The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Uruguay following the Third Annual Donor Steering Committee Meeting of the Lifeline: Embattled CSOs Assistance Fund.
On Tuesday, September 24, Deputy Secretary of State of the United States William J. Burns and Director-General of Political Affairs of the Netherlands Wim Geerts chaired the third annual donor meeting of the Lifeline: Embattled Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Assistance Fund in New York, New York. The current donors—the governments of Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uruguay; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and the Ford Foundation—are pleased to welcome Latvia and Mongolia as new donors to the Fund, as well as to announce the continued financial support of Canada, Estonia, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In addition to their financial support, the Lifeline donors pledged their diplomatic support. On Monday, September 23, President Obama met with government representatives, including those that are donors to Lifeline, and all endorsed a joint statement on the promotion and protection of civil society, committing to work together to respond to restrictions on civil society that hamper its ability to perform its crucial role. In response to that call to action, today’s meeting focused on practical, concrete ways that the Lifeline donors can more effectively coordinate to combat negative trends affecting civil society.
Launched in July 2011, Lifeline provides emergency assistance to CSOs when they are threatened or attacked because of their advocacy work, as well as funding for short-term initiatives that allow CSOs—at local, regional, and international levels—to fight back against regulatory and extralegal barriers. The Fund has provided targeted assistance to 218 CSOs operating in 64 challenging countries, 93 percent of whom report that the help positively impacted their safety and reduced the threats they faced. Together, the donors have committed more than $14 million for activities between 2011 and 2019.