Thursday, 26 March 2015

News from the Slovenian NGO Platform SLOGA

Recently, representatives of SLOGA discussed future funding for NGO networks with state representatives, they met with a delegation of ministries from Western Balkans countries to present development and humanitarian projects of NGOs and to foster cooperation with NGOs from respective countries. The platform organised a workshop for member organisations to discuss challenges of field work in developing countries and SLOGA representatives discussed development issues with the Maltese President during her visit in Slovenia.

President of Malta in Slovenia: Dialogue with NGOs represents a key for exchange of good practices
The President of Malta, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, has met with representatives of Slovenian development NGOs during her official visit to Slovenia at the end of February 2015. They discussed challenges of international cooperation, the development agenda and ensuring respect of the human rights. NGOs welcomed the initiative of the Maltese President for the meeting as an example of good practice of dialogue with civil society.
A lot of time was devoted to the question of migration and how to effectively ensure support and integration of migrants. The number of migrants in Slovenia is a lot smaller in comparison to Malta, while Slovenia represents only a transitional country for the majority of migrants. Everyone involved acknowledged the need to change the Dublin Convention.
Development aid was also discussed in the meeting, which goes hand in hand with the European Year for Development 2015. Malta has a better track record when it comes to the meeting of internationally agreed commitments on official development assistance, since it allocates 0,19% of its GDP to ODA. Bilateral assistance is mostly being carried out through NGOs. Maltese Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. George Vella has highlighted the cooperation of representative of Maltese network of NGOs – SKOP – in the selection process of the projects that are financed by the Ministry, which ensures transparency of the procedure as well as higher level of accountability of the NGOs in the implementation of the projects.
Director of SLOGA platform Marjan Huč highlighted a very successful regional cooperation with different Maltese NGOs. Joint key challenges are ensuring of development policy coherence and strengthening the field of global education. He also pinpointed the increasingly present practice of the European Commission to finance exclusively bigger projects, which tends to paralyse the NGO sector in newer EU Member States. Lastly, he welcomed the support of Maltese public for development cooperation, which accounts for the highest percentage in the EU.
President Coleiro Preca has assessed that a lot has still to be done on the issue of awareness of the wider public with relation to the international development cooperation. This is based on the fact that development NGOs do not receive a lot of public support, even though they are essential for targeting inequalities in the world. She also perceives the dialogue with NGOs as a perfect opportunity to exchange experience and good practices, since NGO are the ones that possess specific, expert-based knowledge and experience.

Thematic NGO networks consult with State Secretary on possible future financing 
The Government of the Republic of Slovenia hosted consultations with representatives of thematic NGO networks on 11 March 2015. NGO sector in Slovenia remains under-financed and under-staffed, since it employs less than 1% of total population of employees. The purpose of the consultation was to improve cooperation between the ministries and the thematic NGO networks, to provide better conditions for NGOs and to review options for inclusion of financing for thematic NGO networks into the ministerial implementation plan of the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the EU Cohesion Policy in the Period 2014–2020. Consultations were hosted by State Secretary Tadej Slapnik, who has endorsed the efforts of NGO sector and thus opened the discussion between representatives of NGOs and ministries. As part of consultation SLOGA has also talked with the representatives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the possibilities of ensuring financing of the platform or transfer of public services to SLOGA. The consultations represent a good basis for future discussions on the topic.

SLOGA hosted a meeting of foreign ministries representatives from Western Balkans
On 17 March, SLOGA hosted a meeting with representatives of ministries for foreign affairs from Western Balkans countries. Aim of the meeting was to present development and humanitarian projects of NGOs and to foster cooperation with NGOs from respective countries, especially in the field of global education and awareness-raising. The visit was supported by German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

Workshop about challenges of field work in developing countries 
On February 12, SLOGA platform organised a workshop to strengthen NGO capacities working in developing countries. The workshop was held by Dr. Anica Mikuš Kos, president of Slovene Philanthropy, and Vahida Huzehrović from Slovene Philanthropy. The trainers have extensive experience in working in ODA recipient countries which were shared with workshop participants. Aim of the workshop was to enable exchange of experience among participants and to strengthen and improve the ability of participants for field work in developing countries. The trainers initially presented specifics of development and humanitarian projects’ implementation. They continued with describing motives and characteristics of individuals who decide for field work in developing countries and how to train the individuals for field work. They also touched upon relationships – not only within the project team, but also with the recipients of the Official Development Assistance. The workshop closed with a lively debate on most common challenges in project implementation.

Photo courtesy of SLOGA: Meeting with Western Balkan states representatives and GIZ.

Information provided by Adriana Aralica, SLOGA 

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