Towards maturity: challenges for Slovenian civil society
Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 24, 2011
CIVICUS Civil Society Index (CSI) is pleased to the announce publication of the Analytical Country Report from Slovenia. The CSI was carried out in Slovenia by the Legal and Information Centre for NGOs, with the support of the Ministry of Public Administration. The main aim of the project was to promote and strengthen civil society through its assessment ad to develop recommendations and measures to improve it.
The Civil Society Diamond summarises the values of the quantitative indicators which represent the four basic dimensions of civil society, while the circle around it represents the fifth dimension, the external environment of civil society.
The research findings show that Slovenian citizens readily engage as members of CSOs and as volunteers, and that volunteering in particular is on the rise, as a result of efforts made by voluntary organisations to establish a regulatory framework to provide support for the development and implementation of voluntary work at national and local levels. However, when it comes to participation in political activities, it is clear that while political parties wield the greatest influence, as a result of low trust in them, very few people participate in their activities. When CSOs practice of their own values is examined, the report affirms that CSOs generally adhere to regulations regarding democratic decision making governance, labour regulations, codes of conduct and transparency and environmental standards, although they could do more to promote their adherence to these values. The report also finds that while CSOs are relatively independent of the state, the lack of substantial government funding, the modest funds they acquire from other sources and the constant struggle for grants awarded through public tenders greatly reduces CSO autonomy.
However, the analysis of the civil society sector in Slovenia shows that it has not yet reached a high level of development. Increasing the financial strength of CSOs and, consequently, their professionalisation, are the two key steps needed to develop the sector. In order to improve the state of the civil society sector, the government should both increase public financing of the sector, and also amend legislation to encourage funding from non-public sources, such as private donations from individuals and companies, thereby increasing the sector’s autonomy and independence. In order to facilitate the implementation of such changes, both the government and non-government sectors must reach a consensus on a clear-cut strategy for the development of the civil society sector. The report that concludes that the prerequisite for any of this to happen is to strengthen weak processes of civil dialogue in Slovenia.