The values dimension was featured as the strongest of the four dimensions and demonstrating that CSOs are generally committed to promoting and practicing some key values in society, while the impact of civil society is considered moderate, mainly due to the limited capacity of CSOs to influence public policy and to holding the state and private sector accountable. In more general terms, one key element that characterises civil society in Chile is the sector’s duality between the more and the less structured organisations, notably between non governmental organisations (NGOs) and a broader community-based associational network.

These two sectors of organised civil society are often on opposite ends of the spectrum, particularly in terms of policy impact and collective action.

From 2008 to 2010, the Civil Society Index is being implemented by the Fundacion SOLES.

Deepening Democracy: civil society in Chile

In general terms, the CSI Diamond for Chile's civil society showed moderate values for most of the 'internal' dimensions (Civic Engagement, Level of Organisation, Practice of Values and Perception of Impact), corresponding to a medium level of development. The score for the External Environment, on the other hand, suggests a more favorable arena for the advancement of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

Chile reports that it seems now to have passed the stage of democratic transition, and has strengthened mechanisms for formal elections and internal auditing. In general terms, it is an organised state with levels of corruption under control. Despite the weaknesses that remain from the previous coup d'état and a dictatorship, civil society has had relative success in the process of associative reconstruction. New organisations, many of them based on information and communication technologies, have opened new spaces of citizen participation. However, the internal inequality of Chile's civil society is one of the greatest challenges to the consolidation of a sustainable civil society and, in turn, a more profound and deeper democracy. To the degree to which it is possible, Chile's civil society is looking for a space in general society, and is trying to create alliance mechanisms with the state and the market, without ceasing to offer an authentic, autonomous and credible voice.


CSI Country Reports in Chile