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The International Consortium on Closing Civic Space (iCon)

Generating innovative and evidence-based strategies to increase civil society’s sustainability and resilience

The Human Rights Initiative (HRI) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) created an international consortium (iCon) of scholars and experts from around the world to conduct research and develop concrete recommendations on how best to address and push back on closing space around civil society. The ultimate goal of iCon is to develop evidence-based solutions that enhance the resilience and sustainability of civil society and broaden constituencies for human rights.

iCon fills existing gaps in the current response to closing space by exploring legal and non-legal strategies that can and should be used to counter closing space. iCon members conduct research that is not only rigorous and academically informed but also relevant for policymakers. Moreover, this effort incorporates the voices and reflects the experiences of civil society, particularly those human rights and social justice groups that are under pressure.



Advisory Group

Eight well-respected international organizations serve as an Advisory Group to iCon. Members of the Advisory Group play an instrumental role in providing strategic guidance to CSIS on the work of iCon and on the overall direction of research. The Advisory Group also ensures that the research that is generated by iCon is transmitted to key constituencies around the world.

  1. The Fund for Global Human Rights
  2. CIVICUS
  3. The Prague Civil Society Centre
  4. Conectas Human Rights
  5. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
  6. The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
  7. Dejusticia
  8. PEW Research Center*
  9. Erin McCarthy, Civil Society Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development**
  10. The Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York

* The Pew Research Center’s role is limited to generating research findings. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. The opinions expressed herein, including any implications for policy, are not attributed to Pew Research Center.
**Erin McCarthy is serving as an individual member of the Advisory Group.