FICS’ vision is a world where people, communities, and movements who advance democracy, human rights, social and economic justice, and environmental protection are equipped with the resources they need to expand civic space. FICS originated in 2016 as a donor affinity group, launched by funders working on civic space. We began as a place for funders working on civic space to connect and learn from each other.
Following the publication of our landmark report Rethinking Civic Space in 2020, FICS transitioned from being a donor affinity group to a think tank.
We evolved from being not only a place to connect, but to taking a more proactive role in sharing analysis, leading the conversation on civic space among funders, and providing space for funders to experiment with new initiatives that expand civic space.
FICS is governed by an Advisory Group who inform FICS’ planning and strategies. FICS is based 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.
Civic space is the oxygen of participation. It is the physical and virtual space where people can come together, speak out, and organise without fear to find solutions to our greatest problems. Civic space is our engine room. Without it we have no chance of securing democracy, human rights, social and economic justice, and environmental protection for the future.
But states and non-state actors are restricting civic space. States are using a wide range of tactics to restrict and control civic space: stricter protest laws; 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. Anti-rights groups are adding to this repression and closing spaces for transformative change. If we are to tackle the crises humanity faces and ensure a better future for all, we must expand civic space.
Source: Shutterstock, Wei Huang, Facade of Alexandra Road estate brutalist architecture, London, UK