Following the Croatian government's decision about the redistribution of income from state lottery games for 2016, NGOs are urging the government to reconsider.
The established institutional model of civil society development and the system of funding civil society organizations in Croatia is a good example and role model in quality and transparent construction of such a support system for development.
This is recognized in neighboring countries and the wider Euro-Mediterranean area. A number of foreign delegations have learned from our practices and achievements and have used our example for the construction and upgrading of the support for civil society development in their countries.
The Office for NGOs of the Croatian government, the National Foundation for Civil Society Development, and the Council for Civil Society Development play an important role in this. They also form the foundation of our reputation and credibility in the international community when it comes to the democratic achievements of civil society development.
In the last 10 years, Croatia has been working systematically on improving the transparency of how public funds to these organizations are allocated, applying the model of cooperation between decision-makers and civil society organizations.
Changing the allocation of lottery funds, the process for which was adopted without a thorough assessment of the impact and influence on each area, is something that, in the long run, will not contribute to the quality of work of the associations, nor will it improve the status of the those most vulnerable in society, who often depend on the services provided by the associations.
More than 435 representatives of different NGOs have individually delivered their appeal to the government with a request to preserve the Croatian model of civil society support.
Threat to survival
Civil society organizations working on civil society democratization and development are precisely the ones that led many processes of contemporary innovative social solutions, and very often they are the ones who give support to organizations working in various areas of society (education, advising, assisting in the project preparation and implementation related to the national and EU funds).
Reducing funds seriously threatens not only the support network but also work and survival of numerous organizations that provide direct social services to the most vulnerable groups in society.
At a time of high unemployment, we should not forget that organizations employ a significant number of people, including those who are disadvantaged because they are difficult to employ. Associations have knowledge and skills in the preparation of project proposals and fully absorb European funds intended for their projects, but also participate in partnership projects with local governments and other public institutions, emphasized NGOs in their statement.