The first quarter of 2023 has been innovative: Marcus Ehasoo became a new head of advocacy in NENO, the elections were held arousing some issues NENO has not dealt with to such an extent before.
The topics of money laundering and terrorism prevention have also reached non-governmental organizations. According to the international Moneyval Estonia report, there are shortcomings in the awareness of NGOs on money laundering issues in the country, and the country has not done enough to raise that awareness and improve legislation. NENO is actively looking into this topic, so that future amendments to the law would not hinder non-governmental organizations in their work and activities.
The elections were held. Today, the new composition of the Riigikogu has been confirmed, and the conclusion of the coalition agreement is getting ready soon. Before the elections, NENO asked the political parties questions about the issues civic society faces. Some parties gave their answers, which you can read here (in Estonian language). In addition, we made a quick analysis of the publicly available political platforms, where we focused on the issues of civil society and open governance. Actually, it was our pleasure to discover that almost all platforms contained some topics related to civil society. At the same time, the surface of the slogans left confused whether the political parties have understood exactly what civil society is and what role it plays in the country. In the future, however, it is necessary to deal with the fact that the new coalition does not leave this issue behind and to develop substantive cooperation with the government on civil society issues.
This time we have also coordinated the work of the election watchers: nine volunteer watchers monitored the extent to which political parties’ campaigns corresponded to good election practices. In the pre-election period, the watchers compiled four lists of violations of good election practice and commented on campaign activities in the media. You can read the summary thoughts of the election watchers here (in Estonian language).
We continue to push forward in the direction of open governance. The open government expert group that gathered last August, prepared a road map for the promotion of open governance. There are exclusive recommendations that are worth exploring for associations involved in advocacy. Joint preparations for the Open Government Summit that will be held in September, are also underway. In the meantime, the analysis of the action plan of the Open Government Partnership has also been almost completed, and all members of the Open Government Network had the opportunity to comment on the report before the final publication. In promoting open governance, the State Chancellery Koosloomeranits is of great help.
NENO will organize advocacy trainings promoting health & wellbeing. NENO won a tender organized by the Health Development Institute, within the framework of which the employees and specialists of local governments dealing with health promotion issues are offered the opportunity to participate in advocacy training in order to formulate and enforce their messages and goals. Such trainings will take place in 2023 and 2024 in Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Rakvere. It is imperative to increase the advocacy capacity on the local level, which is why we consider it important to contribute to it as well.
One of the objectives of the action plan is the development of strategic partnership in the following ministries. To date, summaries of previous experiences in integrating strategic partnership have been made in the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of the Interior, so it is time to move in the direction that the number of ministries implementing strategic partnership will gradually increase. We are preparing necessary materials and communicating with the public sector in order to map other ministries and perspectives for creation of new strategic partnerships.
Information on state budget allocations for 2019 and 2020 has been added to the NGO money platform. The purpose of the NGO money platform is to provide a simple overview of the state budget financing NGOs, and activities money were allocated for. The extensive database contains the majority of non-governmental organizations that have received state budget support in specific years.
The Estonia 2035 action plan was revised and updated. Within this framework, information sharing has also taken place regarding the possibilities of applying for European Union structural funds. More detailed information about rounds and strategic topics can be found here (In Estonian language). On February 23, the Government approved the Welfare Development Plan 2023-2030, which sets the strategic goals of family, social and labor policy for the following years and determines the necessary course of action to achieve them. The development plan can be viewed here (in Estonian language).
In the middle of March, the Steering Committee of Estonian Development Plan 2021-2030 met representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, who gave an overview of the most important achievements and future plans in their fields. This year, the development plan will be handled by the Ministry of Culture – a draft of the 2022 performance report will be sent to the steering committee in April – and the next meeting will take place in the second half of the year.
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