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The Civic Space Initiative (CSI)

Around the world, efforts by various governments to restrict the space in which civil society operates have grown at an alarming rate. Increasingly, governments are using laws, policies, and practices to limit the ability of people to come together to improve everyday lives.

The Civic Space Initiative is a multi-year program (2012-2016) that addresses this troubling trend, aiming to:

  • Advance a legal environment that enables all people to exercise the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression; and
  • Create spaces for citizens, communities, and civil society organizations to meaningfully engage with government and other power holders on freedoms of assembly, association, and expression. 

The CSI brings together four global partners, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy.

ICNL coordinates the consortium's work at the global, regional, and national levels to promote the universal integration of civil society freedoms. ICNL’s European affiliate, the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law, supports the implementation of several program components, including UN level collaboration, work with regional human rights mechanisms, country assistance, raising public awareness, and civic space research. Support for the CSI is provided by the Swedish Government.

Learn about our work and impact.


This webpage is prepared by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law through the Civic Space Initiative, implemented in partnership with ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy.