Across the globe, people want something fundamentally human: to have a say in decisions about their future. To do so, they need to speak out, organise, mobilise and take action off-line and on-line. In order to achieve this, democratic, fundamental freedoms – of expression, association and peaceful assembly – and safe environments are key. Effective participation at all levels ensures that policies address real issues, makes societies more resilient and policy-making more effective and legitimate.
Effective implementation of all of the UN’s pillars is dependent on civil society contributions and feedback, including critical voices from and engagement by different communities and groups, especially communities affected by our work. Open civic space also provides room for groups that do not share the values of the UN. The best response to such voices is upholding our principles and values enshrined in the UN Charter, and protecting the space while responding to online and offline acts that misuse it and violate rights.
UN entities, at the global, regional and national levels, have long been working in partnership with civil society to implement programmes and projects, e.g. to deliver life-saving services, to support mediation and post-conflict activities, to monitor political and social developments. In the humanitarian pillar, civil society is part of the main decision-making humanitarian coordination forum of the UN system, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. The UN has also sought to promote and protect civic space in a multitude of ways, e.g. through rule of law programming, capacity development, advocacy in support of open space. UN human rights bodies and mechanisms, based on the obligations of Member States, have been actively engaged in the promotion and protection of civic space.
The UN will is organizing online consultations with civil society organizations on the issue of civic space from 13 to 24 January 2020 on the Global Dev Hub platform.
Find more information here.