The Civil Society and the Council for Cooperation with and Development of the Civil Sector call on the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia to reconsider and change its decision to drastically reduce the financial support for civil society organizations, published in the Official Gazette of RNM on 9 April 2020.
This decision, by which financial support, depending on the institution, is either completely abolished or severely reduced, is made in a non-transparent manner, without consulting civil society organizations, stakeholders and the general public, which speaks of the government’s unprincipled attitude towards the civil society in a time of crisis. With the decision to reduce the necessary support by approximately 525,000 Euros, the state de facto exempts civil society as a relevant partner in dealing with the crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the civil society organizations from the very beginning of the epidemic mobilized very quickly and efficiently, made available all their resources and through a series of activities provided direct humanitarian assistance to the most affected citizens. Unfortunately, the Government of RNM does not recognize this quick reaction for taking actions that are of great importance for the citizens, but also for directly dealing with the crisis, as a partnership in the fight against COVID-19. Moreover, the decision to reduce the financial support of the Government of RNM seriously hinders the sustainability and ongoing work of organizations, especially in terms of their assistance and support to communities in times of crisis.
CSOs are a key segment in a democratic society, they have the skills, knowledge, services and access to priority target groups, which are often much more appropriate than those of state institutions. This state of emergency has seriously affected civil society, along with all other segments. Reducing financial support deprives the sector of a significant source of funding needed to function in and out of crisis conditions, jeopardizes the availability of support that organizations provide to citizens and ultimately leads to a situation in which people in the sector will be left without a basic source of income.
Civil society has a full understanding of the crisis situation we are in, as well as the need for solidarity, but in conditions when civil society organizations are working to repair the damage from the new situation, which helps the Government of RNM in dealing with the health crisis, such serious reductions will be detrimental to the long-term work of CSOs.
Therefore, we call on the Government to change its decision and through dialogue and in a transparent manner to return part of the funds for their initial purpose – support of CSOs to achieve their missions and goals, but especially to support the activities to deal with the crisis caused from the epidemic.
The official reaction has been submitted to the Government of RNM, and the full text can be found at the following link: https://bit.ly/34Pqbk7
Council for Cooperation with and Development of the Civil Sector, Association for Democratic Initiatives, Gostivar; Blueprint group for Judicial Reforms; Via Vita, Bitola; Trust, Skopje; EGAL, Skopje; EHO – Educational-Humanitarian Organization, Štip; Together stronger; Association Glasen Tekstilec, Štip; Global Association, Bitola; Association for providing services to persons with disabilities HENDIMAK, Tetovo; Dyslexia Association EINSTEIN; Association for education of farmers – Green Stock Exchange, Bitola; Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women – ESE; ZMAI Research and Analysis Association; Association for support of marginalized workers STAR-STAR; Association for Legal Education and Transparency Station PET, Prilep; Association for Rural Development Local Action Group Agro Leader, Krivogaštani; Association for Promotion and Protection of Workers’ Rights – Dignified Worker, Prilep; Multicultura Association, Tetovo; Association National Roma Center, Kumanovo; Association Roma Business Information Center of Macedonia – ZRDICM; Zona, Kavadarci; Izbor, Strumica; Societas Civilis Institute for Democracy; European Policy Institute; Institute for Human Rights; IRIZ – Community Development and Inclusion Initiative; Coalition “All for Fair Trials”; Coalition Margins; Connect; LGBTI Support Center; Macedonian anti-poverty platform; Macedonian Center for International Cooperation; Macedonian Association of Young Lawyers; Media Plus, Štip; Youth Club, Štip; Youth Cultural Center – Bitola; Youth Educational Forum; Network for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination; National Youth Council of Macedonia; National Network for Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence; NGO “KHAM”, Delčevo; NGO Infocenter; Independent Academic Union – NaKS; Option, Ohrid; Platform of Civil Society Organizations for Fight against Corruption; Gender Equality Platform; PROFICIO – multiethnic tolerance through economic prosperity; Pulse, Kumanovo; Reactor – Research in action; Regional Geographical Society GEOSFERA, Bitola; Rural Coalition, Kumanovo; Union of Associations for rural development LAG Network, Krivogaštani; Transparency International – Macedonia; Transparency Macedonia; FINANCE THINK – Institute for Economic Research and Policy; IDEA Southeast Europe, Debate and Education Foundation; Metamorphosis Foundation for Internet and Society; Foundation for Local Community Development, Štip; Foundation Open Society – Macedonia; CEED Foundation Macedonia; Foundation for Educational and Cultural Initiatives “Step by Step”; FORUM – Center for Strategic Research and Documentation; HELP, Gostivar; Helsinki Committee for Human Rights; HERA – Association for Health Education and Research; HOPS – Options for healthy living Skopje; Center for Civil Communications; ACTIVE LIFE Education and Training Center, Tetovo; Center for Research and Policy Making; Center for Investigative Journalism SKUP Macedonia; Center for Legal Research and Analysis; Community center of the municipality of Struga, Struga.