International Civic Forum

Since 2016, the International Civic Forum (ICF) convenes leaders from civil society and other sectors who are at the forefront of protecting and advancing civic space around the globe. It is the annual civic space platform to network, build trust, and identify opportunities for collaboration.

ICF 2023

The ICF 2023 dealt with “Anticipating futures: Moving from scenarios to actions” and brought together 40 civil society experts (from ICSOs, CSOs, networks and philanthropy) to Brussels, Belgium at the end of November 2023. The event focused on operationalising insights from the future scenarios for civic and civil society operating space developed through the ParEvo foresight exercise “A history of civic space, 2024-2034” and examining ways of translating them into strategies and practices. The ICF methodology was developed by the Centre in collaboration with Forum for the Future. The participants engaged with future scenarios and explored how to build up anticipatory capacities at the sectoral, organisational and individual level.

Earlier editions

The ICF 2022 kicked off the initiative “Anticipating futures for civil society operating space” and brought together 60 civil society representatives to London (UK) in November 2022. The event raised awareness why (I)CSOs need to move beyond reactive responses to shrinking space for civil society and become more anticipatory; showed examples of how futures thinking and foresight can be useful; and generated ideas on building collective cross-sector anticipatory capacities and actions.

Convened in partnership with the Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society (FICS), the ICF 2021 shed light on “Anti-rights groups on the rise: How can we jointly address this challenge?” Discussions provided inspiration and insights on how to prepare for attacks from anti-rights groups and how to stand better in solidarity with those who’ve long faced the brunt of these attacks.

The ICF 2020 focused on how to counter misinformation and disinformation that target civil society organisations and the communities they serve. Participants discussed risks that mis- and disinformation pose, exchanged on ways of countering them, looked at useful tools and strategies, and explored new models of addressing mis- and disinformation.