WILPF UK Training Day in London, 7 April: Taking Steps to realise the Nuclear Ban Treaty in the UK
On 7 April, WILPF UK invited members and non-members to an interactive training day on lobbying for the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in the UK. We were fortunate to have speakers with backgrounds in campaigning, several of them having been present in New York during the final negotiations leading up to the UN adoption of the Treaty on 7 July 2017.
Taniel Yusef (WILPF UK job share International Board Representative) welcomed everyone to the day by reading the Treaty Preamble out loud and highlighting the core humanitarian values and aims of the Treaty. Janet Fenton (WILPF UK Scottish Branch member and Co Vice Chair of Scottish CND) then gave an overview of WILPF’s work at the international level, focussing on WILPF’s campaigning in New York, and efforts in the UK.
Dr Rebecca Johnson (WILPF UK member, founding co-chair of ICAN) gave an in-depth presentation of the Treaty and provided insight into key issues in the UK context. The main focus of the day was to provide an opportunity to develop negotiation and lobbying skills. We provided literature from our partners, including a pamphlet we produced ourselves, to inform participants on the facts around difficult arguments on the subject. Rebecca and Janet provided excellent advice and useful examples of issues to bring up in meetings with MPs, including strategies for effective responses. Participants were first divided into pairs to test arguments to use when contacting their own MP. They were then divided into groups of three to simulate situations in which two or three campaigners meet with a key MP with a stated or assumed interest in women’s rights and humanitarian issues.
In the final session, Chantelle Cummings (WILPF UK member) gave practical advice on how to create a local campaign, including fundraising and how to approach traditional and social media.