Successful NGO stakeholder meeting held in Tallinn
Today, representatives for 60 NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) met in Tallinn to discuss topics relevant for the NGO-sector in Estonia. The input from the meeting will be used in developing Estonia’s NGO-programme.
The invitation to the meeting was sent out to a vast range of Estonian NGOs with a particular focus on organisations working with minorities, children and youth, environmental issues and human rights. Among the invited organisations was also the Open Estonia Foundation, the only candidate for the position of programme operator for Estonia’s NGO-programme in the current funding period. The meeting in Tallinn is a part of a series of stakeholder meetings for the NGO-sector that are to be held in all the beneficiary states.
In her opening remarks Lise Kleven Grevstad Norway’s Ambassador to Estonia, emphasised the importance of a well-functioning civil society. Among the topics discussed at the meeting was advocacy and capacity-building as well as experiences from the previous period and human rights. There was wide agreement among the participants that advocacy work in Estonia is made difficult by lack of human and financial resources as well as regional differences and there is a clear need for more cooperation and better financing. Human rights groups pointed to the need of informing society at large about the scope and essence of human rights and that raising awareness on this topic is needed. Moreover, the field of human rights was felt to be one that could strongly benefit from exchanges with donor states who have more experience working within this field.
Estonia’s NGO-sector will receive more than €2 million Euros from the NGO-fund. The fund will be implemented in all beneficiary states and in total €135 million is allocated to the programme. Whilst the needs of NGOs and civil society organisations vary from country to country, some challenges are shared by all. Enhancing the capacity of NGOs to promote democratic values, including human rights, encouraging civic participation and contributing to a fairer and more inclusive society are central priorities for the Funds. This will include support not only for NGOs providing services for excluded groups, such as the Roma communities, but also organisations that promote civic engagement.
Photo: In the past funding round, the NGO Podané ruce received €50,000 under the Czech NGO fund to finance their work with disadvantaged youth in Olomouc in eastern Czech Republic.