The contribution of the civil sector in promotion and developing democratic culture and social cohesion on all society levels encourages the need of cooperation between the civil sector and the Government of the Republic of Macedonia. Their mutual activities can significantly contribute in the development of different areas in society in order to efficiently answer the challenges and current problems in the country.
Aware of the importance of the democratic expression, efficiency and skillfulness of the citizens’ associations, the Government creates this Strategy for cooperation with the civil sector. In this Strategy the Government includes the basics of its cooperation with citizens’ associations, and through the act of adopting this document the Government commits to systematically strengthen the basic conditions for faster and more efficient development of this sector.
This document is adopted in order to provide concrete institutional obligation for future fostering of comprehensive and more qualitative relations between the State and the civil sector regarding the entire future progress of the Macedonian society.
The Strategy offers and provides a frame, mechanisms and policies which shall:
- Reinforce and advance the cooperation of the Government with citizens’ associations and foundations by developing its own culture for cooperation with the civil sector;
- Enable the state administration through concrete guidelines to recognize the role of the civil sector and to develop partnership relations with this sector;
- Provide greater involvement and influence of citizens through their associations and foundations while institutional decision-making is in process on central level and creation of policies by using their experiences in decision-making process;
- Improve the conditions for further strengthening and development of citizens’ associations and foundations by creating satisfactory normative and systematic-institutional environment;
- Improve systematic conditions for providing sustainable development of the civil sector;
- Create normative and institutional suppositions for realization of the European Union’s standards in this area;
Improve the access to information of public character;
- Consider the civil sector’s achieved level of development in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as the policies, international documents and strategies, comparable experiences and best practices from European countries while future consideration of domestic priorities.
This Strategy has middle-term character, therefore the task is to realize the planned goals in the following five-year period (2007 – 2011). As active actors, who shall directly be interceded for realization of the proclaimed principles and tasks given in this strategic document are considered to be: the Department for Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations in the General Secretariat of the Government, the competent ministries and bodies structured according to area of mandate and citizens’ associations.
The Strategy has obligatory character for the Government and the state’s administration bodies, but this Strategy is in no situation to impose obligatory actions and cooperation of the local self-government and the business sector with the civil sector. Nevertheless, it is expected that the ambient and the conditions, which will be improved in developmental and qualitatively manner among the abovementioned primary actors of the Strategy, in an indirect way, shall provoke greater motivation for participation of the other societal segments, without which the entire development would be partial and limited. This Government’s document should be practiced and implemented by all subjects that are part of these partnership relations.
In the cooperation of the Government with the civil sector, the Government shall respect the principles of mutual trust, partnership, participation and consultation, transparency and independence and responsibility.
The Strategy for cooperation with the civil sector, by mutually related strategic goals that support the cooperation and development of the civil sector, shall define the guidelines for:
- Upgrading the legal frame;
- Participation of the civil sector in policy-making process;
- Realization of inter-institutional cooperation;
- Realization of inter-sector cooperation;
- Involvement of the civil sector in the process for integration in the European Union;
- Creation of more satisfactory conditions for financial sustainability of the civil sector;
- Permanent development of the civil sector.
Upgrading the legal frame
The Government has a goal to propose upgrading of the legal frame that refers to citizens’ associations in the Republic of Macedonia in order to provide enhanced conditions for founding and functioning of citizens’ associations and this legal frame should be in accordance with the best European practices and regulations. The Government shall strengthen the role of the citizens’ associations that implement activities of public interest and shall create a foundation for their sustainability. For this purpose, the Government shall introduce special status for these associations, which will create a base for providing tax benefits and other types of support by the state through an objective, accountable and transparent mechanism.
Participation of the civil sector in policy-making process
The government has a goal to develop a system of basic principles for involving citizens and their associations in decision-making processes. Through this system, the citizens’ associations will participate in decision-making processes and in preparation of state acts by participation in public discussions and submitting opinions, and will be involved in inter-sector work groups and governmental advisory bodies.
Realization of inter-institutional cooperation
For this purpose, the measures are aimed towards strengthening the role of the Department for Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations, which will assist in implementation of its activities more efficiently and will coordinate and advance the cooperation not only among the Government and the citizens’ associations but also among the other state’s administration bodies.
Realization of inter-sector cooperation
The Government shall promote active cooperation between the citizens’ associations and the governmental sector on central and local level. The Government shall intercede to develop different types of cooperation, and long-term strategies will be promoted and implemented in given area, projects for certain goal and other activities, which are important for the community. The Government shall introduce efficient instrument for improving the public services and the fight against bureaucracy and corruption – citizens’ journal. The citizens and the citizens’ associations will have the opportunity to evaluate the work of different state institutions every three months by fulfilling simple forms. The Government shall consider the collective results, and shall propose measures for the institutions where conditions are not being improved.
Involvement of the civil sector in the process of integration in the European Union
The Government has a goal to support and increase the role and participation of citizens’ associations in the process of integration in the European Union. The Government shall introduce mechanisms that will establish guarantees for involvement of the civil sector through consultations in the preparation, coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of political and legal measures, and especially in the process of developing national development plans, operational programmes and other strategic documents. According the Campaign for informing the public regarding the process of European integration and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA), the Government shall undertake number of activities in order to introduce the citizens’ associations with the possibilities for using IPA. In this manner, the citizens’ associations shall actively contribute with its capacity, experience, expertise and means in preparation and implementation of strategic documents.
Creation of conditions for financial sustainability
The Government shall propose improvement of the frame for financing the citizens’ associations in order to reinforce the bases for support of citizens’ associations from domestic public and private resources (from the budget, the ministries, lotteries and other existing mechanisms), creation of satisfactory policy for indirect financing, introducing benefits from the tax on profit, value added tax, property etc, and incentives for the development of philanthropy, social responsibility and volunteerism). As a result, citizens’ associations will have increased opportunities for accessing funds from domestic sources for implementing different activities of public interest while private persons and citizens will be encouraged to involve more actively in solving issues which are priorities in their communities.
The Government shall also propose improvement of the legal conditions for financial functioning of the citizens’ association, which will assist towards professionalism and accountability in the work of the associations. The Government shall propose legal frame regarding citizens’ associations to be able to directly perform activities for making profit, and in that line, shall propose introduction of tax exemptions or decreasing the tax on profit for the citizens’ associations, which will offer them greater opportunity to use sources from these activities and other sources of self-financing. The government shall propose introduction of other tax benefits, which will provide citizens’ associations with greater financial support for implementing its services and activities of public interest. In order to accomplish these goals, the Government shall also be interceded, in assigned period, to prepare and adopt a new decision regarding the way and the criteria for allocation of funds from budget sources, as well as to change the Law for Lottery and Hazard Games and to adopt acts for allocation.
Permanent development of the civil sector
The government has a goal to support the development of the capacity in the citizens’ associations on national and local level, especially in rural areas. In that way, the Government shall assist the civil sector to increase its contribution in the community development and meeting the needs of the citizens.
The Government shall, through the media, promote the cooperation with citizens’ associations and shall emphasize the results from the jointly implemented projects.
IMPLEMENTATION, MONITORING AND REVISION
The Department for Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations and the General Secretariat of the Government have the primary role in coordination and implementation of the Strategy. They are competent for periodic evaluation and reporting regarding the implementation of the Strategy.
At the same time, the General Secretariat and the Department for Cooperation with Non-Governmental Organizations shall be in coordination with different ministries and other state’s administration bodies responsible for implementation of concrete measures in the Strategy, in order to provide on time planning and implementation of the activities.