Assessment and Monitoring Tools

This portal includes tools for assessing and monitoring the legal enabling environment for civil society.

The Civic Freedom Monitor

ICNL's Civic Freedom Monitor provides the most current information on legal issues affecting civil society and civic freedoms – the freedoms of association, expression and peaceful assembly – in 50 countries and eight regional multilateral institutions.

US Protest Law Tracker

ICNL's US Protest Law Tracker is a compilation of new laws – proposed or passed or rejected – that could potentially restrict the right to peaceful assembly around the United States. Each entry features a link to the text of the proposed bill and its legislative progress.

Assessment & Monitoring Tools

  • ICNL/CIVICUS’ Enabling Environment National Assessments: Designed to provide step-by-step instructions on how to thoroughly characterize the nature of a nation’s enabling environment for civil society, and on the basis of that characterization, to advocate for reform. The assessments are designed to be locally guided, rooted in primary data collected at the grassroots level, and validated by a consensus based, multi-stakeholder process with the dual purpose of strengthening the capacity of civil society to advocate for an enabling environment and improving CSO government relations.
  • The Global Partnership Monitoring Framework, Indicator #2: This monitoring tool is part of a broader framework devoted to tracking progress on improving the effectiveness of development cooperation as agreed upon by the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation in 2011. Indicator #2 specifically measures the extent to which “civil society operates within an environment that maximizes its engagement in and contribution to development.”
  • CSO Sustainability Index: This index assesses a region's CSO sector based on its legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, public image, service provision and infrastructure. Access the latest reports are available for:
  • The ECNL/ICNL/BCSDN Matrix on the Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development: This matrix and its accompanying monitoring methodology are designed to be used by CSOs to monitor the principles and standards identified as crucial to a supportive and enabling legal environment for CSOs. The Matrix is organized around three core areas: basic legal guarantees of freedoms, framework for CSOs’ financial viability and sustainability, and government-CSO relations.
  • The Hudson Institute’s Philanthropic Freedom Index: an Index designed to identify the barriers and incentives for individuals and organizations to donate resources (money and time) to social causes.
  • Monitoring and Tracking Tool: This discussion guide summarizes the process for implementing ICNL’s Monitoring and Tracking Tool.
  • The Civic Pulse: A barometer designed to track and enhance our understanding of the key trends in civil society. The ultimate objective of the Civic Pulse is to present at-a-glance data, for further investigation with deeper and more nuanced tools at the regional or country level.

Reports and Articles

Other Tools