April 29, 2011 – PSOin cooperation with CIVICUS has organized a seminar and workshop on the concept, relevance and use of the Civil Society Index (CSI). The day was attended by over forty key-staff from mostly PSOmember agencies. The relevance was clear from the reference that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made to the CSIin their guidelines on monitoring and reporting for civil society organisations.
In consultation with Partos, PSO took the initiative to invite key-staff of CIVICUS to the Netherlands and staged a seminar with representatives from government, private sector and civil society to reflect on the concept of civil society space. In three contributions each of the contributors gave their perspective on space for people, profit and power.
Clampdown on civil society
The seminar started with a welcome address by Margo Kooijman, Director ofPSO who welcomed CIVICUS as well as the active participation from thePSO membership and representatives of the Ministery of Foreign Affairs. The key-note address was delivered by Netsanet Demissie Belay, the Director of Policy and Research of CIVICUS, who gave an extensive update on the trends in civil society space and the international regulatory frameworks for civil society organisations. The evidence presented illustrates that despite current developments in the Middle East and Northern Africa, civil society space is still shrinking as it is suffering from securitization measures by governments legitimized by the fear of terrorist threats.