Community of Democracies Working Group

The Working Group on Enabling and Protecting Civil Society is a working group of the Community of Democracies (CD), a global intergovernmental coalition of democratic countries. This multi-stakeholder Working Group was launched in December 2009 to counter a global trend which represses civil society through restrictive legal and regulatory measures. Through research and consultations, the Working Group developed several recommendations to contribute to the Global Democracy Work Plan. These recommendations include the creation of a contact group and related alert system, the production and dissemination of tools to respond to regulatory threats, and the establishment of a joint-action protocol to encourage collaboration, and encouragement for the development of a statement for sustained strategic involvement. The concern over legal restrictions on civil society was emphasized by U.S. Secretary of State H.R. Clinton in her speech delivered at the 10th Anniversary of the Community of Democracies in Krakow, Poland, July 3, 2010.

Government Members:

  • Canada (Chair)
  • Lithuania
  • Mongolia
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • United States
  • Sweden

Civil Society Members:

  • Article 19
  • CIVICUS
  • International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
  • World Movement for Democracy
  • International Steering Committee of the Community of Democracies

The UN Development Programme, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the US Agency for International Development also participate in the Working Group.


The Working Group members also contributed to the creation of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association.

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More information on the Community of Democracies:

The Community of Democracies is a global intergovernmental coalition of democratic countries, with the goal of promoting democratic rules and strengthening democratic norms and institutions around the world. It is an important global platform for exchange of experiences and consultations toward building and strengthening of democratic order inside the countries as well as in the international system.

"Progress in the 21st century depends on the ability of individuals to coalesce around shared goals, and harness the power of their convictions. But when governments crack down on the right of citizens to work together, as they have throughout history, societies fall into stagnation and decay."

—US Secretary of State H.R. Clinton, at the 10th Anniversary of the Community of Democracies, July 3, 2010