Regional Conference on Co-operation between Governments and Civil Society Took Place in Skopje

The first regional conference of governmental bodies responsible for co-operation with NGOs, entitled Governmental Co-operation with Civil Sector, was held on 4th March 2008 in Skopje. The conference was organized by the Department for Co-operation with NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, hosting participants from Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro.
Secretary General of the Macedonian Government, Mr. Stojan Todorov, pointed out in his opening speech the importance of the active contribution of civil society in the development of democracy and good governance in the region, which according to him is a very dynamic process. The value of the role of civil society as a control mechanism of the governmental work is recognized in the Republic of Macedonia as an important element of the future democratic development. By setting up the Unit for Co-operation with NGOs within the General Secretariat of the Macedonian Government in December 2004, a closer co-operation between the civil society and the Government was established.
The conference aimed to strengthen capacities of governmental institutions for shaping and establishing a quality co-operation with civil sector and discuss possibilities of setting up sustainable models of participation of civil society in the processes of creation of public policies.
Head of the Office for Co-operation with NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, dr. Igor Vidačak, presented institutional as well as strategic framework for cooperation between the state and the civil society in the Republic of Croatia. Furthermore, he depicted an overview of priority measures of the Operational Implementation Plan of the National Strategy for the Creation of an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development from 2006 to 2011.
After presentations of the representatives of each country had been finished, the participants were acquainted with a wider picture about legal and institutional frameworks provided for the functioning of the civil society in the region. In conclusion it was pointed out that further efforts are needed for strengthening the cooperation between state bodies responsible for cooperation with the civil sector in the region. The aim of such co-operation would be an exchange of experience and good practice in order to achieve a closer co-operation in the context of EU accession process as well as the co-operation on regional projects.