About the CSO Meter

(Pilot version)

What is the aim of the CSO Meter?

The CSO Meter supports regular and consistent monitoring of the environment in which civil society organizations (CSOs) operate in the Eastern Partnership countries. It consists of a set of standards and indicators in 10 different areas to measure both law and practice. It is based on international standards and best practices.

How to use it?

With the CSO Meter and its country and regional reports, you can:

  • Compare findings under each area year by year and track progress or regression.
  • Compare achievements or obstacles in one country to those in another.
  • Propose evidence-based solutions for advocacy and policy-making and organize debates on challenges and proposed recommendations.
  • Prepare infographics or other promotional materials.
  • Assess proposed legislation affecting the environment for CSOs.
  • Develop more detailed thematic reports based on the information collected

What areas does it cover?

The CSO Meter is split in two main parts:

  • Fundamental rights and freedoms that are essential for the existence of civil society: (1) freedom of association, (2) equal treatment, (3) access to funding, (4) freedom of peaceful assembly, (5) right to participation in decision-making, (6) freedom of expression, (7) right to privacy and (8) state duty to protect.
  • Necessary conditions that ensure additional support for the development of civil society (though their existence without fundamental rights and freedoms is not sufficient to ensure an enabling environment), including: (1) state support and (2) state-CSO cooperation.

How was it developed?

The CSO Meter was developed through a highly consultative and collaborative process, supported by the European Center for Not-for-Proft Law (ECNL). It was co-drafted by a core group of local experts from local partners in each of the six Eastern Partnership countries:

Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center (Armenia)   |   MG Consulting LLC      (Azerbaijan)   |   Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs in collaboration with Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)   |  Civil Society Institute (Georgia)   |   Promo-Lex Association (Moldova)    |   Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (Ukraine)

It was consulted in 3 rounds with more than 807 CSOs across the region. As such, the CSO Meter is a result of a true local effort and covers issues that local partners identifed as relevant for their country contexts.

The development of the CSO Meter is supported by the European Union within the framework of the Action “Monitoring Progress, Empowering Action”.

What is next?

The CSO Meter has been tested during 2019, local partners prepared country reports on the civil society environment in each of the Eastern Partnership countries. Their findings feed into a Regional Report that ECNL developed to capture regional trends. In 2020 we will evaluate the CSO Meter’s practical implementation and adjust it to ensure that no important issues or concern is missed.