The General Assembly is the Social Watch network’s highest governing body. Policy discussion and medium- to long-term strategic planning happens in its realm, which serves as a decision-making forum. In addition, it is also a space for reinforcing the sense of belonging and strengthening the network’s identity and unity.

The Assembly takes place every two to three years. Up to now General Assemblies took place in Rome 2000, Beirut 2003, Sofia 2006, Accra 2009 and the 5th General Assembly was held in the Philippines in 2011.

Each national coalition can nominate two delegates to participate in the Assembly. The participation of coalitions in the Assembly is guided by the following principles:

  1. The national coalition should have sent in at least one national report for one of the last four Social Watch Reports
  2. New coalitions who are already participating actively in Social Watch (writing national reports, responding to other initiatives) should be invited, in order to deepen their knowledge of the network and encourage further participation.
  3. Potential new coalitions who have not yet written national reports may not be invited to the Assembly but could be invited instead to the regional capacity-building workshops.
  4. Situations in which there are doubts about the legitimacy of the national focal point or the ability of that organization to minimally meet the commitments agreed to in the MoU, must be treated on a case-by-case basis by the Coordinating Committee.

In addition to setting medium- and long-term priorities and strategies and identifying potential alliances in advocacy, the Assembly elects members of the Coordinating Committee to whom coordination and political leadership between the assemblies are delegated.