Enabling Environment

What is Enabling Environment?

The creation of an enabling environment for CSOs is vital for an effective, vibrant, and active civil society in both the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities.   

An enabling environment includes various aspects such as supportive legal and financial frameworks and participation of civil society in decision-making processes.  

An enabling environment for CSOs is not only key for their ability to operate, expand, grow, but also for the creation of an effective, vibrant, and active civil society as a vital element for health democracies. Hence, it is the responsibility of states to protect and take positive measures to establish and maintain such an enabling environment.

When is the environment considered enabling for CSOs? There is no accepted definition of civil society’s enabling environment, and different issues fall under this concept. At the minimum, the environment is considered enabling when the fundamental rights to freedoms of association, assembly, and expression are de-jure and de-facto protected. It is expected to also ensure a conducive financial environment and requires the participation of civil society in decision-making processes.

What have we done so far?

To support CSOs in strengthening their capacities to participate in designing, advocating, monitoring, implementing, and assessing legal framework as well as to develop a multi-annual strategy “on enabling environment for civil society development,” Civic Space carries out the following tasks: 

    • Support the creation of an online database/register for CSOs.
    • Assist in the drafting of and advocating for a multi-annual strategy. 
    • Conduct analysis of legal texts on freedom of association. The comprehensive report containing the analysis of 77 legal texts and recommendations for aligning them with international standards can be found at this address.
    • Support in drafting legal texts to enhance the freedom of association and the enabling environment for civil society.
    • Support in the development and/or advocacy of codes for public consultation and criteria for public funding. 
    • Through the Grow Civic program, support to 25 actions involving diverse methods and topics of advocacy aiming at legal, policy, or operational level reforms. 
    • Capacity building of the local bodies and CSOs via trainings, seminars, and study visits.  
    • Research on the attitudes and perceptions of the Turkish Cypriot community towards civil society volunteering and donation. The research can be at this address.
    • Research of the Perceptions of Turkish Cypriot CSOs towards civil society capacity. The research can be found at this address.
    • CSO database including more than 230 CSOs. 
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Results

  • Multi-annual strategy draft in consultation with more than 100 CSOs
  • More than 9 working group meetings with more than 45 participants  
  • Improved legal framework for CSOs (new legal text on associations)  
  • Publications of research (legal analysis, perceptions and attitudes surveys, civil society capacity surveys, etc.)
  • 1 study visit

Upcoming events

To support improvement of the enabling environment for civil society in the northern part of Cyprus in line with European and international standards, Civic Space will continue providing technical and financial support to local bodies, CSOs, and the joint working group on enabling environment (i.e., a joint group of representatives from CSOs and local bodies). 

First and foremost, in 2022, Civic Space will focus on the following activities: 

(1) Support measures for the development and implementation of the Civil Society Strategy. 

(2) Support the development and implementation of legal texts that create an enabling civil society environment.

(3) Developing and supporting the implementation of standards for CSO Participation.