EADI report on legal frameworks and political space for NGOs

EADI (European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes) published today a report on legal frameworks in 6 countries and the consequent political space for Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The countries studied are Egypt, Myanmar, Kosovo, Peru, Rwanda and Vietnam. In 2013, 6 other countries were analyzed: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Honduras, Serbia and Uganda.

Some of the key findings highlighted in the executive summary include (source: Executive summary, page 3):

  • "Work by NGOs (local and international) on social development issues is often actively supported. Work on human rights, governance, advocacy and ethnic or religious minority issues tends to be subject to greater legal or practical restrictions.
  • A blurred line between political activism and the social justice work of many NGOs creates tensions with state authorities. Spaces for NGOs to participate in policy making exist in most of the case studies, although this is often controlled. Engagement with local authorities at the sub-national level offers an avenue for constructive and productive dialogue. (...)
  • A large or growing number of NGOs does not equate to a vibrant civil society; the quantity of NGOs can be at odds with the ability of civil society to fulfil key roles. A sound understanding of the history of civil society is crucial to assess the space for NGOs to operate.
  • Aid withdrawal resulting from positive economic performance or post-crisis transition has a significant effect on many NGOs. External aid provides crucial support but also be counterproductive if it creates dependency or crowds out local civil society organisations."

The 2014 report is available in EADI’s website.