The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space

Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance

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The past decade has seen increasing international recognition of civic space as a cornerstone of functioning democracies, alongside efforts to promote and protect it. Countries that foster civic space are better placed to reap the many benefits of higher levels of citizen engagement, strengthened transparency and accountability, and empowered citizens and civil society. In the longer term, a vibrant civic space can help to improve government effectiveness and responsiveness, contribute to more citizen-centred policies, and boost social cohesion. This first OECD comparative report on civic space offers a baseline of data from 33 OECD Members and 19 non-Members and a nuanced overview of the different dimensions of civic space, with a focus on civic freedoms, media freedoms, civic space in the digital age, and the enabling environment for civil society. It provides an exhaustive review of legal frameworks, policies, strategies, and institutional arrangements, in addition to implementation gaps, trends and good practices. The analysis is complemented by a review of international standards and guidance, in addition to data and analysis from civil society and other stakeholders.



This OECD report, The Protection and Promotion of Civic Space: Strengthening Alignment with International Standards and Guidance, is based on data collected through the 2020 OECD Survey on Open Government (hereafter “the Survey”) and desk research. The Survey was primarily aimed at monitoring the implementation of the 2017 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Open Government. The Survey was sent to 67 OECD Members and non-Members in November 2020 (43 Adherents to the Recommendation and 24 non-Adherents).. This document as well as any data and any map included herein are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. It builds on the mandate of the OECD Public Governance Committee and draws on the OECD Civic Space Scan Analytical Framework in the Area of Open Government (GOV/PGC/OG(2020)6).


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