New – 2021 events and programme flyer, find out what’s on and what we are doing

15th January 2021 by Adriana Sahagún Martínez

Welcome to our 2021 flyer. You can download the flyer below to find out about what we plan to do this year and how you can get involved.

Download 2021 Flyer


Communications Manager

International Civil Society Centre

Leveraging multi-sector collaborations to transform the affordable housing crisis in cities

7th December 2020 by Sanjee Singh and Honora Cargile

Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Urban Approach 2018-30 is one of the innovation case studies and accompanying podcast interviews in the Centre’s ‘Civil Society Innovation and Urban Inclusion’ report 2020. Explore the full report here.

One of the ‘golden threads’ of inclusion and impact throughout the report is the need for effective multi-sector collaborations for change in complex urban challenges. This has become even clearer in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in cities, as two colleagues from Habitat share in this guest blog.

COVID-19 and sheltering in place

The current global pandemic represents both a health and an economic crisis. The availability of adequate and affordable housing is at the center of people being able to shelter in place for extended periods of time. COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects on urban communities across the world, with higher concentrations of people in cities increasing exposure rates. People living in informal settlements and refugee camps have been more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 due to their poor housing and living conditions, limited access to water and sanitation, loss of livelihoods and overcrowding. Social distancing and sheltering in place is difficult, if not impossible.

It is more apparent than ever just how essential it is for families to have safe, affordable, and adequate housing to reduce their vulnerability to COVID-19 and a plethora of other health- and disaster-related risks.

Community collaboration during COVID-19

While the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many of the vulnerabilities and inequalities in the housing ecosystem, it has also reiterated the strengths of many urban communities and the importance of taking a people-centered development approach. Local communities have exemplified what coming together really means and that through collaboration, communities prosper, especially when supported by the public and private sectors in robust multi-sector collaborations.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, community-level action has become more necessary than ever to address the schism between communities in cities whose needs are and are not being met or represented. Individuals have helped one another maintain economic activity, kept vulnerable community members safe, and fostered a sense of community, even when many of us are physically separated. This can only be accomplished by multiple entities within a community coming together to help each other during this difficult time.

This resilience and strength in our communities comes from collaboration, from being part of a team that sees the bigger picture. It comes from establishing important relationships that serve the most vulnerable in a population. People, Public, Private Partnerships (P4) are necessary alliances to ensure that the development needs of the most poor and marginalized are addressed and met in these complex contexts.

What makes a community?

The answer might seem obvious, but we cannot point to one individual unit that makes a community. Is it the citizens? Businesses? Public servants? Community organizations? Buildings? All of the above – none alone make for a community, yet none survive without all the others. The nature of a community is this system of interlinked elements that interact with each other and the environment, constantly changing in time and space. Even the smallest changes to one part of this system can affect the whole, and community members understand this better than anyone.

There is never a problem nor solution that affects only one piece of a system. For instance, inadequate housing can affect education, sanitation and livelihoods among other things. These complex problems require complex solutions, which acknowledge that interlinkages exist beyond the apparent and that one entity alone cannot tackle them. Complex solutions come from collaborations. Innovative, affordable housing solutions in any context require evidence-based community-, market- and policy-level solutions that stem from a deeper analysis of the entire housing ecosystem.

Why are multi-sector collaborations so important?

Collaborations allow multiple organizations to partner together to tackle a specific problem and contribute towards transformational change, especially the multi-faceted and complex problems often affecting urban populations. These mutually beneficial and well-defined relationships entered between government, non-profits, private organizations, community organizations or groups and individual community members solve problems or explore new opportunities, with no clear single answer. They acknowledge that the issues facing communities around the world require collaborative solutions at community, policy, and market levels.

Habitat for Humanity’s multi-sector collaborations during COVID-19

Various Habitat for Humanity national offices have engaged in multi-sector collaborations to tackle the nuanced and complex issues COVID-19 presents. Our Indonesia office ensured essential medical personnel had a safe and comfortable place to stay when they were unable to return home out of fear of bringing the virus with them, rejection from neighbors, and working on ‘standby’ status. But there were also not enough places for hospital workers to stay on site. Our team partnered with Jakarta area hospitals and hotels to ensure adequate accommodation for essential medical workers, reducing the risk of further spreading the virus and allowing these key staff to better perform their jobs.

Habitat for Humanity Paraguay is also working with our network of government and NGO partners to distribute COVID-19 sensitization materials and develop handwashing stations. Communities are being empowered through education and access to resources to stay healthy throughout the pandemic.

Why do multi-sector collaborations work?

Organizations are better able to create meaningful change with more resources, bandwidth, and new ideas. Multi-sector collaborations create an environment where this is possible. Working with these multiple actors means a variety of resources and perspectives bring creative solutions to complex problems. The strategic and creative approaches fostered by multi-sector collaboration allow for holistic solutions that do not tackle only one single component of a complex system.

We cannot separate the structural issues inherent to urban settings from the political, social, environmental, and economic systems in which they exist. These problems require expertise and solutions that are cross-disciplinary, multi-faceted and that put the value of the community first. A community’s strength lies in its ability to collaborate with actors both within and outside of it, and draw on its own strengths and resources. Community members and organizations are key stakeholders in any successful multi-sector collaboration to create long-term sustainable solutions.

Our communities are microcosms of multi-sector collaborations, with everyone pooling together their knowledge and resources to ensure that the whole community can thrive. We’ve seen how successful they can be, so why are we waiting to enact them on a global scale?

In conclusion, we need to do things together.

Months of isolation with the pandemic have made it very clear that we, as individual citizens, need one another. We need this same outlook when thinking about our goal of solving complex urban issues. We need each other – the community, private industry, governments, non-profits, and private citizens – and cannot do it alone.

Sanjee Singh

Director for International Housing Programs

Habitat for Humanity International

Sanjee Singh is the Director for International Housing Programs at Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), based out of Atlanta, USA. Sanjee is a solution-driven strategic thinker and natural collaborator with more than 20 years’ experience in international development. She is skilled at building strategies, policies and programs to drive enhancements and systemic change leading to greater impact and outcomes. Sanjee is part of the Global Programs Design and Implementation Team at Habitat for Humanity International, focusing on the development of the organization’s Global Urban Approach and supporting the design implementation of comprehensive programs across Habitat’s federation. Sanjee has Bachelor of Science in Town and Regional Planning and a Master’s Degree in Public Development and Management from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is passionate about contributing towards sustainable development, gender equity and building processes and partnerships that improve outputs, outcomes and impact of teams, projects and programs.

Honora Cargile

International Housing Programs Intern

Habitat for Humanity International

Honora “Nora” Cargile is Habitat for Humanity’s International Housing Programs Intern. Originally from the Washington, DC area, Nora has lived most of her life abroad across South and Southeast Asia and Africa. She graduated from James Madison University in 2018 with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Nora has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia, teaching English and facilitating a variety of workshops on gender-inclusive classroom practices and administrative policies. She also has experience in solving a variety of curriculum development issues across broad social and linguistic contexts. Nora is currently pursuing a master’s degree from Emory University’s Development Practice program, and also interning in this role with Habitat for Humanity.

Join the Conversation: NetHope Summit Discusses the Relevance of Civil Society Organisations in the Digital World

26th October 2020 by Karl Steinacker

This year’s NetHope Summit goes virtual: From 26 to 28 October, there is another opportunity for Civil Society Organisations to learn, collaborate, and get inspired. NetHope aims, as always, to perform a vital role as a catalyst for change and improvement within the non-profit sector, focusing on topics around digital technology. The NetHope Virtual Global Summit 2020 has chosen as its motto « Collective Action. Sustainable Future ».

This is certainly the right place to discuss the relevance and effectiveness of Civil Society Organisations in an increasingly digital world. A topic that had featured in recent months on this blog when the question was asked whether CSOs have the ambition to shape the digital world or remain bystanders? Among the many long-term issues on our agenda, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put the spotlight on the relevance and effectiveness of civil society and the future of civil society organisations in general.

Three social justice activists will discuss these issues, and everybody is invited to join: On 26 October we have a virtual stage featuring Jane Muigai, Rukshana Nanayakkara, and Wolfgang Jamann sharing their thoughts on how CSOs should get ready for a digital future. The discussions are facilitated by Karl Steinacker.

The discussion will take place on Wednesday, 28 October, at 15:15 hrs CET/ 10:15 EDT in Virtual Room 8 of the NetHope Virtual Global Summit 2020.

Karl Steinacker

Digital Advisor

International Civil Society Centre

Karl joined the Centre in June 2019 after a professional career in institutions of German technical co-operation and as humanitarian manager in the United Nations. He spent years in conflict zones, such as the Gaza Strip, the Great Lakes region in Central Africa, and in the Sahel. He led multi-sectoral teams on data management, refugee registration and biometrics. At the ICS Centre he will work pro bono on issues relating to artificial intelligence, digital transformation, identity and trust as well as their impact on civil society in general and ICSOs in particular. Karl, born in 1960 in Germany, is a graduate of the Political Science faculty of the Free University of Berlin and studied Public International Law at Cambridge University.

#GlobalPerspectives2020, Conversations on Inclusion: “Nothing about us without us”.

20th October 2020 by Adriana Sahagún Martínez

Listen to Acha Rita Agum, Disability and Inclusive Development Officer in Cameroon and Dominique Schlupkothen, Director of Community Based Inclusive Development at CBM, interviewed by Nihal Helmy from the International Civil Society Centre.

In this episode, they reflect on the importance of inclusion and how CBM is empowering local communities to have their own voice and advocate for themselves. Learn about the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they are ensuring their policies not only include people with disabilities, but that they are also consulted when designing the response.

Join their session at #GlobalPerspectives2020, where they will explore how representative organisations of persons with disabilities can effectively influence policy making at the local level.

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Communications Manager

International Civil Society Centre

World YWCA at #GlobalPerspectives2020: Using privilege for change

9th October 2020 by Robert Vysoudil

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Listen to Suchi Gaur, Ph.D, Director of Global Engagement and Impact, and Caterina Lemp Bitsacopoulos, Senior Specialist in Movement Building, interviewed by Nihal Helmy from the International Civil Society Centre.

World YWCA is a voluntary based, grassroots and diverse movement that connects and mobilizes the power of millions of women across the world. Learn how living in patriarchy motivates one to empower the new generations of women and to make space for them.

Join the Global Perspectives virtual experience in November, it will provide safe space to have honest conversations about inclusion!



Communications Student Assistant

International Civil Society Centre

Podcast: Breaking the cycle of poverty and disability

2nd October 2020 by Robert Vysoudil

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CBM Global works hard to transform lives and build inclusive communities for people living with disabilities in the underrepresented and marginalised communities around the world. Listen to David Bainbridge, Executive Director for disability and inclusion at CBM Global interviewed by Nihal Helmy.

Thirty years of experience help David to deal with the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemics, which has a disproportionate impact on the poor and those with disabilities. In collaboration with local partners, CBM Global is doing their best to make it possible for people with disabilities to enjoy their human rights and achieve their full potential.

Join us too at the Global Perspectives virtual experience in November! This year’s theme is inclusion. Share, learn, be challenged and inspired!



Communications Student Assistant

International Civil Society Centre

Civic Space is shrinking. Here’s how we can protect fundamental rights

24th September 2020 by Deirdre de Burca

Current research shows that civil society in over half of the countries of the world is facing serious and growing restrictions on its freedom to engage, express itself and be heard. Activists and human rights defenders in formal and informal spaces are building new bridges of solidarity to move forward, but these are challenging times for our community.

With increased surveillance, persecution and even violence against activists, many civil society organisations have come under attack, particularly those advocating on behalf of excluded groups and minorities, for democratic rights and in defence of the environment.

Human rights defenders in Africa, Latin America and Asia, as well as in other parts of the world, have been targeted and attacked. 212 environmental and land rights defenders alone were killed during 2019, and 219 human rights defenders are estimated to have been killed or died in detention in 2016. Technology advances have brought increased surveillance on civil society and create new risks for civic space.

The civic space case studies contained within the recent Forus report “Realising the potential of Goal 16 to promote and protect civic space” highlight the many restrictions civil society currently faces in different parts of the world. From Nepal to Colombia, it has become increasingly difficult to exercise rights of association, assembly and expression.

Now the question is –  how can we protect fundamental freedoms, essential to the creation of  a healthy, functioning civic space, where people’s voices are being heard?

The recent Forus report, Realising the potential of SDG 16 to promote and protect civic space, highlights how a particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)can provide important leverage for civil society everywhere in its efforts to create and defend civic space, and to be more effective in monitoring and implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Many in the human rights community are sceptical about what they regard as the weak potential of the SDGs to advance a universal human rights agenda. In his foreword to the report on Goal 16 and civic space, the former Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Philip Alston, claims that despite almost 20 mentions of human rights in the text of the 2030 Agenda, no reference is made to any specific civil or political right.

Alston argues that human rights in general remain marginal and invisible in the agenda. He points to the behaviour of many governments who have side-lined or even rejected the inclusion of human rights in national SDG programming. He also refers to SDG reports by the UN and World Bank which he claims pay little or no attention to human rights, with the exception of the issue of gender.

Such ambivalence towards the 2030 Agenda has led some human rights activists and practitioners to overlook or disregard the role that SDG 16 could play in promoting civil and political rights globally. Here’s why SDG 16 could be effective in promoting and protecting civic space.

The effective implementation of SDG 16 can have profound implications for civic space in countries across the world. The goal broadly focuses on issues of governance and aims to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. A specific target of SDG 16, Target 16.10, commits UN member states to “Ensure access to public information and protect fundamental freedoms”.

These freedoms, which include basic rights to associate and assemble peacefully and to express views and opinions, are themselves fundamental human rights protected under international human rights law, and they are essential to the creation and maintenance of civic space.

And yet, the two global-level indicators which have been adopted to date by the international community, do not adequately assess progress in protecting and promoting fundamental freedoms.-In particular, because they do not directly measure the extent to which fundamental freedoms of association, assembly and expression are being protected in day-to-day civic life as citizens attempt to engage with issues which impact on their communities and wider societies.

This failure to monitor and measure the extent to which citizens are free to participate in the civic life is a significant omission where SDG 16 is concerned.

There is an urgent need for the international community to extend the scope of SDG 16 civic space indicators which are currently limited to an outcome indicator measuring the extent to which activists, human rights defenders and others have been kidnapped imprisoned or murdered. Additional global indicators must be developed which measure the extent to which citizens can exercise their rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression in their communities and societies, in accordance with international human rights standards and national human rights laws.

Following the launch of the Goal 16 report at the UN High Level Political Forum in 2020, Forus and its partners intend to collaborate with interested civil society networks and other groups on a new global advocacy campaign. This campaign will call for a wider range of  civic space indicators to be adopted by UN member states as official Goal 16 indicators and to become part of national regional and global review processes of the 2030 Agenda. For this we need human rights defenders.

The involvement of human rights activists and practitioners in this global advocacy campaign, and in the wider monitoring and review of SDG 16 implementation, will be crucial as it could bring its considerable technical expertise, advocacy capacities and political influence to bear on the process.  Let’s join forces to launch a broad dynamic strategy for fundamental freedoms to be promoted and protected.  Please contact me on if you wish to discuss this proposal further!



Deirdre de Burca

Forus Advocacy Co-ordinator

Forus International

Deirdre de Burca currently works as the Advocacy Co-ordinator with Forus (formerly known as the International Forum for National NGO platforms). Forus is a global network of 69 national development platforms and 6 regional coalitions. Deirdre previously worked as Director of Advocacy for World Vision's Brussels office. She was also a member of the EU Steering Committee of Concord's Beyond 2015 EU Taskforce which played an essential role in influencing the position of the EU and its Member States during the UN negotiations on Agenda 2030. Deirdre was one of the founding members of SDG Watch Europe - a broad alliance of European civil society organisations established in June 2015 and which works to ensure the full implementation of Agenda 2030/the SDGs by the EU and its Member States.

Podcast: #GlobalPerspectives2020, Gender inclusion policy in Care International

2nd September 2020 by Robert Vysoudil

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One of the most important topics at Global Perspectives 2020 will be gender diversity and women leadership. Join our host Nihal Helmy who interviews Kassie McIlvaine and Esther Watts from Care International.

Kassie McIlvaine works as a Program Quality – Deputy Regional Director West Africa and Esther Watts as a Country Director at CARE Ethiopia. Addressing staffing ratios and power dynamics in their own organization was worth it despite the challenges in the implementation of diversity policies. Hear them out on women and girls’ empowerment, making change happen and more!

We invite you to the Global Perspectives 2020 virtual experience, this year’s topic is “A Passion for Inclusion”. See the link below.



Communications Student Assistant

International Civil Society Centre

Podcast: #GlobalPerspectives2020 preview, in conversation with World Vision International

12th August 2020 by Robert Vysoudil

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A conversation about eradicating violence against women, Global Perspectives as a safe space for important civil society discussions and exploring this year’s topic “A Passion for Inclusion”.

Join our host Nihal Helmy who interviews Brenda Wanjiku Kariuki from World Vision International. They touch upon the problem of increased violence against women and children during the pandemic. However, they also talk about the progress made by Brenda and her colleagues to achieve their goals.

You are invited to the Global Perspectives 2020 virtual experience, see the links below.



Communications Student Assistant

International Civil Society Centre

COVID-19 Resources for Civil Society #14

30th July 2020 by Thomas Howie

This page is part of a series of COVID-19 resource pages that we are creating to help civil society actors.

Click here to view all available pages.

Click here for our latest events news.

On this page, you will find links to readings, podcasts and videos related to the latest COVID-19 news and analysis. If you have a recommendation or a suggestion, let us know. Many thanks to our volunteer researcher Ineke Stemmet.

The sections are:

Staying up-to-date: Links to sites that will keep you abreast of important developments related to our sector and the latest news.

Strategic: We look at the impact and responses to COVID-19 in a general and intersectional way (i.e. impacts on human rights, climate change, etc).

Policy: Civil society’s policies that respond to challenges posed by COVID-19.

Operational: A list of what your organisation can do now to navigate these unprecedented times.

    1. Staying up-to-Date

    • Cancelled, postponed, virtual: COVID-19’s impact on human rights oversight (Open Global Rights)
      The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for nonprofits’ services while damaging their finances and staff. What can history tell us about surviving this crisis, and how can philanthropy help?
    • Combatting COVID-19 disinformation on online platforms (OECD)
      Disinformation and misinformation about COVID-19 are quickly and widely disseminated across the Internet, reaching and potentially influencing many people. This policy brief derives four key actions that governments and platforms can take to counter COVID-19 disinformation on platforms, namely: 1) supporting a multiplicity of independent fact-checking organisations; 2) ensuring human moderators are in place to complement technological solutions; 3) voluntarily issuing transparency reports about COVID-19 disinformation; and 4) improving users’ media, digital and health literacy skills.
    • COVID-19 Aftershocks: A Perfect Storm (World Vision International)
      This report looks at the impacts of COVID-19 relating to violence on girls and boys. We predict a major spike in the cases of children experiencing physical, emotional and sexual violence, both now and in the months and years to come. Up to 85 million more girls and boys worldwide may be exposed to physical, sexual and/or emotional violence over three months as a result of COVID-19 quarantine.
    • COVID-19 Aftershocks: Out of time (World Vision International)
      Millions of parents and caregivers have lost incomes and jobs due to COVID-19, forcing them to expose their children to harmful and dangerous circumstances, such as begging or child marriage. World Vision has conducted rapid assessments in 24 countries across Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia confirming alarming predictions of increased child hunger, violence, and poverty due to the economic impact of COVID-19
    • COVID-19 Aftershocks: Secondary impacts threaten more children’s lives than disease itself (World Vision International)
      As many as 30 million children are at risk of disease and death because of the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. World Vision’s Aftershocks report considers what would happen if the devastating secondary impacts of the 2015-2016 Ebola outbreak on children were replicated in the 24 most fragile countries covered by the UN’s COVID-19 humanitarian appeal.
    • Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2020 (OECD)
      New report summarising innovative responses by governments to the COVID-19 crisis, drawing upon the over 400 cases and initiatives, under five key themes: Theme 1: Rapid acceleration of digital innovation and transformation, Theme 2: Seeking bottom-up solutions and insights, Theme 3: Social solidarity and caring, Theme 4: Reducing the spread through virus tracking and adaptive action, and Theme 5: Forging a path to recovery.
    • Fighting COVID-19, Building Peace – a civil society perspective. What Local Peacebuilders Say about COVID-19, Civic Space, Fragility and Drivers of Conflict (Civil Society Platform for Peacebuilding and Statebuilding (CSPPS))
      This report provides a comprehensive outlook on the lived experiences of local peacebuilders as they face down COVID-19 and its consequences. It explores how the pandemic has affected civil society’s capacity to operate, how local peacebuilders view the pandemic as occasioning violence and stimulating drivers of conflict, and the dearth of coordination between government and civil society.
    • Is the explosion of COVID-19 conspiracies changing people’s real-world behavior? (Fast Company)
      More than 20 million people saw a video filled with lies about COVID-19. Researchers still don’t know how this kind of viral misinformation is impacting people’s willingness to wear masks—or to get an eventual vaccine.
    • ODI Bites: Africa beyond Covid-19 (ODI)
      Early signs from Africa are that in many countries, the response to Covid-19 has been effective. But contrary to commonplace narratives about aiding Africa, recent events highlight opportunities for Europe and elsewhere to learn from Africa.
    • Sensemaking possibilities #2: tools and analyses to support local and global sensemaking (OECD)
      What are some of the different narratives and perspectives emerging from or, or prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated crises? How do we explore them and make sense of them?
    • The Current and Potential Impact of COVID-19 on Nonprofits (SSIR)
      The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for nonprofits’ services while damaging their finances and staff. What can history tell us about surviving this crisis, and how can philanthropy help?
    • Updated forecasts quantify the impact of COVID-19 on Africa (Institute of Security Studies (ISS))
      Compared to pre-COVID-19 projections, Africa’s economy will be between US$349 billion and US$643 billion smaller in 2030. As such, beyond being a health pandemic, COVID-19 is set to create a generational set-back for development in Africa.
    • Urban Thinkers Campus – COVID-19 & the role of youth in cities (Webinar) (World Vision International and Plan International)
      This webinar included youth representatives from Bangladesh, Brazil and Peru and from organizations working with this population segment on how they are involved in prevention, response and recovery efforts to address COVID-19 while contributing to long term outcomes contributing to more liveable cities. Password: $C=Nr89H
    • Why African countries are reluctant to take up COVID-19 debt relief (The Conversation)
      African countries should tread carefully over the debt relief offered by multilateral institutions and other lenders. It could prove very costly in the medium to long term.

    2. Strategic

        Biodiversity and Climate Change

          Civic Space and Human Rights

          • COVID-19 has opened the floodgates for smart cities—whether we like it or not (Fast Company)
            The conditions created by the pandemic will make it easier for local governments to adopt technological solutions.
          • Putting cities at the centre of the post-pandemic world (C40 Cities)
            Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, highlights why both the global health and the global climate crises have galvanized cities’ central roles as global actors.
          • Priorities for mayors for a green post-COVID recovery: global perspective (C40 Cities Knowledge Hub)
            This collection of articles is intended to give a global outlook and shape regionally-appropriate responses for accelerating a green recovery in cities. Whilst there are regional nuances and differences, all experts agree that the response to the climate crisis and this global pandemic must be inextricably linked.

          • Migrant smugglers are profiting from travel restrictions (Institute for Security Studies (ISS))
            Across the world, over 60 000 mobility restrictions to contain COVID-19 have been imposed. Travel constraints, border closures and reduced travel modes severely disrupted smuggling markets. After an initial slowdown though, smugglers are reviving and adapting to meet changing needs.
          • The Dangers Ahead: COVID-19, Authoritarianism and Democracy (LSE)
            LSE article on trend towards authoritarianism and related threats and potential responses. It describes the broader political context CSOs are working in and provides some suggestions for how to counter some negative threats trends Four threats: ‘Deglobalisation’ takes a nationalist form, less democratic participation, more centralisation, surveillance state and erosion of human rights, inequality goes unchallenged.

          Data and Digital

          • Our post-COVID future should be as much about welfare as it is about tech (Open Global Rights)
            Surveillance thrives in unequal environments, and the pandemic has increased inequality. We need a welfare state for our digital information economy.
          • How COVID-19 exposed AI’s limitations (Nesta)
            As COVID-19 spread, a multitude of AI models were put to work in a bid to tackle it. The results to date have been largely disappointing. Instead, the unlikely hero emerging from the ashes of this pandemic is the crowd. Crowds of scientists sharing data, of local makers manufacturing PPE and of people organising through mutual aid groups.


            • Making Strategic Decisions in the Context of COVID-19 (SSIR (Stanford Social Innovation Review))
              The long-term impact that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on society is still uncertain, but the tools of scenario planning can help social sector leaders better prepare their organizations for the different, possible futures that may unfold.
            • Scenarios to Navigate the COVID-19 Pandemic and its Possible Futures (1) (The Red (Team) Analysis Society)
              This article presents nested scenarios – and linked narratives – to handle the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Its aim is to provide an organised framework to foresee the future of our world as it lives through the pandemic, while easing understanding.
            • A post-pandemic world: well-being for all or deepening inequality? (Open Global Rights)
              Putting fear aside as we emerge from this pandemic will allow space for what we value most in people: empathy, solidarity and mutual support.
            • 7 predictions for the new normal post-pandemic (In The Black)
              As a society, we have a unique opportunity to re-evaluate how we live and work. There has been a cultural shift that brings into focus new priorities and emphasises the need for adaptability. Futurists believe that our “next normal” will prioritise collective benefit, collaboration and empathetic leadership.
            • Our COVID Future: The Long Crisis Scenarios(Long Crisis Network)
              Scenarios of how the response to COVID-19 could shape the conflict dynamics of the Middle East: some portend the pernicious effects of the virus moving the region even further away from integration and closer toward acute insecurity, but some also see a transition to greater stability, or even the prospect of a “wake-up” moment where leaders move toward a “resilience regional architecture.”
            • Middle East Conflict and COVID-19 A view from 2025 (Middle East Institute)
              Scenarios of how the response to COVID-19 could shape the conflict dynamics of the Middle East: some portend the pernicious effects of the virus moving the region even further away from integration and closer toward acute insecurity, but some also see transition to greater stability, or even the prospect of a “wake-up” moment where leaders move toward a “resilience regional architecture.”
            • Strategic foresight for the COVID-19 crisis and beyond: Using futures thinking to design better public policies (OECD)
              This resource supports the use of foresight in post-COVID 19 policy-making, presenting key uncertainties and possible future developments with short- and medium-term policy implications, a preliminary guide for using these elements, and selected foresight pieces.

              Gender Equality

              Multilateralism and international cooperation

              Pandemic Specific Consequences and Responses (economic, health & social impacts)

              • Pandemic profiteers exposed (Oxfam)
                In Pandemic Profiteers Exposed, Oxfam found that 17 of the top 25 most profitable US corporations, including Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Facebook, Pfizer, and Visa, are expected to make almost $85 billion more in 2020 than in previous years. Oxfam is calling for a resurrection of the WWII-era excess profits tax to limit pandemic price-gouging, level the playing field between companies, and raise much needed funds for COVID relief and recovery, such as providing ongoing COVID-19 testing and vaccines for every person on the planet.
              • Divided we stand: the EU’s domestic- and foreign-policy agenda  (International Institute for Strategic Studies )
                Europe was already facing a host of complex geopolitical and economic challenges at the start of 2020, even before the COVID-19 crisis. In this week’s episode, Meia is joined by Sarah Raine and Fabrice Pothier for a wide-ranging and in-depth discussion on how the EU’s political agenda has been impacted by the pandemic and what issues remain at the forefront of its policy priorities.

              3. Policy

              • Almost 10 Million Children May Never Return to School Following COVID-19 Lockdown (Save the Children)
                Deep budget cuts to education and rising poverty caused by COVID-19 could force at least 9.7 million children out of school forever by the end of this year, with millions more falling behind in learning, especially girls. As the impacts of the recession triggered by COVID-19 hits families, many children may be forced out of school and into labor markets.

                Communications Manager

                International Civil Society Centre