Interpreting the Rise of International “Advocacy”

Translated by Susan Taponier

Advocacy seems to have become a core term in the vocabulary of international rights.1 Today the world of international non-governmental organizations is characterized by the imperative to “advocate,” especially in the areas of development and humanitarian aid, as well as the defense of human rights and the environment. As early as 2002, Barry Coates and Rosalind David wrote, “Advocacy work has become the latest enthusiasm for most agencies involved in international aid and development. Over the past decade NGOs have dedicated more resources and given a higher priority to influencing and advocacy work at all levels (local, national, and international levels).”2 Indeed, in this time “advocacy” has become commonplace well beyond the sphere of English-speakers, together with increased interest in the literature devoted to NGOs and transnational social movements, typified by an emphasis on transnational advocacy networks.3

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