Programme at a Glance

International Civil Society Week 2019
ICSW\local aims to broaden engagement with partners in under-represented or marginalised regions who due to financial and logistical constraints, would not be able to host events in Belgrade, Serbia. ICSW\local partners will hold ICSW events in different international, regional and sub-national locations between January and March, in the lead up to ICSW 2019. Representatives from each ICSW/local will come to Belgrade to share their diverse perspectives with the global delegation. Visit the ICSW\local page for more information.
Youth Assembly
Since 2007, the Youth Assembly has provided a vibrant and creative space for young activists and professionals to connect with international peers in the days preceding ICSW. This year’s event will take place in Novi Sad, the 2019 European Youth Capital. The agenda will focus on resourcing youth movements, increasing meaningful youth participation in civil society and encouraging youth-led initiatives that hold leaders accountable.  Visit the Youth Assembly page for more information.
09:00 - 17:00 Civil Society Summit and Call to Action on the Enabling Environment (closed)
The purpose of this one-day Summit is to launch a concerted mobilisation of civil society between April and September 2019 to put the issue of closing and shrinking space for civil society globally on the agenda of the UN Special General Assembly and High-Level Political Forum in September. The Civil Society Summit will bring together the leadership and members of civil society networks, platforms and international organisations to sign a Declaration and Call to Action and to set out our plan of action to put closing civic space on the international agenda.
17:30 - 20:30 Opening Ceremony & Drinks Reception
CIVICUS and Civic Initiatives welcome you to International Civil Society Week 2019 in Belgrade, Serbia.  ICSW 2019 will bring together more than 700 activists and organisations to connect, debate and create shared solutions related to this year’s theme, “The Power of Togetherness”  The opening ceremony and welcome reception set the scene for a week-long series of events aimed at sharing ideas, catalysing positive social change, exchanging tools that enhance citizen action, and celebrating people power.

The programme is divided into three tracks:
Bridges – which explores how the current civil society context is changing and what is required for sustainable collaboration
Streets – which explores what we can learn from current civic movements
Stairs – which explores what are the most effective ways to connect and scale


This track will focus on understanding what’s happening in civic space regionally and globally, clarifying goals, identifying and connecting to relevant actors, aligning interests, defining roles, building alliances, and creating sustainable movements.

09:00 - 10:30 Plenary Session: Building Solidarity across Divides
This plenary event session will explore how to build meaningful collaborations in complex and divisive times.
11:00 - 13:00 Concurrent Event Sessions
Topic: Protecting Civic Freedoms
Topic: Civil Society, Peace-building and Inclusion
Topic: Transforming CSO accountability: a stakeholder-driven approach for increased trust and impact
Topic: Crackdowns on Media and Civil Freedoms
Topic: Building Global Citizenship (closed)
13:30 - 15:00 Lunch & Facilitated Networking
15:00 - 17:30 Interactive Activities
From speed-dating to open space events that foster co-creation and collaboration, the afternoon sessions will focus on building connections based on mutual interest and shared values, while also affording the opportunity to learn from and build common ground with others with diverse worldviews.
19:00 - 21:00 Self-guided Excursions


Today’s track will explore the most effective ways to connect and scale – from leveraging technology to engaging new stakeholder groups, to connecting local initiatives to global frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals.

09:00 - 10:30 Plenary Session: Collective Action for Transformative Change
This session will examine key ‘force multipliers’ to identify the most effective ways civil society can scale current efforts.
11:00 - 13:00 Concurrent Event Sessions
Topic: Providing Emergency Assistance to CSOs under Threat or Attack
Topic: Resiliency Framework – Adaption, Evolution, Renewal
Topic: Transforming Social Change for the Networked Age
Topic: Mechanics of Constituency-based Accountability
Topic: Understanding and Responding to Threats to Civic Space
13:30 - 15:00 Lunch & Facilitated Networking
15:00 - 17:30 Interactive Activities
From fishbowls to facilitated buzz groups that gather tips and experiences on topics ranging from member engagement to the use of drama for active citizenship, the afternoon event sessions will focus on providing practical ways and innovative tools that support growing and scaling meaningful connections and people-based accountability.
19:00 - 21:00 Self-guided Excursions


This track will explore the strengths of uprising civic movements around the world to discuss and identify best practices in constituency-building and accountability and dive deep into how CSOs can practice effective citizen engagement online and offline.

09:00 - 10:30 Plenary Session: Citizen Action, People Power
This session will explore what we can learn from the current civic movements, and how we can act collectively to ensure people’s civil and media freedoms.
11:00 - 13:00 Concurrent Event Sessions
Topic: Civic Movements and Protests
Topic: Collective Action to End Child Marriage
Topic: Local Resource Mobilisation
Topic: Trust-based Support for CSOs
Topic: Reaching out and Engaging Citizens
Topic: Armenian Velvet Revolution from Three Perspectives – women, youth & diaspora
13:30 - 15:00 Lunch & Facilitated Networking
15:00 - 17:30 Interactive Activities
From site visits to opportunities to hear from the leaders of grassroots movements for social change, the afternoon sessions will focus on bridging the gap between what’s happening on the streets and in the board room.
19:00 - 21:00 Self-guided Excursions
Closing Action
You’re invited – let’s show Belgrade the Power of Togetherness. This final session will be a public action standing up for democratic values, media freedoms and the rights of citizens to influence political processes. Join Us!

Register now for International Civil Society Week 2019.