Mr. Zorz Popovski, head of Unit in the Secretariat of the Commission for Protection of the Right to Free Access to Public Information, attended the presentation of the Report on enabling environment for civil society development in Macedonia 2015 was presented by the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC ). The document contains specific findings and analyzed data on three areas: basic legal guarante freedoms, the framework for financial sustainability and the relationship of civil society organizations with the Government.
According to the research, the Law on Associations and Foundations is solid and progressive, but is not fully functional because acts of certain laylaws are not adopted. In practice freedom of expression for civil operators is not limited, yet they face indirect pressure because of their expressed opinions despite the usage of self-censorship and vigilance. Due to the small dedicated space and inadequate informing on the activities of civil society organizations by the mainstream media, but in the period subject to analysis, there was an increased use of the Internet and social media as a space for expressing and messages transmitting.
The analysis showed that the direct budget financing of civil society organizations is not adequate to the real needs of sustainability, and rapid amendments for payment of contributions for the part-time engaged persons, caused the financial implications and fears among organizations for their sustainability.
In the Report it was concluded that there is a gap between legislation and practice, especially if you take into account that many laws were adopted in summary proceedings without open consultation with stakeholders and despite the improvement of ENER and orginezed trainings for civil servants.
It is stated in the Report that out of the 52 measures listed in the Strategy for cooperation of the government with the civil sector from 2012 to 2017, until now only 2 have been fully realized. Progress in this field is expected to be realized if a Council is formed who win promote cooperation, dialogue and encourage the development of civil society.
Regarding the Law on Free Access to Public Information, in te report it is stated that its implementation is unsatisfactory and recommended state institutions practice to publicly disclose information related to the procedures for financing, terms and information on civil society organizations, recipients of funds. In the recommendations, it is stated that it is necessary for institutions to publish their the programs annually for organizations funding and to include the same on time in their preparation.
This event was used to make and review of European Union policies for the development of civil society in Macedonia also, there was regional experience sharing from aspect of of civil society.
The report is part of the regional project “Acquis of the Balkan Civil Society: Strengthening the potential and capacity of civil society organizations for advocacy and lobbying” funded by the European Union.