As our civil society forum in Tirana, Albania, is approaching, we are sharing three steps for expanding civic space. They were identified during the previous research by the organising team, and the forum will be shaped around these three thematic sessions. Let us know what you think, too.

Today we are at Step ​One: ​Something​ ​old,​ ​something​ ​new.

It’s important to recognize the challenges that are new in nature, speed or volume, to adjust your behavior accordingly. It is equally important to see potential dangers in protecting or enabling mechanisms.

For example, new regulations are ostensibly intended to protect society against increased security threats, but they can threaten the very existence of an open, free and stable environment in which third sector actors are secure to invest and operate.

New technologies, in turn, while giving fresh opportunities for people to engage and organise, also empower governments and decision-makers with sophisticated surveillance and counter-narrative tools, which can block the civil society agenda, distort public attention and lower the trust of citizens.

Our Step One is, therefore, to identify the trends in the ever changing political, legal and economic environment and its implications on the performance and functioning of CSOs in the region(s), perspectives of established and emerging actors.

Stay tuned for Steps Two and Three.