Civil society actors, unlike states or even international organizations (IOs), ‘have only discursive resources: expertise, arguments, and publicity’ (Deitelhoff 2009, p. 44; see also Keck and Sikkink 1998, p. 16; Labonte 2013, p. 54). Civil society actors ‘rely foremost upon their reputation as committed upholders of principled norms’ and ‘their expertise, their connections to a network of actors, including local activists and influential policy-makers, and their public support’ (Graubart 2008, p. 160). Civil society actors targeting the Council usually employ several tactics at once: ‘[a]s NGOs gained experience in Council advocacy, many concluded that the most effective strategy combined diplomacy in New York with worldwide public advocacy campaigns’ (Paul 2004a).
New York advocacy focuses on establishing links with UN Secretariat officials and member state diplomats. The ten elected Council members are assumed to be NGOs’ ‘more natural partners’ (Paul 2004b, 379). As these members struggled to cope with the growing decision-making burden associated with the expansion of the Council’s responsibilities in the 1990s and 2000s, they discovered that ‘NGOs can provide exceedingly valuable field information from their contacts in crisis areas, helping to improve their delegations’ awareness of the issues’ (NGO Working Group on the Security Council 2010). They welcomed ‘information, expertise and policy ideas from NGOs that could help them fulfil their responsibilities in the Council and act as a counter-weight to the large mission staffs and vast intelligence capabilities of the Council’s P-5’ (Paul 2004a). However, as the discussion in this chapter will demonstrate, civil society actors work with both elected and permanent Security Council members.