Civil society "increasingly involved in political life"

Civil society organizations are increasingly involved in the political life, it was said during the presentation of the civil society sustainability index 2013.

Source: Tanjug

The civil sector has been active in the debate on the reshuffle of the government of Ivica Dačić, in which a total of 11 out of 21 ministers were replaced, and the United Regions of Serbia (URS) party removed from the ruling coalition.

Campaigns of civil society organizations (CSOs) have contributed to the sacking of individuals, such as former ministers of education and culture, it was stated during the gathering in Belgrade on Wednesday.

The results of a USAID survey showed that progress had been made in six out of seven categories, mostly when it comes to financial viability, despite the fact that many donors had left Serbia during a period of time described as "turbulent." Progress has been lacking in the category of services.

The legal framework relating to management of civil society organizations continues to improve and associations register with no major problems, according to the survey.

The study also found that in 2013, organizational capacity of CSOs was improved, and that during that year donors invested more in building and strengthening of civil society capacities.

Acting Director of the USAID Mission in Serbia Peter Wiebler said that the results are excellent and that the state and civil society "should be proud." Henoted that the general public is not sufficiently familiar with the contributions and activities of civil society and advised then to inform citizens about their activities through the media.

"Let them make sure that the public knows what they are doing and how much they contribute," said Wiebler, recalling that it was evident during the May floods how civil society can help.

Wiebler pointed out that CSOs should be more involved in the process of Serbia's membership negotiations with the EU, but also noted that politicians could pay more attention and speak publicly about the achievements of the civil sector.

Speaking about the inclusion of CSOs in the negotiations with the EU, Director of the Government Office for Cooperation with Civil Society Ivana Ćirković said that the office in 2013 began training CSOs to take part in this process, and that so far 241 organizations and 300 people took part.

She also stressed that last year saw adoption of the amended Rules of Procedure of the Government, extending the public debate process, while there were also improvements to the way public announcements are made when allocating budget resources.


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