Civil Society and post-disaster reconstruction: the case of Japan

Yoshiharu Shiraishi from the Japan Association of Charitable Organisations (JACO) and a member of the Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA) hosted by CIVICUS wrote this reflection on civil society and the post-disaster reconstruction in Japan.

Miyagi Prefecture Disaster Site, Japan

Miyagi Prefecture Disaster Site, Japan

The 9.0 Mw earthquake that hit northeast Japan on 11 March 2011 was one of the strongest recorded in the history of earthquakes and later generated a 38.9m high tsunami which caused untold damage in a wide range of coastal areas, including two nuclear power plants located in the Fukushima prefecture. The damage to the nuclear plants led to severe radiation leaks which posed serious threats to the health of citizens. Continue reading

CIVICUS reaches out to Caribbean

As CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation pilots its outreach efforts in the Caribbean, CIVICUS Board Member and regional ambassador Amsale Maryam attended the Commonwealth/Caribbean Regional Civil Society Consultation in Eastern Demerara, Guyana. Over fifty representatives of ten island nations were present, with participants coming from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, as well as from the prominent regional and international institutions. Continue reading

2011: Can it be the Year of Reckoning?

Earlier this year, seeking a label for the outlook for 2011, it seemed to me that “The Year of Reckoning” might be appropriate. That early prognosis was based on the first signs of revolution brewing in the Middle East and North Africa, the analysis of risk published by the World Economic Forum, Nouriel Roubini’s description of the vacuum in global governance and the prevailing denialism that kept imagining economic recovery on the horizon. Continue reading

Building bridges: Between informal online activists and civil society organisations (webinar)

On Wednesday 20 July, 2011, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, hosted a webinar, geared towards developing policy recommendations for civil society organisations (CSOs), public and private sector donors and governments to enable them to bridge the gap between traditional CSOs and online activists. This is sequel to a discussion note produced by CIVICUS intended to spur debate on the role of information communication technology as Continue reading

The road to a free civil society in Nepal: An uphill battle

By Ramesh Man Tuladhar, Nepal Earth Society

It has been six weeks since the major political parties decided at the last minute to extend the tenure of the Constituent Assembly (CA) by three months.  The parties that kept the nation on tenterhooks until the very last minute did not seem to mind that the five-point deal they signed was ambiguous, and that there would be problems in implementing it. The parties seemed to have agreed to the deal out of sheer desperation and frustration rather than by any genuine intention to implement it. They may have asked themselves what would happen if the CA term were to expire and what the fate of the country would be when there is no elected body in place at the national level. Continue reading

Co-operation for effective development: Looking to Busan

Few areas of development spout as many euphemisms as aid does. The view that resource transfers from one country to another are in fact a form of justice for centuries of colonial exploitation, or, at least, mutually beneficial investments, has given rise to terms like “development co-operation”, “partner countries” and the like in preference to words like “aid”, “donors” and “recipients”. Continue reading

Don’t forget Uzbekistan

By Will Lasky, Eurasia Project Coordinator, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Every week, we receive graphic accounts of torture and arbitrary detention in Uzbekistan. These are usually associated in some way with the chaotic Andijan events of 2005 when government troops opened fire on those protesting the prosecution of 23 local businessmen on extremist charges. The only consistent fact about this event which has been put forward in narratives ranging from that of a prison break, a hostage taking crises, a peaceful protest, are the deaths of hundreds. Continue reading

World Assembly first-timer. Should I be excited??

As a young person at the start of what I hope will be an empowering and successful career in the field of civil society and development, I find myself in a very unique position: being selected to attend my very first global gathering of civil society actors in Montreal. For anyone who has attended meetings and events in the civil society sector, you may know that they don’t always inspire feelings of excitement at the prospect of attending another meeting, worst still one with even more people to speak; however the prospect of attending one in Canada and more so with participants from China to Venezuela is a different story for me. Continue reading