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General Assembly 2024 Blog

 
2nd July 2024

2 July 2024

Eva Ekelund and Philemon Jazi, Co-Chairs of the ACT Alliance Refence Group on Advocacy and Policy (APG)

Introduction:

As ACT Alliance prepares for its 2024 General Assembly in Yogyakarta, we want to ensure members are well-informed and as excited about the planned discussions as we are. The purpose of this blog is to summarize the process for producing public statements that will be endorsed by the ACT Alliance General Assembly and to set out ways to engage with groups and forums. This blog is therefore geared towards the membership of the alliance with an aim that everyone has an opportunity to input to the public statements in due course, should they wish to do so.

In the face of ever-growing shrinkage of civic space, it is ever more important for ACT Alliance to be bold in its advocacy and clear that our Christian values of justice, solidarity, dignity and equality cannot be negotiated.” -Philemon Jazi, Deputy Regional Director, Africa Region, Diakonia

Raising our Prophetic Voices

ACT contributes to positive and sustainable change in the lives of people affected by poverty and injustice through effective advocacy at local, national, regional and global levels. This advocacy is faith and rights-based, grounded in evidence and rooted in the experience of forums and members. As highlighted by the 2020-2027 ACT Alliance Advocacy Strategy, our advocacy is grounded in Christian faith, through which we become one community, one body, and where love for the other transforms itself in the greatest testimony of justice and peace. ACT Alliance advocacy supports and amplifies the voice of all people and communities pursuing their rights and their efforts to hold their local and national authorities accountable for the realisation of these rights and for abuse of power leading to a violation of rights.

ACT’s advocacy will always promote the ‘leave no one behind’ principle, working to lift up the voices of those usually excluded from policy dialogue and decision-making.

What does this mean in practice?

“We all need those who will help us to see the truth from which we might be tempted to turn, to face things we can hardly bear, and to find a source of hope that is real. We have often called the people who can do this for us ‘prophets’. They help us to discern the truth and to act upon it. Prophets are sometimes unpopular, especially with those who have much to lose if things change. But they consistently, and without fear, speak out. Sometimes people think them mad. Sometimes they are indulged as though they are naïve. All this happened to the prophets in the Bible, and it happens still to truth-tellers in the world today. But prophets are much more complex than their popular caricature. Their most dominant note is not actually doom-saying, for they bring most a joyful and hopeful vision of a new world.”[1]

Public Statement Process

At the 2024 ACT Alliance General Assembly in Yogyakarta, we aim to facilitate a focused, informed, and impactful discussion on critical global and regional issues, fostering a spirit of unity and collaboration among participants in the pursuit of justice and positive change while speaking out meaningfully on key issues facing the world.

In order to do that, we have encouraged our thematic Reference Groups, Communities of Practice and our regional and national Forums to develop public statements to be endorsed by the ACT General Assembly. The preparation of statements is a vital process to ensure robust and informed discussions. Statements on global issues, particularly those aligning with the themes of thematic feature days and member conversations, are meticulously crafted in advance by designated existing ACT structures such as Reference Groups (RGs) or Global Communities of Practice (CoPs). Likewise, statements on regional issues are crafted by Regional Forums (RFs). These established bodies play a critical role in shaping statements that reflect a collective understanding of global challenges within their respective domains.

Through a Call for Submission of Public Statements and a Framework for Presenting Public Statements at ACT Alliance General Assembly 2024, we have set out a process whereby:

  • Reference Groups and Forums were invited to submit expressions of interest to develop a statement by the deadline of the 31st of May 2024
  • By mid-June, decisions were taken and all groups were informed and encouraged to work in a collaborative fashion through the use of the template for public statements
  • All groups are asked to submit final statements to the APG by 31st of July 2024, for global issues, and also, if possible for regional and national issues. This is the moment when the wider membership can contribute to thematic statements by reaching out to those that are coordinating their development. We highly encourage members to actively contribute during this period.
  • By the 30th of September 2024, we should have received and reviewed all statements, including late submissions for regional/country-specific issues
  • The final statements should be distributed to participants of the General Assembly by the 12th of October 2024, ensuring a comprehensive and well-informed discussion during the General Assembly.

Expressions of Interest

We have received 28 expressions of interest, submissions have been coded according the 7 themes based on the programme of the ACT Alliance General Assembly and, as a result of that 15 proposals have been merged as a way to avoid duplication and overlap.

Thus  far, the following statements are being developed:

  • Statement 1– Focusing on Climate Justice
  • Statement 2– Focusing on Militarization
  • Statement 3 – Focusing on Human Rights and Civic Space
  • Statement 4– Focusing on Tax Justice
  • Statement 5– Focusing on Youth
  • Statement 6– Focusing on Locally-led Action
  • Statement 7– Focusing on Fundamentalisms and Democracy
  • Statement 8– Focusing on Colombia
  • Statement 9– Focusing on Cuba
  • Statement 10– Focusing on Gender Justice with particular emphasis on SGBV
  • Statement 11– Focusing on Disability and Inclusion
  • Statement 12– Focusing on the challenges of the Africa region in terms of humanitarian work/appeals
  • Statement 13– Focusing on Indonesia and their challenges as the assembly hosts
  • Statement 14– Focusing on Peace and Security
  • Statement 15– Focusing on Migration and Displacement

The Road Towards Yogyakarta

Leading up to the Assembly, the Advocacy and Policy Reference Group (APG) takes charge of overseeing the coordination of statements. The role of APG is critical in ensuring the coherence and relevance of the statements submitted by various entities. This proactive oversight guarantees that the statements align with the overarching goals and themes of the Assembly.

Once the Assembly is underway, the coordination of statements transitions to the Public Statements Committee (PSC). This committee is dedicated to facilitating the process, ensuring that statements are presented effectively, and addressing any emerging issues or concerns promptly. Their role is integral to maintaining the fluidity of the statement coordination process during the dynamic environment of the Assembly. To preserve the integrity and coherence of the statements, no amendments will be entertained during plenary sessions. The inputs and refinements are expected to have been addressed during the

Only the Public Statements Committee (PSC) will conduct further edits and reviews following these valuable contributions, ensuring the statements reflect the collective wisdom and insights of the Assembly participants.

In the event of impromptu and significant international news items, any additional statements must receive approval or be specifically requested by the Assembly Steering Committee (ASC). This ensures that statements remain responsive and relevant to the rapidly evolving global context while maintaining a controlled and considered approach.

Through the dual coordination efforts of the APG before the Assembly and the PSC during the Assembly, we aim to streamline the statement process, fostering a cohesive and impactful dialogue throughout the General Assembly. Most importantly, we aim to bold and to stand in solidarity with those who are being marginalized, side-lined and discriminated against.

For questions and/or suggestions in regards to the public statements process, and if you would like to be put in touch with the lead of each statement before the deadline of the 31st of July, please reach out to marianna.leite@actalliance.org.

[1] See song-of-prophets-global-theology-climate-change-november-2014.pdf (christianaid.ie), p. 6.

 

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