Civil society, as a form of collective action, is a means of getting closer to direct democracy, and a way in which representative democracy, as found in modern societies, can be complemented by giving the space to groups and individuals to work together and express their voice that would otherwise not be heard directly. These issues are non-exhaustive but could include watchdog functions, service provision, research and awareness and in general mobilising citizens to take action about issues that concern them. Civil society action in Cyprus is not a new concept but one that has been quite controversial in the past few years. The reasons for its slow growth may be inherent confusions in society about its role, the role of the state and the role of political parties. Moreover, the institutional framework regarding civil society work is not clear and often proves to be more of a burden than a supporter in terms of promoting an enabling environment for the sector to grow. UNDP-ACT and its predecessor the UNOP’s Bicommunal Development Programme have been working with civil society on the island for almost 10 years to empower it to have a voice. In 2005, UNDP-ACT undertook a study of the state of civil society on the island based on the CIVICUS methodology to determine its features and study possible ways to address the structural problems facing it.
civil society, Cyprus, democracy, citizen participation, United Nations, civics (or civic education), civic organizations, active citizenship, civil societyorganizations, non-governmental organisations
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Council of Europe (2007) Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 10 October 2007).
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