The year 2019 marks the third year of implementation of the Regulation MF-NR-04/2017 on criteria, standards, and procedures on public funds distribution for CSOs. Its implementation is mandatory for central and local level institutions. It is the first policy that regulates public funds distribution to CSOs, signed after a thorough cooperation between public officials and civil society. Meanwhile the Strategy for Government – CSO cooperation 2019 -2023, through its objectives targets building a co-financing scheme for EU funds for CSOs.
The Regulation has built the decentralized system of public funds distribution where each public institution is responsible for distribution of its own funds aligned to their strategic objectives and field of operation. Regulation requires that public funds intended for CSOs to be planned through specific budget lines in the annual state’s budget. Ministry of Finance upon request creates specific budget codes for each public institution that intend to distribute public funds. This is related to preparations of the annual budget where requests overpass the meant budget, therefore Ministry of Finance takes the final decision on priority areas to support. Yet, since the entry into force of the Regulation such codes were not created. Hence the annual state’s budget of 2019 besides common budget lines like cultural services, youth and sports and gender issues includes no specific lines for CSOs. A few municipalities like Rahovec and Istog had budget lines on funding and co-funding of CSOs projects.
0 – 20 Fully disabling environment20 – 40 Disabling environment
40 – 60 Partially enabling environment60 – 80 Enabling environment
80 – 100 Fully enabling environment
The Law 04/L- 080 on games of chance allowed allocation of a certain amount of funds from the Kosovo Lottery Fund that could be used for funding of social categories, human rights issues, culture and sports. The details of such transfer remained to be determined through secondary legislation, nevertheless by the middle of the last year, a new law that prohibits activities of games of chance in Kosovo entered into force. Every public fund provider is obligated by the Regulation to plan within the annual state’s budget in line with their priorities, strategic objectives and in consultation with civil society organizations. The Regulation specifies that Evaluation Committee should consist of five members one of which should be a representative of CSOs, chosen via a public call.
According to survey results 37 CSOs have received public funds. Grants for specific activity/project prevail followed by institutional grants allocated to five CSOs while one organization has received coo financing for EU and other projects. Based on their organizations experiences around 70% of respondents consider public funding insufficient to meet their needs. As it is noted above the system of public funds distribution in Kosovo is decentralized. Publication of lists of CSO beneficiaries altogether with the amounts distributed by each local and central institution through the Governments annual report on public funds distributed to CSOs manifests the presence of such system. The Government’s report briefly emphasizes the need to operationalize monitoring and evaluation systems of public funds providers. Although mandatory, public institutions have not managed yet to incorporate specific budget lines for CSOs support in the annual budget. Nevertheless, Government’s report on public funds distributed to CSOS allows to compare amounts distributed to CSOs. Annual Report on Public Funds distributed to NGOs shows that in 2018 EUR 24 million were distributed to CSOs compared to EUR 1.8 billion of the total annual budget. When KCSF’s filtered and sorted out lists of beneficiaries it turned out that from EUR 24 million reported as public financial support only EUR 9 million were distributed to civil society organizations. The rest went out to federations, sports clubs, economic operators, and services provided by CSOs on behalf of state institutions. On average EUR 9,731.71 were delivered per CSO.
Lists of public funds beneficiaries reveal that public institutions categorize funds allocated for sports clubs, federations, religious institutions, private schools, art ensembles, and city theatres, as support for civil society organizations. Total of funds distributed to these entities amounts to EUR 7 million in comparison to EUR 9 million allocated to CSOs. On the other hand, EUR 1 million were distributed to veteran’s organization without open calls excluding criteria and forms set by the public fund’s Regulation. Despite the fact that as nominal values, public funds distributed to CSOs are increasing from year to year (EUR 16 million in 2017 v EUR 24 million in 2018), again after analyzing lists of beneficiaries it turns out that there is a slight decrease in percentage of public funds distributed to CSOs. In 2017, 42% of public funds went to civil society organizations in comparison to 38% in 2018.
After the entry into force of the Regulation on public funds distribution to CSOs, public institutions are more involved to increase public funds availability to CSOs. Albeit, a lot remains to be done in terms of increasing transparency and enhancing their monitoring and reporting systems.
Evaluation Committee should be comprised by three representatives of public institutions, and two external experts one of which must be from civil society. Members of the Compliant Commission are appointed by decision of the chief administrative officer/head of the institution. It is not specified if civil society representatives must be part of it. Amid five institutions with the greatest share of public funds allocated to CSOs, in the central level, two have not published open calls for external experts to join the Evaluation Committee. Whereas on the local level, none of the municipalities has published online the call to join the Evaluation Committee. Only 30% of civil society organizations stated to have been invited to participate in meetings where public funding priorities are decided.