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Friday 27.04.2018 | Name days: Tāle, Raimonda, Raina, Klementīne
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Ascendum: the country needs a strong NGO sector

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUNon-governmental organizations do not wish to play the role of a guard dog in the work with the government and state administration, because Latvia’s civil society is mature enough to the an equal cooperation partner for the government, states Ascendum association.

Ascendum explains that lately cooperation between the two sectors has been ambiguous at best and civil society has often been used as a guard dog in many cases of changes discussed for laws and cabinet requirements, as government plans take too long to be passed to the public.

Ascendum board chairperson Zaiga Puce notes that it is necessary to form a powerful non-governmental sector in the country. «Latvia’s society and state would be different if civil society did not participate in resolving problems every day,» Puce notes.

According to her, sectors like culture, sports, social aid, education, environmental protection, protection of interests develop and even exist only because there are selfless people that work in the non-governmental sector and perform work that is invaluable for most people. «State and municipal institutions will never be able to replace NGOs,» Puce says.

Ascendum is convinced that NGOs in the past 25 years have become professionals in the field of protection of interests. They have thousands of experts from different fields and offer competent opinions when asked to provide them.

The NGO sector has nearly 12,000 people employed. NGOs also often offer goods and services the state cannot, as it is unable to keep up with rapidly changing public needs. Nor can entrepreneurs provide certain services NGOs can, because sometimes those services are not commercially viable. Those services can only be provided by social activists and NGOs with financial assistance from private or international organizations, the association notes.

The NGO Foundation was opened last year. Ascendum views this as a positive gesture from the government and the Saeima, as it proves that both institutions understand the importance of a pro-active civil society in state development and defence matters, especially considering that there are many challenges to overcome in order to form a true partnership between state administration and non-governmental organizations.

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