Governance and


Expanding civic space

Civic engagement involves members of society influencing public processes. When civic engagement is high, individuals and communities can air their grievances, identify and address issues of concern, thereby preventing escalations into violence.

Recent years have witnessed significant changes in civil society, exemplified by innovative new actors, the disruptive role of technology, the challenge of ensuring sustainability in a time of financing constraints, and civil society’s attempts to reclaim legitimacy. The civic sphere is also being reenergized by dynamic and fluid new forms of grassroots organizations, which are creating new pockets of civil society.

UNDP promotes the full and meaningful participation of all groups in political and public life. We work to promote agency for those experiencing exclusion, such as religious and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and the LGBTI community. Civil society is a key partner in UNDP’s efforts to stimulate civic engagement.

The ‘Alternativa’ youth NGO and other partner organizations helps to widen the space for dialogue and civic engagement. Photo: Dmytro Gavryush

UNDP works to widen the civic space by:

  • promoting an environment that encourages civic engagement and supports the important role of citizens, communities and civil society, including that of new informal actors and grassroots organizations;
  • bringing together civil society actors to share knowledge and open new opportunities for collaboration and engaging citizens, using innovative methods and tools; and
  • establishing and maintaining meaningful dialogue and platforms that bring together civil society with the government, media and other stakeholders, including digital spaces that promote monitoring and advocacy.

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