The year 2020 will forever be known for the global COVID-19 pandemic. The virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in November 2019. By March 11, 2020, over 118,000 cases of the illness had been identified in over 110 countries and territories around the world, leading the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare COVID-19 a pandemic. CSOs across Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia thus found themselves confronted by myriad unprecedented challenges that affected all aspects of sectoral sustainability. CSOs faced a dramatic increase in the demand for services to address the health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic. At the same time, however, restrictions imposed by governments to curb the spread of the virus prevented in-person events for large parts of the year, thereby forcing CSOs to develop new ways to provide services and connect with their constituencies.

Meanwhile, the pandemic’s impact on the economy had an inevitable impact on CSOs’ ability to
secure resources for this work. As this year’s CSOSI reports show, the pandemic served as a litmus test, both highlighting the resilience and exposing the vulnerabilities of civil society throughout the region.

The report is available for download here.


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