The 7th World Congress was a success because we took account of the recommendations made at previous Congresses, notably the internal and external evaluation of the last Congress in Oslo. Meeting this year in the privileged location of Europe’s capital was an additional advantage, because of Brussels’ centrality and wide political representation. We now have to try to do still better in three years’ time.
The young are tomorrow’s architects of abolition
The willingness of ECPM to prepare and run a participatory Congress stimulated involvement by all our partners. Asking witnesses and participants of school age to help plan and moderate sessions made a vital contribution. We were able to experiment with new formats, which undoubtedly invigorated many of the debates.
Acting on recommendations
The efforts of the Core Group to mobilize political support bore fruit. Brussels achieved a wider diplomatic presence (a hundred countries or international organizations). Africa was particularly well-represented, due to the lobbying campaign carried out in Sub-Saharan Africa for the Abidjan Congress. A Minister of the Government of Morocco attended for the first time. It is now for ECPM and the World Coalition, and our members, to make sure that the recommendations made in the final Declaration of the Congress are implemented. ECPM undertakes to follow them up, and notably to follow up political commitments.
Challenges ahead for the abolitionist movement
The decision to attract new allies in the private sector appears very promising. The entrepreneurs who spoke in Brussels encouraged us to continue to invite actors in the private sector to broaden and deepen their social responsibility objectives.
The Congress inaugurated a new and popular meeting format that ECPM plans to develop further for the benefit of partners. Training workshops offered advice and support on how local NGOs can prepare grant proposals, how to engage with UN mechanisms, and how to work with journalists to promote abolition locally, and attracted much partner interest.
In advance of the next Congress, we will reflect carefully on which new actors we should involve, and what campaigns we should launch. Ideas in mind include the worlds of sport, entertainment, and scholarship.
The participants and wider public in Brussels enjoyed a varied cultural programme inspired by the well-respected BOZAR, which made available to the Congress its expertise, some of its excellent facilities, and its communications resources.
Finally, the satisfaction survey distributed after the Congress clearly showed that this great triannual meeting strengthened the conviction of participants that they belong to a worldwide movement. This was particularly true for the civil society activists who work, often isolated, in countries that retain the death penalty. Many of them said that they left Brussels motivated to redouble their efforts, thanks to the advice and good practices they had gathered from other members of the abolitionist network.
Join us in 2022 for the next World Congress Against the Death Penalty!