RARE - Writing for impact

Writing memorable policy briefs: Making ourselves heard.

The RARE community closed their first year together with a hands-on workshop on policy writing in Vienna. Policymakers tend to be pressed for time and receive too much information. Those who want their arguments to influence policy must learn how to communicate data and key messages as clearly as possible to the ministerial or cabinet level.

The workshop led by Bernhard Knoll-Tudor of the Hertie School presented findings on information processing in the human brain, guidelines for structuring policy briefs, recommendations, and executive summaries that can be derived from these. Being confronted with different scenarios, participants experimented with various types of policy briefs, each demanding a deliberate choice of dramatic sequencing, style and imagery in order to reach the audiences and desired effect of the respective communication.

“The role of civil society to uphold the rule of law is absolutely central [...] without it, we loose one of the legs of the stool and the whole thing falls apart.”

Prof. Michael O'Flaherty
Director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)

Finding allies at the supranational level

With the OSCE and European Fundamental Rights Agency's (FRA) offices just around the corner in the heart of the Austrian capital, this RARE camp also provided a platform to liaise on strategies for effective lobbying towards existing multinational bodies. The group met with high-level stakeholders from both institutions, among them Prof. Michael O'Flaherty, Director of FRA as well as Ambassador Dr. Christian Strohal and Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, former Director and First Deputy Director of OSCE/ODIHR.

Finding the right words and the right partners to Recharge Advocacy for Rights in Europe.

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Follow our RARE participants through their experience in Vienna, and meet their allies and peers in defending human rights in Europe!


Concrete steps towards multi-level advocacy

At the sidelines of the camp, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Vienna, the RARE project steering group and the Centre for OSCE Research (IFSH CORE) convened an international expert team working on recommendations for improving cooperation between the OSCE and human rights defenders in the EU. Results from the exchange at the FES Office on Democracy for the Future were published as an OSCE Network report which is available for download here.

From l.t.r.:Ambassador Dr. Christian Strohal (frm. Director ODHIR), Katarzyna Gardapkhadze (frm. First dept. Director ODHIR), Marcus Brand (Head of Programme, Internationl IDEA), Johanna Lutz, Head of FES regional office on Democracy in the OSCE region), Dr. habil. Cornelius Friesendorf, Head of CORE, Bernhard Knoll-Tudor, PhD, Hertie School/RARE PSG, Dr. Frank Evers, Dpt. Head of CORE, Márta Párdavi, Co- Chair , Hungarian Helsinki Committee, RARE course lead) Photo credits: Polina Georgescu

How do Austrian NGOs advocate towards the European Union?

Fostering new contacts with Austrian civil society organisations in Vienna, RARE participants heard about experiences with defending data privacy in Austria, presented by participant Thomas Lohninger (epicenter:works) and Romain Robert from NOYB.eu. The group discussed human rights advocacy in Austria and the EU with representatives of Amnesty Austria, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute für Menschenrechte, the European Stability Initiative (ESI) and Verbraucherschutzverein.

Romain Robert (noyb) discussing advocacy for digital privacy rights with RARE participants. Photo credits: Polina Georgescu