Civil society organisations (CSOs) are facing increasing pressure to demonstrate their accountability, legitimacy and effectiveness. In response, a growing number are coming together at national, regional and international level, to define common standards and promote good practice through codes of conduct, certification schemes, reporting frameworks, directories and awards. However, CSOs, donors and other potential users are often unaware of their existence or what distinguishes one initiative from another, making it difficult for to make choices around which initiative best suits their needs. This project provides the first comprehensive inventory of such civil society self-regulatory initiatives worldwide.
What the database offers
The map and initiative search pages provide access to a wealth of information on each initiative. Beyond compiling a list of current initiatives, this database provides descriptive and analytical information on each of the initiatives. Available information includes summaries, contact information, lists of participating organisations, full texts of initiatives, analysis of compliance mechanisms, similar initiatives, and assessments of the role of many initiatives within the CSO sector. Data has been gathered and structured such that users can filter their search according to their particular needs, using criteria such as the location, type, and areas addressed of the initiative.
The One World Trust worked in partnership with the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) to build a resource library, get in touch with civil society experts, and identify self-regulatory initiatives in Europe and worldwide. To learn more please visit the ECNL website.
The One World Trust has recently forged links with CIVICUS, an international membership alliance constituting an influential network of organisations spanning the spectrum of civil society. By pooling our resources and collaborating on future publications we aim to further our shared goal of increasing the strength and effectiveness of civil society organisations. To learn more, visit the CIVICUS website.
Civil society self-regulation: the global picture
As CSOs have grown in number and influence their activities have been subject to greater scrutiny. In response, a growing number have come together at national, regional and international levels to develop common norms and standards. Such sector level self-regulatory initiatives have become an important means of building public trust, protecting the political space for CSOs to operate, and supporting the sharing of good practice and learning.
With a total of 309 initiatives identified worldwide, the landscape of CSO self-regulation is more populated than previously thought. However, despite the widespread proliferation of CSO self-regulatory initiatives over the past two decades, there has been no thorough stock-taking and analysis of existing initiatives. This first paper in a series on CSO self-regulation provides an overview of the state of CSO self-regulation worldwide. It examines the various types of initiatives currently in use and offers insights into current patterns at national, regional and international levels.
Find out more
To find out more about how the One World Trust has defined CSO self-regulation, please check our FAQs.
Download a presentation about the CSO self-regulatory initiatives project from the July 2009 Encuentro Iberoamericano sobre Transparencia en el Tercer Sector (in Spanish).
Please visit our Resources page to read our updates, recent briefing papers and publications.
For more information about the project, to let us know about initiatives we should include in our database, or to provide additional information or feedback about an initiative, please feel free to contact us.