Appreciating the role of civil society in public lifeOct 7, 2015
The NGO Initiative, the group of organizations working to modernise the legislation concerning civil society organisations in the Republic of Cyprus, organised a set of training events for officials and civil society leaders during September.
The sessions demonstrated the value of cooperation between government bodies and NGOs in a range of areas such as public policy development. The workshops, which took place between 19-21 September, built upon the findings of a policy paper which had been produced earlier this year by the NGO initiative in collaboration with the Commissioner for Volunteerism and NGOs and the INGO Conference of the Council of Europe. Key among the recommendations was the role of civil servants in promoting civil society activities in areas of public life, ensuring these contribute to a healthy and democratic society. September’s trainings touched upon these issues through case studies and practical exercises, where participants could swap roles and experience what it would be like to be a civil servant or an NGO leader.
With UNDP-ACT’s support, the process to reform the NGO legislation is progressing, with the draft law on ‘Associations, Foundations and other related issues’, now before Parliament. The draft law on Public Benefit Organizations is still being discussed internally but the intention is for it to also be sent to Parliament before the end of 2015.