It’s not uncommon to hear issue advocates claim that different organizations are “siloed”—focused on their approach to the issues that concern their organization. Working every day on any one issue can create tunnel vision and prevent sharing best practices. It’s for that reason that Citizens for Global Solutions is committed to working across a number of issue groups that bring together like-minded organizations working broadly on related issues, but in different ways. It's this work that makes CGS a prime example of an interdependent and collaborative organization.
Citizens for Global Solutions is currently active in seven coalitions or working groups. Personally, my favorite is WICC, the Washington Working Group on the International Criminal Court, but since I'm WICC’s Advocacy Chair, maybe I’m biased. CGS co-founded WICC, which is why as Advocacy Chair, I’ve been happy to keep CGS at the forefront of ICC advocacy on Capitol Hill and continue to bring the CGS brand to many congressional offices. WICC regularly meets with congressional staffers and sponsors briefings and other events to raise awareness of the Court's important work in international justice and human rights.
The newest working group CGS has joined is the Civil Society Working Group on Women, Peace and Security (CSWG). We are supporting this group’s cutting edge work on promoting the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security. Recently, CGS took action to call for the passing of the Women, Peace, and Security Act, which would codify and ensure the implementation of the NAP. Through networking and organizational relationship building, CGS is also in the loop on Cities for CEDAW, a “grass-tops” effort to adopt CEDAW, the Women’s Rights Treaty, as local law. We have a long history of advocating for CEDAW; we even co-founded a DC-based working group dedicated to its ratification.
The Campaign for US Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is another network of activists CGS is proud to be part of. CRC has continued to carry the torch on ratifying the children’s rights treaty in the US, which is now the only nation that hasn't ratified. CGS will continue to support the volunteers of CRC in their efforts to restore US leadership in human rights and improving conditions for children everywhere.
Citizens for Global Solutions also cooperates with a large coalition of over 80 organizations on nuclear security issues. The Fissile Materials Working Group (FMWG) has built consensus among these organizations through its consensus recommendations and 5 Priorities for the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. CGS and all other member organizations have endorsed these policies. Message consistency is a powerful asset in the global effort to secure the world’s deadliest weapons.
On the issue of climate change, CGS has been active with the US Climate Action Network (USCAN). This dynamic global network offers a place to share policies, actions, and build relationships between its members. CGS recently has signed on to several letters, including one asking President Obama to include $500 million for the Green Climate Fund in his 2016 budget proposal.
CGS also remains up to date in our fields of interest through the Human Rights Working Group and the Partnership for Effective Peacekeeping (PEP), another coalition CGS co-founded. Both of these groups are excellent ways to promote CGS’s own activities and expand our reach. From small clicktivism actions to large events and policy forums, these two groups help us stay in the know on what many other like-minded organizations are up to.
The benefits of working collaboratively are immeasurable, not only for the expanded reach of one organization’s grassroots efforts, but also for the collective power directed at policy makers to change how we govern our nation and our world. This kind of group collaboration can be highly effective, and CGS will continue to work with valued colleague organizations.