CSOs’ Demands and Recommendations on the Two Draft Decisions Sent to the Unit for Cooperation with NGOs in Macedonia

Macedonian Civil Society Demanding Establishment of Well-designed and Inclusive Council and Complete Reform of the State Funding System
December 18, 2014
Joint Guidelines of the Venice Commission and OSCE ODIHR on Freedom of Association
December 30, 2014

On the 19th of December, BCSDN together with MCIC, and with the support of 57 CSOs representatives, sent the comments and proposals on the two bylaws drafts concerning the establishment of Council for cooperation and dialogue with CSO and conditions of state financing in the form of an integral letter to the General Secretariat of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Unit for Cooperation with NGOs. The document with comments and proposals was sent together with the list of participants on the public Consultation held on 15th of December in Skopje, and the integral text of the bylaw on establishment of the Council with concrete comments and changes in the articles.

In the letter sent to the Unit for cooperation with NGOs, the CSOs’ representatives demand an extension of the online consultation period for the two bylaws drafts until the end of January 2015.  Moreover, CSOs demand active public presentation of the two key draft decisions by the officials, so more CSOs could be informed and give their opinion, comments and proposals on their content. BCSDN together with MCIC and the 57 CSOs representatives recommend a complete reform of the system of state financing, and that the conditions of state financing for CSOs become a matter of competence, analysis and discussion of the new Council, after its establishment.

The main focus of the letter is on the concrete recommendations for the establishment of a well-designed and inclusive Council. More precisely, it is recommended that the Council’s President should be appointed from the elected CSOs representatives in the Council to demonstrate mutual trust and improvement of dialogue between the Government and civil society. CSOs suggest changes in the criteria for selection of candidates from public institutions, who should have at least three years experience with institutional collaboration with CSOs, and in the criteria for selection of CSOs candidates, where the focus should be more on the personal capacities of the representatives and less on the organizational capacities of their CSO, which has a supportive function. Also, it is recommended that the mandate of the Council representatives should be made three years and the period of the public call for candidacy of CSOs representatives should be extended to 30 days. Further recommendations argue that proper financial means should be assured for administrative functioning of the Council as well as financial compensation of the representatives’ costs related to the Council`s work. Finally, the Council should report to the Government at least twice a year and make the results of its work public.

The full document with comments and proposals sent to the Unit for Cooperation with NGOs (in Macedonian language) is available for download here.

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