By the NGO Information and Support Centre
ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL NGO FUND IN LITHUANIA: Lithuanian Government fulfilled the promise for Civil Society Organizations
Long years we are advocating for the National NGO Fund to be established, which would be open for all types of CSOs. We are advocating that National NGO Fund would be a new paragraph in the Law on the Development of NGOs, which in Lithuania was approved in 2013. Because this would create the long-term warranty for sustainable funding source for CSOs. After 2 years of intensive advocacy we finally got Government’s promise to do this. The project of the new version of the Law in June 2019 was accepted in Government and in July 2019 Government presented it to the Parliament. Now Parliament’s Committees need to evaluate it and it should be presented for the final approval in Parliament. We hope, that in Parliament’s Fall 2019 session the new version of the Law will be accepted and the legal foundation for the NGO Fund will become present.
But this is just a first step, the second big milestone will be to create the NGO Fund. Now we are preparing for the structured national dialogue for the policies, which must to compliment the Law, that NGO Fund would have real funding sources and management structure. However, the process to manage to create the sustainable mechanism for the funding for the NGO Fund from various government budget income sources, which must to be approved by several ministries still gets stuck in a lot of technical discussions. There is a feasibility study done with 3 possible scenarios how the NGO Fund could be funded and managed, so now we need a national dialogue with all possible stakeholders (from Government and NGOs sectors) and outside experts (from academia and business sector). Structured multi-stakeholder dialogue will help us to finalize all needed policies in few months and NGO Fund could start its activities in 2021.
This new instrument for civil society resourcing would strengthen the capacity of NGOs in Lithuania to implement their mission and provide services for the communities that need them.