“The Council – a bridge between civil society organisations and the Government” was the theme of the online event organised by the Civil Society Resource Center on March 30, 2021. Irena Ivanova from the Delegation of the European Union, Fani Karanfilovska-Panovska, President of the Council and Executive Director of the Foundation Open Society Macedonia, Sabina Fakic, Member of the Council and Program Director of the Center for Civil Communications and Suzana Nikodijevic – Filipovska from the NGO Unit, General Secretariat of the Government of RNM discussed with more than 50 CSOs’ representatives about the role and importance of the Council for Cooperation with and Development of the civil society sector. This was a great opportunity for CSOs to be informed about the work of the Council so far, but also to motivate and encourage the associations and foundations to be active in the election of the new composition of the Council.
Ivanova stressed that the dialogue and cooperation of CSOs and government institutions have improved in the last three years thanks to the intensive work of the Council. She pointed out the importance of the new EC Guidelines (EU Guidelines) for supporting civil society in the enlargement region for the period 2021-2027. According to her, it is necessary for the Council to advocate and lobby for the inclusion of the priority goals of this document in the new Strategy of the Government for cooperation with CSOs.
The communication, consultations and involvement of CSOs by members of the Council from the ranks of the civil society organisations is crucial for its successful functioning.
“I think that much greater cohesion of the organisations is needed, to give support to the members of the Council in the process of representing the CSOs’ interests. Otherwise, one cannot expect a body like the Council, in which the burden falls on a smaller number of members, to create conditions for solving all the problems that CSOs face not today, not yesterday, but for decades.” Sabina Fakic.
The event was also used to present the public call for the election of 16 members of the Council from the ranks of associations and foundations announced by the General Secretariat of the Government on March 22, 2021. Nikodijevic – Filipovska presented the conditions of the call as well as the process of electing new members.
“It is important that the organisations that nominate candidates are registered in accordance with the Law on Associations and Foundations, at least three years before the announcement of the call. The statute should have defined activity and goals in the area for which the candidates are nominated,” said Nikodijevic Filipovska.
Furthermore, she emphasized that the candidates should have at least three years of work or volunteer experience in the field for which they are proposed as a candidate, as well as have expertise in civil society issues in the relevant field. The application deadline is April 5, 2021, and more details about the call are available on the website of the NGO Unit in the General Secretariat.
In its first term, the Council laid a solid foundation for cooperation between civil society organisations and the Government. It is important to continue to upgrade and improve the functioning to successfully play the role of an advisory body to the Government to promote cooperation, dialogue and encourage the development of the civil society sector in the country. Only in that way will the Council fully justify the expectations of the civil society organisations. On the other hand, CSOs need to show proactivity in this process.
The Council has 31 members, of which 16 from the ranks of civil society organisations, and 15 from the ranks of state administration bodies. It was established by a decision of the Government in April 2018, after almost a decade of struggle of civil society organisations to create such a body.