CSO Sustainability Index Presented in Baku

CSO Sustainability Index Presented in Baku

CESD-Center for Economic and Social Development presented CSO Sustainability Index with participation of representatives from government, civil society, international organizations and mass-media on July 13, 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The report that covered 29 countries analyzes the situation of NGOs in Eurasia. According to the Center for Economic and Social Development (CESD), co-author of the report, the sustainability index of the civil society organizations in Azerbaijan was 4.7 points for the last calendar year. It was noted during the presentation that the NGOs working conditions: the legal environment, organizational skills, financial resources, public awareness, service provision, infrastructure and public image of NGOs- were analyzed and were graded on the scale from 1 to 7.

It’s mentioned in the report that the NGOs in Azerbaijan couldn’t benefit from economic growth of the recent years. The institualization of the corruption in Azerbaijani society creates both social and economic obstacles for the development. Although NGO sector is quite an active in Azerbaijan, it doesn’t develop completely. According to the report, the number of registered NGOs is 2725, and the majority of them are public unions. Only 1350 NGOs rendered financial records to the Ministry of Finance last year, which mean that a half of all registered NGOs work.

Describing the legal environment in which NGOs operating, the authors  reported that most deplorable situation related to the registration of NGOs. 162 NGOs were registered in 2009, 124 NGOs – in 2010, and only 106 NGOs- in 2011. “The Ministry of Justice rejects to register both new and many years operated NGOs on a regular basis. The refuses to register NGOs touch upon the remarks on the Charters, such as not be signed by all the founders, not be indicated the territory of the activities, and then all the documents are turned back. It is mentioned in the report that the Ministry of Justice demands to submit illegally some extra non-required documents while applying for registration. “For example, sometimes the required information consist of the occupation and political affiliation of the founders. Furthermore, it is also required to submit a letter of guarantee from the executive authorities or NGO’s Support Council in order to register NGOs.”

One of the positive changes in 2011 has been the omission of NGOs from the list  of self-sustaining entities subject to compulsory internal audit. The Law on Audit Services set penalty sanctions in the amount of AZN 2,500
for NGOs evading compulsory audit.

Later, speaking about the participation of NGOs in the legislative work, there was mentioned about the order of the NGOs’ State Support Council to prepare three draft laws If the law on “Social order”,  on “Professional associations” and on  “public participation” are adopted, it will enlarge the activity opportunities  of NGOs a lot.

The presenter Faina Hanifayeva who is the project manager at CESD said, the adopted Law on “Social Service” on December 30 last will allow the  state agencies to participate in various projects.

According to the report, which analyzed the financial resources of NGOs, the grant budget of  the non-governmental organizations was 29 million in 2011. Only 2.05 AZN million from the  above mentioned amount was allocated by the government, and distributed through NGOs State Support Council toNGOs. The foreign donors covered the remaining amount. Suspending the Open Society Institute’s assistance to the NGOs’ activities was rated as a negative impact on NGOs’ financial positions. Before halting its activity, the fund allocated 2.8 million dollar on various projects in 2010.In 2011 this amount was 600 thousand dollars.

“The contribution of the business organizations isn’t a significant part of NGOs’ incomes. Business structures are not interested in cooperation with the third sector in the country because the concept of corporate social responsibility is not fully understood, and the tax policy does not stimulate the charity. ”

Taking the floor Farasat Gurbanov, who is the Executive Secretary of NGOs State Support Council, noted that such reports were useful and that such analysis helped to evaluate the positions of NGOs. He also supported that the report exhibited the amount of funds allocated by other donor organizations. Farasat Gurbanov doubted the fact in the report about the activity of 1000 non-registered organizations. He mentioned that the number of projects implemented in cooperation with government and NGOs increased in recent years.  He emphasized SEDA as of one of such joint projects launched by the government of Azerbaijan and the United States Agency for International Development. As he said, operating of the NGOs’ resource centers in various regions of Azerbaijan tried hard to increase the level of their work.

Sahib Jafarov, the representative of the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, supported the showing of the statistical data of the number of NGOs applied for registration by years to the Ministry of Justice. He said that, in this case, it would be possible to compare to what extent it was improved or deteriorated. According to his probability, the decreasing number of registered NGOs’ mean lessening of applying requests of NGOs or completion of this sector, and, as a result no need for new NGOs.

Vugar Huseynov, the chairperson of the Learning Democracy Public Union, said it’s not an appropriate conclusion that the decreasing of the number of registered organizations related to the no need of the new NGOs. He said:”According to our evaluation, there are 3 NGOs per 10 thousand people in Azerbaijan, while in such countries like Estonia this number is 150.”

Ulvi Ismail and Vugar Nagiyev, representatives from USAID, attended the presentation.

A number of NGO chairpersons, the NGOs State Support Council  representatives, members of parliament and media representatives took part at this event as well.

Download Full Report Here

Donwload Presentation in English

Download CSOSI Presentation in Azeri Here

Download Press Release in Azeri Here


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