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Nurturing civil society in SIDS: how can civic space be expanded and strengthened for greater inclusion, equity and empowerment?

Working paper

Image credit:Credit: Yuichi Ishida/UNDP Timor-Leste

Developing ‘strong’ institutions, enhancing citizen participation, and building civil society is crucial for development in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), having positive impacts across environmental justice, human rights, conflict alleviation, health, food and energy security, and gendered inequalities. However, increasingly restrictive civic space, tensions over civil society's role, and an increasingly challenging financial landscape have resulted in debate over how best support civil society in small-island contexts.

By synthesising the literature on civil society in SIDS with the evidence on 'civil society strengthening', this paper demonstrates the complexities of building ‘stronger’ civil societies. It concludes with three key recommendations that act as starting points for thinking about building civil society in SIDS: (1) cross-SIDS network building; (2) capacity development for ‘critical’ voices and (3) support for youth organising.

Authors: Sarah Peck, Daniel Hammett

Dr Sarah Peck presented the initial draft of this paper at the SIDS Future Forum in March 2024. Timestamp 2:51:42


SIDS Future Forum Day 1 Block 1