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A strong civil society

Civil society organizations are under pressure worldwide. This is troubling as they contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. Investing in civil society, therefore, remains a priority for Partos and its members.

Watchdog and advocate

Civil society organisations are at the core of society. They can act as powerful countervailing forces. In the role of watchdog and advocate, but also as society-builders. And they are desperately needed not only on the other side of the world but also here in Europe and the Netherlands.

Under pressure

Many civil society organisations are under pressure. They face increasing restrictions from governments. Partos members have seen and heard this for years in their contact with partner organisations. We read about it every year in the State of Civil Society Report by CIVICUS (World Alliance for Citizen Participation): the space that civil society organisations have to be able to work for a fair and just world is becoming more and more limited. This is troubling.

Remarkably close to home

However, A new trend is that civil society organisations’ role in Western countries is also under increasing pressure and attack. Even in the Netherlands, measures are sometimes announced that are – often unintentionally – detrimental to CSOs. Because a strong civil society is essential for sustainable development, “space for civil society” is one of the most important themes for Partos.

The future: turn the trend

Dutch policy on strengthening civil society is generally innovative and progressive. And it also receives international recognition for this. However, investment lags behind the identified concerns. The budget in question has more than halved over the past decade. For Partos, it is evident: reverse this disproportionate trend and continue to invest in civil society in developing countries.

What do we do?

Partos members collaborate in lobbying towards political The Hague and the European Union regarding more (financial) space for civil society, including through the Partos lobby group. Furthermore, Partos supports its members regarding Strategic Partnerships with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As a branch association, Partos thus forms a bridge between civil society organisations and the government. Finally, we organise regular meetings for the broad Partos lobbying network to exchange knowledge and experience in policy advocacy and advocacy.