CIVICUS Statement on the Civil Society Index in Belarus
Posted by civilsocietyindex on November 12, 2010
On 1 November 2010, CIVICUS reported through its Civil Society Index (CSI) blog at https://civilsocietyindex.wordpress.com on the activities of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index partner in Belarus, the Support Centre for Associations and Foundations (SCAF). CIVICUS erroneously gave the impression that SCAF were creating a human rights platform as a part of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index project. CIVICUS would now appreciate the opportunity to apologise for any confusion caused, and to set the record straight through providing a clarification.
The CIVICUS Civil Society Index is a distinct project with a pre-defined methodology. This methodology is implemented in partnership between CIVICUS and partners in roughly 40 countries around the world. CIVICUS selects its partners carefully, drawing on a range of pre-determined criteria, and has generally good relationships with its partners. CIVICUS does not fund Civil Society Index implementing partners in implementation of the project, except in rare cases through the management of external seed grant funds. CIVICUS does not currently provide funding to SCAF.
The CSI methodology implemented by partner organisations involves, towards the end of the project, a National Workshop. At this National Workshop, CSI partners are asked to convene a process ensuring that there is geographic and inclusive representation. The objectives of the national workshop are (1) to reflect upon the CSI findings at the national level and (2) to begin to plan actions geared towards strengthening civil society. CIVICUS asks as part of the CSI project that it is involved from an early stage in providing feedback on the design of the agenda and workshop to ensure that it meets key methodological principles and standards.
On 9 November 2010, the CIVICUS CSI team learned for the first time from SCAF that the National Workshop was due to be hosted on 14 November 2010. Despite regular communication with partners, CIVICUS had not by 12 November 2010 been able to ascertain the exact nature of this workshop, nor the participants, agenda, or whether there would be sufficient CSI findings available to achieve the two key objectives. CIVICUS hopes and expects that by 14 November 2010, these will have been established in full alignment with the CSI project.
Although the Civil Society Index is an action research project, the project stops short of involvement in the follow-up actions themselves. It does usually encourage the development of these, however, it is very rarely involved in their design or implementation. CIVICUS is therefore not currently involved in any follow-up activities or projects with SCAF in Belarus, aside from the Civil Society Index. Specifically, CIVICUS is not involved in the design or implementation of a human rights platform with SCAF, and is pleased to be able to clear up any associated confusion.
CIVICUS appreciates the significant difficulties inherent in convening successful and inclusive multi-stakeholder processes in challenging environments in which civil society may be divided. CIVICUS highly values its diverse existing partnerships and relationships, and continues to seek to play, as far as possible, a positive and constructive bridging role. Finally, CIVICUS would like to reaffirm its commitment to the successful implementation of the CSI project, including a constructive and inclusive National Workshop.
For any further queries, please contact Mark Nowottny, CIVICUS Civil Society Index Project Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the links below to access original statements and reactions from Belarusian civil society.