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Korean Civil Groups` Activities-Political Influence Score: 2.5; Civil Participation Score: 1.1

Korean Civil Groups` Activities-Political Influence Score: 2.5; Civil Participation Score: 1.1

Posted June. 17, 2005 03:25,   


Korea`s Civil Society Index (CSI) is the result of a two-year research project by the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS), a famous international civil organization, at the request of Hanyang University`s Third Sector Institute.

CIVICUS, which mainly assesses the state of civil societies, released Korea’s CSI on June 16 based on the state of Korean civil societies` work force and financial status, and surveys of civil workers. A total of 102 civil workers from six cities and 600 citizens participated in the survey.

According to the index, Korea`s civil group activities in providing information to the public and enhancing problem-solving skills recorded 1.7 out of 3.0, while their influence on the government`s public policies rated a relatively high 2.5.

Their influence on policies relating to environmental protection, gender equality, anti-corruption, political reforms, and protection of human rights all received high scores of over 2.5.

On the other hand, they recorded a low score of 1.5 in improving social and economic skills and meeting the needs of the poor, the disabled, and other people of alienated classes.

Also, civil groups` scores for monitoring the government`s activity (1.54) were higher than the scores for providing welfare and education services to the public (1.33).

The organizational structure of civil groups also proved to be weak. The public`s participation in the groups was "limited" (1.1), showing that civil group activities were more concentrated on popular issues rather than on “grass roots initiatives.”

In terms of financial status, 54.6 percent of officials related to civil groups answered that it was "very or quite unstable."

The index, calculated by CIVICUS and the Center for Civil Society at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), was based on an analysis of four categories: environment (government and market relations), structure (infrastructure, civil participation, and financial status), values (the civil groups` values) and influence (political, social, and economic influence).

Joo Sung-soo, the director of the Third Sector Institute, said, "The index has shown that Korea`s civil organizations succeeded in making progress in human rights and political reforms, but that they have failed to promote public participation." He added, "Civil groups must concentrate more on public issues related to their everyday lives."