Civil Society Space and Role

Just and equitable societies are only possible if people’s perspectives and initiatives to enhance their well-being and to fulfil their rights are at the centre of policies and actions. In the face of the current backlash on civic space and gender justice, we believe the EU has a responsibility to promote and protect civic space and support civil society action worldwide.

In a nutshell

Our vision is for people in all their diversity to live in dignity in just and equitable societies where human rights are fulfilled. That’s why we actively push the EU to promote and defend human rights and civic space in its foreign policy and external action. Moreover, we encourage the EU to enable and fund the civil society organisations (CSOs) that lead the change towards just, inclusive, equitable and peaceful societies.   

Together with our members and with the Human Rights and Democracy network, we encourage the EU and its member states to use their external action tools and their voice in the international community to flag and counter attacks on civic space and violations of human rights and international human rights law.   

We join forces with African Civil Society partners, ACT Alliance members and CONCORD to advocate in favour of an effective participation of a diversity of civil society organisations at political, policy and implementation levels in EU international partnerships with developing countries. 

We also engage in debates and advocacy to shift the power and overcome inequality, misinformation, prejudices, racism, age and gender-based discrimination in development co-operation and humanitarian aid and instead to give a leading role to actors and communities we all aim to support. 

A woman holds a sign during a march celebrating International Women's Day on March 8, 2016, in Dhawa, a village in the Gorkha District of Nepal.

current priorities

  • Protection of civic space inside and outside Europe
  • Enabling civil society in Development and Humanitarian Aid
  • Civil Society participation in the Africa-EU partnership
  • Civic space and locally-led action in humanitarian situations
  • Role of FBOs in defending civic space and gender justice