Roundtable: The business case for civic space

Datum: 23 maart 2017

Save the date! Roundtable: The business case for civic space

How the private sector can help protect and strengthen civic space.

When: Thursday 23th of March; 2-5 with drinks afterwards.
Where: The Hague, Oxfam Novib office


The Spindle working group on civic space and private sector has the pleasure to invite you to a roundtable discussion: The business case for civic space. How the private sector can help protect and strengthen civic space. The working group exists of: Oxfam Novib, BothEnds, RNW, NHC, Civicus, StewardRedQueen and Perspectivity.

What will the roundtable discuss?
Civic space – the legal, political and social space for citizens to speak out, assemble and organise - is the oxygen for partnerships and accountability. Yet we are facing a pushback against civic space around the world. This risks leading to distrust in institutional politics, and deepens polarization and insecurity in our societies - affecting citizens, CSOs and private sector alike.


The shrinking space for citizens and CSOs to organise and hold power holders to account is a pressing trend reported for several years now. The Global Risks Report 2017 by the World Economic Forum mentions civic space at risk as one of the biggest social and political challenges to tackle. Not only governments can influence this. How can businesses play a significant role in respecting and even protecting the civic space in countries where they operate, especially for the most marginalized groups? What is the scope of their responsibility, and do they have to take responsibility if the state is not living up to its obligations?


In this session we will dive into key questions, challenges and best practices with a group of representatives from businesses and NGOs. The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre will kick off the roundtable with presenting some interesting cases and challenges.

Outcome of the meeting:

  • Share best practices and challenges on private sector and civic space by both private sector and NGOs.
  • Discuss in what way existing human rights instruments such as the UN guiding principles are useful for defending civic space by private sector/holding private sector accountable for their action/inaction on civic space.
  • Understand better each other challenges.
  • Explore what private sector and NGOs see as opportunities for the future to work on civic space

The event will be held in The Hague, Thursday the 23rd of March at the Oxfam Novib office and will see participation of Mauricio Lazala, Deputy Director of the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and Marianna Belalba, senior researcher Civicus; private sector representatives.

Space is limited and will be reserved for those organizations that can contribute to the discussion with a specific case/challenge/good and/or bad example related to civic space and the private sector. You can register for this meeting by sending an e-mail to Valentijn Ebbers (Partos) via

The meeting will be held under Chatham House Rule.