I write this introduction at the end of my third month at CIVICUS. In this time, my conversations with
colleagues, members and partners all around the world reveal a serious inconsistency. Just as we are seeing
a consensus about the importance of civil society, we are seeing developments that undermine the ability
of citizens to come together and shape the world around them. This inconsistency is explored in this report.
Governments, international agencies and businesses increasingly recognise that a free and vibrant civil society
is a fundamental building block of democratic societies and a means to promoting economic development.
Recent international agreements, such as those on development effectiveness or on protecting human rights
defenders, reaffirm this consensus, while every politician I have encountered in recent months seems deeply
committed to unlocking citizen potential.