CIVICUS Strategic Priorities

Setting Priorities for 2017 – 2022

CIVICUS’ strategic priorities set the objectives and focus of the CIVICUS alliance.  With the 2013-2017 strategic priorities reaching their end point, CIVICUS is in the process of actively consulting our constituents to determine what our strategic priorities for 2017-2022 should be. This consultation process, which is guided by the Strategic Priorities Reference Group of the CIVICUS Board of Directors, is designed to generate a shared understanding of the global challenges facing humanity, how civil society could address these challenges, and the role that the CIVICUS alliance could play.

This consultative process has three phases: a preliminary consultation to understand context, trends and priorities; a facilitated ‘deep dive’ phase, to deepen our understanding about CIVICUS’ member-based identity, vision, priorities and desired ways of working; and a strategic formulation phase, to produce a clear and compelling strategic framework. It is designed to target a wide range of stakeholders in the CIVICUS alliance, as well as engage new and emerging actors who influence our work.

Consultation highlights are also available in Arabic, French, Russian and Spanish. 

Priorities 2013 - 2017

The 2013-2017 Strategic Priorities were developed following a year's worth of substantial consultations with national, regional and global civil society organisations, as well as individual citizens, on how civil society can confront the emerging challenges that face humanity. Based on what we heard, our priorities for the period 2013 – 2017 have centred around 3 main pillars.

  • Influence – to ensure that civil society is taken seriously and is able to have a stronger influence on the making of decisions that matter to people's lives.
  • Connect – to connect the different sources and forces of citizen action so that citizen action as a whole becomes more robust and effective.
  • Enable –  to promote better conditions for civil society to do its work, and to enhance and protect optimal standards for all civil society.

These strategic priorities guide our work at CIVICUS. Over the past period, this has included the following, among many other initiatives:

Influence:  Includes the support we provide to human rights defenders to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Council and our coordination role in building coalitions to highlight the systematic attacks on and shrinking space for civil society.  As the global secretariat for the Action/2015 campaign, in 2015 we contributed to inspiring 31 million actions by citizens from 157 countries to demand that world leaders play their part in tackling climate change, poverty and inequality by taking bold decisions at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and the UN General Assembly in New York.

Connect:  CIVICUS continues to invest in spaces for collective action and mutual learning, such as through the Affinity Group of National Associations (which facilitates sharing experiences and best practices between national umbrella organisations), our youth action team, and gender working group. Through DataShift, we connect grass roots civil society organisations with data and technology partners so they can do a better job at generating and using data to drive their advocacy and campaigning efforts. Events such as International Civil society week are valuable opportunities to connect civil society worldwide.

Enable : We work to help foster an enabling environment for civil society through such initiatives as Enabling Environment National Assessments (EENA), action-oriented research tool designed to assess the legal, regulatory and policy environment for civil society in national contexts, as well as partnerships such as the Civic Space Initiative, which focuses on civil society legal initiatives at the global, regional, and national levels. Through the Crisis Response Fund we enable civil society by providing emergency advocacy resources to civil society organisations and activists under threat.

The full CIVICUS Strategic Priorities 2013-2017 document is available for download in English, French and Spanish.


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