Strengthening Transnational Solidarity

Exploring issues and making recommendations on how to improve international solidarity and support for civil society.

A number of governmental and nongovernmental efforts to raise awareness of the closing space phenomenon and push back against it are underway. Yet, the problem seems to be worsening due to vested political and economic interests of state and non-state actors, and collusion between the two. In many places, CSOs are under attack for criticizing the government’s policies or actions, speaking out against private sector investment or infrastructure projects, or threatening to expose corruption or malfeasance. Conversely, in a limited number of cases, the private sector and nontraditional partners have been instrumental in warding off restrictive legislation or regulations. iCon members will systematically examine efforts by external and internal forces to keep space open and draw conclusions about what has actually worked and why. Based on best practices and lessons learned, they will then create a framework for crafting more effective responses in the future.

Research Questions

  • How can the international community raise the political costs of closing space or, alternatively, create positive incentives for opening civic space?
  • Are there private sector or nontraditional actors that can be effectively mobilized to engage constructively in support of civic space? What is the business or economic case – in quantifiable terms – that can be made to enlist key supporters to this effort? What are the obstacles to getting involved?
  • How can we grow more solidarity around closing space, especially with regard to some of the most challenging and intractable cases?

Report

Responding to Closing Civic Space: Recent Experiences from Three Global Initiatives

This report maps out three global initiatives that have emerged in response to closing civic space with the goal of keeping the space open, highlighting good practice and lessons learned.

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Photo: smarques27/Adobe Stock

Photo: smarques27/Adobe Stock



Report

An Overview of Global Initiatives on Countering Closing Space for Civil Society

This document maps institutionalized initiatives—by governments, regional bodies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—that have been created in response to the global phenomenon of increasing restrictions on civil society space.

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Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images