Issue No 586 | 17 May 2012
The theme for this year's CIVICUS World Assembly is 'defining a new social contract - making the
future together.' CIVICUS believes that "citizen movements are
challenging the traditional roles of state, market, media and formal
civil society organisations." Those roles are being reshaped right now
in Montreal, which hosts the September 2012 World Assembly. Protests
have continued for months, including regular demonstrations in the
streets of Montreal involving hundreds of thousands of peaceful
demonstrators. They are pushing the limits of defining this 'new social
Please give us your views about the state
of the CIVICUS alliance.
answer two short questions in our online survey
‘Address the voice of the 99%’: Rio+20
interview with Jaehyun Jang, Reshaping Development Institute, Republic
Jaehyun Jang, Programme Specialist and Researcher at the Reshaping
Development Institute (ReDi) in the Republic of Korea, tells us about
his pessimism towards the official Rio+20 process versus his hope in
the People’s Summit, and the need to develop an alternative
international framework that addresses the voice of the 99%. He also
discusses the dangers of the current promotion of green growth and the
green economy, which contrasts dramatically with the reality of
practice on the ground in Korea.
Webinar: civil society in crisis - civil
society funding and the way forward, 23 May 2012
Our next weekly webinar, as part of our strategic directions
consultations, addresses the pressing challenge of civil society
funding. CIVICUS' State of Civil Society 2011 report shows many CSOs
reporting declining funding and changing donor priorities and
relations. Join our webinar on 23 May 2012, 1.00-2.30pm GMT, to discuss
what can be done. Register now!
Release Nabeel Rajab: open letter to the
King of Bahrain
CIVICUS and 35 other organisations and individuals
around the world call on the King of Bahrain to release Nabeel Rajab,
jailed President of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, and other
human rights defenders in Bahrain.
Crisis Response Fund supports the Yemen Portal
CIVICUS' Crisis Response Fund has supported
the Yemen Portal to establish an independent youth radio station at
Al-Tagheer (Change) Square in Sana'a, broadcasting to promote
democracy, tolerance and human rights and spreading news of the
situation in Yemen to both local residents and the international
community. CIVICUS' Crisis Respond Fund mobilises quick responses to
support civil society in situations where its rights to express,
associate and organise are threatened.
Civil society enabling environment a key
focus in EC forum
CIVICUS believes there is a pressing need to develop
tools that can measure the enabling environment for civil society, but
it is essential that these are not technocratic tools: they need to be
designed to achieve a political impact. At the global level, coming up
with an easy to understand, comparable measurement will be key. At the
country level, it is imperative to develop a measurement system that
takes into account the country-specific context, which will be accepted
by key stakeholders as legitimate, and which civil society can use as
an advocacy tool. With these in mind, CIVICUS is planning to launch a
new tool, the Enabling Environment Index.
From Bahrain to Belarus: using the power of
the sporting event
Civil society is proving itself adept in exploiting
opportunities offered by sporting events, using them as hooks to exert
pressure. The recent Bahrain Grand Prix offered a moment to concentrate
the fire of campaigning, and the image presented around the world of
Bahrain was a thoroughly negative one. Now attention turns to the
repressive state of Belarus, which hosts the ice hockey world
championships in 2014. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness
of the difficult human rights and civil society environment in Belarus.
Opinion: global governance of the internet
- time to democratise
Global governance of the internet is currently being
driven by dominant political and economic interests. It is vital that
progressive civil society actors speak up for preserving the
egalitarian potential of the internet, and seek appropriate
institutional arrangements for this purpose; they have not adequately
addressed the question of who and what shapes the internet today, says
guest blogger Parminder Jeet Singh of IT for Change.
the Road to Rio
Use this interactive map to click on your
country and see how your government is preparing for Rio+20!
Reminder: registration deadline for Rio+20
is Sunday 20 May
The final deadline for registration of ECOSOC
accredited organisations to Rio+20 is 20 May. The UN General Assembly
postponed the decision to accredit new CSOs until 16 May. However,
these groups will be granted additional time to register given the
unexpected circumstances. For up to date info on this development
please consult the Rio+20 website.
The collective voice of Dominican civil
society on the road to Rio
CIVICUS member Alianza ONG of the Dominican Republic
shares the outcome document from a meeting of 60 Dominican CSOs on
their unified position towards Rio+20. In their declaration they
emphasise the need for states to honour existing commitments put
forward at previous Earth Summits. Given the Dominican Republic’s lack
of national consensus on the concept of the green economy, the
government must also prioritise this issue in its preparations toward
Rio. Finally, just as CIVICUS firmly supports multi-stakeholder
participation in all governance processes, including Rio+20, Dominican
civil society echoes this position as regards citizens' involvement for
the successful achievement of sustainable development.
En espanol: la voz
colectiva de la sociedad civil Dominicana rumbo a Rio
Alianza ONG, miembro de CIVICUS de la Republica Dominica, recientemente
ha compartido el documento final resultando de la reunion de 60 OSC
Dominicanas acerca su posicion unificada hacia la Cumbre de Río +20. En
su declaración ponen mucho énfasis en la necesidad de que los Estados
miembros cumplan con los compromisos existentes formulados en los
anteriores Cumbre de la Tierra de 1992 y 2002. También indican que,
dada la falta de la República Dominicana no tener un consenso nacional
sobre el concepto de la economía verde, el gobierno debe dar prioridad
a esta cuestión en sus preparativos hacia Rio. Finalmente, así como
CIVICUS apoya firmemente la participacion de múltiples actores en todos
los procesos de gobernanza, incluyendo Rio +20, la sociedad civil
Dominicana hace eco de la posicion en particular a traves del rol de la
participación ciudadana para realizar el desarrollo sostenible.
Appeal from Veolia Environnement to support
their grassroots innovation issue in the Rio Dialogues
Veolia Environnement, a CIVICUS partner and host of two side events at
Rio+20, requests the support of CIVICUS members to comment on and
recommend their discussion on grassroots innovation in the ‘sustainable
development for fighting poverty’ theme of the Rio Dialogues website.
The recommendations with the highest number of votes in this platform
will be presented to the panellists in the Sustainable Development
Dialogues. To vote for Veolia Environnement’s proposal, please visit
the website and follow the instructions to register.
Sustainable development goals and the post
2015 global development framework
The Beyond 2015 campaign believes that the post-2015
framework for development must be an urgent priority for the
international community. It needs to draw learning from the Millennium
Development Goals and address the multiple interlinked global
challenges of: eradicating poverty, ensuring environmental
sustainability, achieving economic equity, ensuring gender equality,
tackling climate change, building resilience, managing equitable
distribution of natural resources, realising human rights and reducing
inequality between and within populations. This newly published paper
outlines Beyond 2015’s recommendations on the concept of Sustainable
Development Goals for Rio+20.
NGO Major Group statements made at April
informal-informal negotiations online
With many thanks to all those who contributed, we put
at your disposal the eight NGO Major Group statements made during the
second round of ‘informal-informal’ negotiations on the Rio+20 zero
draft, held from 23 April to 4 May in New York. CIVICUS' UN New York
representative Jeffery Huffines was one of the key contributors to
these final statements.
NGO Rio +20
Towards a new global sustainable
A new global architecture for sustainable development
is likely to be created by world leaders at Rio+20. But two weeks of
talks reveal a continuing lack of consensus amongst governments on what
new or changed institutions should look like.
Business as usual won’t do at Rio+20:
leading civil society groups unite in warning following latest
Oxfam International’s response to
the outcome of the April informal negotiations reports that a number of
CSOs are warning that Rio+20 could add almost nothing to global efforts
to deliver sustainable development. They also warn that many
governments are using or allowing the talks to undermine established
human rights and agreed principles, such as equity, precaution and the
polluter pays principle.
Brazil's President Rousseff increasingly
pressured to veto Brazil Forestry Law
Brazil's Congress has approved a controversial law that
would give increased leeway for loggers and farmers in the
deforestation of Brazil’s forests. As a result a worldwide campaign has
been launched to convince President Rousseff to veto the law,
especially in view of Brazil’s hosting of Rio+20. Show your support by
signing the Avaaz petition.
Small island states in clean energy race
The world's small island developing states are
informally competing with each other to be the first to ditch fossil
fuels and embrace clean energy.
Sustainable development, smart growth and Agenda 21 now illegal in
Tennessee legislation brands Agenda 21 as ‘destructive and insidious’
and bans the promotion of local sustainable development projects.
on complex and sensitive
issues - a case for citizen participation?, Brussels, Belgium, 12 June
The workshop aims at stimulating a discussion about the
particular challenges of citizen participation in complex and knowledge
intensive policy fields in bioethics. It addresses policy makers, CSO
representatives (including patient, consumer and animal rights
organisations), researchers and practitioners in citizen participation
and participatory technology assessment.
Institute for Advanced
20 to 22 June 2012 - Rio+20 - United
Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The objective of Rio+20 is to
secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess
the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of
the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and
address new and emerging challenges. Rio+20 marks the 20th anniversary
of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development - the Earth
Summit - in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World
Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.
African Human Development Report 2012:
towards a food secure future
The 2012 Human Development Report for Africa explores
why dehumanising hunger remains pervasive in the continent, despite
abundant agricultural resources, a favourable growing climate, and
rapid economic growth rates. It also emphasises that food security -
the ability to consistently acquire enough calories and nutrients for a
healthy and productive life - is essential for human development.
Africa Progress Report 2012 released
The 2012 Africa Progress Report provides an overview of
the development progress Africa has made over the previous year. It
recommends a series of policy choices and actions for African policy
makers, as well as vested international partners and CSOs.
Establishing a legitimate development
cooperation architecture in the post-Busan era
This working paper provides an analytical framework to
assess the merits and challenges for establishing a legitimate
governance mechanism for development cooperation architecture. It
argues that the success of the Busan aid effectiveness forum in
establishing a global partnership, and making it truly global, will
depend on the extent to which stakeholders see the governing mechanism
as legitimate in terms of its inclusivity, representativeness and
Game Change Rio - online game
Game Change Rio offers a new way to engage with the
complexities facing our planet. Based on a huge array of real life
data, players can explore the countless options to ruin our world for
future generations or save the planet in this online game. Game Change
Rio gives access to real data that so far has only been available to
experts and policy makers. Based on the Millennium Institute’s Green
Economy Model, which was commissioned by the United Nations Environment
Programme, the game has over 100 million possible outcomes.
500,000 Euro Postcode Lottery - green
challenge to save the planet
The Dutch Postcode Lottery’s sixth Postcode Lottery
Challenge 2012 is
now open. This international annual competition calls on creative,
innovative thinkers from around the world to submit ideas for
sustainable products and services. The competition is seeking business
plans that can directly reduce CO2 emissions, score highly on design,
user-friendliness and quality, and will be ready to be in the market in
two years. The best business plan will win 500,000 EUR, and an
additional 200,000 EUR is available for one or two other promising
plans. The deadline for entries is 31 July 2012.
Source: Funds for NGOs
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Honduras: UNESCO chief calls for
investigation into death of journalist and campaigner
The head of UNESCO has called for an investigation into
the killing of Erick Martínez Ávila, a Honduran journalist and gay
rights activist. Martínez Ávila was a spokesman for Kukulcán, an
organisation that defends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
UN News Centre
Mauritania: protest currents
Protests currently underway in Mauritania highlight the
complexity of the movements that analysts have generalised as the 'Arab
uprisings', while the relative lack of international coverage of
Mauritania shows the selective nature of how major media outlets have
presented these uprisings to Western audiences.
Pakistan: concern over attacks on aid
Attacks on humanitarian workers in Pakistan have
increased in the last four years, with five personnel abducted in the
first two months of 2012 alone, and three killed in separate incidents
in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab Provinces, the Pakistan Humanitarian
Forum has warned. The escalating risk has forced the International
Committee of the Red Cross to suspend operations in Pakistan.
Portugal: austerity measures threaten human
Fiscal austerity measures implemented in Portugal have
disproportionately affected the human rights of the most vulnerable
social groups, especially children, the elderly and Roma, says the
Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner.
Council of Europe
South Africa: government agrees to changes
to secrecy bill
Following extensive civil society campaigning, South
Africa’s government has bowed to pressure to propose much greater
protection for whistle-blowers and journalists in its controversial
Protection of State Information Bill.
Mail and Guardian
Spain: mass anti-austerity protests sweep
Chanting "they don't represent us," tens of thousands
of people rallied in Madrid on the first anniversary of the May 15
protest movement. Throngs of like-minded demonstrators also gathered
over the weekend in Barcelona and 80 other cities around Spain.
Swaziland: CSOs call attention to human
Five CSOs - Human Rights Institute of Southern
Africa, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, International
Trade Union Confederation, Human Rights Watch and Women and Law in
Southern Africa - made statements on human rights violations in
Swaziland at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
UK: Protest changes politics more than
Recent municipal elections in the UK show the influence
of popular protest against corporate tax avoidance and austerity
measures on the public mood. Yet traditional political commentators
continue to underplay the role of social movements on political
USA: what occupiers learned from Obama -
and what he should learn from them
An insurgent campaign, fuelled by
volunteers and small donors, learned to make things happen on their
own, and this year they've taken another huge step, calling into
question not just the man who is president, but the way the system
works from the bottom up.
Increasing numbers of CSOs take part in
World Bank spring meetings
A record number of CSOs participated in the recently
concluded World Bank Spring Meetings. Over 550 civil society
representatives - 200 more than in 2011 - attended the Civil Society
Programme, which spanned five days.
World Bank Blog
Financial transaction tax: small change for
the banks, big change for the world
What do Desmond
Tutu, Bill Gates, the new President of France, Al Gore and the Vatican
all have in common? Along with millions of men and women around the
world, they are all supporters of the campaign for a financial
transactions tax – the 'Robin Hood Tax'.
UN human rights experts join calls for
financial transaction tax
A group of United Nations independent human rights
experts has joined the growing calls for a global financial
transactions tax. Partly inspired by the global civil society
coalition Righting Finance Regulation, the expert statement comes at a
critical moment, with European finance ministers due to meet in Belgium
just as the latest summit of the G8 industrialised nations takes place
in the US.
Centre for Social Rights
We are living as if we had one and a half
The new WWF Living Planet Report warns of a
significant decline in biodiversity, particularly in low-income
countries, and a huge increase in the ecological footprint of
high-income countries. Released ahead of Rio+20, it calls on the world
to modify production and consumption patterns and turn to renewable
High Level Panel on post 2015 announced
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has named UK premier
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Indonesian President
Yudhoyono as co-chairs of the High Level Panel on post-2015. The Beyond
2015 campaign has called on the panel “to commission a major initiative
to ensure that people living in poverty are directly engaged in the
Ten lobbying ideas for David Cameron as
co-chair of the post-2015 high level panel
How can civil society, including UK-based and UK-linked
groups, take advantage of David Cameron’s appointment?
Phil Vernon blog
Geektivism rises - with what impact?
A new generation of tech-savvy geektivists is seeking
to utilise its technological skills for social good. How can gaming
lend itself to solving social, education and environmental problems?
play with the dictator
In 2009 the International Ice
Hockey Federation (IIHF) decided to host the 2014 IIHF World
Championship in Belarus. We believe the IIHF should suspend its plan to
hold the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus because Belarus finds
itself in the most alarming human rights crisis since the country
became independent in 1991. The situation for civil society continues
to deteriorate and activists like Ales Bialiatski have been jailed.
Please join CIVICUS in supporting this campaign.
Don't play with the
Barcelona Consensus ACT! 2012 consultation
Groups, organisations and networks are invited to take
part in a consultation to agree an Action for a Common Transformation.
The consultation will be open until 31 May 2012, and the most supported
proposal will be chosen as the action to be supported for 2012.
Participants can indicate which proposed actions they support and the
strength of their support.
CIVICUS Policy and Advocacy Officer
(application deadline 1 June 2012)
CIVICUS is seeking to recruit a Policy and Advocacy
Officer to facilitate our policy development and advocacy activities.
Responsibilities entail interpreting and synthesising information
related to global political developments and major civil society
concerns with a view to crafting policy positions and recommendations
to decision-makers and key stakeholders. Additionally, the post holder
will engage in lobbying and campaigning activities to strengthen the
space available for meaningful civil society engagement at local,
regional and international levels in line with CIVICUS’ mission and
Asylum Access: Legal Services Coordinator
(application deadline 20 May 2012)
Asylum Access, a US-based international refugee rights
organisation, is seeking an experienced legal advocate to serve as
Legal Services Coordinator of Asylum Access - Ecuador. The ideal
applicant will be a lawyer with substantive knowledge of international
human rights and refugee law, including client counselling and
advocacy, who is able to build relationships and adapt legal strategies
to fit new and challenging circumstances.
Asylum Access: Strategic Litigation
Coordinator (application deadline 20 May 2012)
The appointee will work with Asylum Access - Ecuador to
coordinate and conduct strategic litigation processes.
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