New OECD work to support citizen engagement with governments


(Arnaud Jaegers, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you in association with OECD.

OECD Observatory of Civic Space will measure access, recommend steps to safeguard public role in policy

The OECD unveiled at the Paris Peace Forum today a new Observatory of Civic Space, an initiative to support countries in promoting and protecting an environment that enables citizens and civil society organisations to engage meaningfully with their governments – and with each other.
The Observatory will collect data on the most effective legal, policy and implementation frameworks for civic space, act as a knowledge-sharing platform among practitioners, help develop international standards and support governments that wish to align their policies to them.

“Incorporating the ideas and opinions of stakeholders is essential to effective policymaking. Citizens around the world are demanding to have their say – and governments are responsible to protect, promote and reinforce the civic space in which their voices can be heard,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. “Everyone should have the right and the possibility to express themselves, to organise, and to mobilise.”

The Observatory builds on almost two decades of OECD work on open government, supporting governance cultures based on transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation. The OECD Recommendation on Open Government recognises the promotion and protection of civic space, as well as stakeholder participation initiatives, as essential to effective and efficient open government policies.

Activities and deliverables of the OECD Observatory of Civic Space will include:

  • A Global Report on Civic Space. The report will presentkey trends and recommendations on how to effectively promote and protect civic space and enhance civic engagement around the world. This will be based on a survey that will collect data and examples of good practices in this area.
  • Civic Space Country Scans. Available to participating countries, the Scans will deepen the assessment of legal, institutional, policy and implementation frameworks on civic space.
  • International and National Thematic Roundtables to convene activists, civil society organisations, governments, private sector, and academia to discuss findings and recommendations of this work.
  • A Civic Space Portal that will make resources from the Observatory available to the public and will provide a space for regular exchange.

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