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The importance of CSOs is increasingly becoming recognised by the international community following the shift that took place in Accra in 2008, where civil society actors were recognised as “development actors in their own right”.

However, it is important to acknowledge the growing reality of a shrinking space for civil society actors in too many countries. New legislation is limiting the capacity of NGO and CSOs to engage in advocacy, international collaboration among NGOs is increasingly criticised and penalised by governments, and activists and human rights defenders are criminalised. Many in the international community will acknowledge that without a vibrant, independent and skilled civil society, good governance, democracy, the fight against corruption, and reconciliation are almost impossible to achieve.

Forus offers continuous support to its members in the fight to create an enabling environment for CSOs by developing solidarity between the platforms and through the creation of an alert system that raises awareness and mobilises the entire Forus membership when CSOs are being threatened. Forus and its members also continue to participate in international initiatives working on this enabling environment for CSOs (such as the Civicus Monitor).

In 2018, Forus joined WINGS and CIVICUS and supported the launch of a declaration calling for an enabling environment for civil society and philanthropy. Read more here.