UN Work

How the United Nations Works

Countries come together to decide international policy on issues ranging from water quality to family law/interpersonal relations to economic policy. These international gatherings create: 1) treaties which are binding law to the countries who ratify them; 2) convention documents and protocols that are customary or “soft law,” but with time — and the process of statement and restatement to create precedent — have the potential of becoming binding international law.

UN negotiations are rarely a democratic process — with a vote taken from all member states to determine the final outcome. Instead, negotiations over language will continue, until “consensus” is reached, or, until there is no more disagreement expressed. The more “sensitive” issues are often decided in the middle of the night. This process gives considerable power to the chairman of the negotiations, for he can choose who will speak and he can make arbitrary decisions as to the outcome of the discussion. There is no method for a “count” or “re-consideration” of the “final decision” by the chair. This is a process that can give greater power to a small, but very vocal group of negotiators.

UFI’s Involvement

UFI maintains non-governmental organization (NGO) status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and works to educate UN ambassadors and delegates on root policies affecting the family. We send representatives, including experts on family issues, to UN conferences to provide legal analysis and peer-reviewed scholarly research in support of UN delegates working to preserve the family. We have been successful in affecting the outcome of numerous UN conference documents and in promoting respect for the family, marriage, life, religion, parents and national sovereignty. Our publication, “The UN Negotiating Guide,” is the most widely used tool at the United Nations for defending the family in UN documents.

International Advocacy for the Family

When needed, UFI leaders travel to nations where the sanctity of marriage and life and other important family values are threatened. Working with a coalition of allies, we meet with government officials, citizens and the media to articulate our concerns and advocate for the traditional family. Read our reports: