FICS’ vision is a world in which people – both collectively and as individuals – have the power to hold their leaders accountable and shape their government, economy and society towards justice, equality and fairness for all. In order to achieve that goal, FICS defends and expands civic space – the physical, digital, and legal conditions through which progressive movements and their allies organise, participate, and create change.
FICS began in 2016 as a donor affinity group, launched by founding members American Jewish World Service, Arcus Foundation, Ariadne: European Funders for Social Change and Human Rights, Asfari Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Euro-Mediterranean
Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders, Ford Foundation, Fund for Global Human Rights, Human Rights Funders Network, Mama Cash, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Sigrid Rausing Trust, and Wallace Global Fund. These organisations now constitute
an Advisory Group and inform FICS planning and strategies. FICS is located in London, UK and is a fiscally sponsored and hosted project of Global Dialogue, a registered charity (1122052) and a limited company (05775827) in England and Wales.
Free and unfettered civic space is vital to human survival and prosperity – when people can come together without fear and inhibition, they build new connections, find shared goals, come up with new ideas and ways to solve problems. Civic space is our engine room without which we have no chance of tackling climate change and social inequalities or doing the work that is needed to strengthen democracy.
There is ample documentation of attacks on civic space in countries all over the world, from daily news coverage to authoritative annual global surveys. Governments are deploying a wide range of tactics all aimed at repression of their opponents and control over on and offline civic space: stricter protest laws; the curbing of media and free speech; making it hard to set up, register and fund Civil Society Organisations; travel watch lists; online surveillance, content moderation and internet shutdowns; and the slander, harassment, arrest and imprisonment of activists.
Source: Shutterstock, Wei Huang, Facade of Alexandra Road estate brutalist architecture, London, UK