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Wednesday 22.01.2020 | Name days: Austris
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Social Integration Fund torn over NGO support priorities

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SIF, NGOs, prioritiesAlthough sides of the Social Integration Fund (SIF) have argued over priorities of the Non-Government Organizations Fund, the contest to start using funding allocated to NGOs may yet be announced this year, allows Social Integration Fund council member and Prime Minister Krišjāņš Kariņš’s representative Imants Parādnieks.

During the 10 December meeting of SIF council, members did not approve Latvian state budget’s financed programmes for NGO fund’s Strategic Planning Committee’s proposed committees in 2020. Coordination of priorities with the council would allow bringing them for coordination with NGO and Cabinet of Ministers cooperation memorandum implementation council and the council for National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy Guidelines.

Parādnieks explained that among members of the council there was a sharp exchange of opinions in regards to the document to be used as base for NGO fund’s priorities.

«SPK offer had no references to any planning document we could use to assess results of NGOs completing their delegated tasks. There is an order for tasks that is logical and legal in state administration,» said Parādnieks.

SIF council member and head of Kurzeme NGO support centre Inese Siliņa said SPK does not need to submit to SIF any references to planning documents of assess results. «SPK decides priority directions, types of programmes and funding division. Then everything is coordinated by SIF secretariat. Additionally, SPK can only work if there is a legal foundation for NGO fund and existing planning documents, i.e. NGO fund concept and extended National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy Guidelines for 2019-2020,» explains Siliņa.

During the council meeting Siliņa invited the council to vote for SPK’s proposed NGO fund priorities, but the council chairman and Culture Minister Nauris Puntulis instead proposed voting for NGO fund priorities implemented and coordinated with the National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy Guidelines. Six out of eight council members present at the meeting voted in favour, failing to reach a quorum.

Then there as the offer to tie NGO fund priorities to National Identity, Civil Society and Integration Policy Guidelines and SIF conceptual directions. Both Puntulis and Parādnieks voted in favour of this. «The rest of the council found this offer surprising. In order to have NGO fund contest announcement to progress, the council was supposed to approve the fund’s priority directions as suggested by SPK. The entire council, including Puntulis and Parādnieks, agreed with SPK’s proposed directions. We were prepared to vote for them,» said Siliņa.

Siliņa says the culture minister’s offer to tie NGO fund’s priority directions with non-existing SIF strategy directions was unacceptable for the rest of the council because the decision was made to develop directions together in a work group with SIF secretariat in January.

Parādnieks explained the priority for strengthening of civil society should be clearly outlined and logical and directions used by SIF should be used as foundation. ‘This is exactly why there was an offer to approve SIF conceptual directions, because it is the only foundation that provides us the framework to used to make NGO fund guidelines with four priority directions,’ explained the politician.

Siliņa says SPK has submitted priority directions to SIF council for approval. Priority directions are also included in the NGO fund concept.

«During the meeting SIF secretariat employee and SPK member came over to Parādnieks to present NGO fund’s activities for priority directions. However, he paid them no attention,» said Siliņa.

Keywords: NGOs priorities SIF


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