3 May 2019

Reflections on the IAWG 2019 Annual Retreat

Last week, we joined civil society groups from around the world in Córdoba, Argentina for the International Advocates’ Working Group (IAWG) 2019 Annual Retreat. This year’s retreat, hosted by FUNDEPS, brought together over 30 advocates working to support communities to defend their human rights and environment. Together, we reflected on the critical way we as a community of advocates can provide support that levels the playing field, shared lessons learned from our case and advocacy experiences, and collaborated on key strategies around the use of accountability offices to achieve remedy for affected communities.

Throughout the retreat, we were excited to have the opportunity to engage with female advocates from throughout the Latin America region, who are working to advance women’s rights in pursuit of environmental justice as part of the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA). Alongside partners from FUNDEPS, Both ENDS, and CEE Bankwatch, Accountability Counsel attended a workshop with the GAGGA participants to share our case experiences and learn from the inspiring and difficult work these organizations are doing to elevate women’s voices in Latin America.

AC’s Lani Inverarity presenting lessons learned from our case in Haiti

“IAWG retreats are one of the few opportunities where advocates in our field can reflect, deeply and frankly, on what has worked and what has not, at the case level and the policy level,” said Lani Inverarity, Accountability Counsel Senior Communities Associate. “I found these conversations richly motivating and encouraging, especially those focused on shared challenges. What better opportunity to brainstorm than with partners from around the world with decades of collective experience, all together in the same room?”

“It was great to see the various forms of expertise being brought to IAWG members’ cases, including financial chain mapping, scientific expertise, campaigning, negotiation training, and physical and digital security support,” reflected Anirudha Nagar, Accountability Counsel’s Communities Co-Director. “Moving forward, one challenge we face as a network is continuing to ensure better geographic representation at gatherings.” Dedicated funding for IAWG to support members’ participation at the retreat and other network expenses is an important next step.

Accountability Counsel founded the International Advocates’ Working Group in 2013 in recognition of the need to formalize the global network of advocates and organizations already working together on accountability in international finance. IAWG provides a forum for civil society organizations to share information, lessons learned, best practices, and strategies around accountability offices. As a collective, members seeks to advance a robust accountability ecosystem that provides remedy and delivers justice to communities that are harmed by international finance. For more information about joining IAWG, please see our website.