A CSO Playbook to Reclaim Civic Space: Version 1.0


Over the past four years, CSIS has published more than 10 reports, both thematic and country-focused, to identify new programmatic models, broaden domestic constituencies, strengthen transnational solidarity, and align security and civic space. In addition to problem analyses, the reports provide examples and policy recommendations aimed at governments, donors, and international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) as well as national and local civil society organizations (CSOs) on how to push back against closing civic space. The suite of iCon reports provides a depth of insight and ideas, not fully captured in this brief, which readers can draw on to inform their analysis. This brief consolidates key lessons from iCon’s invaluable research, with a focus on building CSO legitimacy and resilience.

Amy K. Lehr is the director of the Human Rights Initiative (HRI) at CSIS. Catherine Hyde Townsend serves as an independent consultant.

This report was made possible by the generous support of the Oak Founda­tion and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Amy K. Lehr
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Human Rights Initiative

Catherine Hyde Townsend