Protecting and ensuring space for civil society

14 Sep 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, New York

 For an individual to fully belong to and be recognized in society they must have the most basic legal documentation to which they are entitled by law. Sri Lankans register for birth certificates and National Identiy Cards (NIC) at a mobile legal aid clinic. Photo: UNDP in Sri Lanka
This year’s theme for the International Day of Democracy, “Making Space for Civil Society”, is extremely timely. Reports by many civil society organisations and networks – many of which are echoed in the recently released State of Civil Society Report 2015 by CIVICUS – point to the worrying number of at least 96 countries where serious threats to civic freedoms were reported in 2014. The scale and the depth of these threats is of great concern. I agree with UNDP’s Civil Society Advisory Committee, whose “first and foremost concern is the shrinking legal, policy and participatory space for civil society activists and organizations, in an increasing number of countries across regions and political regimes.” While it was once true that countries in crisis and post-conflict periods are the ones where civil societies have been most at risk, we now see similar threats spreading across a range of development contexts. … Read more

Becoming the Zero Hunger generation: Achieving food security for all

14 Sep 2015 by Paloma Durán, Director, Sustainable Development Goals Fund

Farmers in MadagascarIncreasing agricultural productivity, especially on small and family farms, is key to ensuring food security. Photo: UNDP Madagascar
As we approach the UN Sustainable Development Summit, when world leaders will come together to adopt a new global development agenda, it is critically important that we keep what is at stake firmly in sight. A central issue like hunger, which is a long standing development priority, remains an everyday battle for almost 795 million people worldwide. While this figure is 216 million less than in 1990-92, according to UN statistics, hunger kills more people every year than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined. … Read more

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