2016 December 8 11:15
1 h 20 min
Salle 1 (Iéna)
Fundamentals liberties and human rights


The objective of the session is to increase understanding of the scale and nature of threats to civic space, detail recent improvements related to civic space and explore policy options within the framework of the OGP to push for increased respect for civic space across all OGP countries. Based on data from the new CIVICUS Monitor which was launched in October 2016, the session aims to present some of the latest information on the dynamics of and drivers behind the latest developments related to civic space. Participants will be able to compare respect for civic space across regions and compare and contrast levels of respect for civic space of OGP and non-OGP countries. Finally, the session will be used to identify priorities and policy options that can be implemented through the OGP in order to improve respect for civic space.

This interactive session will allow participants to learn about and interact with the new CIVICUS Monitor tool. We will look at data on the Monitor related to civic space violations and improvements in respect for civic space. Following a brief visual presentation of the Monitor's world map and country ratings, CIVICUS will elaborate on data from the first few months of monitoring, indicating the most frequently-recorded categories of violation, some of the improvements in civic space documented through the Monitor and most frequent issues being contested by civil society, which lead to the closure of civic space.

In groups, participants will then undertake a hands-on assignment by interacting with the CIVICUS Monitor platform to reveal the stories behind the global trend of closing civic space. Each group will be asked to:

-Assess the overall level of respect for civic space in a given region -Select a civil society story on the Monitor which exemplifies this trend -Discover an example of a positive civic space development.

This exercise will allow participants to understand in greater detail the sorts of violations being reported on the Monitor, how the system works, where information comes from and what use can be made of it.

The final part of this session will then be used to discuss practical and policy solutions to civic space threats. This discussion will feed into the findings of a joint paper to be written by CIVICUS and the OGP Support Unit. These concrete options for policy changes and innovations will focus on things that can be employed by both civil society and governments to increase respect for civic space and ensure that civil society activists are protected in all OGP countries.


Cathal Gilbert, Anabel Cruz, Elisa Peter

by CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance
from CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance

Cathal Gilbert began working in the civil society and human rights space in 2006, first as Project Officer with the EC Civil Society Fund in Ethiopia, then as a Governance Advisor with the EU Delegation in Lusaka. Prior to joining CIVICUS, Cathal worked as project director with Freedom House in Southern Africa. He has conducted extensive reseach on civic space, rule of law and human rights issues in Africa and globally and is currently Coordinator of the CIVICUS Monitor, our new initiative to capture civic space developments in real time. Follow @gilbertcathal on Twitter.

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