European standard setting
Shaping European and Global Policies
ECNL is actively engaged on European and global level to contribute to the setting of standards and shaping policies that affect CSOs. ECNL collaborates with European and global CSO networks, and is engaged with officials from the EU, the UN and other inter-governmental agencies. ECNL does not only provide technical expertise, but also advocates for shaping of norms in line with universal guarantees for freedom of association and assembly.
On European level, ECNL provides expert input to official consultation on European Commission policies, holds expert meeting with members of various directorates of the Commission and liaises with the European CSO networks. Through this engagement, ECNL established close relationship with the European Commission Directorates General (DG) such as Development and Cooperation (Devco) and Enlargement, and some members of the European Parliament. Key advocacy efforts addressed topics such as EU program planning in the area of enabling environment, sustainability of EU financing for CSOs, and implementation of fundamental rights in EU and its external policies.
Examples of EU efforts include:
- Improving EU financing conditions for CSOs.
- Enhancing access to EU financial programs for watchdog and accountability CSOs in Europe.
- Supporting DG DEVCO and EU Delegations in promoting CSO enabling environment.
- Providing expertise in EU initiative on Accountability and Transparency of CSOs.
On the global level ECNL supports the implementation of Civic Society Initiative with program components directly impacting the shape, content and implementation of international and human rights law:
Support to UN Human Rights Council and OHCHR in fostering right to public participation
While there is a general recognition of equal rights to public participation in policy and law making and public affairs (further “right to public participation”), they are still not fully protected and implemented at international, national and local levels. ECNL and partners are engaged to change the wide-spread misconception that participation is a voluntary gesture by the state rather than an enshrined right in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. To foster this, we contribute to the development of a progressive interpretation of international standards by UN Human Rights council and UN treaty bodies, as well as regional and domestic human rights institutions. In order to ensure implementation and realization of the right by stakeholders, we work with the OHCHR to support them in advancing this issue on UN level and strengthening standards regarding public participation through expert workshops, thematic panels and consultation.
Support to UNHRC and OHCHR in protecting civic space
The UN Human Rights Council resolution Civil Society Space (A/HRC/27/L.24) gives a mandate to the OHCHR to seek the views of States and other stakeholders, including civil society and UN Special Rapporteurs, to develop “practical recommendations” to protect civil society space. The recommendations, to be presented at the 32nd Session of HRC in June 2016, will include specific measures needed to protect and promote civil society at the national and international levels. ECNL and partners are supporting the OHCHR by organizing a round of civil society consultations on the content of recommendations. In addition, we are providing OHCHR expert support in developing the recommendations. Finally, in light of the increased restrictions on the freedom of association and freedom of assembly, we are engaged in encouraging the Human Rights Committee to prioritize adopting General Comments on Articles 21/22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.