December 10, 2019

Theme: ‘Working Together to Defend Human Rights and Civic Space for a Just and Sustainable World’

 

Background

Civil society organisation (CSO) representatives, development workers, activists, and campaigners from around the world gathered in Belgrade, Serbia for the Global Civil Society Summit last April, amid a global pattern of shrinking civic space and increasing repression of human rights defenders, activists, and development actors. 

Foremost in the summit’s agenda is the adoption of the Belgrade Call to Action (BCtA), a Civil Society Call to Stand Together to Defend People’s Voices for a Just and Sustainable World. The document asks United Nations Member States and other development stakeholders to act and reverse the closing and shrinking space for civil society, to stop the attacks on human rights defenders and refrain from undermining democratic participation, and to renew the prospects for an inclusive agenda 2030 and the full realisation of the SDGs. 

As a follow-through on the BCtA and affirming human rights to be at the core of people-centered development, CPDE launched the Global Day of Action 2019 campaign. Under the theme ‘Working Together to Defend Human Rights and Civic Space for a Just and Sustainable World’, CPDE called for proposals for country actions around human rights and the campaign against shrinking and closing civic space.


 

Objectives

The Global Day of Action Against Shrinking Civic Spaces aims to raise awareness of different actors at national and global levels on challenges faced by CSOs and encourage action to reverse the trend of shrinking civic spaces. It will be held on Human Rights Day to clearly establish that human rights is at the core of people-centered development. 

  • To encourage use of Belgrade Call to Action to address country contexts and local issues 

  • To popularise CSO role as vital, independent development actors in their own right, and partners for development 

  • To emphasise the importance of civic space and democratic governance in human rights-based approach to development

 

Key messages

  1. Human rights are at the core of people-centered development 

  2. CSOs play a vital, independent development actor and partner for development 

  3. Governments, parliamentarians, businesses, inter-governmental bodies, and citizens must take action in promoting people’s participation in building a sustainable world. 

  4. United Nations Member States must act to reverse the closing and shrinking space for civil society, stop the attacks on human rights defenders and the undermining of democratic participation, and renew the prospects for an inclusive agenda 2030, and the full realisation of the SDGs. 

  5. Civil society must rally around the Belgrade Call to Action, which articulates their demands to reverse the pattern of shrinking civic space and worsening attacks on human rights.

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