What’s the latest on the NGO Policy in Cyprus?

Dec 9, 2014

On Tuesday 9th December 2014, the Cyprus NGO Initiative, supported by UDNP-ACT hosted an event to present the first draft of the Policy Paper on Empowering Civil Society in Cyprus. Mr. Jeremy McBride, the expert of INGO Conference of the Council of Europe whom the Initiative has been cooperating with for the past year, presented the outline of a policy paper on how Cypriot civil society can be strengthened. Yiannis Yiannakis, the Commissioner for Volunteerism ad NGOs, commented on the efforts of the NGO Initiative, stressing that the policy paper currently being drafted will lay the foundation for a stronger cooperation between the civil service and civil society.

The NGO Initiative has been advocating since 2007 for the modernization of the legal framework in the Republic of Cyprus. In 2014, with the support of the Commissioner, the government has put forward several drafts of the law to replace the 70’s law on Associations, Clubs and Foundations and a new law that will grant Public Benefit status to organizations, replacing the Charities law. Through consultation and cooperation between the government and the NGO Initiative that is supported by the Council of Europe and European Centre for non-for-profit law (ECNL), the Republic of Cyprus is closer than ever to a legal and regulatory framework that corresponds to the current needs of Cypriot civil society.

This long process has led to the common decision by the Commissioner and the NGO Initiative to develop a comprehensive strategy and vision on how civil society and the government can work together to create an enabling environment for civil society in the island. The policy paper that will be presented in the spring of 2015 will be a product of joint work and consultation that started back in September 2014, taking on board the opinions and suggestions of civil society organizations, parliamentarians and government officials.

The challenge of the coming months that all parties are committed to is realizing the ideas that will derive from this paper, in their continued efforts to work together. The new laws will be the capstone to this effort.

You can follow the latest updates of the NGO Initiative via their Facebook page.