Report on Enabling Environment for Civil Society in North Macedonia Presented: The Environment for Development of the Civil Society in 2019 Was Relatively Enabling

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On 23 July 2020, the Civil Society Resource Centre together with its leading implementing partner and our member – The Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) organized an online event for presenting the findings from the monitoring of the enabling environment for civil society in 2019 in North Macedonia, conducted through the Monitoring Matrix for Civil Society Development.

The event gathered more than 60 CSOs’ representatives who discussed the findings and the recent developments concerning the civil society operating environment in the country.

The findings from the report were presented by Ms. Snezana Kamilovska Trpovska from MCIC who stated that 2019 was significant for involving CSOs in law and policy creation processes (Law on Fight Against Corruption, Law on Access to Public Information, Law on Free Legal Aid, Law on Public Procurement, etc.). Despite the generally positive findings, there is a need the civil society organizations to be involved in the policy-making process much earlier than when they are in the form of a proposal or draft law. Despite the positive findings, she pointed out that there is a decrease in the amount of state funding for CSOs for 13% in 2019, compared to 2018. Although a comprehensive reform of the state funding model has been announced, there are no significant changes in this area.

Biljana Spasovska, on behalf of BCSDN, shared preliminary regional findings from the monitoring of the civil society environment conducted by our members in the six Western Balkans countries. The common characteristics of all the countries in the region are 1. Need for better protection and clarification in the legal framework basic freedoms; 2. Limited access and need for incentivizing diverse forms of CSOs funding, as well as for improving the public funding mechanisms; 3. Need for more timely and meaningful cooperation between government – civil society and better cooperation in service provision.

One of the most pressing issues raised at the meeting was the work of the Council for Cooperation with and Development of the Civil Society in North Macedonia. Sabina Fakic, from the Center for Civil Communications and a representative of the Council, believes that the environment in which operates the Council is not favorable and that the effects of its work are not maximized. The reasons for which are believed to be found in the Government, but also the civil society organizations themselves.

Irena Ivanova, representing the Delegation of the European Union, spoke about the EU’s efforts to support the development of CSOs, also provided a general overview of the civil society sector’s strengths and weaknesses. She pointed out the need for unity and proactivity considering/having in mind that the organizations represent the citizens’ voice.

Read more about the event on local language here.

The Monitoring Matrix for Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development was jointly developed by BCSDN and its members in 2012 as a tool for measuring the health of the legal, regulatory, and financial environment in which civil society organizations in the Western Balkans and Turkey operate. In 2019, the Monitoring Matrix is a core activity of BCSDN’s Regional Civil Society Hub, funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) and Swedish International Devevelopment Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Read more on monitoring the enabling environment here.

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