Source description last updated: 12 March 2021

In brief: The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is a non-governmental organisation based in Washington, D.C. that provides information on the legal environment for civil society and public participation.

Coverage on

Civic Law Monitor, selected national laws

Covered on on a quarterly basis, for countries of priorities A–E (all available countries).


“The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law works to improve the legal environment for civil society, philanthropy, and public participation around the world. We share a vision of a safe, legal environment in which all people are free to join together and improve their lives.

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law was founded in 1992 [...]. We work with partners from civil society, government, and the international community developing long-term relationships to advance reforms. [...] Our work is rooted in universal principles and norms of international law and embodies our commitment to nurture the legal environment at all levels, from the local to global.”

ICNL’s goals are to improve international standards and local laws relating to civil society, help local organisations to continue their work in restrictive legal environments, conduct research and analysis and track legislative trends and keep its partners informed about new developments affecting civic space. (ICNL website: About Us, undated)

“ICNL’s Civic Freedom Monitor provides up-to-date information on legal issues affecting civil society and civic freedoms, including freedoms of association, expression, and peaceful assembly.” (ICNL website: Civic Freedom Monitor, undated)


ICNL’s sources of revenue in 2019 included US and other government grants, foundation and corporation grants, income from contracts, interest and dividend income, net appreciation of investments and other sources of revenue (ICNL website: 2019-2020 Annual Report, undated). The Civic Freedom Monitor has received grant support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (ICNL: Civic Freedom Monitor, undated).

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: The Civic Freedom Monitor currently covers 54 countries in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as 8 multilateral institutions. (ICNL website: Civic Freedom Monitor, undated)

Thematic focus: ICNL’s core themes are freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, public participation and philanthropy. (ICNL website: Our Work, undated)


In the Civic Freedom Monitor, “[e]ach country report provides an overview of key legal issues relating to civic freedoms, with a focus on legal barriers to civil society activity” (ICNL: Civic Freedom Monitor, undated). These reports collate published material on legislation and policy relating to civic freedoms and the activities of NGOs (see, for example, ICNL: Civic Freedom Monitor: Afghanistan, last updated 23 January 2021).

Language of publication:


Further reading / links:

MacArthur Foundation: International Center for Not-For-Profit Law, 16 February 2012

All links accessed 12 March 2021.