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The 2019 CIVICUS State of Civil Society Report

Each year CIVICUS publishes the State of Civil Society Report to analyse how contemporary events and trends are affecting civil society, and how civil society is responding to current issues and challenges.

“The right to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees is under attack as the world faces a crisis of global compassion. Right-wing populists are on the march and gaining ground. Protests against economic exclusion, inequality and poverty are often met with violent repression. Yet in 2018, the successes of diverse movements – such as #MeToo, March for Our Lives and the climate change school strike movement – proved the power of collective action to claim breakthroughs.” These are some of the key findings of the State of Civil Society Report 2019, which launches on 27 March.

The 2019 report comprises four sections, addressing key areas of civil society action in 2018:

  • Everyday issues that bring people to the streets
  • Challenging exclusion and claiming rights
  • The state of democracy in 2018
  • Civil society at the international level

The section on international civic space documents efforts by authoritarian and populist governments to weaken multilateralism and undermine international institutions. The report notes that, “While the instincts of many of us in civil society are to defend international institutions, at the same time we may increasingly question the value of our engagements with them and ask how much effort we should put into institutions that are becoming less able to act. The failures of multilateralism – as exemplified by the deadlocked UN Security Council – have helped enable the attacks on the international system that are being made. Civil society should neither defend a broken system nor withdraw, but rather assert a better form of multilateralism. We need to forge and grow alliances for international democratic reform that strengthens institutions and makes them more relevant by opening them up to the voices of citizens rather than state power.”

CIVICUS is also a key partner in the UN2020 Initiative.

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