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Providing expertise in reform of legal framework and building mechanisms for cooperation

ECNL has been engaged in the Republic of Cyprus for more than 10 years pursuing an improved cooperation between government and CSOs, and a more enabling legal framework for civil society.

In 2007-2008 ECNL engaged in the assessment of the CSO legal framework in order to enhance cooperation between the Government and CSOs in Cyprus. We prepared an Assessment Report and worked with the Planning Bureau of the Government, as well as several ministries in developing a concept for greater involvement and more transparent funding of CSOs in Cyprus.

In November 2013 ECNL was invited by the NGO Initiative  (a group of civil society organizations which is leading the CSO efforts with regard to the review process of the two draft laws proposed by the government) to provide assistance  on the reform of the key legislation regarding civil society organizations and public benefit status. ECNL has provided comments and comparative examples to the draft Law on Associations, Institutions and Clubs and assisted a larger-scale reform to include CSO-government strategy, participation in decision-making and other important elements of an enabling environment.

In July 2017 the Parliament of Cyprus approved amendments to the Law on Associations, Institutions and Clubs. These amendments improve an enabling environment for CSO operation in Cyprus.

Strengthening civil society in Northern Cyprus

ECNL has provided assistance in strengthening the role of civil society organisations in the Turkish Cypriot community and their networking with Greek Cypriot CSOs since 2016.

As a part of this, ECNL provided comments and comparative examples to support the adoption of a new Law on Association. The new law which came into effect in May 2016 improves the previous situation by allowing both individuals and legal entities to found associations, by aligning the cases of termination of associations with the ECHR standards and by streamlining the registration procedure.

Further, ECNL carried out an assessment of the CSO framework. The assessment and its recommendations will be a basis for future reforms and supportive measures in the Northern part of Cyprus.