Skip Navigation

Freedom of Association

OGP members allow for the free operation of advocates and reformers to form non-profit, mission-driven organizations. 

Overview

Countries with a strong freedom of association infrastructure do better–politically, economically, and socially. When freedom of association is restricted, the right to information and open data is less likely to translate into accountability.

Around half of OGP countries have strong legal and practical support for freedom of association: El Salvador has addressed barriers to entry. Canada is looking at ease of operations and Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Latvia are expanding access to funding.

Still, international indicators show that 40 percent of OGP members have noteworthy challenges. Organizations working on sensitive human rights issues are the most affected. OGP members with the largest challenges in freedom of association are the least likely to have relevant commitments to reform.

Freedom of association is a core and cross-cutting issue for OGP, and it is an area where OGP’s unique model can forward progress. To accelerate this work, OGP is  promoting positive reform commitments and pushing back against the use of transparency and accountability discourse to over-regulate civil society.


Beautiful Riga old town panoramic view from above

Committing Funding to Build Civil Society in Latvia

Lessons from Reformers: As part of the Soviet Union, Latvia did not have a tradition of civil society organizations...

View from Tara mountain in Serbia, Europe. Drina river in the distance.

Fixing Past Problems with State Funding for CSOs

Lessons from Reformers: Serbia’s first OGP action plan (2014–2016) had an explicitly ambitious commitment on the transparent funding of CSOs...


Recommendations

  • Publish and share information on financial reporting and regulations. Sierra Leone is improving transparency of public funding received by civil society organizations working in post-Ebola recovery efforts. Reporting was public and in an open data format. 
  • Limit or eliminate restrictions that make it challenging to establish a new organization, especially for those working on sensitive issues. El Salvador is using OGP to accelerate the process for creating an organization, which previously took three to eight years.   
  • Ease requirements on registration and access to funding. Canada has committed to providing civil society organizations with information on tax rules, which helps prevent arbitrary and unnecessary audits. Latvia has established a “NGO Fund” to build CSO capacity to engage in policy processes.

Commitments

  1. Human Rights Report

    UY0120, 2018, Civic Space

  2. NGO Database, NGO Fund

    LT0025, 2018, Civic Space

  3. Public Services by NGOs

    LT0027, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Feasibility Study on NGO Satellite Account

    SK0077, 2017, Civic Space

  5. Citizen Access Point

    UY0089, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Foriegn Aid Transparency

    SL0013, 2016, Aid

  7. Transparency of Loans and Aid from Foreign Countries

    MN0028, 2016, Aid

  8. Capacity Strengthening for Cooperation Between the Local Self-Government Units and Civil Organizations

    MK0111, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Favorable Legal Environment for Social Contracts

    MK0117, 2016, Civic Space

  10. Transparency in Aid Management

    SE0015, 2016, Aid

  11. Transparency in Social Organizations

    SV0078, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Creation of NGO Database.

    LT0022, 2016, Civic Space

  13. Creation of NGO Fund.

    LT0023, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Social Organizations Act

    SV0090, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Development of a Uniform Methodology for Planning, Monitoring and Performance Evaluation of Programmes and Projects Implemented by Civil Society Organisations and Monitoring the Spending of Allocated Funds

    RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  16. Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest Implemented by Associations

    RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Evaluate Grant Funding Open Data Application

    SK0030, 2015, E-Government

  18. Sustainable Model of Financing NGOs

    LV0023, 2015, Civic Space

  19. Increased Access to Swedish Aid Information

    SE0010, 2014, Aid

  20. Increased Aid Transparency at Global Level

    SE0012, 2014, Aid

  21. National Civil Society Fund Model Development

    LT0011, 2014, Civic Space

  22. Financing of Charities

    UA0032, 2014, Civic Space

  23. Not-For-Profit Status for CSOs

    UA0033, 2014, Civic Space

  24. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  25. Foreign Aid and Foreign Investment

    MK0074, 2014, Aid

  26. Simplification and Digital Administration of Arrangements for NGOs

    NO0044, 2013, Capacity Building

  27. Implementing the Commitments in the Busan Partnership Document

    SE0003, 2012, Aid

  28. Amendments to the Law on Community Associations

    UA0002, 2012, Civic Space

  29. NGO Fund

    LV0001, 2012, Capacity Building

  30. Trade Union Law

    LV0003, 2012, Civic Space


OGP Global Report Data

The data below is drawn from the 2019 OGP Global Report. You can view and learn more about the report here.

These are members making OGP commitments to improve their performance in the respective policy area. As members that have demonstrated political commitment through OGP, the next step is ensuring that implemented commitments have maximal impact.

Key
Indicates that member has a starred commitment in this policy area.


Recent Content

Ministarka Suzana Pribilovic

Faces of Open Government: Minister Suzana Pribilović

Meet Suzana Pribilović, the Minister of Public Administration in Montenegro and an open government champion.

28706672697_8bde3f8e78_h

Faces of Open Government: Suneeta Kaimal

Meet Suneeta Kaimal, an advocate for the protection of civic space and natural resource governance.

Beautiful Riga old town panoramic view from above

Committing Funding to Build Civil Society in Latvia

Lessons from Reformers: As part of the Soviet Union, Latvia did not have a tradition of civil society organizations...

Downtown Lagos

Security and Freedom of Association in Uganda and Nigeria

Lessons from Reformers: The fight against money laundering and terrorism has come into tension with freedom of association and assembly in a number of countries...

Show More