Civil Society & Government Cooperation

Strong partnerships with civil society organizations can help governments better understand local needs, find the best solutions to emerging problems, and make positive impacts more efficiently.

Civil society organizations and governments cooperate in various ways, from joint policy development to funding agreements. ICNL works with both groups to formulate enabling laws and policies and create mechanisms that foster cooperation. Along with our partners, we support the development of policy documents, help establish government offices and contacts for CSOs, facilitate cross-sectoral advisory bodies focused on specific issues, and provide advice about mechanisms and laws to regulate civil society funding and social contracting.

Project Highlight

ICNL training for members of Morocco’s House of Councillors, November 2017, Rabat (Photo: ICNL)
Morocco: Participatory democracy training for lawmakers

In 2017, ICNL trained twenty-five staff members of Morocco’s House of Councillors on the legal framework for participatory democracy and international models and best practices for promoting cooperation between CSOs and public authorities.

Civil Society & Government Cooperation

Is the Coronavirus Catalyzing New Civic Collaborations for Open Government?

This report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace includes findings and key recommendations for NGOs, grassroots groups, and donors to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting civil society collaborations for open government reforms.

Guidelines on Government and CSO Cooperation in Morocco

This 2017 document examines legal mechanisms that can facilitate CSO and government cooperation at the national, regional, provincial, and community levels in Morocco. The guidelines include recommendations on their implementation based on successful models of cooperation from around the world.

Models to Promote Cooperation between Civil Society & Public Authorities

This 2013 publication provides an overview of best practices in government and CSO cooperation. It identifies mechanisms developed in countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and other regions. Available in English and Arabic.

Analysis of Cooperation between State & Civil Society Organization Policies

This comparative analysis looks at policy papers that address cooperation between government bodies and CSOs in Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Estonia, Croatia, and the Philippines.

Setting Up A Regulatory Framework for Partnership in Brazil

This case study discusses the development of the regulatory framework for CSOs in Brazil, which included an inspiring participatory process.

Keeping Up the Momentum: Improving Cooperation in the Western Balkans & Turkey

This ECNL report analyzes cooperation between civil society and public institutions in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

Implementation of Policy Documents and Liaison Offices that Support Civil Society Development

This ECNL research paper discusses the role that European government liaison offices supporting civil society can play in implementing plans for improved cooperation.

A Comparative Analysis of European Practices of NGO-Government Cooperation

This article produced by ECNL offers a European perspective on policies and practices shaping cooperation between civil society and government in European Union member states and other Central and Eastern European countries.

Criteria for Selection of Civil Society Organizations in Cross-Sector Bodies

ECNL co-authored this comparative paper on the criteria and mechanisms for appointing CSOs to government bodies, including cross-sector working groups, councils, and national boards. It also discusses models to help improve the legal framework and guidance available to government officials and civil society.

Mechanisms for Nominating NGO Representatives

This Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law (BCNL) report discusses the professional relationships and mechanisms used to nominate and elect CSO representatives to state commissions and other consultative positions in Central and Eastern Europe.

Public Funding

Lottery Proceeds for CSO Work: Luck Has Nothing to Do with It

This paper, focusing on Europe, provides a comparative overview of the legal basis, strategies, and programs for defining funding priorities from lottery incomes and the amounts made available for CSOs.

Public Funding for Civil Society Organizations

This paper examines best practices for government financing of CSOs in the Western Balkans and European Union member states.

National Funds to Support Civil Society Organizations

This 2010 paper explores key strategic and operational questions arising during the development of national funds and foundations to support CSOs. Available in English and Arabic.

Social Contracting

Analysis of State Procurement of Social Services in the Kyrgyz Republic

This 2013 analysis of the Kyrgyz Republic’s Law on State Procurement of Social Services includes an overview of best practices and recommendations for improving the approach in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Inclusion of Civil Society Organizations in Government Contracting

This paper was prepared to help the Government of Mongolia reform its approach to contracting with CSOs. It examines international best practices and outlines steps in developing both the underlying concept and provisions of the new legislation.

A Handbook on Non-State Social Service Delivery Models

This handbook prepared by ECNL outlines the ways in which governments can cooperate with non-state actors to deliver social services. It aims to serve as a guide for policymakers and practitioners in Central Asia.

All Resources Related to Civil Society & Government Cooperation

2018 Report of the UN Secretary General on Progress Toward the SDGs

2018 Report of the UN Secretary General on Progress Toward the SDGs
This report provides a global overview of the current situation of the Sustainable Development Goals, ... Read More

OGP: The Guide to Opening Government

OGP: The Guide to Opening Government
This guide, authored by ICNL at the invitation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), provides ... Read More

Reinforcing Marginalization

Reinforcing Marginalization
Civil society advocates have helped propel the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic ... Read More

How Can Civil Society Effectively Engage in Counter-Terrorism Processes?

How Can Civil Society Effectively Engage in Counter-Terrorism Processes?
This paper from ECNL and Human Security Collective provides entry points for CSOs wishing to ... Read More

Parcerias entre Estado e OSCs – desafios na construção de colaborações para implementação da Lei 13.019/2014

Parcerias entre Estado e OSCs – desafios na construção de colaborações para implementação da Lei 13.019/2014
This analysis by Brazilian professor Patricia Maria Emerenciano de Mendonça looks at the history of ... Read More

ECNL Need to Know Briefing: Council of Europe Guidelines for Civil Participation in Political Decision-Making

ECNL Need to Know Briefing: Council of Europe Guidelines for Civil Participation in Political Decision-Making
On 27 September 2017, the Council of Europe’s 47 member states agreed upon comprehensive guidelines ... Read More
Explore our full resource collection, which includes reports, legal analysis, and curated collections of materials covering an array of issues impacting civic space around the world.