It was three years ago this month that ARC announced a significant restructuring plan that included,
“a continuation of many of the core elements of our work that act as a “bridge” between the UN and activities on the ground, but with a significant shift toward implementation around some of the key international developments in the last 10 years and capacity enhancement with communities engaging with those developments.”
We’ve worked diligently in areas that would facilitate a shift toward implementation. Some of this work has included the production of solid pieces of research and analysis that aid in translating international developments into concrete change at the domestic level. The completion of the Yogyakarta Principles +10 review process also gives States, agencies and civil society, a tool for engagement and understanding with practical recommendations for change.
Our collaborative work to secure the creation and appointment of a UN Independent Expert on SOGI, establishes an ongoing mechanism that can provide the kind of technical support that States and other stakeholders need to affect change in their countries. And finally, we have engaged considerably in the development of a new mechanism, the Equal Rights Coalition, which provides a unique opportunity for communication between like-minded governments at the domestic level, and provides a valuable space for governments, civil society and other stakeholders to be more focused on national level implementation and change.
We are also proud that there is sustained and increasing advocacy in international spaces, including in Geneva. There are more stakeholder groups establishing themselves, and/or current groups expanding their staff capacities around Geneva-based mechanisms, and mainstream human rights organisations continue to broaden their work in the area of SOGIESC issues. We feel honoured to have supported and contributed to this growth and expansion in many ways, as the first group working on these issues to have a sustained presence in Geneva.
In our ongoing reflective practice, we must assess the value-added for ARC to continue to maintain that presence in Geneva, as we move forward on implementation strategies, that include regional trainings, the development of practical tools, supporting various mechanisms for change, along with strong research and analysis.
In 2014, ARC commissioned two major evaluation reports, one of which assessed ARC’s contribution to activism and UN achievements since 2003. There was feedback that encouraged us to draw upon our UN experience to articulate a stronger vision for future opportunities. We want to do more of this. Some also suggested that diversification of ARC staff and regional presence would strengthen our ability to work collaboratively across regions. We have already achieved some of this, and want to do more.
For these reasons, board and staff have come to the decision to relocate our Geneva Director/Office effective the end of this month (February 2018). Arvind Narrain, our current Geneva Director, will continue to work as a vital part of our team and will assume a new title of Director of Research and Practice, and be based out of Bangalore, India. Look for some strong and thought-provoking analysis from him as we move forward.
We also remain very committed to continued engagement around launch and implementation of the new Yogyakarta Principles (YP+10), working with the new UN Independent Expert on SOGI, facilitating access to UN spaces, and new initiatives with our partners around facilitating dialogue and capacity enhancement. All our e-mail contact information remains the same, and you will still see us in Geneva when there are crucial moments to be there. Otherwise, our team will work from their bases in Canada, Argentina and India.
Sincerely, Kim Vance
On behalf of the ARC team and Board of Directors