Public Funding of NGOs and Participation in Decision - making
 
 
Public Funding of NGOs and Participation in Decision - making

CHARTER 1: Public funding for NGOs

    • Is there a special government program providing grants to NGOs?

The issue of government funding of NGOs in Moldova is relatively new because before the Government didn't pay attention to civil society organizations and to their representatives and mistrusted them as reliable partners. In Moldova is lacking one single law containing general rules relating to the support from the state for non-commercial organizations. Sporadic rules are found in various laws indicating the state willingness
to help various categories of non-commercial organizations.
According to the Law of the Republic of Moldova on Public Associations No 837 of 17.05.96 , republished on 02.10.2007 in the Official Monitor No. 153-156BIS, article 8 stipulates that (1) The state can support public organizations (based on their applications) by financing some social, scientific and cultural programs, making contracts for the execution of a specific work or services and also through making a certain social order for an unlimited number of public associations for realization of different state programs.
The state contributes to the activity of public associations that pursue a public benefit, though collaboration promotion of a preferential tax policy. In relations with public associations operating in the same area, the state must not give preference to any one of them.
(3) Youth and children public associations are supported by the State both materially and financially. The state provides a full or partial use of buildings of schools, lyceums, colleges, cultural hostels, cultural palaces and houses, sports buildings by children public associations.
(4) Public associations and their juridical representatives that have supported or acted against some political parties, social - political organizations or particular candidates during the elections shall be taken away the right for state financial support, beneficiary taxation, financing and crediting. The financial sources that have been already received on state grants shall be returned to the state`s budget, based on the court`s decision and the present legislation. If the leaders of the public association were not aware of the fact that some of the members of their organization took part in the pre-electoral agitation they should declare as soon as possible about their association`s neutrality and the mass-media element should publish the `deny`. The persons that acted in the name of the association without its leader`s approval shall be persecuted in accordance with the present legislation.
Procedures of providing state support to NGOs (except those related to tax exemption from income tax) are not regulated at the legislative level. One exception is the provisional Regulation of 17.10.2000 on the allocation of special purpose (grants) to conduct scientific research approved by the Supreme Council for Science and Technological Development , which however contains procedures for offering support only in academia.
There is no special program for public funding of NGOs. Usually there are competitions of the state money for cultural activities, as specified in the Law on the budget, mentioned bellow.

    1. Are there organizations that receive direct state subsidies because they are important or represent the interests of certain groups (e.g. the Red Cross or Union of Blind)?

According to the legislation, annually a certain amount of government funding is planned in the state budget and after that is given to several organizations: "Society of blind persons in Moldova", „Moldova Deaf Association", "Society of Invalids of the Republic of Moldova", it is provided financial support for the  services provided by Association „Orăşelul Copilăriei"  to orphan children and those from disadvantaged families, and also for supporting projects / cultural programs organized by public associations.
Moreover these associations receive a number of other economic and fiscal benefits.

    1. Are there examples of local authorities providing funds to NGOs for certain activities?

Most of the relations between civil society and public authorities derive from the initiative of the NGO to promote a project or idea, therefore the NGOs come with the idea and, it is discussed and voted within the Local Council. If the Local Council agrees the idea, the money for its implementation is granted from the budget of the entity.
Law no. 436 of   28.12.2006 on local public administration contains legal provisions relating to local governments collaboration with public associations, article 29 "Basic tasks of the Mayor" , (r) coordinate social activities for children, the aged, disabled persons, families with many children, other social vulnerably categories of persons, support public associations of public utility within the village (commune), city (town);
Frequently NGOs and Local Public Administration bodies have cooperation agreements between them. Mainly this occurs in the periods of running externally financed projects where a local contribution to the project is compulsory. Consequently, due to the fact that NGOs rarely have own resources to provide the contributions they collaborate with the local authorities because usually projects aim at local economical development which is an interest of both stakeholders.
The report on the implementation of the PASET project (Socio-economic empowerment of youth ) describes the relationship between the authorities and NGOs in the following way:

  • Associative sector in Moldova is considered by most mayors as being in the development process, having a high potential. But sector is developing non-uniform. There is a difference between the associative sector in cities, where NGOs have access to information, have a considerable experience, working with several donors, and in rural areas where the civil society is developing at a slower pace or even in process of stagnation.
  • As secretaries of local councils have remained the same after local elections in the summer of 2007, they are local players who know better and have more information about activities and problems faced by NGOs than the mayors of settlements;
  • LPA is not aware of the legislation on public associations and is not working to strengthen the local voluntary sector.
  • Mainly collaboration between APL and NGOs are determined by informal relations between the mayor and manager, it greatly influences the funding and support offered by the mayor.

According to a survey carried out by the CONTACT Center the main institutions that nongovernmental organizations prefer to collaborate with are: NGOs (93%), LPA and state (87%), mass-media (78%) and businesses (59%). Concerning the cooperation with the state institutions, 42% of the surveyed organizations qualify it as unsatisfactory, while other 9% consider it being negative.

    1. Are there cases when the state/local authorities hire an NGO to provide certain services or perform a certain task e.g. prepare a legislative analysis or provide food to old people.

On occasion, local authorities engage NGOs to develop project proposals to be submitted to different donors and financers on their name and in such a way they pay the consultancy services. This situation was created due to the fact that LPAs do not detain enough knowledge, skills and expertise to develop the technical offers. Also there is the language barrier.
Activity Program of the Government of the Republic of Moldova „European Integration: Freedom, Democracy, Welfare" 2009-2013 in the Chapter (e) Strengthening Civil Society and Cooperation with the Public Sector  set up the following Government Objectives:
1. Develop a legal framework adequate for the development of the civil society as a mediator of the citizens' interests and partner of public authorities in the public policy process.
2. Create the necessary conditions to ensure financial sustainability of non-governmental organizations.
3. Develop the institutional framework for an efficient collaboration between public authorities and civil society.
Priority Actions:
• Bring the legal framework regulating the work of non-profit organizations in line with the international norms;
• Complement the legal framework regulating cooperation between public authorities and civil society;
• Institutionalize the participation of civil society organizations in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of public policies, including by creating clear and efficient mechanisms of consultation and participation in decision-making;
• Reform the legal framework on philanthropy and sponsorship for the purpose of  ensuring sustainability of non-governmental organizations and increasing their independence;
• Develop a legal framework needed for „outsourcing" public services and community activities to NGOs;
• Develop an efficient mechanism for implementing the National Strategy for Civil Society Development;
• Develop the concept of professional associations to promote the interests of different social groups by involving them in the drafting and monitoring of public policies and making them cooperate with the relevant public authorities.

    1. Can NGOs take part in public procurement procedures and get contracts?

According to the Law on public procurement no. 96-XVI  of  13.04.2007, published in Official Monitor of the Republic of Moldova no. 107-111/470 of  27.07.2007 stipulates that as offerors in public procurement procedures may participate only "economic operators".  An economic operator may be any natural or legal person, public entity or association of such persons or entities providing market goods, executing works and / or services. It is not explicitly said that NGOs are able to participate in public procurement procedure.
Law on public procurement specifies in article 5 that the award of public contracts may be reserved by the Government, in proportion not exceeding 20 percent of the purchase volume, Society of blind persons in Moldova", „Moldova Deaf Association", "Society of Invalids of the Republic of Moldova,  Production Workshop of Republican Psychiatry Hospital, penitentiary institutions and other disadvantaged or may be established preferential conditions for participation in these proceedings in the employment programs of work, as stipulated by the legislation.

    1. Are state funds provided in a decentralized way (e.g. each ministry gives grants in its own area or there is one institution giving grants in different areas)

Yes. Some of the Ministries have special funds for promoting certain activities. For instance the Ministry of Environment has the Ecological Fund .
Ministry of Economy through the Organization for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (ODIMM) runs the Credit Guarantee Fund of ODIMM .  Ministry of Construction and Regional Development administrates the Fund for Regional Development through the National Council of Regional Development .
Ministry Of Labor, Social Protection and Family of the Republic of Moldova administrates the Republican Fund for Social Support of the Population .
Eligible for grants are the local government bodies, institutions, businesses, civil society organizations from Moldova or consortiums of organizations.

 

 

CHARTER 2: NGO participation in decision-making

    1. Is there a state strategy for NGO-government relations?

Government of the Republic of Moldova in close cooperation with the civil society developed the Strategy of the Civil Society Development for 2009–2011 adopted by the Parliament with Decision no 267 of 11.12.2008.  Also according to the Decision the Government in collaboration with the civil society had the responsibility to develop the Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy.
Another document governing the relation between the Government and civil society is the Government Decision no II of January 19, 2010   on creation of the National Council for Participation. The Council has 30 representatives of the most active civil society organizations from different areas.
Council members are selected on a competitive basis at the invitation of the Government of Moldova. It invites networks, alliances, coalitions, unions, umbrella organizations of different areas to delegate its representatives in the Council.
National Council for Participation member organizations must meet the following criteria:

    • Non-profit institution, non-governmental, non-polical, activating in the
      Republic of Moldova;
    • Civic responsibility demonstrated through active participation in public life, attitudes towards the issues within the area of activity;
    • High professionalism and expertise;
    • Previous participation in regional, sectorial or national policy consultation documents;
    • Ability to ensure continuous and effective liaison between the Council and institution / organization or network / alliance from which they were appointed;
    • Availability to work voluntarily.

The Council aims to develop and promote the strategic partnership between public authorities, civil society and private sector to strengthen participatory democracy in Moldova, by facilitating communication and stakeholder participation in identifying and achieving the country's strategic development priorities at all stages, framework and institutional capacities to ensure stakeholder involvement sessions in decision making. NCP membership is voluntary for a duration of two years.

    1. Is there a ministry or agency responsible for relations with NGOs?

Currently in the Republic of Moldova there is no state agency responsible for the relations with NGOs. 
Within the Ministry of Justice, activates the Division of noncommercial organizations which has the responsibility to register the NGOs, examine the legal framework, study  the trends and development needs of the NGO sector and preparation of proposals for drawing and updating the relevant laws;  identify and analyze cases of uneven application of the legislation, participate in the examination of cases concerning the suspension of work and forced liquidation nongovernmental organizations in the cases stipulated by law; registrate symbol parties and public organizations.

    1. Is there a Parliamentary commission responsible for NGO issues?

No.  Within the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova are activating 9 Standing Committees , and none of them is responsible for NGO issues.  In addition there are several special committees, which have the task to elaborate complex legislative acts, advisory opinions on them or for other purposes, indicated in the establishing decision; Parliament may set up special committees and inquiry committees. The Standing Bureau proposes to the Parliament for the approval the nominal composition of the committee and term within which the report has to be submitted. An inquiry committee may be established at the request of a parliamentary faction or a group of at least 5 to 100 from the number of the elected MPs.

    1. Can NGO easily take part in debates in parliamentary committees?

On December 29,2005, The Parliament of the Republic of Moldova adopted a Resolution concerning the approval of the Concept of Cooperation between Parliament and the Civil Society.
In order to accomplish the Concept of Cooperation between Parliament and civil society, the Parliament of Moldova begun to publish the draft legislation on the official website www.parlament.md.  The draft legislation can be found in the Legislative Process section / projects into Parliament - http://parlament.md/lawprocess/drafts/ . In this
In addition, the Parliament adopted the Resolution on the way how the Parliament Decision no. 373-XVI as of December 29, 2005 should be implemented.  
According to this Resolution the Civil society organizations interested in presenting the expertise, impact assessments, reviews, opinions, evaluations, proposals and other materials, are asked to send contributions within 15 days of the publication date of draft legislation on Parliament's web site . Contributions can be sent to electronic address siap@parlament.md. In this section may be found only the draft laws which were not in examined in Parliament's plenary sittings. There are separate sections for Draft Papers Examined in the 1st Lecture and Adopted Draft Papers.
Law no. 797 of 02.04.1996 for the adoption of Parliament's Regulation specifies that the meetings of the standing committees are public (article 24) and Commission may invite to its meetings stakeholders and specialists from government authorities, specialized organizations and legal experts from the Legal department of the Parliament and secretariats of the standing committees (article 26).
If an NGO wants to be present on a meetings of a Parliament Commissions it needs an invitation of a member of the committee in question.

    1. Is there a legal requirement for ministries/parliament to publish draft laws on their websites and ask for comments from the public?

Yes, according to the Law on Transparency in decision making process no. 239 of  13.11.2008 , chapter II, Article 9, The stages of ensuring transparency in the decision making process are:

    1. announcing the public about the decision making initiative by publishing, placing on official web-site and/or by placing the announcement in the premises of the public authority in a place with public access;
    2. submitting the draft decision to the competent and interested persons, sending the draft decision to applicants upon their request, publishing the draft decision on the official web-site and/or in mass-media;
    3. consulting citizens and their organizations within the limits of article 12;
    4. examining the citizens and their organizations' recommendations in the draft decision making process.

Subsequently, Article 10, provides details on the announcement about the initiative to make a draft decision:

  1. Upon the initiation of the decision making process, the public authority shall place the given announcement on the official web-page, in its premises in a place with public access and/or will distribute it to the central or local mass-media, as applicable.
  2. The announcement as regarding the draft decision development initiative shall enclose:
  3. The reason of the need to adopt a decision and its impact;
  4. The deadline, the place and way in which the interested persons may have access to the draft decision and may submit or send recommendations;
  5. The contact details of the persons responsible for recommendations collection and examination.
    1. Are there joint bodies between the administration and NGOs for consultations on different issues?

Until 2006, the public institutions were not open in relation to the civil society. Still, by the end of 2005, many state institutions, first of all the Parliament and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, declared their intentions to institutionalize their collaboration with the civil society. In collaboration with the Council of Europe, office in Chisinau, RM Parliament has approved the Concept of Collaboration with the Civil Society (29 December 2005) . On the basis of this Concept, the NGOs have obtained the possibility to participate in the legislative process through a series of instruments:
Councils of experts – are created to consult the parliamentary commissions;
Permanent consulting the projects of legislative acts discussed in the Parliament are offered to the public, the latter being obliged to inform the civil society about the accepted and denied proposals;
Ad-hoc meeting provide the civil society with the necessary environment in order to express on certain specific problems from the work agenda of the Parliament and other matters of national importance.
One of the most open entities for the civil society is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs andEuropean Integration (MFAEI)which has performed periodical meetings with different NGOs representatives, especially from the foreign relations framework. In the collaboration with the civil society, the MFAEI has elaborated the Communication Strategy on European integration. Also, as a result of an efficient collaboration with the above mentioned Ministry, there were created two Interactive European Centers „PRO-Europa" (in Cahul and Balti) , designed for providing the Moldovan public with a broader access to information regarding the European Union, communitarian institutions, policies and programs, about the relationships between the EU and the Republic of Moldova, especially the Neighboring European Policy and the EU- Moldova Action Plan.

Also the MFAEIE signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for European Integration with the Civil Society. The Memorandum of Cooperation for European Integration has been signed by 23 non-governmental organizations, alliances, networks and forums and it is opened for signature to all civil society organizations from the Republic of Moldova wishing to support and assist Moldovan authorities in the process of the European integration objective's realization.

The cooperation between the Ministry of Justice (MJ) and the civil society includes several activities, such as: the elaboration of legislative and regulatory acts, training public officers for harmonizing the national legislation with the European etc.
Besides that, the NGOs have intensively collaborated with the MJ in the process of elaborating the project of the Law regarding the transparency in the decision making process, approved by the Government (on the 13th of September 2006) and forwarded to the Parliament for examination on the 27th of September 2006. The law stipulates the establishment of certain principles and methods for assuring the decision making process in public authorities, through the creation of an efficient mechanism regarding the participation of NGOs in the elaboration and approval of decisions. The primary purpose of this law was to consolidate the dialog between the central and local public authorities with NGOs, through three specific mechanisms: population's participation in the decision making process.
In addition, the MJ has declared that it will post the information about all its activity sectors on its web page, in order to provide the NGOs the possibility to consult and express themselves on any law the Ministry carries out, before the Law on transparency on the decision making process came into force.
The civil society organizations' relationships with other state institutions, which are mainly characterized by the organization of seminars, trainings, group discussions etc., assure a relatively constant degree of cooperation between them.

At the Governmental level the consultative body is the National Council for Participation . The Council operates under the auspices of the Government and is based on two main components: participation in designing, monitoring and evaluating national policies and creating the institutional framework for consultations between the central government and civil society.  Council members are part of the representatives of networks of alliances, coalitions, unions, umbrella organizations, members of several NGOs with experience in assessing and monitoring national policies. Members were selected through open competition and transparent. At the initiative of Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, the meetings are public and may be viewed online and then the registration.
National Council for Participation will assume features of a number of governmental structures for consultation, including the Economic Council affiliated to Prime Minister and the Council for participation in designing, monitoring and evaluation of National Development Strategy, institutionalized forms of consultation of the process of country strategic planning to the Government.
The NCP was created according to the provision of the Government Program „European Integration: Freedom, Democracy, Welfare" for 2009 -20013 where it committed to build and strengthen a sustainable dialogue with civil society in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluation of public policies, and creating NCP will ensure the objectives of ensuring transparency of government and involving civil society and business environment in the process of strategic planning, monitoring and evaluating the implementation of national policy documents.
Besides, according to the Regulation on the institutional and coordination mechanism for external assistance provided to Moldova by international organizations and donor countries each Ministry should create an sectorial council which should include an representative of the civil society. Therefore all the project within the sector will be approved by this sectorial council, where the civil society has a word to say.
Another institution actively working with the civil society is the Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption

Activity of the Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption (CCECC), the authority to force the suppression of corruption, is always followed by an increased interest in civil society. In order to maintain an open dialogue with a representative group of the civil society, improve the transparency of decision making and enhance the image of the center, it was decided to form a Civil Council affiliated to the center, as provided in the Moldova Threshold Country Program financed by the United States within the Millennium Challenge Corporation approved by Government Decision No. 32 of 11.01.2007 .
For this purpose, was approved Government Decision no. 1210 of 29.10.2008 "The Civil Council on the monitoring of the Center for Combating Economic Crimes and Corruption"  (published in MO nr.197/1221 of 04.11.2008).
A special role in this process continues to play the Anti-Corruption Alliance founded on the 10th January 2006. It is a voluntary association of non-governmental organizations having as major scope the reduction of corruption by direct involvement in the activity of prevention of this scourge.
On 13.01.2006, under the patronage of the Government was signed the Collaboration Agreement between the CCECC and the Anti-corruption Alliance for the sake of promotion and common implementation of anti-corruption activities. This event represented a new qualitative stage in the activity of CCECC that implies elaboration and assurance of an efficient medium of collaboration with the state and between the law enforcement authorities with the civil society.
Under the Regulation of activity the Civil Council, will perform the following tasks: monitoring the activities of the Center, including administrative policies, operational and personnel, evaluating the Center's annual reports, performance evaluation center in accordance with the objectives set out in its annual work plan, preparation of recommendations for next year of activity, the information quarterly and annual management's Center of Government, Parliament and President of the Republic of Moldova, through reports on monitoring activities of the Center and recommendation for funding and receiving complaints from citizens and their submission to the competent authorities; approval of expenditure estimate annual project of the Center and submit recommendations on budget planning to send its Minister of Finance.

    1. Is there a legal act or other state document requiring the administration to consult with NGOs?

The Law on Transparency in decision making process in article 8 stipulates that the public authority or the official who develops the draft decision is obliged to organize direct consulting with public officials from other interested public authorities by organizing working meetings, seminars, TV conferences etc. The means of consulting provided in the present paragraph are applied simultaneously with the coordination procedures of the drafts, provided by the Law on legislative acts and the Law on Governmental and central and local public administration normative acts. The ways of consulting the citizens and NGOs are mentioned in article 12 of the same law: Consulting citizens and their organizations is ensured by the public authority responsible for the development of the draft decision by means of:

  1. organizing meetings, consultative meetings with the citizens;
  2. organizing public debates;
  3. commenting on the draft decision.
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