Shrinking Civic Space

Shrinking Civic Space

Civic Charter - The Global Framework for People's Participation

The Civic Charter is now live and open for sign-on by organisations and individuals. We thank all participants for their valuable feedback and contributions throughout the past months! Please join the global struggle for our rights to participate in shaping our societies and sign on to the Civic Charter.


Civic Charter - The Global Framework for People's Participation

The Civic Charter provides a global framework for people’s participation in shaping their societies. The two-page document, which people and organisations can sign on to and use as a basis for joint action, articulates a common set of civic and political rights. Based on universally accepted human rights, freedoms and principles, the Civic Charter serves as a reference point for people claiming their rights. It can be used as a tool for awareness-raising, advocacy and campaigning. The Civic Charter promotes solidarity among local, national, regional and global struggles to defend the space for civic participation.

The Civic Charter was developed over the past months through the following process:

  • A Steering Group consisting of colleagues from CIVICUS, ICNL, ActionAid, Amnesty International, Oxfam, Rendir Cuentas, VANI, The Africa Platform, The Oak Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Open Society Foundations drove the development of the Civic Charter. It is coordinated by the International Civil Society Centre.
  • Three rounds of open online consultation brought in the voices of activists and CSOs from around the world.
  • A desk study compiled the most relevant provisions on civic space laid down in key UN documents and International Law.
  • A meeting of CSOs and key stakeholders finalised the Charter text and lay down the strategies on how to roll out the Civic Charter and use it as a basis for joint action

The development of the Civic Charter is carried out in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and the Wallace Global Fund.

In October 2016, the Civic Charter was launched around the world, including at the Global Perspectives conference in Berlin.


    International Civic Forum

    The International Civic Forum is a platform for leaders from civil society, media, foundations, government, and business who are at the forefront of protecting and advancing civic space around the globe. The Forum will provide the starting point for an annual platform to develop face-to-face networks, make strategic decisions, and build trust. Complementing the face-to-face meetings of the Forum, the International took place on 26 October 2016 and was co-hosted by co-hosted by CIVICUS, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, the Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society (FICS) and Reporters without Borders.


Contact us

If you are interested in learning more about the project do not hesitate to contact Miriam Niehaus (