Counter-strategies to shrinking space for practicioners in civil society development cooperation

Counter-strategies to shrinking space for practicioners in civil society development cooperation

01:00 PM 21 september, 2017

Narrowed democratic space takes different forms in different country contexts, and organisations and activists try to find the best counter-strategies they can. Development cooperation and international solidarity has an important role to play, but are development practitioners changing the way we work fast enough to respond to the urgency of the threats facing civil society?
 A session based on group discussions on counter-strategies, in light of the closing democratic space, and best practices in development cooperation, on for example:
Choice of organisations and initiatives to support
– Funding demands and how not to kill activism by bureaucracy
– Understanding, taking and sharing risks
– Creating safe spaces
– Exploring new actors and arenas to work with (cities, cultural groups, informal networks, etc)
– Showing solidarity and helping to create recognition, visibility and awareness
– Plus additional topics to surface during the discussions at the conference

The purpose of the session is to promote reflection of the attendees from organisations and donors on what they can do to counteract (and not contribute to) narrowed space to act for people organising for change.
The methodology will include presentations of counter-strategies in different countries, facilitated group discussions and polls.

This session is held under Chatham House rules, which means that information disclosed during the session may be spread by those present, but the source of that information may not be explicitly or implicitly identified.

Speakers and facilitator:
Speakers from organisations around the world affected by the narrowed democratic space.
Session facilitator: Åsa Thomasson, Concord Sweden

Organizers: Members of Concord Sweden´s working group on civic space: Action Aid, Church of Sweden, Diakonia, FIAN, Forum Syd, IKFF, Kvinna till Kvinna, Plan International Sweden, PMU, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Save the Children, Swedish International Liberal Centre, Solidarity Sweden-Latin America, Swedish Mission Council, Världsnaturfonden WWF

Key/search words for this session: Counter-strategies, democratic space, best practices, development cooperation