Over the past several years, internationally engaged foundations have faced unprecedented challenges from governments around the world. This is just one element of the ‘closing space’ or the ‘disabling environment’ for international philanthropy. Whatever you name it, there are forces at work that are challenging the very existence of civil society.
Dozens of governments are adopting means to limit the activities of NGOs and impede their access to foreign funds. Beijing, for example, just passed a law that restricts the activities of foreign NGOs and subjects them to police investigation. Unfortunately, the Chinese communist party is just one of many governments to do so. Indeed, this law is part of a robust, international trend of similar legislation implemented by politicians that fear the interference of foreigners as well as civil society’s unprecedented capacity to mobilize — which is due in part to new technologies.
Members of the Ariadne-IHRFG Donor Working Group on Cross-Border Philanthropy, including Fund staff David B. Mattingly and Poonam Joshi, discuss the worrying trend around the world of legislation that puts restrictions on funding and narrows the space for civil society organizations.
The Fund identifies organizations that are leading the charge for protection and enforcement of human rights, building on-the-ground demand for change, and feeding into global efforts to press for equality, justice and accountability. Here are a few of our grantees’ accomplishments from 2013.