Civic Alliance Latvia – NGOs call for strengthening democracy in Latvia through civil society support programmes to address persistent problems in the sector

12 July 2023 | Members' Corner

The Civic Alliance of Latvia has sent an appeal to Head of Government Krišjānis Karins, the Cabinet of Ministers and State Secretaries of Ministries to address the persistent problem of the lack of targeted support and development policies for civil society in Latvia. 

When deciding on the priorities for the State Budget for 2024, NGOs demand that support programmes for civil society be included in the priorities, thus addressing the main systemic challenges facing the sector. NGOs call for the possibility to find the necessary additional funds of at least EUR 4.1 million in the state budget to promote citizens’ participation and cooperation in public processes, improve the quality of life of citizens and strengthen democracy in Latvia:

  • EUR 400 000 for the implementation of the new operational model of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Cabinet of Ministers and the Council for the Implementation of Cooperation between NGOs (Civil Dialogue Platform), thus providing basic funding for civil dialogue.
  • Additional funding for the National NGO Fund programme, which would bring the total amount of the NGOF to at least €5 million (the shortfall in 2024 – €2.7 million), in order to implement a targeted civil society development policy, strengthen the capacity of civil society and create appropriate conditions to facilitate public involvement and participation in the country’s socio-political processes.
  • To enable associations and foundations to attract foreign funding, a minimum of EUR 200 000 will be allocated to the co-financing programme.
  • For the development and coordination of volunteer movements through non-governmental organisations, a programme of at least EUR 500 000 to support the performance of work and tasks necessary for the community, investing their time, knowledge and personal resources and directly benefiting the economic and social development of the country and building social capital.
  • A programme of at least EUR 300 000 to support community-driven or bottom-up resilient communities and citizens’ initiatives to improve the social situation and resilience to crises, strengthen human capital and at the same time develop the economy.

The allocation of additional resources of at least EUR 4.1 million from the national budget for the purpose of strengthening civil society in Latvia in 2024 will have the following contribution and results

  • The professional and strong work of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Cabinet of Ministers and NGOs will be ensured to ensure a balance between economic interests and the interests of human rights and democratic values;
  • The additional resources in the National NGO Fund will make it possible to double the support to NGOs and their activities, with at least 100 additional organisations being supported;
  • Support for a co-financing programme of €200,000 will make it possible to attract at least €3 million in foreign donor funding over a one-year period.
  • Investing at least €500,000 in coordinating volunteering will directly benefit the country’s economic and social development and build social capital;
  • Supporting community and citizen initiatives with at least €300,000 will create a favourable environment for living, entrepreneurship and economic development.

The letter explaining the programmes and their needs in more detail can be found here.