Inclusive public sphere

If we are to achieve Agenda 2030’s ideal of just, peaceful, and inclusive societies, a much broader public sphere is needed – a public sphere that reaches into communities and provides for meaningful venues, in addition to the traditional forms of political representation, where people can freely come together, express opinions and organize for collective action. Securing an inclusive public sphere that allows all citizens to have a say on matters affecting their lives is essential to gaining citizens' trust in democratic institutions and processes.

Over the last years, there has been a widespread erosion of the freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, which, combined with the harassment of activists, media personnel, and human rights defenders, is resulting in a significant shrinking of civic space globally. For this reason, in his Call to Action for Human Rights, the UN Secretary-General is appealing to all actors to do more to nurture civic space as an essential public good – and to defend it when it comes under threat. UNDP is committed to working with partners around the world to make sure that citizens’ expectations and demands for voice and participation are met with open, safe, and inclusive civic spaces. UNDP also is committed to working closely with state authorities and civil society actors to promote regulatory frameworks that align with international human rights standards relevant to civic space.

UNDP's work to promote more inclusive public spheres is organized into the following workstreams: civic engagement, disability inclusion, independent media development, information integrity, and youth empowerment. Please click on the menu items on the left to learn more about each.