On 24 February, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance is partnering with the Australian Mission to the European Union and NATO for an interesting seminar on South-East Asian civil society. Here is a good description that is included in the event invite:
In its Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2020-2024, adopted in November 2020, the EU prioritises protecting civic space, and highlights the importance of promoting an enabling environment for civil society. Australia has also recently increased its focus on supporting civil society among its development cooperation priorities. Meanwhile, new donors to civil society have emerged, such as China, thus changing the context in which to support civil society.
This seminar will explore the need to protect civic space in South-East Asia as well as the role of civil society in its own right and their relationship to government institutions. The seminar will seek to address the question “how to increase accountability and transparency between government and civil society?”, broken down into a number of sub-questions:
- What challenges and opportunities have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic from a civil space point of view?
- How to enhance the link between governments and civil society in rural and urban areas, as well as among CSOs?
- How can actors like Australia and the EU help to bridge these relationships?
- What is the role of new donors to CSOs in the region, such as China?