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Ten ways to protect and promote Civic Space
Counter the
discrimination, exclusion
and marginalisation that
disproportionately affect
certain groups and hinder
equal participation in
public life
3
Safeguard and protect
human rights defenders,
journalists, whistle
blowers, and other
at-risk groups
4
Foster a public interest
information ecosystem
that protects independent
media and promotes
access to information
5
Protect online civic space,
including by countering
hate speech and mis- and
disinformation
6
Respect privacy and
ensure personal data
protection to avoid
arbitrary intrusion
and interference in
public life
7
Foster an enabling
environment for civil
society organisations
that facilitates their
positive contribution
to society
8
Protect civic space both
domestically as well as
through development
co-operation as part of
a coherent policy
approach
9
Systematically protect and promote civic space as a
precondition for citizens and stakeholders to engage in
public decision making to foster more open, transparent
and accountable governance.
10
Protect and facilitate
freedom of peaceful
assembly and the right
to protest
2
Protect and facilitate
freedom of expression
1
Civic space snapshot: Fundamental freedoms*
All countries enshrine key civic freedoms in law
Limitations that may restrict civic space
Non-discrimination is a cornerstone of protected civic space
% of countries where core legal protections extend to all persons, including those present temporarily or irregularly
Freedom of expression
100% 96%
Freedom of peaceful assembly
91% 88%
Right to privacy
97% 98%
Freedom of association
91% 82%
OECD All
Groups that are particularly affected by discrimination and de facto exclusion from public spaces and decision-making:
of OECD countries
(84% all) have
affirmative action
measures for
disadvantaged groups
91%
91% 84%
of OECD countries have public
institutions that specialise in
addressing discrimination and in
promoting equality
(49% all)
46%
46% 49%
Other Minorities
Women LGBTI persons
22%
Women are not fully
protected against
discrimination across OECD
countries and
an average of 22%
has experienced
gender-based violence at
some point in her lifetime
78%of OECD countries
(71% all) have laws to
protect whistle-blowers
78% 71%
Protecting whistleblowers
People with disabilities
Key criteria for restrictions
Lawful
1 Proportionate
2 Necessary
3
Common limitations
of OECD countries (86% all)
criminalise defamation
88%
of OECD countries (39% all) penalise
insulting monarchs or other rulers or
public officials
38%
of OECD countries (59% all) restrict
holding peaceful assemblies in specific
public spaces in certain circumstances
50%
of OECD countries (40% all) limit freedom
of association where associations pose a
threat to public morals
35%
of OECD countries (34% all) limit
political activities of associations in
certain situations
39%
*Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards
and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
Civic freedoms in practice
Freedom of peaceful assembly
of the OECD countries almost always allow and
actively protect peaceful assemblies, except in rare
cases of lawful, necessary and proportionate
limitations (21% non-OECD)
68%
Freedom of expression
100%
80%
60%
40%
20%
0%
83%
28%
8%
28%
0%
22%
17%
3% 5%
6%
ranked as
“open”
ranked as
“less
restricted”
ranked as
“restricted”
ranked as
“highly
restricted”
ranked as “in
crisis”
OECD Non-OECD
Source: The Global Expression Report, Article 19 (2021)
(36 OECD Countries and 18 Non-OECD Countries)
Human rights defenders face heightened risks in some countries
Human rights defenders, particularly those working on land,
environment and indigenous peoples’ rights are particularly at risk.
Latin America is by far the most affected region.
human rights defenders were killed
in 2021 in 5OECD countries.
Source: Frontline Defenders (2022)
184
24%
5%
3%
68%
3%(1 country) rarely allow peaceful
assemblies (5% non-OECD)
24% of OECD countries mostly
allow peaceful assemblies, and only
in rare cases arbitrarily deny citizens
the right to assemble peacefully
(53% non-OECD)
5%of OECD countries
sometimes allow citizens the
right to assemble peacefully
(21% non-OECD)
Source: Varieties of Democracy Institute (2021), freedom of peaceful
assembly indicator (38 OECD Countries and 19 Non-OECD Countries)
Freedom of association
In 2021, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were free to organise, associate, strike, express themselves and
criticise the government without fear of government sanctions or harassment in 76% of OECD countries (47% non-OECD).
Source: Varieties of Democracy Institute (2022), CSO repression indicator (38 OECD Countries and 19 Non-OECD Countries)
COVID-19 and civic space
The pandemic has increased pressure on civic space and
civil society in many ways
of OECD countries
(90% all) have
independent public
institutions that
address human
rights complaints
84%
84% 90%
of these institutions
in OECD countries
(88% all) can
independently
initiate human
rights investigations
81%
81% 88%
Heightened
concerns about
surveillance
Emergency laws limiting
democratic rights and
access to information
Reduced possibilities to
participate in
decision-making
Racially motivated
discrimination
and exclusion
Examples of targeted government support for the CSO sector
Mutually beneficial cooperation frameworks
1 Support funds
2 Temporary suspension of tax payments
3
Independent oversight mechanisms
can help to protect civic freedoms
Civic space snapshot: The right to access information*
Access to Information (ATI) as a fundamental right
Proactive and reactive disclosure of information
of OECD countries
(78% all) have ATI laws
that stipulate that
anyone can file a
request for information
82%
of OECD countries
(72% all) provide
information on how to
make a request on a
portal or website
75%
of OECD countries
(84% all) have guidelines for
proactive disclosure, meaning
they publish information on
an ongoing basis
84%
of all have provisions for
anonymity when requesting
information, which is particularly
important in contexts where civic
space is restricted
18%
of OECD countries (78% all)
enshrine the right to access
information in their constitutions
70% 134 countries, including 37 OECD countries have now adopted
legal frameworks for ATI
of OECD countries (56% all) provide
additional support and assistance to these
groups
50%
Marginalised population groups (e.g. lower socio-economic
groups, youth, migrants and refugees, indigenous groups, the
elderly, people with disabilities) can face obstacles in accessing
information
Ensuring inclusive access to information
Examples of initiatives supporting inclusion:
All countries have one or more mechanisms for appeal
79% 76% 85% 82%
97% 94% OECD All
Mechanisms for appeal
have an internal
appeals process
have an external
appeals process
have a judicial
appeals process
Most countries have one or more of the following bodies dedicated to ATI
Oversight and promotion of ATI
Key criteria for access to information procedures
Information is
available on the process
1
Costs
are limited
2
Subject to
clear timelines
3
Identity of requesters
is protected
4
Online and in-person support for those with visual
or hearing disabilities (e.g. documents available in
braille)
Guides on digital literacy for senior citizens and
those living in rural areas with less access to
internet
Guidelines on providing plain, concise, and simple
language as well as information in indigenous
languages
of OECD countries
(47% all) have an
independent body
with a specific
mandate for ATI
45%
45% 47%
of OECD countries
(25% all) have an
ombudsman with a
wider mandate
that includes ATI
27%
27% 25%
of OECD countries
(45% all) have a
central
government
authority
52%
52% 45%
50% of OECD countries
(61% all) provide for the
establishment of an ATI
office or officer in their laws
50% 61%
Establishing ATI
Offices or Officers
A
*Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards
and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
Civic space snapshot: Press freedom and
online civic space*
Civic Space and Artificial Intelligence
Governments are increasingly aware of the need to protect civic
freedoms and avoid discrimination in the public sector.
Out of 19 assessed AI strategies in OECD countries...
mention potential risks
to civic freedoms
84%
propose concrete types of
oversight and redress
mechanisms to protect civic
freedoms
53%
encourage public participation in
the development and oversight of
AI technologies
37%
suggest the development of
an ethics framework or
commission
84%
Journalists are regularly subjected to “public
vilification”, “public insults” and “hate speech” in
61%of OECD countries.
Source: Reporters Without Borders (2021)
Between 2017 and 2021, 67 journalists and media
workers were killed in respondent countries with
the motive confirmed as related to their work.
Source: Committee to Protect Journalists (2022)
Level of freedom enjoyed by journalists
in OECD countries
26.3% Good
18.4% Problematic
47.4% Fairly good
7.9% Bad
26.3%
47.4%
18.4%
7.9%
Source: Reporters Without Borders (2021)
Press freedom
In European Union countries, 45% of 302 surveyed CSOs
experienced online verbal threats or harassment of
employees or volunteers in 2020.
Source: EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2021)
At least 10 OECD countries have introduced specific measures to
address online hate speech targeting women.
Measures taken by OECD countries
to combat hate speech
31%
35%
54%
65%
65%
have embedded measures to combat
harmful online content within national
strategies or action plans
have targeted training
for public officials and
law enforcement bodies
track
information
have established
hotlines or
complaints
mechanisms
have initiated
targeted public
awareness campaigns
of OECD countries (75% all) have legally
established the principle of an open Internet
94%
Only two OECD countries have recognised
access to the Internet as a legal right
Online civic space
Open internet
of OECD countries (90% all) prohibit hate speech
97%
Hate speech
The spread of mis- and disinformation can
negatively affect access to accurate
information and democratic participation.
Several countries have introduced legal
provisions to combat this phenomenon,
with some raising concerns over overly
broad language that could stifle freedom
of expression.
Mis- and disinformation
The majority of online hate speech targets
minorities and women
*Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards
and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
General conditions for CSOs
EU Member States
Political campaigning and
activity by CSOs is restricted
or may lead to consequences
such as the loss of tax-exempt
status in 41% of OECD
countries (38% all)
41%
41% 38%
Civic space snapshot: The Enabling
Environment for Civil Society*
of OECD countries have a legal requirement
for CSOs to register in order to operate (55%
all), contrary to international standards
44%
of OECD countries (28% all) give the
responsibility for CSO registration to the
ministries of interior which risks associating
CSOs with national security and public order
24%
In 86% of OECD countries
(87% all), CSOs may challenge
a denial of registration
through a judicial appeal
86%
68% of OECD countries
gather statistics on requests
for CSO registration
(58% all)
68% 58%
39% of OECD countries
gather statistics on the
number of revoked CSO
registrations (38% all)
39%
Registration timelines:
Decision within 15 days
42% of OECD countries
(37% all)
16 days to one month
25% of OECD countries
(17% all)
One to three months
21% of OECD countries
(34% all)
Three months to one year
13% of OECD countries
(12% all)
Perceptions of conditions for CSOs in
EU member states working on human rights
Source: EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2021)
Experience of threats and attacks
by CSOs in EU member states (2021):
Levels of CSO repression by governments
40%
20%
0%
31%
26%
20%
12% 11%
7%
9%
1
1. Negative media reports/ campaigns
2. Coordinated and/or multiple online
threats/harassment
3. Online attacks against digital
infrastructure
4. Harassment in the form of legal
action/SLAPP
5. Criminalisation of work of the
organisation
6. Vandalism of premises or property
7. Surveillance by law enforcement
2 3 4 5 6 7
30%
10%
50%
20%
0%
1%
10%
23%
31%
33%
2%
Very
good
Good Neither
good nor
bad
Bad Very
bad
Don’t
know
40%
30%
10%
Source: EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2021)
In all respondents,
authorities are obliged to
inform CSOs if
registration is denied
OECD
(38 countries)
Non-OECD
(19 countries)
No repression
Weak repression
Moderate repression
Substantial repression
47%
21%
32%
76%
18%
3% 3%
Source: Varieties of Democracy Institute (2022)
*Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards
and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)
Good practices in supporting CSOs
Good practices to help promote a favourable financial environment for CSOs
Civic space in the context of development cooperation
SLAPPs are increasingly used to silence those who publicly criticise or investigate powerful individuals,
companies or interest groups.
Anti-SLAPP legislation is rare in OECD countries and awareness remains low.
A favourable financial environment for CSOs is key for their participation, yet access to resources remains a challenge.
Groups that are particularly affected by SLAPPS
Distribution of private philanthropy
focused on civic space from 2016-2019
$
USD 706 million
68% of OECD countries
(52% all) have a policy or
strategy in place to improve
or promote the enabling
environment for CSOs
68% 52%
85% of OECD countries
(78% all) provided funding for
CSOs in 2019 although
long-term and core funding
for CSOs remain rare
85% 78%
All OECD countries (90% all)
have special tax regimes in
place to support CSO
financial sustainability
100% 90%
48% of OECD countries have
a dedicated policy or strategy
to promote CSOs as part of
development cooperation
Latin America and the Caribbean
received the largest share of
philanthropic giving for civic space
(or 28% of the total)
100
0
1 2 3 5
4
200
300
400
500
USD
417
million
USD
415
million
USD
400
million
USD
334
million
USD
202
million
Journalists
Activists
CSOs
48%
28%
1. Women’s rights organisations and
movements
2. Human rights
3. Media and free flows of information
4. Legal and judicial development
5. Democratic participation and
civil society
Between 2011 and 2020, official development assistance
going through CSOs (e.g. to implement projects) was
nearly six times the volume of support flowing to CSOs
(e.g. to support their own objectives).
of financial development assistance
went to CSOs based in developing
countries in 2019-2020.
7%
Core support for
CSOs to pursue
their own objectives
Support for a wide
variety of activities e.g.
advocacy, watchdogs
Support for
informal civil
society
Long-term funding
to strengthen
sustainability
Simplified
procedures to access
funding
Advocacy groups
Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)
Good practices in supporting CSOs
Good practices in government funding of CSOs
Civic space in the context of development cooperation
SLAPPs are increasingly used to silence those who publicly criticise or investigate powerful individuals,
companies or interest groups.
Anti-SLAPP legislation is rare in OECD countries and awareness remains low.
A favourable financial environment for CSOs is key for their participation, yet access to resources remains a challenge.
Groups that are particularly affected by SLAPPS
Distribution of private philanthropy
focused on civic space from 2016-2019
$
USD 706 million
68% of OECD countries
(52% all) have a policy or
strategy in place to improve
or promote the enabling
environment for CSOs
68% 52%
85% of OECD countries
(78% all) provided funding for
CSOs in 2019 although
long-term and core funding
for CSOs remain rare
85% 78%
All OECD countries (90% all)
have special tax regimes in
place to support CSO
financial sustainability
100% 90%
48% of OECD countries have
a dedicated policy or strategy
to promote CSOs as part of
development cooperation
Latin America and the Caribbean
received the largest share of
philanthropic giving for civic space
(or 28% of the total)
100
0
1 2 3 5
4
200
300
400
500
USD
417
million
USD
415
million
USD
400
million
USD
334
million
USD
202
million
Journalists
Activists
CSOs
48%
28%
1. Women’s rights organisations and
movements
2. Human rights
3. Media and free flows of information
4. Legal and judicial development
5. Democratic participation and
civil society
Between 2011 and 2020, official development assistance
going through CSOs (e.g. to implement projects) was
nearly six times the volume of support flowing to CSOs
(e.g. to support their own objectives).
of financial development assistance
went to CSOs based in developing
countries in 2019-2020.
7%
Core support for
CSOs to pursue
their own objectives
Support for a wide
variety of activities e.g.
advocacy, watchdogs
Support for
informal civil
society
Long-term funding
to strengthen
sustainability
Simplified
procedures to access
funding
Advocacy groups

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The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance, OECD Report

  • 1. Ten ways to protect and promote Civic Space Counter the discrimination, exclusion and marginalisation that disproportionately affect certain groups and hinder equal participation in public life 3 Safeguard and protect human rights defenders, journalists, whistle blowers, and other at-risk groups 4 Foster a public interest information ecosystem that protects independent media and promotes access to information 5 Protect online civic space, including by countering hate speech and mis- and disinformation 6 Respect privacy and ensure personal data protection to avoid arbitrary intrusion and interference in public life 7 Foster an enabling environment for civil society organisations that facilitates their positive contribution to society 8 Protect civic space both domestically as well as through development co-operation as part of a coherent policy approach 9 Systematically protect and promote civic space as a precondition for citizens and stakeholders to engage in public decision making to foster more open, transparent and accountable governance. 10 Protect and facilitate freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to protest 2 Protect and facilitate freedom of expression 1
  • 2. Civic space snapshot: Fundamental freedoms* All countries enshrine key civic freedoms in law Limitations that may restrict civic space Non-discrimination is a cornerstone of protected civic space % of countries where core legal protections extend to all persons, including those present temporarily or irregularly Freedom of expression 100% 96% Freedom of peaceful assembly 91% 88% Right to privacy 97% 98% Freedom of association 91% 82% OECD All Groups that are particularly affected by discrimination and de facto exclusion from public spaces and decision-making: of OECD countries (84% all) have affirmative action measures for disadvantaged groups 91% 91% 84% of OECD countries have public institutions that specialise in addressing discrimination and in promoting equality (49% all) 46% 46% 49% Other Minorities Women LGBTI persons 22% Women are not fully protected against discrimination across OECD countries and an average of 22% has experienced gender-based violence at some point in her lifetime 78%of OECD countries (71% all) have laws to protect whistle-blowers 78% 71% Protecting whistleblowers People with disabilities Key criteria for restrictions Lawful 1 Proportionate 2 Necessary 3 Common limitations of OECD countries (86% all) criminalise defamation 88% of OECD countries (39% all) penalise insulting monarchs or other rulers or public officials 38% of OECD countries (59% all) restrict holding peaceful assemblies in specific public spaces in certain circumstances 50% of OECD countries (40% all) limit freedom of association where associations pose a threat to public morals 35% of OECD countries (34% all) limit political activities of associations in certain situations 39% *Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
  • 3. Civic freedoms in practice Freedom of peaceful assembly of the OECD countries almost always allow and actively protect peaceful assemblies, except in rare cases of lawful, necessary and proportionate limitations (21% non-OECD) 68% Freedom of expression 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% 83% 28% 8% 28% 0% 22% 17% 3% 5% 6% ranked as “open” ranked as “less restricted” ranked as “restricted” ranked as “highly restricted” ranked as “in crisis” OECD Non-OECD Source: The Global Expression Report, Article 19 (2021) (36 OECD Countries and 18 Non-OECD Countries) Human rights defenders face heightened risks in some countries Human rights defenders, particularly those working on land, environment and indigenous peoples’ rights are particularly at risk. Latin America is by far the most affected region. human rights defenders were killed in 2021 in 5OECD countries. Source: Frontline Defenders (2022) 184 24% 5% 3% 68% 3%(1 country) rarely allow peaceful assemblies (5% non-OECD) 24% of OECD countries mostly allow peaceful assemblies, and only in rare cases arbitrarily deny citizens the right to assemble peacefully (53% non-OECD) 5%of OECD countries sometimes allow citizens the right to assemble peacefully (21% non-OECD) Source: Varieties of Democracy Institute (2021), freedom of peaceful assembly indicator (38 OECD Countries and 19 Non-OECD Countries) Freedom of association In 2021, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) were free to organise, associate, strike, express themselves and criticise the government without fear of government sanctions or harassment in 76% of OECD countries (47% non-OECD). Source: Varieties of Democracy Institute (2022), CSO repression indicator (38 OECD Countries and 19 Non-OECD Countries) COVID-19 and civic space The pandemic has increased pressure on civic space and civil society in many ways of OECD countries (90% all) have independent public institutions that address human rights complaints 84% 84% 90% of these institutions in OECD countries (88% all) can independently initiate human rights investigations 81% 81% 88% Heightened concerns about surveillance Emergency laws limiting democratic rights and access to information Reduced possibilities to participate in decision-making Racially motivated discrimination and exclusion Examples of targeted government support for the CSO sector Mutually beneficial cooperation frameworks 1 Support funds 2 Temporary suspension of tax payments 3 Independent oversight mechanisms can help to protect civic freedoms
  • 4. Civic space snapshot: The right to access information* Access to Information (ATI) as a fundamental right Proactive and reactive disclosure of information of OECD countries (78% all) have ATI laws that stipulate that anyone can file a request for information 82% of OECD countries (72% all) provide information on how to make a request on a portal or website 75% of OECD countries (84% all) have guidelines for proactive disclosure, meaning they publish information on an ongoing basis 84% of all have provisions for anonymity when requesting information, which is particularly important in contexts where civic space is restricted 18% of OECD countries (78% all) enshrine the right to access information in their constitutions 70% 134 countries, including 37 OECD countries have now adopted legal frameworks for ATI of OECD countries (56% all) provide additional support and assistance to these groups 50% Marginalised population groups (e.g. lower socio-economic groups, youth, migrants and refugees, indigenous groups, the elderly, people with disabilities) can face obstacles in accessing information Ensuring inclusive access to information Examples of initiatives supporting inclusion: All countries have one or more mechanisms for appeal 79% 76% 85% 82% 97% 94% OECD All Mechanisms for appeal have an internal appeals process have an external appeals process have a judicial appeals process Most countries have one or more of the following bodies dedicated to ATI Oversight and promotion of ATI Key criteria for access to information procedures Information is available on the process 1 Costs are limited 2 Subject to clear timelines 3 Identity of requesters is protected 4 Online and in-person support for those with visual or hearing disabilities (e.g. documents available in braille) Guides on digital literacy for senior citizens and those living in rural areas with less access to internet Guidelines on providing plain, concise, and simple language as well as information in indigenous languages of OECD countries (47% all) have an independent body with a specific mandate for ATI 45% 45% 47% of OECD countries (25% all) have an ombudsman with a wider mandate that includes ATI 27% 27% 25% of OECD countries (45% all) have a central government authority 52% 52% 45% 50% of OECD countries (61% all) provide for the establishment of an ATI office or officer in their laws 50% 61% Establishing ATI Offices or Officers A *Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
  • 5. Civic space snapshot: Press freedom and online civic space* Civic Space and Artificial Intelligence Governments are increasingly aware of the need to protect civic freedoms and avoid discrimination in the public sector. Out of 19 assessed AI strategies in OECD countries... mention potential risks to civic freedoms 84% propose concrete types of oversight and redress mechanisms to protect civic freedoms 53% encourage public participation in the development and oversight of AI technologies 37% suggest the development of an ethics framework or commission 84% Journalists are regularly subjected to “public vilification”, “public insults” and “hate speech” in 61%of OECD countries. Source: Reporters Without Borders (2021) Between 2017 and 2021, 67 journalists and media workers were killed in respondent countries with the motive confirmed as related to their work. Source: Committee to Protect Journalists (2022) Level of freedom enjoyed by journalists in OECD countries 26.3% Good 18.4% Problematic 47.4% Fairly good 7.9% Bad 26.3% 47.4% 18.4% 7.9% Source: Reporters Without Borders (2021) Press freedom In European Union countries, 45% of 302 surveyed CSOs experienced online verbal threats or harassment of employees or volunteers in 2020. Source: EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2021) At least 10 OECD countries have introduced specific measures to address online hate speech targeting women. Measures taken by OECD countries to combat hate speech 31% 35% 54% 65% 65% have embedded measures to combat harmful online content within national strategies or action plans have targeted training for public officials and law enforcement bodies track information have established hotlines or complaints mechanisms have initiated targeted public awareness campaigns of OECD countries (75% all) have legally established the principle of an open Internet 94% Only two OECD countries have recognised access to the Internet as a legal right Online civic space Open internet of OECD countries (90% all) prohibit hate speech 97% Hate speech The spread of mis- and disinformation can negatively affect access to accurate information and democratic participation. Several countries have introduced legal provisions to combat this phenomenon, with some raising concerns over overly broad language that could stifle freedom of expression. Mis- and disinformation The majority of online hate speech targets minorities and women *Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
  • 6. General conditions for CSOs EU Member States Political campaigning and activity by CSOs is restricted or may lead to consequences such as the loss of tax-exempt status in 41% of OECD countries (38% all) 41% 41% 38% Civic space snapshot: The Enabling Environment for Civil Society* of OECD countries have a legal requirement for CSOs to register in order to operate (55% all), contrary to international standards 44% of OECD countries (28% all) give the responsibility for CSO registration to the ministries of interior which risks associating CSOs with national security and public order 24% In 86% of OECD countries (87% all), CSOs may challenge a denial of registration through a judicial appeal 86% 68% of OECD countries gather statistics on requests for CSO registration (58% all) 68% 58% 39% of OECD countries gather statistics on the number of revoked CSO registrations (38% all) 39% Registration timelines: Decision within 15 days 42% of OECD countries (37% all) 16 days to one month 25% of OECD countries (17% all) One to three months 21% of OECD countries (34% all) Three months to one year 13% of OECD countries (12% all) Perceptions of conditions for CSOs in EU member states working on human rights Source: EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2021) Experience of threats and attacks by CSOs in EU member states (2021): Levels of CSO repression by governments 40% 20% 0% 31% 26% 20% 12% 11% 7% 9% 1 1. Negative media reports/ campaigns 2. Coordinated and/or multiple online threats/harassment 3. Online attacks against digital infrastructure 4. Harassment in the form of legal action/SLAPP 5. Criminalisation of work of the organisation 6. Vandalism of premises or property 7. Surveillance by law enforcement 2 3 4 5 6 7 30% 10% 50% 20% 0% 1% 10% 23% 31% 33% 2% Very good Good Neither good nor bad Bad Very bad Don’t know 40% 30% 10% Source: EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2021) In all respondents, authorities are obliged to inform CSOs if registration is denied OECD (38 countries) Non-OECD (19 countries) No repression Weak repression Moderate repression Substantial repression 47% 21% 32% 76% 18% 3% 3% Source: Varieties of Democracy Institute (2022) *Findings are from The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance, which includes data from 52 countries (33 OECD countries)
  • 7. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) Good practices in supporting CSOs Good practices to help promote a favourable financial environment for CSOs Civic space in the context of development cooperation SLAPPs are increasingly used to silence those who publicly criticise or investigate powerful individuals, companies or interest groups. Anti-SLAPP legislation is rare in OECD countries and awareness remains low. A favourable financial environment for CSOs is key for their participation, yet access to resources remains a challenge. Groups that are particularly affected by SLAPPS Distribution of private philanthropy focused on civic space from 2016-2019 $ USD 706 million 68% of OECD countries (52% all) have a policy or strategy in place to improve or promote the enabling environment for CSOs 68% 52% 85% of OECD countries (78% all) provided funding for CSOs in 2019 although long-term and core funding for CSOs remain rare 85% 78% All OECD countries (90% all) have special tax regimes in place to support CSO financial sustainability 100% 90% 48% of OECD countries have a dedicated policy or strategy to promote CSOs as part of development cooperation Latin America and the Caribbean received the largest share of philanthropic giving for civic space (or 28% of the total) 100 0 1 2 3 5 4 200 300 400 500 USD 417 million USD 415 million USD 400 million USD 334 million USD 202 million Journalists Activists CSOs 48% 28% 1. Women’s rights organisations and movements 2. Human rights 3. Media and free flows of information 4. Legal and judicial development 5. Democratic participation and civil society Between 2011 and 2020, official development assistance going through CSOs (e.g. to implement projects) was nearly six times the volume of support flowing to CSOs (e.g. to support their own objectives). of financial development assistance went to CSOs based in developing countries in 2019-2020. 7% Core support for CSOs to pursue their own objectives Support for a wide variety of activities e.g. advocacy, watchdogs Support for informal civil society Long-term funding to strengthen sustainability Simplified procedures to access funding Advocacy groups
  • 8. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) Good practices in supporting CSOs Good practices in government funding of CSOs Civic space in the context of development cooperation SLAPPs are increasingly used to silence those who publicly criticise or investigate powerful individuals, companies or interest groups. Anti-SLAPP legislation is rare in OECD countries and awareness remains low. A favourable financial environment for CSOs is key for their participation, yet access to resources remains a challenge. Groups that are particularly affected by SLAPPS Distribution of private philanthropy focused on civic space from 2016-2019 $ USD 706 million 68% of OECD countries (52% all) have a policy or strategy in place to improve or promote the enabling environment for CSOs 68% 52% 85% of OECD countries (78% all) provided funding for CSOs in 2019 although long-term and core funding for CSOs remain rare 85% 78% All OECD countries (90% all) have special tax regimes in place to support CSO financial sustainability 100% 90% 48% of OECD countries have a dedicated policy or strategy to promote CSOs as part of development cooperation Latin America and the Caribbean received the largest share of philanthropic giving for civic space (or 28% of the total) 100 0 1 2 3 5 4 200 300 400 500 USD 417 million USD 415 million USD 400 million USD 334 million USD 202 million Journalists Activists CSOs 48% 28% 1. Women’s rights organisations and movements 2. Human rights 3. Media and free flows of information 4. Legal and judicial development 5. Democratic participation and civil society Between 2011 and 2020, official development assistance going through CSOs (e.g. to implement projects) was nearly six times the volume of support flowing to CSOs (e.g. to support their own objectives). of financial development assistance went to CSOs based in developing countries in 2019-2020. 7% Core support for CSOs to pursue their own objectives Support for a wide variety of activities e.g. advocacy, watchdogs Support for informal civil society Long-term funding to strengthen sustainability Simplified procedures to access funding Advocacy groups