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Consultative meeting in the region of Korça about the Final Draft Law "On the establishment and functioning of the National Council for Civil Society"

Korça, 10 April 2015

The trip of consultative meetings regarding the draft law "On the establishment and functioning of the National Council for Civil Society" concluded in Korça region. There were seven representatives of nonprofit organizations as well as representatives of Korça Municipality and County round the table to discuss the draft law.

The meeting was organized by the representative of the National Youth Service and the Agency for the Support of Civil Society. Initially, the representative of the NYS held a brief presentation of the draft law, emphasizing some of the most important parts of this document.

A representative of the "Nature and Life" organization started the discussion by expressing his skepticism about the law pointing out that it will not be a Council controlled by NGOs, but an instrument of the state which threatens the independence of CSOs. The applicable law "on the functioning and establishment of NGOs", according to him, includes only 1/9 of civil society services.

He stresses that Albania lacks a law on Civil Society specifying what the term CSO means. This deficiency makes it difficult to further analyze this draft law. He also noted that the draft law itself, in Article 2 provides a definition of CSOs, but then it only addresses to NGOs, leaving out an important part of civil society. This is a finding that has been previously encountered.

The representative of "Nature and Life" organization brought to memory the organization of NGOs in Korça, that was the Civil Society Alliance, creating so their network of communication. He proposed that the law should foresee such kind of organization and not that of a state organization. The representative of the NYS pointed out that the networks of NGOs should be done independently by the organizations themselves and they should not expect the state to fix this part. The CSOs themselves should find their common way to strengthen cooperation between them. The present draft law creates one more cooperation bridge to provide to CSOs the legal right to advise the Government.

Mrs. Lameborshi, ASCS representative, stated that the Roadmap for NGOs, which is in the consultative stage, defines the regulation of the definition of CSOs in the mid and long term.

Another participant pointed out that the ratio of representation of the NGOs in NCCS should be biased. Mrs. Ristani, General Director of NYS indicated that the equal sharing between state representatives and NGOs is to raise the level of debate between the parties in order that the issued recommendations came out of a broad consensus of the public institutions and be discussed by both parties (State-NGO). Refering to the case of the representatives of NGOs in the Council, if they would have the majority, it would reduce the level of discussion and the NGOs could be facing further barriers.

Another suggestion comes on the representation of CSOs in the Council, proposing that one of the representatives should be from the minority. At the meeting it was explained that the representation in the geographical level, is not included, in the draft law, to avoid higher representation of organizations with a similar mission.

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