanism of the Committee on Food Security of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Every year, a policy position paper is developed, translated into 3 languages and shared with the relevant stakeholders ahead of the meetings organized each year in October in Rome.
Besides, the IFP attended the G20 Summit in Cannes in November 2011, where the IFP Facilitation Group produced an advocacy document that questioned the G20 and demanded specific answers to the crisis. The IFP’s contribution was delivered to Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s President at the time. The IFP called on the G20 to show greater transparency in its actions and political decisions, and to take into account the proposals of civil society, through the implementation of permanent consultation mechanisms.
The IFP also facilitates the participation of its members in international events organized by Civil Society, such as the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, the International Civil Society Week organized by CIVICUS and the International Civil Society Forum at Busan (South Korea) of November 2011, where the IFP organized together with other CSO associations the workshop “Towards Greater Transparency and Accountability of CSOs: Application of the Principles of Istanbul”.
All these events gave the IFP and its members the opportunity to promote national NGO platforms’ positions, to create partnerships in order to develop advocacy projects together, but also to meet other NGO platforms and promote the IFP among the global civil society.