Civic Initiatives and the Balkan Civil Society Development Network are pleased to present the fifth edition of the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development (CSDev), covering developments in Serbia in 2019.
The report is part of a series of country reports covering seven countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.
According to the findings for 2019, the socio-political environment in Serbia was significantly unfavorable for the operations and development of CSOs. Numerous cases of violations of freedom of association, expression, and assembly are recorded. The establishment of GONGOs and PONGOs is one of the main trends in the public space. Different domestic and international reports assess the non-favorable framework for individual and corporate giving. The definition of public interest is inconsistent in Law on Associations law and Tax laws. There is no system for collecting data on donations from citizens and businesses. Although there is a framework for transparent state funding, certain gaps still persist. Even though specific changes in the legal framework have been observed, they are not qualitative and do not address the limited influence in the decision-making process.
Some of the recommendations, presented in the report are: Consistent implementation laws and by-laws in the area of freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression at all state levels; Stop using GONGOs and PONGOs to legitimize decisions and proposals of institutions of government, and misuse of state funds; Providing stronger political label for the philanthropy with stronger incentives for corporative giving; Developing additional qualitative criteria for participating in the distribution of state funds on a basis of expertise and public interest, Establishing a system for effective regular collecting data, etc.
The report is part of the activities of the Project “Protecting Civic Space – Regional Civil Society Development Hub” financed by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and implemented by the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) in cooperation with its member organizations in the countries of the Western Balkans.
Read more and download the report here.