Washington, D.C. – The Civil Society Organization (CSO) sectors in the twenty-nine countries covered in the CSO Sustainability Index for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia continue to be highly diverse. On one end of the spectrum is Estonia, which records the highest level of sustainability of any country measured in all the regions covered by the CSO Sustainability Index. With a population of just 1.3 million, the more than 30,000 CSOs in the country continue to benefit from a supportive legal environment, infrastructure, and public image and are strong advocates and service providers. On the other end of the spectrum are countries where CSOs operate in highly restrictive legal environments, with limited access to funding and virtually no space for independent advocacy. This division occurs across countries—in terms of vastly different legal and operating environments—and within countries—where different CSOs are subject to different restrictions and benefits. CSOs also face several barriers to improving their public image and financial viability.
The CSOSI for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, produced by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with partners in each participating country, assesses progress in the development of nonprofit, civil society organizations (CSO) in 29 countries of the region. This year’s edition covers developments in civil society during calendar year 2014. Now in its 18th year, the CSOSI examines the overall enabling environment for civil society, focusing on the legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure, and public image. The report describes and rates civil society development in each country and across the region as a whole.
Changes in the sustainability of civil society in 2014 reflect the overall unfavorable global political situation. The political developments have significant impact on the capability of the civil society, both on domestic and international scene. In many countries, 2014 was a year of protests that certainly affects the environment in which the civil society operates. At the same time, CSOs play an important role in the protests, through influencing key actors and stakeholders, representing the interests of the citizens. Globally, the European Union continues to be an important factor in the region, especially in countries which are open accession negotiations, leaving them more opportunities for CSOs to influence policy. In Macedonia, 2014 was a year of presidential and snap parliamentary elections. The year ended in a mark of massive protests organized by the student plenum, in relation with the implementation of external testing of students.
Whether it is fight against corruption and organized crime in Albania, the election in Georgia, support for the rights of persons with disabilities in Armenia, or the strengthening civil society in Ukraine, CSOs in the region of Europe and Euroasia are actively involved in response to the challenges facing their countries.>/p>
Center for Regional Research and Cooperation “Studiorum” is pleased to partner with USAID to produce the CSOSI for Macedonia.
The full report can be found at:
More information about USAID programs: www.usaid.gov
The American People, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 50 years.