The 2019 Civil Society Organization (CSO) Sustainability Index for Asia was published in December this year. This index has been assessing the civil society sector in Sri Lanka since 2014. The sixth edition of the Index reports on the state of CSO sectors in nine countries in Asia.
The countries that were reviewed in 2019 were Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, The Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Sri Lanka. The objective of the index is to highlight the advances and setbacks in seven key components or ‘dimensions’ of the sustainability of civil society sectors. The dimensions include legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, sectoral infrastructure, and public image.
In 2019, Sri Lanka’s overall CSO Sustainability index marginally declined to the score of 4.6 from the score 4.5 recorded in the previous year, thereby remining under the category of ‘sustainability evolving’. Of the nine Asian countries that were reviewed in 2019, Sri Lanka recoded the largest deterioration of the public image of CSOs largely due to an increase in the negative rhetoric by politicians. Sri Lanka ranked among Burma and Cambodia in relation to countries that recorded an overall score of 4.6. This index also provides a comprehensive assessment of the capacity of civil society to serve as both a short-term partner in implementing development solutions and a long-term actor in ensuring development outcomes are sustained.