Version classiqueVersion mobile

States’ Compliance to International Treaties

Louis Bodmer

4. Accountability Mechanisms: OI and NGO

Texte intégral


1UNICEF fits with my conceptualization of an international organization because it is autonomous and independent from governments. UNICEF is present in 190 countries and executes programs in 151 of them. It is also composed of 34 UNICEF National Committees which are established as NGOs with regional offices in countries where it works. Moreover, it cooperates with governments and various NGOs (UNICEF, 2019d, pp. 2–3).

2I have identified mechanisms and evidence corresponding to each of my core concepts (TRAN, direct and indirect accountability and peer accountability) through the study of documents and interviews (a detailed analysis is available in appendix 2). I collect representative pieces of evidence from each document analyzed, highlight them in this section and provide a succinct discussion at the end. I add a summary table for each concept to give the reader a better overview.

4.1.1. Treaty accountability network (TRAN)

3UNICEF seems indeed to be part of a TRAN and develops tools and mechanisms that foster it.

4Through its Global Programme Partnerships that include other UN agencies and multilateral organizations, it notably conducts advocacy, helps countries set their agendas on child rights and mobilizes resources (UNICEF, 2020f). The organization also partners with financial institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF to provide technical advice and strategic guidance (UNICEF, 2020f). UNICEF partners formally and informally with civil society organizations (CSOs) and UN agencies (UNICEF, 2020b; UNICEF, 2020g; UNICEF UK, 2014). The organization affirms the need to cooperate and build alliances “to achieve more results and save money” (UNICEF, 2017b, p. 28; Cohen & Stewart, 2010, p. iv). Indeed, UNICEF works with approximately 3,000 national CSOs and 300 international CSOs (OHCHR, 2017, p. 1).

5Through global dialogue, the IO aims to connect different actors such as “children, parents, education and social workers, communities and governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and the media” (UNICEF, 2019c). The relation with the Committee on the Rights of the Child is also clearly defined since UNICEF “is entitled to be present when the Committee reviews implementation of the Convention in a given country” (UNICEF, 2020e) and “can be invited to provide expert advice and submit reports […]. The Committee can also require the State to turn to UNICEF for technical advice or assistance” (UNICEF, 2020e). This relationship with the Committee demonstrates how the three actors work together and complement each other.

6The UN Partner Portal is a shared database between the World Food Program (WFP), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF to map the civil society organizations in each country and allow a comprehensive screening of their results (OHCHR, 2017, p. 3).

7UNICEF UK, as one of the organization’s National Committees, has created a “global community of practice and knowledge on child rights and social accountability” (GCPK) (UNICEF UK, 2014), which includes partners such as INGOs, NGOs, UN agencies, UN human rights officials, academic research organizations and national human rights institutions (UNICEF UK, 2014). These members are notably able to communicate and share knowledge through an online platform. The need for diverse platforms is mentioned in other documents such as in the Advocacy Toolkit created by UNICEF and the creation of a “global forum on social accountability” is also raised by the organization’s Communication for Development (C4D) program (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 4).

8UNICEF takes part in the Global Alliance for Social and Behaviour Change, which brings together 20 organizations working on social and behavior change communication (SBCC) (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 37). Among the actors involved there are UN agencies, INGOs and NGOs, as well as academic and professional associations (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 37).

9U-Report is a program developed in collaboration with NGOs, which aims at creating an open-source mobile messaging program at the country level (UNICEF, 2018b, p. 2). It provides a concrete example of the way TRAN actors work together.

4.1.2. Accountability mechanisms

Direct accountability mechanisms

10I have identified several mechanisms UNICEF uses that can be conceptualized as direct accountability mechanisms. I detail them below.

11One of the easiest ways and maybe the most effective one that UNICEF uses to ensure direct accountability is through partnerships with states. Indeed this enables the organization to

[a]ddress policy and budget gaps so that children can grow up protected, healthy and educated. Our government partners provide vital regular resources and emergency funds for humanitarian response, while working with us to sharpen their focus on children’s rights – the core of many development agendas and budgets. (UNICEF, 2020f)

12It does so in a bilateral way and also in variIfora such as through the UNGA, ECOSOC, African Union or EU (UNICEF, 2020f). The work of UNICEF is also strongly embedded in advocacy since the IO often asks and demands for states to renew their commitments to the UNCRC (UNICEF, 2019c). The organization tries to support governments in their implementation of the convention notably to legislate and by “providing institutional and professional capacity development” (UNICEF, 2020g). For instance, UNICEF proposes working with governments to better reflect the UNCRC in their legislation and to create state institutions in favor of child rights (UNICEF, 2021).

13UNICEF works alongside the Committee on the Rights of the Child notably to review submitted state reports (UNICEF, 2020g). Moreover, the organization uses national and internInal fora to hold governments accountable. The role of advocacy is a central direct accountability mechanism for UNICEF as seen in its strategic plan of 2018–2021. Through campaigns and partnerships, the organization is able to hold states accountable and influence their policies (UNICEF, 2017b, p. 27). Moreover, petitions, statements of leaders, and periodic briefings with decision-makers are key aspects of accountability and advocacy for UNICEF (Cohen & Stewart, 2010, p. 53). Yet, as mentioned by Anne Grandjean, a human rights specialist at UNICEF, the organization is always working in a cooperative manner and does not intend to confront states (UNICEF, 2021).

14UNICEF attaches great importance to partnerships because these promote an atmosphere of cooperation to build fruitful collaboration and thus enable actors to work on its demands more effectively (UNICEF, 2021). Research papers as well as awareness raising and lobbying are also identified as direct accountability mechanisms. Awareness raising can interestingly also be aimed at governments so they are better prepared to be held accountable:

Key decision-makers will also require sensitization to enhance their receptivity to young people’s participation in decision making and minimise perceived affronts to organizational and hierarchies. (UNICEF, 2017b, p. 7)

15The use of social media, as well as mainstream media covering humanitarian issues is also an important direct accountability mechanism: “UNICEF also generated over 125,000 online and over 6,500 pieces in top tier media outlets covering humanitarian issues, campaigns and regular development issues” (UNICEF, 2020a, p. 44).

Indirect accountability mechanisms

16UNICEF has also developed several indirect accountability mechanisms. These do not only represent the relation between the IO and empowered aid recipients, as I first hypothesized, but include other actors as well.

17Firstly, UNICEF’s relationship with the Committee on the Rights of the Child corresponds to indirect accountability but in this case it is rather UNICEF that serves as the intermediary actor, at the Committee’s request. Indeed, the Committee states that “UNICEF can be invited to provide expert advice and to submit reports. The Committee can also require the State to turn to UNICEF for technical advice or assistance” (UNICEF, 2020e).

18The empowerment of youth and children is a central element of indirect accountability: it enables them to advocate for and demand the changes they want, as well as for the rigorous implementation of the UNCRC. Indeed, UNICEF clearly mentions the need to

[d]evelop innovative solutions and creative ideas that help to equip children, their communities and civil society to mobilize demand for accountability for the realization of children’s rights. (UNICEF UK, 2014, p. 3)

19For instance, UNICEF supports legal empowerment of children and youth through the creation of legal clinics and social legal defense centers (UNICEF, 2021). A concrete example is provided on the relationship between capacity-building, empowerment and accountability:

C4D interventions [are] focused on capacity-building for youth associations, with the aim of improving their knowledge and skills on better ways of promoting the demand for and use of social services. (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 26)

20Other tools used by UNICEF for Irment include “participation, social mobilization and communication to bear on advocacy for and monitoring of the realization of children’s rights” (UNICEF UK, 2014, p. 3) as well as the creation of

[s]paces for [a] plurality of voices and narratives of community [and to] encourage listening, dialogue, debate and consultation, ensure the active and meaningful participation of children and youth, [and] Promote gender equality and social inclusion. (Cohen & Stewart, 2010, p. 6)

21The development of community-based programs is also underlined as an essential point to further empower aid recipients (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 24). Furthermore, digital engagement can dramatically improve aid recipients’ power as agents of change (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 29). For instance, U-Report and other programs developed by UNICEF allow youths and children to gain crucial skills to advocate and influence their local government officials (UNICEF, 2017b, p. 10).

22The development of platforms and opportunities to demand accountability also has a significant impact on states’ compliance with international treaties and fosters the aim to help children and youths to become agents of change (UNICEF, 2017a, p. 27; UNICEF, 2017b) and their voices to “be heard and acted on by decision-makers and stakeholders” (Cohen & Stewart, 2010, p. 6). Thus, it makes it possible to “link community perspectives with subnational and national policy dialogue” (Cohen & Stewart, 2010, p. 6). Such dialogue can take the form of either face-to-face meetings or virtual platforms. For instance, U-Report enables aid recipients to communicate and voice their demands and issues to UNICEF as well as to their governments. Actually, “poll responses are analysed in real-time, mapped and displayed on a public dashboard at the local level, ensuring the feedback can be actioned by local and national governments” (UNICEF, 2018b, p. 3). This is a typical indirect accountability mechanism because it is “used to mobilize thousands of young people physically to take on-ground action and contribute to positive change in the communities” (UNICEF, 2018b, p. 3).

23UNICEF has for a few years developed a program called Communication 4 Development (C4D), which especially fosters these social accountability mechanisms, giving voice to children, youth and aid recipients. It includes several indirect accountability mechanisms: for example, the “initiative for community review of school report cards” or the “the Back to Learning” initiative, which

[r]eached 198,813 people through outreach and community mobilization activities through door-to-door visits, group awareness sessions and messages disseminated through TV, radio, billboards and social media. (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 4)

24Twitter’s “takeovers”, YouTube or Snapchat videos are also the most recent tools through which UNICEF has enabled aid recipients to voice their concerns (UNICEF, 2016, p. 39). Also, the organization developed the program of social ambassadors, enabling aid recipients to advocate for their cause (UNICEF, 2016, p. 40). Social mobilization committees established by UNICEF are also an interesting tool to indirectly hold states accountable because they focus on defending “the most vulnerable nomadic communities in remote and marginalized areas” (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 19). Other instruments enabled by empowerment, for example,

[i]nvolve actions that have a reach beyond the local-level to reach wider audiences to shape decisions and opinions, such as through making music and films, writing blogs, collecting opinions of peers and presenting them in national and international forums. (UNICEF, 2017b, p. 3)

25The UPSHIFT program goes in the same direction, empowering “young people to identify and address challenges in their communities, encouraging them to become social entrepreneurs” (UNICEF, 2020a, p. 50). It clearly highlights the indirect procedure used by the organization to hold other actors accountable and implement its objectives in an effective manner. Partnerships with faith leaders to bolster community engagement are also an example of an innovative mechanism since they play a dramatic role in some communities (UNICEF, 2019b, p. 25).

26Finally, the idea of ensuring indirect accountability through empowering aid recipients as well as through capacity-building is part of UNICEF’s program, as stated several times in its core strategic documents. For instance, these detail programs that

empower adolescent girls and boys as social change agents within their communities, including in schools, providing them with opportunities and platforms to influence and lead on solving problems in their communities as well as hold governments to account. (UNICEF, 2017b, p. 11)

27This underlines the idea of a global approach that focuses on all dimensions, regionally, internationally or at the community level.

28Yet, interestingly, indirect accountability mechanisms do not necessarily develop through the intermediary of only aid recipients but also other actors, such as faith leaders, INGOs or international human rights institutions (IHRIs) (OHCHR, 2017). Otherwise, UNICEF can be the intermediary actor as notably seen in the role the organization may have in its relation to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Moreover, UNICEF sometimes shares information with NGOs to help them adopt a confrontational approach towards states and to preserve the organization’s image (UNICEF, 2021).

Peer accountability

29Some evidence of peer accountability and policies can be retrieved throughout the UNICEF documents analyzed. They support my assumption that such mechanisms exist with the TRAN. Peer accountability constitutes an important mechanism which stems naturally from the TRAN since actors are supposedly gravitating around the UNCRC.

30Through the Global Programme Partnerships (with other UN agencies, multilateral organizations, etc.), UNICEF supports advocacy for and with children, helps countries set agendas that prioritize children’s rights, and mobilizes resources (UNICEF, 2020f). It should also to be highlighted that

UNICEF supports the work of IHRIs and sees them as key allies in the advancement of children’s rights and as holding potential for increased contributions to social accountability for the SDGs [sustainable development goals]. Including civil society in national platforms via human rights institutions for example is one way that UNICEF is able to open up space for civil society in public platforms. (OHCHR, 2017, p. 4)

31Thus, there is peer accountability with international financial institutions, other UN agencies, multilateral organizations as well as IHRIs to foster the implementation of UNICEF’s goals and standards.

32The creation of guiding principles for the organization’s partnerships with civil society denotes the need to hold other organizations accountable and to be held accountable by them. For instance, the principles include

[e]quity and equality among all partners, mutual commitment to the core values of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the principles of good governance, notably transparency, accountability and sound financial management. (UNICEF, 2020c)

33Moreover, UNICEF clearly states that the policies it imposes on itself are transmitted to its partners, as can be seen, for instance, with its policy on adolescent participation: “UNICEF ourselves will model this engagement through systematizing adolescent participation in our structure and programming with partners” (UNICEF, 2017b, p. 11). Thus, the organization implies that if one actor does not comply with these criteria and policies, they will be held responsible by another.

34Furthermore, the creation of the UN Partner Portal highlights the will to share information about peers working on the same issues among UN agencies such as the UNHCR and the WFP. The role of the portal is defined this way:

The portal will be a shared database across UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF to map CSOs in each country and share CSO screening results. A major purpose of the portal is to share screening/vetting results across agencies so that we can collectively decrease the amount of time it takes to process partnership agreements, as well as to create a more fair and transparent vetting system across agencies. (OHCHR, 2017, p. 3)

35All these elements, while quite a few compared to other concepts, demonstrate the salience of peer accountability as a tool of analysis and as an empirical reality.

4.1.3. Synthesis: IO

36To conclude this section on an international organization with the case study of UNICEF, it seems that all the concepts hypothesized are empirically present and tend to confirm my first, second and third hypotheses. The relationship between UNICEF and other actors as well as states does not seem to be confrontational but relies heavily on cooperative schemes. The organization would rather share confrontational information with other actors than use it itself. It is also interesting to note that UNICEF is part of the TRAN and is held accountable by its peers and other actors as much as it holds others responsible. Thus, the relationship is multidirectional. It should be raised that indirect accountability mechanisms are not solely related to the empowerment of populations supported by but also cover a wide range of other actors and indirect mechanisms where, for instance, UNICEF is the intermediary of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and not the initiator of the indirect accountability mechanism.

37Here is a summary table synthesizing the various mechanisms developed by UNICEF:

Fig. 10: Synthesis table mechanisms: UNICEF

4.2. NGO: Terre des Hommes Suisse

38Terre des Hommes Suisse (TDHS) is an association not affiliated with the government and working for the common good, more precisely the rights of the child. TDHS distinguishes itself as working on the participation, protection and education of children and youth. Furthermore, it works with local civil society organizations in 10 countries with a coordinating bureau in each of them, called national /regional coordination. TDHS has partnered with Terre des Hommes Schweiz to create the Dachverband, a binding partnership between the two associations that enables them to request funds from the Swiss Development Direction (DDC). Both associations are part of the Terre des Hommes International Federation (FITDH), which groups together all Terre des Hommes (TDH) associations in the world. The FITDH is a consultant to the UN and takes on most of the TDH associations’ international advocacy. I add a summary table for each concept to provide a better overview to the reader.

4.2.1. Treaty accountability network (TRAN)

39Analysis of TDHS demonstrates that it is a part of a TRAN. Both TDHS and the FITDH have woven links with other actors surrounding the UNCRC.

40As seen above, the work of TDHS in developing countries is essentially based on working with CSOs. Thus, it mentions in every annual report the importance of supporting partner associations (TDHS, 2018b, p. 3; TDHS, 2020b, p. 6; TDHS, 2016, p. 19). These organizations work naturally on the same issues as TDHS and consequently rely on the UNCRC. As part of the FITDH, TDHS collaborates with the other TDH associations, notably with TDH Schweiz, TDH Germany and TDH Italy for several specific programs (TDHS, 2016, pp. 31–32).

41Moreover, TDHS is member of the Fédération Genevoise de Coopération (FGC), which brings together around 60 Geneva-based NGOs. In its annual report of 2018, TDHS states that the FGC is an essential network that enables cooperation for development (TDHS, 2019c, p. 26). TDHS also created an association linking numerous actors in Geneva for the celebration marking 30 years of the rights of the child. This association, called Association 30 ans des droits de l’enfant is composed of NGOs (such as TDHS, Enfants du monde, Terragir), academic organizations (such as UNIGE) and governments (the city and the Canton of Geneva) (TDHS, 2019c, p. 26). TDHS is also part of several Swiss networks on the rights of the child and education such as the Réseau Suisse des droits de l’enfant, the Réseau Suisse Education et Coopération Internationale and Alliance Sud (TDHS, 2019c, p. 26). This demonstrates the importance of networks at the regional, national and international levels, which are key to the implementation of the NGO’s objectives (TDHS, 2019c, p. 26). For instance, on the international level, TDHS, through the FITDH, is part of the Joining Forces coalition composed of NGOs such as Save the Children, World Vision, SOS Villages d’enfants and Plan International (TDHS, 2019c, p. 26; TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 9). Joining Forces enables all these NGOs to ally with local CSOs and relay messages to states and to the UN. TDHS is also part of Destination Unknown, an international campaign on the rights of migrant children (TDHS, 2016, p. 19). TDHS collaborates with local municipalities, public and private schools, companies and international organizations on several topics, notably on organizing awareness workshops (TDHS, 2016, p. 31). Furthermore, TDHS also works with governments either regionally or nationally (TDHS, 2020b, p. 6).

42The will to develop these partnerships and deepen its presence within several networks is affirmed in the organization’s Vision 2025. This document states that organization aims to be even more involved in local networks and to develop its presence in the international Geneva community as well as international for a (TDHS, 2017, p. 7). It is also committed to promoting exchanges with other NGOs working on the rights of the child and to developing its partnership with the Swiss Development Direction (DDC) (TDHS, 2017, p. 7).

43Through the Dachverband, both TDHS and TDH Schweiz strive to “better align with international requirements of the Committee of the Rights of the Child” (TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 35) and TDHS, for instance, helps the Committee in the organization of events such as the Day of General Discussion (FITDH, 2016, p. 29). Another relevant example is the contribution of Professor Jaffé, who is a member of the Committee, to working with TDHS in the organization of the 30th anniversary celebration of the UNCRC (TDHS, 2019c, p. 19). Additionally, the FITDH has a

[c]onsultative/observer status with UN Economic and Social Council, UNICEF, the ILO, the IOM, the Council of Europe and The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It is registered as a recognized Civil Society Organization engaging in policy and programme work with European Union institutions. (FITDH, 2016, p. 11)

44This demonstrates how embedded the FITDH is with other IOs international fora and governments such as the European Union. Moreover, the FITDH is part of the Sports and Rights Alliance, which gathers together NGOs, sport groups, trade unions and international experts to “formulate core requirements for both IOC and FIFA with regard to human and, especially children’s rights” (FITDH, 2016, p. 27). Furthermore, a partnership has been concluded with Save the Children to put children’s issues on the agenda of the Global Compacts (FITDH, 2018, p. 9).

45Thereby, it is obvious that TDHS is involved in the TRAN surrounding the UNCRC. As expected, the TRAN comprises many different actors, including governments.

4.2.2. Accountability mechanisms

Direct accountability mechanisms

46TDHS uses direct accountability mechanisms, notably through the FITDH, as identified in its reports and documents and in the interview I conducted.

47Indeed, the FITDH possesses several tools to hold other actors accountable, notably states in the name of children and youth as well as the association that it federates. It voices its concerns on child rights to the EU organs or the UN (TDHS, 2019c, p. 26). It advocates for child rights in collaboration with other NGOs, namely with the Joining Forces alliance, directly to governments or to the UN, providing reports on the situation of the UNCRC in various countries (TDHS, 2020b, p. 16; p. 26).

48TDHS relies on informing a large audience through publications, through the organization of events and participation in various campaigns on child rights and through the media. Moreover, thanks to sensitization and education on the development of children and youth, notably with the help of workshops, the NGO is able to hold different stakeholders accountable (TDHS, 2016, p. 14; FITDH, 2016, p. 8). In the same vein, TDHS positions itself on different topics relating to child rights notably against governments (TDHS, 2016, p. 20). Yet, it clearly states that, in some cases, it does not take the risk of confronting governments because this would endanger its own actions (TDHS, 2016, p. 20). The role of advocacy is thus fundamental, yet it can be perilous for the NGO. For instance, TDHS participated in the campaign on the Swiss popular initiative on “responsible multinationals” and experienced a backlash from the Swiss Development Agency.

49According to TDHS, advocacy should not be only about states’ actions but also about multilateral institutions or private companies. This does not necessarily mean confronting them, but rather informing them and improving their knowledge about child rights (TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 52). Indeed, as mentioned in the FITDH 2015 annual report,

Terre des Hommes plays an active role within the SRA [Sport and Rights Alliance] and also coordinates a task force of international experts who formulate core requirements for both IOC and FIFA with regard to human and especially children’s rights. (FITDH, 2016, p. 27)

50The formation of key actors to the thematic of child rights is also a direct accountability mechanism that works in a cooperative manner with them. For example, the formation of the FIFA board on human rights makes it possible to raise its members’ awareness on the topic and thus improve their knowledge on the matter.

51Through the consultative status of the FITDH, the organization is able to voice its concernsIkey international fora (FITDH, 2019d).

Indirect accountability mechanisms

52Indirect accountability mechanisms are also part of TDHS’s strategy to hold states accountable and push for improvement on their compliance with the UNCRC.

53The most salient indirect accountability mechanism used by TDHS matches my second hypothesis and is based on aid recipients’ empowerment. TDHS focuses massively on participation as a tool for the empowerment of youth (TDHS, 2018b, p. 3; TDHS, 2016, p. 21; TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 5). Through the promotion of an active local citizenship, the NGO aims to empower children as well as youth (TDHS, 2018b, p. 4). This is mainly achieved with the help of sensitization through workshops and diverse activities (TDHS, 2018b, p. 14; TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 34). This awareness is raised on three principal thematics: defense of child rights, solidarity and sustainable development (TDHS, 2019c, p. 3). Indeed, the organization clearly mentions the importance of giving tools to children and youth so they can analyze their situations and make concrete initiatives in their families, schools and communities, as well as to various authorities with the end goal of promoting a better respect of their rights (TDHS, 2018b, p. 3). Actually, through the creation of participatory spaces, TDHS has enabled 17,800 children and youth to formulate 395 demands about their rights from which many concrete changes have stemmed such as infrastructure amelioration and preventive actions against violence towards children and youth (TDHS, 2018b, p. 12). Through education on specific matters, such as risk management and peace agreements, actors of change have been able to advocate for their rights (TDHS, 2019c, p. 9). The creation of youth councils throughout the regions as well as an international one is also an interesting indirect accountability mechanism. Indeed, these councils empower youth and give them a voice both at the institutional level and the international level. Through experience sharing and common project creation, youth are able to develop skills and actions to foster their rights (TDHS, 2019c, p. 17). For instance, the members of the international youth council were able to join the 30 years celebration of the UNCRC in Geneva and make demands before major child rights actors and governments in the UN, as well as submitting recommendations to the Committee (TDHS, 2020b, pp. 12–13).

54TDHS highlights that children and youth are not merely passive beneficiaries of aid but rather full actors and through their empowerment should be able to defend and promote the rights of the child (TDHS, 2017, p. 4). Through their actions, they will therefore be able to hold their governments accountable regarding the states’ compliance to the UNCRC and other treaties pertaining to children and youth. This goal is clearly affirmed in the program document of the alliance of TDHS and TDH Schweiz:

As children and youths are more and more engaged into citizenship and transformation processes, empowering them so that they can stand up for their rights to public institutions and governments and transform the society is crucial. (TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 10)

55Interestingly, TDHS counts not only on the empowerment of aid recipients to hold states accountable but also on their partner organizations, mainly the CSOs that they fund:

Partner organizations, children and youth as agents of change will be further strengthened in their role as advocates for the rights of young people in the new strategy 2021–2024 to reach more advocacy and networking components to ensure sustainable changes with and in public institutions and local/nation governances. (TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 24)

56Besides, the development of international campaigns is also a mechanism enabling children to voice their concerns. For instance, the FITDH takes part in the Children Win campaign that aims to give voice to children that suffered from the consequences of large sport events such as the Olympic Games (FITDH, 2017, p. 6). Furthermore, activities developed by TDHS such as Children Reporter permitted 1,200 children and youth from around the world to create their own reports on

[t]heir vision of the right of the child in 2019, alone or with the support of adults. […] The children’s reports were picked by the media on the occasion of the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In Switzerland, four exhibitions were seen by more than 20,000 people. (FITDH, 2020)

57This demonstrates the crucial role given to aid recipients by TDHS and its partners.

Peer accountability

58Several elements of peer accountability can be identified in the TDHS documents analyzed. Firstly, this can be seen through its work with partner organizations, which are essential for the NGO’s work in developing countries (TDHS, 2019c, p. 6). TDHS works jointly and closely with 75 partners to implement its policies in the way it thinks is the most adapted to children and youth (TDHS, 2020b, p. 6), notably by assessing each four years what has been achieved and whether the programs match TDHS’s standards and commitments (TDHS, 2016, p. 18). Thanks to their alliance, TDH Schweiz and TDHS hold each other as well as partner organizations accountable in a cooperative manner (TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 24). TDHS learns from other partner organizations, for instance thanks to the Joining Forces alliance, and strengthens their skills as well as policies (FITDH, 2019c, p. 1). Moreover, it shares knowledge with the UN as well as bilateral and multilateral stakeholders (FITDH, 2019c, p. 1).

59Furthermore, TDHS uses long-term financial and technical support with partner actors (TDHS & TDH Schweiz, 2019, p. 28). The consultative status of the FITDH to several UN agencies and to the Council of Europe and other organizations (FITDH, 2016, p. 11) is an example of peer accountability where the FITDH is able to voice its concerns on matters relating to its mandate as well as potentially about the behavior of its peers. Yet, NGOs do not have much incentive to publicly criticize each other; therefore, it is more likely that criticism is voiced informally between peers. These individuals and organizations prefer to strengthen each other through their alliances rather than condemn each other publicly (FITDH, 2021).

4.3 Synthesis: NGO

60To conclude this section on the NGO’s mechanisms, it is interesting to raise the importance of the cooperative nature of the organization’s relationships with other actors. Through all the mechanisms it possesses, the NGO is able to reach out not only to governments but also to other key stakeholders such as multinational companies, private companies, the general public and other multilateral organizations and NGOs. These mechanisms are part of a scheme to hold states accountable for the application of their international obligations related to the UNCRC, but they have a broader prospect of creating a more just society. The analysis permits me to validate the three hypotheses of my research in the case of an NGO.

61Here is a summary table synthesizing the various mechanisms developed by TDHS:

Fig. 11: Synthesis table mechanisms: TDHS


Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search