The European Union (EU) is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, as enshrined in the EU establishing treaties, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and all EU policies. These principles underpin the EU’s policy in support of democracy and human rights in third countries, articulated in various Commission communications, European Parliament resolutions, and Council conclusions, including EU Guidelines on human rights issues.

In 2012, the European Commission’s Communication 492/2012 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, and the Committee of the Regions, titled “The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's engagement with Civil Society in external relations,” proposed a strategic EU engagement with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in partner countries, focusing on local CSOs. The Communication outlined a new approach to supporting CSOs in promoting inclusive and sustainable growth and social service delivery. It called for enhanced efforts to create a conducive environment for CSOs, allowing for their meaningful participation in domestic policies and supporting their role as independent development actors. It also advocated for a strategic joint approach of the EU and Member States at the country level through the development of EU country roadmaps for engagement with CSOs, to improve the impact, predictability, and coherence of EU support.

The policy provisions for strengthening CSOs in EU partner countries were framed by the goals of Regulation 233/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council, establishing the 2014-2020 Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI). The Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) / thematic programme “CSOs and Local Authorities 2014-2020” outlined extensive priorities, further operationalized by the Multi-Annual Action Programme (MAAP) 2015-2017 and 2018-2020. These frameworks were reinforced by the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2016 Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy, the 2017 European Consensus on Development, and the 2016-2020 EU Gender Action Plan (GAP II).

In 2018, the European Commission’s implementing decision on the MAAP for 2018-2020 for CSOs and Local Authorities, as amended in 2019, along with the Action Document on “CSOs as actors of governance and development work in the field,” emphasized the recognition of CSOs as development partners but also highlighted ongoing constraints hampering their capacity to contribute effectively to governance, development, and poverty reduction. The Action Document set out the criteria for financing programs and interventions to implement the defined priorities at national and regional levels.

Subsequently, the “CSOs as actors of Governance and Development Work in the Field” Call for Proposals (CfP) was launched for Suriname in August 2020, aiming to strengthen CSOs in the country and enhance life in local hinterland communities. Lot 1 focused on enhancing life in the hinterland, while Lot 2 focused on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) rights and related issues, addressing institutionalized gender biases, social norms, taboos, and conservative perceptions of gender and gender roles, sexual and reproductive health and rights, inclusion, and participation in national rights-related dialogues across public, private, and civil sectors.

In line with these goals, in 2021, a grant was awarded under Lot 2 to the Intervention “Stand With Us: Creating the building blocks for an LGBT-inclusive Suriname” (SWU) for a period of 36 months, with a budget of 447,266 Euro (EU Contribution: 402,265 Euro). SWU is implemented in Suriname by the CSO Projekta as the Lead Partner and the CSO PAREA as the Implementing Partner (IP).