The advocacy work conducted at an international level includes lobbying for the ratification and implementation of treaties of concern to women and demanding that priority issues for women receive their rightful place on the sustainable development agenda.
United Nations’ ECOSOC
Together with only 150 other NGOs, Soroptimist International of Europe holds general consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This status allows Soroptimists to act as advocates for women’s rights and for the improvement of the lives of women by making policy statements and participating in panels, meetings and round-table discussions organised by the UN.
Through its ECOSOC status, Soroptimist International of Europe participates in the work of the United Nations’ Commission for the Status of Women (CSW). Soroptimist representatives share our experience and best practices with the CSW NGO Committee throughout the year and take part in the annual CSW session at the United Nations in New York. At these sessions they take part in national- and NGO-led sessions to raise the concerns of women in the 62 countries in which Soroptimist International of Europe is active and to advocate on behalf of their members and women around the world.
Soroptimist International of Europe also contributes to the work of the UN’s Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which meets several times a year in Geneva, and to the work of the UN’s Human Rights Council, which often addresses issues of concern to women.
Last but not least, through appointed permanent representatives, Soroptimists have an ongoing presence at the United Nations centres in New York, Geneva and Vienna, UNESCO in Paris, the FAO in Rome, and UNEP in Nairobi.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Soroptimist International of Europe is also proud to hold participatory status at the Council of Europe (CoE). Soroptimist International of Europe supports the work of the Council of Europe in the promotion of human rights by lobbying for the implementation of its various conventions relating to women and children.
Soroptimists have thus continue to advocate for the implementation of the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (also known as the Istanbul Convention) as well as the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, and the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse in their countries.
Through our permanent representative, we are also actively engaged in the Council of Europe’s Conference of INGOs.
EUROPEAN WOMEN’S LOBBY
Soroptimist International of Europe also has participatory status at the European Women’s Lobby (EWL), the largest umbrella organisation for women’s associations in the European Union.
The EWL represents the interests of about 2,500 women’s organisations and works to ‘achieve equality between women and men, to promote women’s rights in all spheres of public and private life, to work towards economic and social justice for all women in their diversity and to eliminate all forms of violence against women’.
With nearly 30 years of experience in lobbying and advocacy work at European level, the EWL continues to be a valued partner and resource for Soroptimists in their advocacy work. Soroptimists are actively engaged in supporting EWL actions and campaigns and in raising awareness about issues highlighted by the EWL.
Soroptimist International of Europe also participates in the work of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organisation.
Through its permanent representatives, Soroptimist International of Europe contributes to the work of the OSCE’s oldest institution, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) which deals with, among other things, human trafficking, violence against women and gender equality.
At national and international levels, Soroptimists also regularly participate in various NGO forums relating to women’s issues.