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4. Activities and support

The range of activities and support services that a security collaboration mechanism provides to NGOs will depend on the type of mechanism, its structure and capacity, the resources available, and NGO needs in that particular context.

4.1 Meetings and briefings

A key role of any security network or forum is facilitating a space for NGO security staff to meet colleagues working within other organisations to share information, experiences, and concerns. Networking and face-to-face information exchange is vital to build relationships and trust amongst security staff from different NGOs.

Facilitating a regular security meeting or briefing enables NGOs to share information on incidents, discuss changes in the security environment and identify issues likely to arise in the future. It also provides an opportunity to exchange views on different security approaches, and in some cases reach agreement on common approaches that enhance the security for the broader aid community.

The frequency of meetings required will depend on the level of insecurity, and the schedule of other meetings. In the first few days after a rapid-onset emergency, or during a significant deterioration in the security environment, daily meetings may be required. In other contexts, a regular weekly or monthly security meeting may be more appropriate. Meetings should be scheduled at times to suit the majority of organisations; for example, early morning or evening meetings often draw the largest attendance.

Chairing NGO security meetings can be challenging, because of the diverse range of organisations with differing levels of security awareness and different priorities. Some organisations may avoid formal security meetings, but may be willing to share information to varying degrees through other less public mechanisms.

Facilitating security meetings

  • Prepare – invest time in preparation to maximise use of time during the meeting. Attending meetings is costly for busy staff in terms of time and activities missed, so make sure they add value.
  • Location – ensure meetings are accessible in terms of location and space requirements. Consider using technology to maximise participation (Skype, Zoom, etc.).
  • Timing – ensure meetings respect participants’ time commitments. Plan meeting times around travel requirements, significant events and security considerations.
  • Dynamics – consider inter-organisational relationships and make sure all participants can voice their queries or concerns. Establish smaller sub-group meetings to ensure more inclusivity and engagement from smaller INGOs or L/NNGOs.
  • Language – if participants do not speak the same language fluently, ensure effective translation mechanisms are in place so that all participants can fully participate.
  • Agenda – prepare an agenda in advance and explain the purpose and structure of the meeting, who is chairing and who will be attending. Try to manage expectations and provide an opportunity to clarify questions or discuss concerns before and after the meeting.
  • Ground rules – establish ground rules immediately. Reach early agreement on confidentiality when sharing information or discussing incidents.
  • Inclusivity – provide a safe inclusive space that enables all participants to express their opinions and share experiences.
  • Meeting management – stick to the agenda and keep discussions focused on key issues. As chair, manage digressions – interrupt if necessary, but allow flexibility for closely-related issues and concerns. Try to be a neutral party, avoid talking too much or getting involved in heated discussions, be a good listener.
  • Document – maintain a record of meeting attendees and share minutes of meetings and related action points with all participants promptly after meetings.

Online or virtual networks

The most marked change in NGO security collaboration and coordination has been the growth of online or virtual networks and groups. Most NGO security networks now exist online, and even for networks that still meet face-to-face, much of the information sharing and discussion takes place via online messaging platforms including Skype, WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, and Slack.

Collaboration examples

In Colombia, security focal points from over 20 NGOs within the Humanitarian INGO Forum formed an online security group (Grupo de gestión de información de seguridad Foro de ONG humanitarias) to strengthen the flow of information on violence and insecurity in Colombia and to create a space to discuss security challenges faced by INGOs.

The group hosts monthly virtual meetings exploring different security-related topics, and an active WhatsApp group where members share security updates and incident alerts as they occur.

The group has established ToR which outlines the objectives of the group and requirements for participation, together with basic rules for sharing information within its WhatsApp group.

Establishing an online security network offers huge benefits. Members can communicate directly with each other, share and discuss contextual updates and incident reports, or seek advice from their peers on security issues and challenges. But online networks also come with additional security, privacy, and reputational risks.

Which platform to use depends on the location, quality of data network, number of organisations in the network, and the sensitivity of information being shared. However, new platforms are emerging all the time, and staying abreast of these developments is critical to a network’s success.

Managing online groups

  • Prioritise security and privacy – in some contexts, the use of certain social media platforms is prohibited or subject to government monitoring. Assess digital security risks to determine which communication platform offers accessibility for members and sufficient security and privacy.
  • Identify admin team – seek volunteers from within the network to act as group administrators. Administrators are responsible for monitoring posts and discussions and dealing with new members. Consider forming a committee/advisory group to help with new membership or removal decisions.
  • Control membership – closed platforms should be used and only the group administrators should be permitted to add new members. All new membership requests should be checked to ensure individuals meet the group’s criteria. Establish a process for removing members when they leave their role/organisation.
  • Establish ground rules – guidelines are important for keeping conversations and posts positive, effective, and appropriate to the network. Create a transparent process for issuing warnings, and if required, removing members because of inappropriate posts. The online group’s guidelines should be posted regularly to remind people and to provide the names of group administrators in case members have questions.
  • Monitor discussions – despite issuing guidelines, there will be times when you need to remove comments/posts or address an issue. It may be more effective to address issues with individuals directly rather than through the open forum, but in some circumstances it will be important for the whole group to be aware.
  • Establish a process for anonymising posts – some members may be reluctant to raise questions or post information within the group because of concerns about being identified as the source. To allow the information to be shared, provide a mechanism through group admins for members to post anonymously.
  • Create recognisable post format – group administrators should use the same format for posts so that important information can be easily identified by group members.
  • Initiate discussion – members may initially be reluctant to engage with each other online. Try to initiate discussions and get members talking through regular posts and updates.
  • Continually review the platform – as technology advances, look to improve the security and functionality of the group, even if it means switching platforms.
  • Assess risks for admin team – although administrators need to be known to ensure trust, in some contexts their association with the group can place them at increased risk from authorities, security forces or other actors due to the existence of the group or its posts. Look to minimise exposure of the admin team and keep their details and contact information confidential.

4.2 Information sharing

Improving the flow of security information is a core function of most security collaboration mechanisms; this is often the most utilised and valued activity that such initiatives provide.

Organisations do not operate in a vacuum – what affects the security of one NGO will almost certainly affect the security of others, therefore actively sharing information on security incidents and potential threats can improve the awareness and understanding of all organisations, enabling them to minimise risks to their own staff and programmes.

While security information may be shared via general coordination structures, it can be difficult to reach those staff responsible for security and safety at the national or local levels, or at an organisation’s HQ. Establishing security-specific networks or forums helps to provide a central point to which incidents can be reported, and then shared directly amongst security staff within different organisations.

Even where informal security groups are established, agreeing a simple protocol for reporting security incidents, and distributing the information sensitively amongst security staff from other NGOs, will benefit everyone involved.

However, sharing security information is not without challenges. The process of gathering and verifying incident data takes time, requiring cross-referencing from many sources to ensure reliable security information and analysis. It is very easy for rumours to quickly escalate if suitable verification processes are not established.

More formal collaboration mechanisms with their own staffing will have the capacity to verify incident reports and can provide a broader range of security information services, including live security alerts and advisories, weekly/monthly security updates, together with the ability to analyse security incidents trends on a monthly/quarterly basis to support NGOs in their decision making.

Effective security information is also dependent on organisations being willing to share security information with others, and quickly. To assist the flow of information, members can agree in advance the minimum levels of information to be shared (for example, location, date, type of incident and its severity) to ensure that essential information is still circulated.

In certain contexts, security collaboration mechanisms and the sharing of security information will be particularly sensitive, especially in countries with high levels of state interference. The existence of any NGO security mechanism, and the information it shares, may result in increased threats to the NGOs and individuals involved. In such contexts, the availability of an independent platform to gather and circulate information on security incidents will likely provide a greater level of protection for the organisations involved.

Receiving incident reports

A major barrier to information sharing is trust. Concerns about indiscreet use of sensitive information shared via security networks can be a substantial barrier to sharing information. While there have been examples of information shared in such forums turning up on social media or quoted in the press, these are the exception.

In most settings, NGO security staff treat the information they receive sensitively. However, it is important to establish and agree clear protocols that explain how the information received will be handled, what will and will not be shared with the network, how to report information sharing breaches, and how these will be dealt with by the network.

There may be different opinions as to what constitutes a security incident and what information is relevant to the security of aid workers. How security incidents are defined and the boundaries between other significant incidents, such as corruption or safeguarding allegations, or violence in the wider operating environment, are not always clear. Therefore, it is important to define what incidents the mechanism will monitor, share and disseminate, and to issue clear guidance to the NGOs involved.

Sometimes only limited information on an incident is shared, making it difficult to relay sufficient information to the network for other organisations to take action. Staff on the ground may not be authorised to share further information until they get clearance from their HQ, or will be reluctant to do so in case it exposes them to further security risks, or breach confidentiality or data protection. This means that the time between an initial incident report and it being shared with the network can be extended.

Encouraging information sharing

  • Promote the benefits – while most organisations want to receive information, not all proactively contribute or share information with others. They may take some convincing and reassurance to appreciate the added value.
  • Build trust – the primary focus, especially in the early phase, needs to be on building trust, not only among the individuals directly involved in the network or forum, but also in the effectiveness of the mechanism to provide relevant information on a timely basis.
  • Emphasise neutral role – if not a separate structure, the neutrality of network/forum and the staff involved should be emphasised through clear statements from the chair/lead and articulated within the ToRs.
  • Meet face-to-face – members are more likely to share information with people they know; the more individuals meet on a regular basis, the more willing they are to keep each other informed.
  • Create networking events – such events provide an informal setting for members to meet and connect. They can build community and increase collective understanding and trust.
  • Establish clear protocols – if members understand how any information received will be treated and disseminated, and how issues of confidentiality are managed, they will be more willing to share information.
  • Make it easy to report – establish simple processes to report incidents or share information with the network, and where possible make use of technology and simple reporting apps to remove any administrative burden on those reporting.

In contrast, the speed at which information is shared via social media means that initial reports about a situation or incident are often unverified and therefore unreliable. When receiving information, it is important to consider its source and reliability, and seek to verify the information before sharing with the wider network.

Verifying information

  • Establish a process – put procedures in place for verifying incident reports to ensure the information collected is as accurate and complete as possible. The verification process should assess the source, the report or post, and its content.
  • Build and maintain a network of trusted sources – carefully select who you verify reports with and identify a range of stakeholders to gather different perspectives.
  • Identify verifiable indicators – determine what information can be verified and what aspects of the incident report may be unverifiable.
  • Confirm the source – identify and verify the primary source. Where possible, follow up with the source directly to verify the report or to identify corrections. Relying on secondary sources such as other NGOs, media reports or social media could perpetuate rumours.
  • Check their credibility – evaluate the credibility of the source. Are they reliable? Have their previous reports been accurate? What are the source’s credentials and affiliations? If the report is via social media, check the source’s posting history, online activity, internet presence, and their possible connections.
  • Be sceptical – challenge any assumptions. Who reported it? How do they know? Could they be mistaken, or their opinion be biased?
  • Confirm events – information can change after initial reports. Double check what happened to whom, where and when, especially the location, date and time.
  • Triangulate the facts – when possible, check the information with more than two sources, ensuring these are reliable and independent of each other.

Information on some incidents must be treated confidentially, such as incidents of sexual assault or abduction/kidnapping of NGO staff. Some information may be shared with those leading the network or forum to solicit additional information or support in managing the incident. While these incidents may have implications for the safety and security of other NGO staff working in the same operational area, it is vital to clarify what, if any, information on the incident can be shared with others. In some situations, it may be sufficient to alert members to the occurrence of a serious incident, without providing any details. In any case, the personal details of individuals involved should never be shared.

Storing and analysing incident data

The regular collection and analysis of incidents that occur in the operating environment will enable organisations to understand where, how and why the security situation is changing, and what this change means for the security of their staff, programmes and partners. Security incident data collated by local security networks can also be shared with incident analysis platforms such as Aid Worker Security Database and Insecurity Insight in order to contribute to the sector’s wider analysis of aid worker insecurity.

There are several off-the-shelf software packages and open-source tools that can be utilised to record and analyse incident data. However, simple spreadsheets to log key information from different incident reports may be sufficient for smaller networks.

Logging incidents

  • Identify your audience – understand who needs what information and why. Is the information for NGO security colleagues or will it also be used by others – programme and advocacy staff or safeguarding colleagues etc.? Identify what information is needed and build the database accordingly.
  • Define an incident – clarify which incidents should be monitored and recorded. Is it only incidents directly affecting NGO members, or broader events that impact aid access? Do you also include safety incidents such road traffic collisions and natural hazards, and administrative barriers, etc.?
  • Define an aid worker – clarify whether to monitor and record incidents affecting only NGO members and their staff, or include NGO partners, UN agencies and/or other stakeholders.
  • Provide definitions – provide a reference document with definitions for incidents that are recorded and shared. Make sure the documentation is clear and consistent.
  • Keep things simple and consistent – create a basic spreadsheet to log the events. Use dropdowns for agreed categories to make it easier to capture information. Set fields to the desired format such as date, text or number and include additional fields for specific purposes, such as instant sharing or trend analysis.
  • Develop codes for information providers – many organisations will want assurance of anonymity as a precondition for information sharing. However, you may need to trace information back to the original source if there are questions. Develop a code system to record the information provider that is anonymised but can be decoded if needed. Make sure to keep the information required for decoding in a safe place and restrict the number of people who have access to it.
  • Combine multiple reports into a master database – encourage NGOs to share incident information in a standard format to enable a quick ‘cut and paste’ of information into the database. However, avoid creating any additional administrative burden to the sharing of incidents.
  • Build flexibility into the system – plan additional fields that can be recorded later and consider how definitions will be applied to complex events.
  • Regularly clean the data – despite best intentions there will be inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the data. Make a habit of regularly cleaning the data. Amend the definitions based on real-life examples to ensure consistency.

A challenge in maintaining any central database of incident data is the inconsistency in how organisations record and classify incidents. Some organisations may only record certain types of incidents, or two organisations may categorise the same incident in different ways, making it difficult to undertake cross-organisational comparisons.

Organisations within the network or forum can be encouraged to use standard definitions and classifications to help facilitate analysis. However, many will be working to their own internal classifications, therefore incident reports received will need to be assessed and, if necessary, re-categorised to ensure consistency with the database’s parameters.

Analysing incident data

  • Detect patterns – for different incident types (locations, targets/victims, timings, or behaviour/tactics of the perpetrators, etc). What are the similarities and differences in the incidents that have occurred? Why might these similarities or differences occur?
  • Consider trends – either by specific geographic locations and/or during a specific time period. What are the key trends in the overall security situation? Does the data indicate any emerging trends that may affect the security of aid workers in future?
  • Describe changes – explain the differences between the most recent data and previous analyses. What are the most significant changes, and why?
  • Identify actions – suggest actions or specific measures that organisations should consider in response to the security incidents occurring.

Incident reports shared with the security network or forum may also omit useful information such as specific location information or details on staff affected, including their gender and nationality. It can require further dialogue with the organisation affected to clarify aspects of the incident and to determine what information can be shared or not with the wider network.

Maintaining a comprehensive database enables a security mechanism to provide more detailed analysis and produce regular reports highlighting trends in security incidents over a certain period, for example the type of incidents occurring, and their frequency, severity, location, and timing. Providing such analysis enables NGOs to develop a broader understanding of the risks, and adapt or strengthen their security approaches in response to these changes.

Collaboration examples

In the aftermath of two devastating cyclones (Idai & Kenneth) in 2019, the security situation in the Cabo Delgado region of Mozambique quickly deteriorated, with a sharp rise in violence perpetrated against the civilian population by militants. At the time there were no functioning security collaboration structures in place, and limited information and analysis on incidents.

Insecurity Insight was asked to provide regular threat analysis to organisations responding to the cyclone, as part of its Aid in Danger project. Insecurity Insight received verified security information and incident reports from its partner agencies and monitored local news media and social media, in collaboration with Standby Task Force.

Monthly threat analysis reports were shared through various NGOs networks at the local, national, regional and global levels.

During large scale emergency responses or in particularly challenging security environments, with many organisations involved, significant numbers of security incidents being reported, or sensitivities regarding the monitoring and reporting of security issues, it may be worth an NGO security network or forum seeking assistance from specialist organisations outwith the operating context to provide information on and analysis of incidents affecting aid worker security.

Disseminating information

Providing both real-time security alerts and weekly/monthly updates to members of a network or forum requires careful consideration.

Email distribution lists are sufficient for less time-critical information, such as security reports, but they are unreliable for sharing real time security alerts and threat advisories. SMS blaster services and, increasingly, online chat platforms are a much faster and more effective way to share information and alerts between members of a security network or forum.

The most suitable platform will depend on the location, quality of data network, number of organisations in the group, and the sensitivity of information being shared.

Sharing incident information

  • With whom – will information only be shared amongst members, or distributed to other coordination platforms or external stakeholders?
  • When – is the requirement for instant alerts to members, shared whenever an incident occurs, or aggregated incident data shared on a weekly or monthly basis?
  • Which format – do members require text-based descriptions of individual events or analysis in the form of graphs and maps? Do you have capacity to geographically track and map incident reports?
  • Which platform – will information/reports be circulated via online platforms (What’s App/Skype etc), SMS, or email? Can other platforms be utilised, such as a dashboard or maps to present live updates?
  • Anonymous or known reporting – are members comfortable sharing incident information directly with each other? Would they prefer to share information anonymously through a trusted intermediary, or to use technology such as reporting apps to enable anonymous reporting?
  • Who manages – if using an online platform to record and share security incident information, do you have the capacity/time to manage the platform directly or will you require support from external specialised services?

In addition to members of the security network or forum, there may be other stakeholders and interested parties who wish to receive the updates and reports produced. For example, the HQ security focal points of NGOs that are not present in the country, but who have staff visiting regularly or are working through local partners, or other NGO security networks and forums within the region or globally. Consider with whom information should be shared and agree a protocol for sharing information with non-members.

4.3 Liaison and representation

Regular liaison with various security actors in the local environment, including national and international military forces or non-state armed actors, police forces, and private security companies, is a vital part of gathering security information, verifying reports of incidents and possible threats, and in some cases facilitating in-extremis support. However, given the number of NGOs in many humanitarian operations, security actors can be reluctant to liaise directly with each individual NGO, preferring to work through recognised focal points.

In other contexts, NGOs may be uncomfortable developing relationships with certain security actors due to the risks such cooperation may generate. NGO security collaboration mechanisms can help to centralise engagement, while also acting as a buffer for security liaison and information gathering between NGOs and various security actors.

NGO security networks and forums can also act as conduits for strengthening NGO-UN security relations, working directly with UNDSS and security staff from other UN agencies to facilitate the sharing of security information, and to highlight the security concerns of NGOs.

The existence of an NGO security network or forum is also a key requirement for developing formal relationships with UNDSS as part of the SLT framework and for NGOs to participate in UN Security Management Team meetings or other coordination meetings and events.

Despite the obvious benefits of regular liaison with different security actors, there are risks involved. Engagement and close cooperation with certain actors may undermine the security collaboration mechanism’s independence in the eyes of some NGOs, the authorities, or other actors. All relationships must be carefully managed to ensure they remain transparent and impartial, and that there is no real or perceived compromise to the network or forum’s independence.

Collaboration examples

In South Sudan, two NGO Safety Advisors were hosted by the Danish Refugee Council to provide security information, civilian-military liaison, advice and support, and training to NGOs working in and around the Malakal and Bentiu Protection of Civilian (POC) sites respectively.

The initiative was part of a wider programme to strengthen NGO security coordination and improve access within Unity and Upper Nile States.

The NGO Safety Advisers in both states represented the NGO community at the UN Areas Security Management Team (ASMT) meetings. The bi-weekly meetings included various UN agencies, including UNDSS, UNOCHA, UNPOL, UNHCR, and UNICEF, together with UNMISS Force Commanders.

4.4 Contingency planning and incident support

Ensuring timely and effective responses to a sudden deterioration in security or a natural disaster, being able to quickly relocate or evacuate staff to a place of safety, or getting staff in remote locations access to suitable medical care in an emergency, all require considerable planning and information gathering in advance.

Collaboration examples

In north-eastern Syria, several NGO security focal points collaborated on mapping medical facilities using Google Maps. NGOs working in different areas were asked to add information on the location, capacity, and contact details for different health facilities to an online map.

The populated map was then circulated amongst NGOs to aid their contingency planning when expanding into new areas and to enable staff to quickly access information on the nearest medical facility in an emergency.

Security collaboration mechanisms play an important role in supporting members to prepare for situations which pose a significant threat to staff and operations. Often, simply bringing security staff together to discuss and share information on their respective contingency plans provides significant support to those organisations looking to develop or strengthen their own plans.

In some cases, NGO security mechanisms can also support the development of inter-agency contingency plans, in collaboration with UN agencies and IOs, for the potential evacuation, relocation or medical support arrangements for NGO staff in specific operational areas. While larger NGOs tend to have measures and support mechanisms in place to respond to critical incidents involving their staff, many smaller organisations do not and frequently reach out to NGO security networks or forums for support in the event of an incident.

In life-threatening situations, most security mechanisms will try to provide support to the member involved, especially in coordinating responses with UN agencies, or military forces and other security actors.  However, the extent of critical incident support that can be provided to members will have limitations. It is important that these limitations are clearly explained in advance to avoid misunderstandings or unrealistic expectations.

4.5 Joint training initiatives

Training is a vital part of improving the security awareness and capacity of staff. With greater recognition of duty of care and the value of security training, many NGOs have established comprehensive security training programmes, or provide staff access to external courses run by NGO-focused security training providers in the major humanitarian hubs. In practice, however, the majority of NGOs struggle to resource and provide security training for their staff, especially for national staff who are most exposed to security risks in day-to-day operations.  

Collaboration examples

In Libya, the Libya INGO Forum organised security trainings for international and national staff of INGOs. Trainings consisted of Personal Security Awareness, Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT), and Advanced Security Management, together with access workshops and training for humanitarian drivers in hostile environments. Trainings were in a mixture of in-person and online formats, and conducted in Arabic and English.

All trainings were by external providers selected through a competitive procurement process managed by the Libya INGO Forum’s host, the Norwegian Refugee Council.

NGO security networks and forums play a significant role in improving access to training. Firstly, in identifying training opportunities through the UN SLT framework, or in liaison with external training providers*, and sharing information with members. Secondly, engaging with NGO security staff facilitating training at the national and local level to encourage organisations to provide access to other NGOs on these trainings, if spaces are available.

Pooling resources and collaborating with others to provide security training to staff and partners not only helps to reduce costs, but cross-organisational learning strengthens networking and information sharing which benefits security collaboration in the operating context.

In some cases, collaboration mechanisms have taken the lead in providing security training and capacity building events for NGO staff, for example by organising security workshops focused on specific security issues and challenges. However, maintaining a regular programme of personal security and security management trainings requires significant resources and is likely to be limited to larger platforms with sufficient staffing capacity.

Participation in joint security training and workshops is normally on a reimbursable basis, but if funding is available then subsided or free places could be made available to certain NGOs.

* GISF maintains a comprehensive list of training courses around the world, from crisis management training to personal security. All training providers have been recommended by at least two GISF member organisations.

4.6 Collaborative action

When faced with increasing threats and restricted access, coming together as a group to raise concerns with authorities, communities or the wider humanitarian community is a vital role of NGO security fora.

Generating a collective voice on security concerns through common NGO positions and joint statements which unite organisations in the condemnation of a specific security incident or increasing risk to aid workers can have greater impact and lead to positive improvements in terms of security and access. However, it is important to note that advocacy is not limited to public statements, and often involves a mix of strategies that are less visible such as lobbying, building relationships, and influencing key stakeholders and decision-makers.

Collaboration examples

In response to a spate of security incidents affecting humanitarian aid workers in Ethiopia in March 2021 – including the killing of a GOAL driver and an incident during which Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) staff in Tigray’s Eastern Zone witnessed armed forces assault an MSF driver and execute four civilians – the Humanitarian International Non-Governmental Organization (HINGO) Forum issued a joint INGO statement condemning attacks against relief staff. The statement called for greater protection of aid workers, and for the attacks and killings to be investigated and those responsible to be held accountable.

Raising issues through a collaboration mechanism can also provide a degree of protection for individual NGOs – the mechanism is acting on behalf of all its membership without singling out any individual agency.

A security network and forum can increase the impact of advocacy efforts by drawing support from those members who are able to contribute expertise, time and resources to developing a statement and key messages.

Although collaborative action and advocacy can achieve positive results, it is not without challenges. Asking multiple NGOs, with different mandates and approaches, to agree to joint statements is a difficult process; it takes time, and sometimes compromise, to achieve consensus.

A clear system should be in place for how joint statements are developed, reviewed and endorsed by the membership. However, some members will be reluctant to participate, for different reasons, therefore there should also be clarity on how the statements are issued without the involvement of certain members.

Developing joint advocacy statements

  • Identify the goal – be clear on what needs to change or what parties need to do.
  • Seek consensus – solicit support for overall key messages and circulate drafts to members for them to add input or raise concerns.
  • Explain the process – statements should be developed through an agreed process. Clarify the approval process and what happens when a member does not wish to sign off on the statement.
  • Identify risks – consider possible consequences for and negative reactions of different actors.
  • Prepare a media/communications plan – provide members with additional information and talking points for use on social media.