FHI 360 Moldova

IMPROVING CSO LEGAL ENVIRONMENT

MPSCS, along with international key partner the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL), and the local partners - Legal Resources Centre from Moldova, Youth for the Right to Life  (TDV), Centre of Legal Assistance for People with Disabilities (CAJPD), Platform for Active Citizenship and Human Rights Partnership (CAP), National NGO Council -  are focuses on involving CSOs into the CSO legal reform, developing relevant feasibility studies and draft laws and partnering with Parliament, Government and other relevant authorities of Moldova on promoting these legal regulations.

 

Under MPSCS, our partners are engaged in improving the CSO legal environment in the following priority areas:

I. Civil Society Development Strategy

The Civil Society Development Strategy 2012-2015 and its implementation plan were adopted with technical assistance input by Moldova Civil Society Strengthening Program (MCSSP) in 2009-2013. The Strategy set a comprehensive roadmap for reform of CSO laws in Moldova. The three objectives of the Strategy focused on strengthening participation and cooperation between the sectors, strengthening financial sustainability of the civil society and promoting active civic and volunteer spirit. According to the MPSCS evaluation report of the implementation of the Strategy, a slow progress was made and there are implementation achievements in all the three areas/general objectives. Nonetheless, most of the commitments made under the Strategy were not fully achieved due to insufficient resources, lack of steady commitment, ownership and common vision from the public authorities and CSOs. The full evaluation report provides recommendations for the drafting of the new Strategy by recommendations to streamline the objectives and allocate sufficient resources to implementation. To support the process of drafting of the new cooperation document, MPSCS contracted a local CSO expert to attend the working group meetings at the beginning of 2017 and develop the new draft Strategy.

MPSCS will continue to supports it partners in monitoring implementation, promoting the Strategy objectives and revising the implementation plan as needed to reflect on the needs of the sector. CAP stays involved in the process of developing the new Strategy, and consequent monitoring of its implementation.

 IILegal framework for Public Associations and Foundations

Current Law on Public Associations was adopted a little more than 20 years ago and, back in the days it set good and progressive standards for the region in regulation of public associations. However, based on implementation experiences, numerous hindrances were identified (see the policy paper by Legal Resources Center Moldova) which civil society organizations face in practice. In February 2014 the Ministry of Justice launched revision of the framework CSO legislation - the Law on Public Associations and Law on Foundations. Throughout the process MPSCS and its partner, ECNL, shared technical expertise at in-person meetings, developed several written comments, prepared at the Ministry's request comparative briefs on such issues as registration deadlines, personal liability for foundations’ management and involvement of foundations in activities, which could be considered political.

In 2016 MPSCS and its partner Legal Resources Centre from Moldova published and presented a policy paper on how to improve conditions of operation of CSOs in Moldova, and hosted further discussions with the CSOs to prepare a concept of the new law.

A working group was established at the Ministry of Justice, which developed the concept and first draft of the law on noncommercial organizations. The new law will embrace various legal forms of organizations – associations, foundations and institutions – and will provide more favorable conditions for registration and operation.

MPSCS  through the implementing partner ECNL provides technical assistance and comparative expertise to the Ministry of Justice and its working group to support compliance with good European standards in regulation of freedom of association.

 IIIPercentage Law

After almost a decade of Moldovan CSOs’ advocacy, the percentage designation mechanism was launched in Moldova in 2016. Percentage designation mechanism is one of supplementary sources for financial sustainability of the CSO sector in Central and Eastern Europe. This is an indirect state support mechanism, which allows CSOs to mobilize domestic resources and diversify their income base. It is especially appealing to Moldovan CSO sector, which is heavily dependent on resources from foreign donors (almost 90% of funding for the sector is allocated from abroad) with few opportunities of state funding.

ECNL has been supporting the development of the 2% mechanism in Moldova since 2009 by providing technical assistance in drafting the legal framework, organizing conferences and study visits for state officials and CSOs, developing comparative case studies on European good practices of promoting the mechanism. The process of policy development has been very valuable, as the adopted mechanism was prepared in a participatory manner with active leadership of the civil society, and specifically, Legal Resources Center Moldova (CRJM).

The adopted designation mechanism allows taxpayers to allocate 2% of their paid income tax to CSOs and religious organizations. As of December 31, 2016, 413 CSOs registered as potential beneficiaries of the mechanism in the Ministry of Justice and the first results in raising funds will be available in Fall 2017.

MPSCS will continue supporting the civil society organizations and public authorities to promote this mechanism of indirect state support, as well as its transparent and accountable use.

 

IVLegal Framework for Social Entrepreneurship

MPSCS supports the local advocacy effort by the Social Enterprise Platform with leadership of CSOs Eco-Razeni and Motivatie to promote introduction of the legal concept for  social entrepreneurship in Moldova and its legal regulation. In 2015 ECNL developed a Comparative Analysis of the Regulatory Framework for Social Enterprises in Europe and presented it at the First Moldovan Conference on Social Enterprises in Chisinau on October 6, 2015. The conference was organized by CSO Eco-Razeni, with co-funding of MPSCS. ECNL was also invited as speaker to the second edition Conference on Social Entrepreneurship in Chisinau and Balti in November 2016. In the past two years the Platform developed and submitted to the Ministry of Economy a package of law amendments on social entrepreneurship with ECNL’s active collaboration through written comments and in-person consultations. The government approved the law amendments in December 2016, however, it lacks state incentives that were previously part of the draft.

 V. Legal Framework for Government Contracting of Social Services

The Law on Social Services was approved in 2011. This law is the first of a series of legal documents that set the framework for public procurement of social services by non-commercial organizations. The Law on Accreditation and its implementing regulation include a more detailed definition of social services at each level and instruct on how to obtain the necessary accreditation in order for CSOs to carry out social services in Moldova. ECNL made available comprehensive research on implementation of social service delivery by CSO – A Handbook on Non-State Social Service Delivery Models  prepared by ECNL for UNDP and hosted meetings on social contracting as applied in other European countries with participation of experts from Ukraine, United Kingdom and Bulgaria.

In addition, ECNL developed in cooperation with UNDP a case study paper, which gives an overview of legal and institutional aspects of the HIV related response policies and social contracting of NGOs in this area. The Moldova Factsheet on NGO Social Contracting  provides concrete policy recommendations for improvement of social contracting procedures and establishing a mechanism of state financing for NGOs on the central level.

During 2017-2018, CAJPD will monitor the implementation of the social contracting mechanism and will submit to authorities recommendations to improve the social contracting for CSOs. 

 VI. Legal Framework for Volunteering

The Law on Volunteering came into force on September 2010. The Law regulates formal relations between host organizations (public and private) and volunteers and introduces conceptual elements of volunteering, in line with international and European practices: it defines volunteers as individuals who undertake activities based on their own initiative and with free consent, for public benefit purposes and without remuneration. The Law outlines the rights and responsibilities of the parties, addresses issues of liability, and prescribes incentives for volunteering activities. In 2014 regulations for volunteers’ host organizations were adopted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the first meeting of the accreditation commission for host volunteering organizations took place. TDV works with the Ministry of Youth and Sports on the promotion, adoption and implementation of regulations to ensure the proper operation of the host volunteer institutions

VII. Creating better environment for domestic resource mobilization

Domestic resources are an essential component for financial sustainability of civil society organizations in Europe. They play an important role both in generating income and building bridges and trust with constituencies. In Moldova, there are untapped sources of income for CSOs through private philanthropy and new forms of fundraising. Philanthropy is so far limited in Moldova, however, there are emerging initiatives in promoting domestic giving as identified in the Study on philanthropy and fundraising prepared by CONTACT Center with MPSCS’ support. MPSCS established an informal group of Moldovan CSO experts in philanthropy to identify the existing opportunities and challenges, and, thus, set the agenda for reform. The issues were also discussed at the Highlight Workshop on Domestic Resource Mobilization in Chisinau in September 2016. The workshop resulted in policy and implementation recommendations, which are to be taken forward by a local lead CSO. As a direct outcome of the workshop, a skill-building training on fundraising will be delivered to Moldovan CSOs in February 2017, and a Handbook on Fundraising was prepared and will be distributed online.

 VIII. Ensuring compliance with regulation on financial management of CSOs

Based on the new general accounting law, which came into effect in 2015, amendments were introduced to the Methodological instructions for CSO accounting.

To ensure compliance with regulation on financial management of CSOs, MPCSS carried out an update of the Guide on Financial management of CSOs with revisions to the accounting section of the Guide. MPSCS also provided capacity-building seminars to its implementing partners in order for them to comply with the new reporting requirements.

 

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