What do we do?
Published on Sun, 2009-11-22 13:01
Social Watch is a network comprised by national coalitions of civil society organizations (known as “Watchers”). The structure of Social Watch has four main bodies: the General Assembly, the Coordinating Committee, the International Secretariat and the national coalitions.
Social Watch is an international network of citizens’ organizations struggling to eradicate poverty and the causes of poverty, to ensure an equitable distribution of wealth and the realization of human rights. Social Watch is committed to social, economic and gender justice, and emphasizes the right of all people not to be poor.
Social Watch holds governments, the UN system and international organizations accountable for the fulfillment of national, regional and international commitments to eradicate poverty. Social Watch promotes people-centered sustainable development.
Social Watch aims to achieve its objectives through a comprehensive strategy of advocacy, awareness–building, monitoring, organizational development and networking. Social Watch aims at strengthening the capacity of national coalitions to effectively monitor and influence policies with an impact over women, people living in poverty and other vulnerable groups.
The Social Watch network is committed to a democratic and non-hierarchical form of organization; its operation and decision-making processes are based on egalitarian principles and a high degree of respect for the autonomy of its members. To better serve the changing needs of the national coalitions, flexibility is considered key to its structure.
The network is promoted and developed by several hundred groups and organizations in more than 60 countries. In principle, they are organized in national coalitions. They build the fundament of all activities of Social Watch. In addition to the national coalitions, the network is structured around three bodies: The Social Watch Assembly, the Coordinating Committee and the International Secretariat.
Social Watch was created in 1995 as a “meeting place for non-governmental organizations concerned about social development and gender discrimination, and engaged in monitoring the policies which have an impact on inequality and on people who live in poverty.”
The basic methodology of Social Watch still remains the same: to make governments accountable for their commitments and thus promote the political will to implement them.
These commitments include:
Social Watch believes that the key action to achieve poverty eradication, gender equality and social justice happen primarily at local and national level and, therefore, its international activities and structures should be accountable and at the service of national and local constituencies, and not the other way around.
Peace is a precondition for the realization of human and womens’ rights and the eradication of poverty. However, poverty and lack of respect for human rights are at the root of many armed conflicts. Therefore the devastating impact of conflict and post-conflict situations on people is of particular concern.