Case Stories

The State of Development Cooperation CSO Enabling Environment and CSO Development Effectiveness Experiences in Nicaragua

The Civil Coordinator of Nicaragua (CC), established in 1998, is an umbrella organization composed of a diversity of Nicaraguan CSOs united by an inclusive vision for the nation. Since 2008, it has engaged in a series of High Level Forum debates, in Rome, Paris, Accra, and Busan.

Various laws and international conventions concerning civil society exist in Nicaragua, granting space to CSOs in accordance with the Busan Partnership, the Accra Agenda for Action and other agreements.. However, 2007 marked a repressive turn in government policies toward CSOs, which have been forced to find alternative means to survive.

The political environment has changed and civil society organizations have worried about the deterioration of democratic institutions, given moves to change the Constitution which would lift restrictions for re-election to the Presidency, on top of concerns over the independence of the Nicaraguan judicial system.

Political institutions are characterized by a breakdown of the Social State governed by the Rule of Law, violating the independence and the separation of powers, and favouring the concentration of power among elites. This has hampered the exercise of rights and freedoms by CSO and citizens.

Most concerning for civil society are trends that would further liberalise the economy and open it up to foreign investors, as seen starkly with the establishment of a foreign enclave in Nicaragua’s territory, a concession given to a Chinese investor for a period of 50 years starting at the beginning of the commercial operations and extendable for an another fifty years, for the construction of the $US 40-50 billion Interoceanic Grand Canal.

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