The Minister of Finance supports the idea of the NGO Fund

On June 8, at the meeting with Finance Minister Vilius Šapoka and Vice-Minister Darius Sadeckas, representatives of NGOs discussed the situation regarding the draft law on the development of NGOs. The law is being prepared by the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, together with civil society organizations. The participants expressed the need for a financial mechanism to ensure a smooth and continuous functioning of the NGO Fund. Šapoka expressed support for the idea of the NGO Fund and invited representatives of NGOs to discuss and, at the same time, seek the most appropriate financial mechanism that would make the NGO Fund maximally neutral and independent of the ruling political powers. The representatives of the Ministry of Finance also invited representatives of NGOs to participate in discussions on the amendments of other laws, especially those aiming to define groups of NGOs: NGOs of group and/or public benefit. NGOs unite more than 1 million Lithuanian citizens who, thanks to the NGO Fund, would have the opportunity to participate more actively in public politics. The NGOs’ ability to provide expertise is one of the guarantors of democracy. Therefore, the NGO Fund could become a consolidated and strategic tool for strengthening the expertise of NGOs to participate effectively in public policy, decision-making and its implementation. Similar funds are already operating in Estonia, Latvia, Croatia and other Central and Eastern European countries. Public funding to date has been dedicated only to some specific activities and services of the NGO sector. This is mainly short-term funding, almost never coordinated between departments. Most of the funding programmes cannot claim activities related to participation in public policy decisions, provision of recommendations to the state, decision-making monitoring, advocacy or quality evaluation of decision-making and public services. The need for a separate state funding mechanism for NGOs is now mature enough. It would fill in the afore-mentioned gaps and would make NGOs equally important partners of social dialogue with state institutions.

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