On 16th November 2022, the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) held an in-person event to present the key findings of the Civil Society Organizations Sustainability Index (CSOSI) 2021 Report for North Macedonia. The report prepared by BCSDN based on discussions with a panel of country experts is included in the 2021 CSOSI for Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia that will be published by USAID and FHI 360 in the upcoming period. The event was followed by more than 15 CSOs and government and ministries representatives who actively participated in the discussion.
Ms. Biljana Spasovska, BCSDN’s Executive Director, opened the event by focusing on some essential details regarding the report’s methodology and highlighting some of the vital processes that affected the overall level of CSO sustainability in the country in 2021.
The event was followed by a presentation on each of the 7 dimensions covered in the report. In this regard, Ms. Anja Bosilkova Antovska and Ms. Vishinova from BCSDN focused on some crucial CS developments that occurred in 2021, including the downturns and improvements for CSOs to participate in the public processes and joint advocacy action, to receive core grants, to provide services to their constituencies, etc.
Some conclusions were that a slight improvement in the legal environment with the adoption of several strategies and other legislative changes balanced out a slight deterioration in financial viability that was negatively impacted by a decrease in state funding from both central and local budgets. The rest of the 5 dimensions remained unchanged. With regard to capacity building, there was limited support for institutional and strategic development. Also, the infrastructure supporting the sector mainly remained the same. CSOs are primarily funded by foreign donors. CSOs continued to engage in various advocacy and service provision efforts in various domains in 2021, despite the decline in financial viability and the ongoing pandemic restrictions. The sector’s public image remained unchanged, and the positive media coverage and CSOs’ presence continued.
Recognizing the crucial CSOs’ role in societal processes in North Macedonia in different domains, the event concluded with participants’ discussion and recommendation on the future improvement of the report and CSOs’ efforts toward improved civil society sustainability.