The Council for Cooperation with and Development of the Civil Society (the Council) is an advisory body to the Government for promotion of cooperation, dialogue and civil society development in the Republic of North Macedonia.
The Council’ work is related to:
- monitoring and analysing policies and policy-making processes that affect the civil society;
- initiating amendments to regulations in effect;
- advancing cooperation and building partnerships between civil society organizations and the Government;
- participating in creation and monitoring implementation of the Strategy for Cooperation between the Government and Civil Society and the Action Plan;
- proposing funding priorities for activities of civil society organizations from the Budget of the Republic of North Macedonia; and
- other issues pertaining to its competences.
Initially, the Council was formed by means of the Decision on Establishing the Council for Cooperation between the Government and Civil Society (“Official Gazette of RM” no. 98/2016). Immediately after this decision was announced, in May 2017, a total of 89 civil society organizations raised an initiative and issued a public call to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, requesting cessation of the process for selection of civil society representatives in the Council for Cooperation between the Government and Civil Society. In that, they demanded changes to be made to the Decision and consultations to be organized with civil society representatives for due consideration and alignment of various opinions and views about the Council.
The main principles advocated by civil society organizations under this initiative are:
- transparency of the process for development and adoption of the Decision on Establishing the Council;
- majority representation for civil society organizations;
- representative level of civil servants in the Council;
- the procedure and method for selection of members in the Council from the ranks of civil society organizations not to exclude them.
Based on these principles, consultations were organized in 2017 and they were joined by holders of the initiative supported by 89 civil society organizations, resulting in adoption of the Decision on Amending the Decision on Establishing the Council for Cooperation between the Government and Civil Society (“Official Gazette of RM” no. 165/2017).
The selection procedure laid down in the Decision, as well as involvement of civil society representatives in this procedure, resulted in selection of members in the Council from the ranks of civil society organizations.
The Council is comprised of 31 members, of which 16 are appointed on proposal from civil society organizations registered in compliance with the Law on Associations and Foundations, by means of open call and pursuant to the rule for one representative in each of following policy areas:
- civil society development;
- democracy and the rule of law;
- promotion and protection of human rights and antidiscrimination;
- economic and sustainable development;
- science, education and lifelong learning;
- social protection of children;
- protection of marginalized persons;
- gender equality;
- agriculture and rural development;
- media and information society;
- environmental protection;
- sports, and
- EU integration and policies.
The constitutional session for the Council was held on 16th April 2018.