Lobby & Advocacy. What we know about it…
These days, everyone is lobbying for anything and anywhere, so your inbox fills up so fast that you have no idea where and when these campaigns come from. One thing’s for sure: most people manage to gain notoriety for their cause in that manner. But the things we know about the two terms and how they apply in Romania could easily fit in a one-page Word file. However, I’m pretty sure a lot of you perform lobby & advocacy for several companies, public persons and NGOs without knowing the framework your projects and campaigns fit into.
Advocacy refers to the effort focused on changing laws, policies, government programs, beliefs. As a general definition, advocacy stands for the process in which organized citizens influence power factors to make a decision on a public-interest subject. So you or certain politicians taking the bull by the horns and manage to engage the public in issues which burn our pockets or nature.
Obviously, an advocacy campaign arises from an issue and undertakes a cause. For instance, we can take the great number of domestic violence cases in Romania, and the cause we push for: adopting a law that imposes harsher sanctions. This is lobbying.
And I do believe we all remember advocacy campaigns that influenced legal changes: forbidding hunting in the Danube Delta, law against domestic violence, daycare centers for autistic children, Roşia Montană or Salvaţi Delta Dunării (save the Danube Delta), campaign frontlined by Liviu Mihaiu.
You certainly wondered how they managed to engage so many people and who succeeds in organizing these initiatives. Well, it’s not the Secret Services, but lobby & advocacy companies who, unlike the former, have an excellent communication strategy behind. They take things seriously and have tactics such as
– Media events
– Petition campaigns
– Public debates
– Accountability sessions
– Photo voice: recording relevant images regarding the issue the campaign is aimed at.
Who can an advocacy campaign help? Mostly, NGOs and different interest groups that wish to make some changes and undertake a statement. How do we make these campaigns work? By lobbying. Who’s this Lobby fellow? An instrument, not of torture but of persuasion, in a clearly convincing manner. It is especially used when the change of Law is desired. It entails direct meetings with the decider, formal or informal.
Since it’s an individual connection, away from the public eye, the lobbying campaign does not generate power for the community.
Is it legal? Yes, and we have the word of the Official Monitor. So you can carry on lobbying, and even claim a paycheck based on this legal framework.
The current legal framework to influence public decisions in Romania
art. 51 of the Constitution, Law 52/2003 on decisional transparency in public administration, Law 544/2003 on free access to information of public interest, the Government Ordinance no.27 / 2002 on the settlement of petitions, Law 62/2011 on social dialogue.
Legal recognition of this activity is guaranteed by OMFPS 1832/2011, order approving Classification of Occupations in Romania (COR) and where under position 243220, “specialist in lobbying” appears to be recognized and certified legal work.