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Serbia

Creating legal framework and mechanisms for collaboration in Serbia

ECNL has been engaged in Serbia for over 10 years with the support of the USAID, EU and the World Bank. We contributed to the creation of the Law on Associations, the Law on Endowments and Foundations, Law on Youth and Youth Organizations, the establishment of the Office for Collaboration with Civil Society in 2011. We also supported various initiatives which aimed to improve the legal framework for public funding, participation and accounting for the sector.

Strengthening the Capacity of CSOs to Participate in Shaping, Implementing and Monitoring Public Policies in Serbia

The project aimed to contribute to the increased participation of CSOs in shaping, implementing and monitoring public policies, particularly those that affect the status of underrepresented groups. ECNL was leading the efforts regarding the needs assessment, contribution in organizing a conference on enabling models of citizens’ participation in public policy processes, contributing to organization of workshops for underrepresented groups through expert’s participation and advice; drafting the advocacy strategy for comprehensive reforms relating to citizens’ participation in public policy processes. ECNL co-authored a brochure on enabling models for citizens’ participation in public policy processes, supported a handbook on CSOs advocacy techniques, and provided expertise in drafting policy recommendations relating to the development of an enabling model for citizens’ participation in public policy processes.

Serbia Civil Society Development: Improving the Legal and Regulatory Framework

The aim of the project was to improve the legal and regulatory framework for CSOs in Serbia. ECNL accomplished several important benchmarks, the most significant highlights being:

  • Enactment of the new Law on Associations which brings the legal framework for associations in compliance with the international standards and regional best practices. Since the enactment of the Law almost 7,000 new associations have been entered into the registry;
  • Some of the most regressive provisions in the draft Law on Volunteers were removed from the final version;
  • Enactment of the Law on Endowments and Foundations. Since then more than 50 new foundations have been entered into the registry which is a quarter of the overall number of foundations operating in Serbia;
  • Amendments to the Property Income Tax Law, which contributed to the financial sustainability of associations by removing a significant institutional barrier to private giving to charitable purposes;
  • Establishment of the Office for Collaboration with Civil Society in 2011, a unit solely responsible for dealing with the civil society issues;
  • Enactment of the Law on Youth and Youth Organizations, marking the culmination of efforts to create an institutional framework which recognizes the role of youth in society and their active participation in public affairs;
  • Regulation on Public Funding of Youth Organizations, creating a comprehensive and transparent mechanism which will enable better utilization of otherwise stretched public funds designated for these CSOs;
  • Enactment of the Regulation on Public Funding of Associations which provides for a transparent framework for public financing of charitable associations, endowments and foundations.