CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Building Identity: Future challenges for CSOs as professionals in the societal arena

Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 16, 2011

CIVICUS CSI is pleased to announce the publication of the Analytical Country Report from Croatia. The Civil Society Index (CSI) project was implemented in Croatia by CERANEO – Centre for Development of Non-profit Organisations with support from the Croatia National Foundation of Civil Society Development, Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and the City of Zagreb. Croatia has participated in the CSI from its pilot phase in 2001, which has enabled it to create an unrivalled knowledge base about civil society in Croatia over a period of a decade.

As shown by the Croatia Civil Society Index diamond, the structure of civil society is fairly stable and moderately developed. The strongest dimension of civil society in Croatia is seen to be its level of organisation. The external environment is also assessed strongly, suggesting that there is a relatively enabling environment for civil society development. 


The study shows however that the future development of civil society is endangered by low levels of citizens’ participation. This is an important issue which needs to be addressed by greater promotion of civic virtues to the public, including through the education system.


Irregular and limited financing for CSOs also poses a threat for the stability of human resources and for the sustained employment of young, educated professionals. However, with sustainable programmes of financing and EU programmes of civil society support being introduced, it is reasonable to hope for improvements on this front. CSOs believe that Croatia’s accession to the EU has also created a real opportunity for them to participate in new regional processes, but they will need support in developing their capacity to do so.


Some of the recommendations made in the report for strengthening civil society in Croatia are to encourage CSOs to develop sustainable programmes for volunteers, and to push regional and local governments to establish transparent funding criteria, based on local development priorities. At the same time, civil society should be more proactive in promoting and advocating core values to the public, by working with the media as a partner. The expected implementation of EU policies and programmes, particularly in the fields of employment, social inclusion and regional development is seen as a significant opportunity to affirm civil society’s position as an important stakeholder and to advance its role in society.


To read the full report, click here.


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