On June 30, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended a strategic dialogue with civil society representatives present at the Community of Democracies Sixth Ministerial Conference. During her remarks, Secretary Clinton explicitly recognized ICNL and its “world class legal expertise.”
In addition, the Department of State released a fact sheet on the initiatives undertaken to strengthen civil society since Secretary Clinton’s speech last year at the Community of Democracies High-Level Meeting in Krakow. This fact sheet referenced ICNL’s NGO Legal Enabling Environment Program supported by the United States Agency for International Development:
The United States has more than doubled its funding of the global NGO Legal Enabling Environment Program to provide technical assistance to both civil society and governments, both in cases of regulatory threats to civil society and where opportunities arise for positive legal reform. This program also includes small grants to local NGOs, fellowships for NGO practitioners to build local capacity in the process of defending and promoting a more enabling legal environment for civil society. It will support the second Global Forum on Civil Society Law, in Stockholm in August 2011.
The fact sheet also included a number of initiatives upon which ICNL has engaged, including:
- the UN Human Rights Council Resolution (UNHRC) on Rights of Freedom of Assembly and Association and the appointment of the first UNHRC Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and of Association; and
- the launch of the Embattled NGO Assistance Fund, implemented by a global consortium of international NGOs, including Freedom House, CIVICUS, FORUM-ASIA, Front Line Defenders, People in Need, the Swedish International Liberal Centre, and ICNL. Thirteen governments, including Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United States, and the United Kingdom are supporting this Fund.