Cover DIPThis special issue of Development in Practice (Volume 23, Number 5, October 2013) has grown from the sense that important changes in the last two decades pose dilemmas and challenges for civil societies in many countries. The Issue reports on a series of studies of the evolving roles of civil society sectors and citizen initiatives in several regions of the world.

The papers in this special issue resulted from a multi-country collective reflection organized by five civil society support organizations from different regions. They sought to identify roles, capacities, contributions, and limitations of civil society in these changing contexts using a variety of approaches to data collection and analysis. They include regional overviews, descriptions of national sector evolution, and cases of citizen activism in Southern and Eastern Africa, Asia, Southern Latin America, Western Europe and Russia.