CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Knowledge is power: CIVICUS and the Human Development Report

Posted by civilsocietyindex on January 21, 2010

On 11 January 2009, CIVICUS attended a consultation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in order to share perspectives from global civil society with the office responsible for the 2010 version of the Human Development Report. The Human Development Report, which incorporates the Human Development Index, is the universally recognised annual publication on the state of human development globally.

With the Human Development Report office shaping the content and methodology for 2010 and future years, Carmen Malena, director of CIVICUS’ Participatory Governance programme, took the opportunity to reflect upon some of the successful experiences of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index and how they could contribute to other processes of knowledge generation about empowerment, democratic participation and governance.

Image reproduced from the UNDP HDR website

During the consultation, CIVICUS:

• outlined how the Civil Society Index experience of creating a space for self-reflection has also practically helped redress imbalances of power and inequality and strengthened civil society;

• congratulated the Human Development Report team on their efforts to recognise and promote participatory knowledge creation, a principle which has underpinned the Civil Society Index since its conception and initiation in 1999;

• explored how CIVICUS and UNDP could cooperate on taking them further;

• outlined the centrality of a political perspective in the Civil Society Index, and reiterated support for the idea that the Human Development Report should address real dynamics of power in its consideration of participation, civil society, democracy and good governance.

You can read the full submission made by CIVICUS (PDF, English only) by clicking here.

Do you have thoughts on how the Civil Society Index findings and methodology could influence other global measures of participation, governance, and civic activism? Share them with us at


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