Reclaiming Local Civil Society Space January 2021

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A 2019 study published by the EU on ‘Societies outside Metropolises: The role of civil society organisations in facing populism’ recommends that “Concrete and consistent actions over time are needed in order to empower civil society organisations in those regions to deliver their mission and play their role of speaking on behalf of those who are underrepresented and advocating for the marginalised, and to educate and create a kind of genuine bond between different communities”. However, the way the international aid sector currently operates most instrumentalises local and national CSOs as subcontractors for their agendas, rather than supporting them as independent civil society actors catering to the real needs and priorities of the community and encouraging their governments to act as the duty-bearer and protect people’s fundamental rights. The Covid19 pandemic has extensively and adversely impacted the aid architecture, at a time when the lifesaving assistance to population facing natural disasters or protracted crises is most needed. Local organisations are facing further marginalisation at a time when they are at the forefront of the response, be it Covid19 health response or economic or other crises caused during this period. Download Statement [English] [French] [Arabic]

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