The Council of Europe Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Promoted at an International Conference in Ljubljana

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The conference was addressed by Irma Pavlinic Krebs, Minister of Public Administration, Slovenia, Antonella Valmorbida, Chair of the Civil Society and Democracy Committee of the Conference of INGOs and Joze Gornik, Director of CNVOS. The conference was divided into several workshops on specific issues related to participation and experience of CSOs in the policy- and decision-making. Among others the need for capacities and raised-awareness among civil servants and CSOs was stressed, the importance of political will, need of frameworks regulating relations and cooperation between public authorities and CSOs whether it be compulsory or not. The participants agreed that the Code of Good Practice presents a good example for development of civil dialogue mechanisms and practices and is timely in supporting efforts of CSOs across Europe, especially in (pre-)accession countries.

Several good practices were presented such as the English Compact by Liz Atkins, NCVO, UK adopted in 1998, when the new Labor government showed political will to engage more thoroughly with the sector and through which independence of the sector was achieved irrespective of government funding of activities of individual CSOs. Igor Vidacak, Governmental Office for NGOs, Croatia presented the Croatian system for support and cooperation of the Government with the CSOs. Besides the Office and National Foundation for Civil Society Development, the Government has established 100 administrative bodies with 800 representatives of CSOs participating to them. The Office has launched a searchable database of this bodies as well as a new Code of Consultation of Interested Public. Eva Nikolov-Bruckner, Federal Chancellery, Austria presented Standards of Public Participation developed on a participatory process including CSOs and with the aim to make lesser the administrative burden to citizens and CSOs in Austria. The Standards were developed since 2005 and adopted in July 2008. Giovanni Moro, FONDACA, Italy presented the citizens’ initiative to change the Italian Constitution in 2001 based on s.c. subsidiary governance. Based on this experience, FONDACA has developed a methodology of civic audits used to assess and evaluate civil dialogue performance or serve as a basis for civic initiatives for improvement of civil dialogue. Rosana Aleksoska, MOST, Macedonia presented her organizations’ efforts in working with the Parliament and with functioning of the Office for Cooperation between CSOs and the Parliament currently in the process of transformation.

The conference brought together over 80 participants from across Europe and the Balkan region. Representatives of BCSDN members (ACSF, CenzuraPlus, CI, CNVOS, KCSF, MCIC) and Tanja Hafner Ademi, the Executive Director of the network, attended the conference.

More information on the conference proceedings, presentations, participants and conclusions visit CNVOS website.

Code of Conduct and other related CoE documents are available below:

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