Development cooperation

There is no democracy without civil society. The core of Forum Syd's work to achieve democracy and universal human rights is to support and strengthen civil society organisations.

Forum Syd believes in the vital role of civil society in contributing to the fulfilment of human rights, particularly by focusing on non-discrimination and active popular participation that makes democracy possible. Forum Syd applies a rights-based approach to its work. This means turning the spotlight on discrimination and injustice by analysing differences and identifying power relations so that we can understand how and when people’s freedoms are being violated.

Our focus areas

Democracy and human rights

In Forum Syd's work for democracy and human rights, civil society is at the heart of all work of change. Therefore, all our work permeates defending and enabling civil society's involvement for participation and organising of groups. When civil society mobilises people, we can jointly challenge unfair and discriminatory structures.

While maintaining peoples rights is at the center of democracy, democracy is an ongoing process that requires a lot of work to defend. Civil society therefore plays a crucial role in its ongoing work of empowering people to assert and defend their rights.

Environment and climate

It is estimated that there are now over one billion poor people, seventy per cent of whom are directly and wholly dependent on natural resources for their livelihood. Every year, about twelve million hectares of fertile soil is degraded by erosion, acidification, salinisation and carbon leakage, while over eighty per cent of the diseases that ravage developing countries are the direct consequence of unsafe water and poor sanitation.

We believe that underlying structural causes and power relations are affecting both environmental problems and adaptation to climate change. Social and environmental challenges are interdependent and therefore both need to be considered in the work for sustainability. Poverty can be exacerbated by environmental improvements and vice versa.

Gender and equality

Gender equality is a human right and a prerequisite for achieving democratic societies. The world over, we see structural barriers for women and girls to use their rights at all levels of society. Women are underrepresented among decision-making positions and are often excluded from discussions on peace, climate change - although women are the hardest hit. There is also a strong correlation between increased gender equality and poverty reduction. Women who make money invest more than men in the well-being of their families.

Forum Syd works for an equal society in which people enjoy the same rights, opportunities, resources and privileges. The right of women, girls, men, and boys to make their own decisions, such as controlling their own bodies and lives, is fundamental to everything we do.