On the margins of the BCSDN 8th Annual Council Meeting, a public event was organized on the 19th of April in Skopje – a thematic debate entitled “Setting the Records Straight: Availability of Public Funding for Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey (WBT) Region”. Gathering circa 30 representatives of CSOs as well as state institutions, the event aimed at informing the interested stakeholders on the issues of public funding and thereafter opening a floor for a lively and constructive discussion. Speakers at the event were Stefania Andersen, Managing Director of the Foundation for Development of Civil Society in Romania, presenting the best practices of state funding of CSOs in Romania, Tanja Hafner Ademi, Executive Director of BCSDN, providing a regional overview of the state at play in the Western Balkans and Turkey, and Simona Ognenovska, Project Associate at MCIC, presenting a policy document on public financing of CSOs in Macedonia.
Before giving an insight into the region, Tanja Hafner Ademi emphasized the oddity of the issue under interest, namely that we have come to the moment whereby transparency of public funds – money collected from all the citizens, is being discussed. Upon providing a short presentation on the standards that need to be fulfilled so that there is public funding-supportive-environment, she provided a comparison between Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia on average annual funding per capita from public funds versus EU funds. Public funding of CSOs is one of the key elements of the Governments’ approach towards strengthening the partnership with civil society and supporting its development. It is an important source of sustainability for CSOs, and sustainability of civil society is an imprtant precondition for democratic and economic prosperity.
More information (in Macedonian) is available here.