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  Strengthening the Legal Framework for Citizen Action through Freedom of Association Project

ECNL was awarded a grant by the European Commission for the year 2007-2008 to work on project "Strengthening the Legal Framework for Citizen Action through Freedom of Association." The project focuses on improving the legislative and policy framework for freedom of association and civil society in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova.

The main aim of the project is to strengthen foundations for enabling legislation on freedom of association, which complies with international standards and responds to local circumstances and to increase the potential for civil society advocacy related to freedom of association and CSO sustainability, through training local experts and advocates in all project countries to be able to identify the issues that require reform, to carry those reform processes and advocate for their adoption in cooperation with a wider CSO community.

ECNL's project partners are the Civil Society Institute in Georgia; Eco-TIRAS in Moldova; National NGO Forum in Azerbaijan; Professionals for Civil Society NGO in Armenia.

The project aims to achieve the following objectives:

(1) Raise awareness about the needs and importance of bringing local legislation in line with international standards;
(2) Provide on-going technical assistance in developing local policies and draft legislation;
(3) Ensure multi-stakeholder participation in freedom of association law reform processes;
(4) Increase local capacity on CSO law reform issues;
(5) Promote experience sharing and networking.

In the year 2007 the four partners produced White Papers that analyze the current situation and pave the way for reform initiatives to improve legislation concerning freedom of association and CSO-government relationships in the respective countries. ECNL offered ongoing support to partner organizations by providing comparative information and international expertise. State agencies and CSOs were actively involved in commenting on the White Papers at the roundtable discussions, submitting their comments in writing and sharing their views about the feasibility of the proposed solutions. On the basis of the developed White Papers an individual Action Plan was prepared for each country.

During the year ECNL continuously contributed to the local partners' capacity building by holding numerous training sessions on the ground and inviting external EU experts to increase local capacity.

To promote experience sharing and networking and to support capacity building and law reform processes ECNL organized a study visit to Budapest for 11 high level state officials from Azerbaijan on the topic of government-CSO relations in September 2007. The aim of the visit was to introduce the Azerbaijani governmental officials and parliamentary representatives to the good practices that exist in Hungary in terms of CSO enabling legislation, as well as to reflect upon the lessons learnt during the application of these laws. The study visit was organized in cooperation with the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Counterpart International and the Urban Institute and was co-financed by the Civil Society Project (USAID).

The first year highlights also include development and adoption of Draft amendments to the Law on Association in Moldova. The amendments adopted in July 2007 improved the legal environment and strengthened the freedom of association in Moldova in line with European best practices. ECNL also provided its comments and consultations on the Decree for the Establishment of the State Council for CSOs in Azerbaijan and the accompanying regulations to support the implementation of the Council. The Decree was adopted in July 2007 and ordered to establish a Council in charge of relationships with CSOs and providing CSOs with financial support from the state budget.

For more information on the project, please, write to
Project Coordinator Hanna Asipovich: hanna@ecnl.org.hu

This web page has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of the web page is the sole responsibility of ECNL and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.

This page was last updated on: 30/09/2013


Study visit in ECNL office
Last week ECNL hosted two lawyers from Legal Resources Center from Moldova for a study visit. During their stay the guests met with leading Hungarian CSOs, public officials and were provided with workshops by ECNL experts as well. The program gave an opportunity for the fellows to examine the legal framework of the Hungarian nonprofit sector with an outlook to the European practices.