As a Working group member for the area of Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, and in front of the Green Forum, the network of environmental associations of the Republic of Croatia and the parent association Sunce, from October 3 to 5, 2022 in Zadar, the executive director, Gabrijela Medunić-Orlić, participated in the meeting of the working group for the creation of the National Plan for the creation of a stimulating environment for the development of civil society from 2024 to 2030.
The last strategic document directed towards development of civil society organizations (CSOs) covered the period from 2012 to 2016. Although the Office for Cooperation with NGO’s started the inclusive and participatory process of adopting the Strategy for the period 2017 to 2021, it was never adopted and the opportunity for a continuous and consistent process of strategic planning was missed.
Without a strategic framework in recent years, opportunities to strengthen the institutional, normative and financial framework to support civil society have also been missed. We believe that the same was partly reflected in the use of EU funds, the effectiveness of programming, implementation and monitoring of the implementation of CSO projects. The insecure environment ultimately reduced the effectiveness of CSOs in achieving the goals for which they were founded, negatively affecting the development of democracy in the Republic of Croatia.
Namely, civil society is an important factor in socio-economic development and democratization of society, and a stakeholder in the design and implementation of the policies of the Republic of Croatia and the European Union. Its weakening also weakens the state itself.
At the meeting in Zadar, a new vision for the development of CSOs was adopted, and representatives of state administration bodies and CSOs through a guided process and in cooperation designed strategic goals and measures, in accordance with the methodology of the Law on the System of Strategic Planning and Development Management of the Republic of Croatia.
Completion of this process is planned for the middle of 2023. We continue to participate actively in the process, and we expect that this time the financial and human resources spent will be taken into account, and the National Plan will be completed and adopted on time, and that Croatia will continue to implement the positive practice of supporting the development of civil society.