chapter  11
14 Pages

Framing decisions in the United Nations

The exploitation of the political opportunity structure
ByJutta Joachim

How do non-governmental organizations (NGOs) influence decision making in international organizations (IOs)? Even though these non-state actors have gained tremendously in importance in international affairs, we still know relatively little about the ways in, and the extent to, which they shape outcomes in multilateral institutions. To help fill this gap in the literature, I examine the issue of reproductive rights and health, which women’s NGOs successfully placed on the United Nations (UN) agenda in the 1990s, despite opposition from conservative forces and sections within the women’s movement. At the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, Egypt, in September 1994, governmental delegates by consensus adopted a platform of action which identified greater control by women over their reproduction rather than demographic targets as a key to lowering population growth (UN 1994).