Changing context for civil society to be monitored in new report

08 Apr 2013

New York – An important new report to be published later this month will identify national, regional and global trends in the changing environment for civil society.

Drawing on fresh perspectives and case studies, the 2013 State of Civil Society Report will be a milestone towards better monitoring and measuring progress by governments on their commitments to empower civil society.

Developed by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the forthcoming report will be discussed at an event at United Nations headquarters in New York tomorrow (9 April), co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN, CIVICUS and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

"A healthy civil society is both a good in itself and a key to promoting democracy and economic and social development,” the CIVICUS Secretary-General, Danny Sriskandarajah, said.

“Our new report suggests that providing an enabling environment for civil society to thrive is critical, but in too many countries at the moment, civil society finds itself either under attack or facing difficult conditions which governments are not doing enough to improve," he said.

The annual CIVICUS State of Civil Society Report assesses the health of citizen participation and civil society around the world.

The New York forum comes at a critical time for global negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda, the post-Rio+20 Sustainable Development Goals, and the follow-up to the Busan High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, according to the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for External Relations and Advocacy, Sigrid Kaag.

“UNDP recognizes that civil society advocates and organizations, individually and collectively, play an essential role in bringing voice, participation and accountability to all dimensions of development,” Ms Kaag said.

“It’s essential to ensure the space for civil society advocates to function and thrive within their countries and communities, and that will be a vital theme of the event,” she said.

In addition to Ms Kaag and Mr Sriskandarajah, other speakers at the event include the Secretary-General, World YWCA and Vice-Chair of the CIVICUS Board of Directors, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda; Minister, Counsellor, Economic and Social Affairs, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN, Magnus Lennartsson; and the Vice President (Operations), International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Nilda Bullain.

The event also comes ahead of the annual meeting of the UNDP Civil Society Advisory Committee in New York on 24-25 April.

In 2000, UNDP was the first UN agency to set up an advisory committee composed of civil society leaders from around the world to advise UNDP’s senior management on matters of strategy and policy.

The original CIVICUS Civil Society Index, supported with seed funding from UNDP, has for the past decade painted a comprehensive picture of civil society in over 80 countries, exploring all aspects of its health and its ability to achieve impact and effect social change.

Watch live and participate:
Entitled “Civil society and its environment – Driving sustainable development?” the event on Tuesday 9 April will be broadcast live from 10:00am to 12:00 pm (NYC time) on UN Web TV.

Join in the Twitter discussions and ask panelists questions with the hashtag #StateofCivilSociety. Follow @CIVICUSalliance, @UNDPlive, @SwedenUN and @unngls live from the event.