NGO Days 2010

This years NGO Days conference, jointly organised by the Government of the Republic of Croatia Office for Cooperation with NGOs, Council for the Development of Civil Society, National Foundation for Civil Society Development and TACSO project office in Croatia, was held between 13th and 15th May in Zadar.

The conference hosted more than 180 participants from a wide range of NGOs, public servants and other guests.
Amongst the present at the opening ceremony at the NGO Days were Ankica Marinović, Envoy of the President of the Republic of Croatia and the Secretary for Human Rights and Civil Society, representatives of the Zadar County and the Town of Zadar, Cvjetana Plavša-Matić, Director of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development, Igor Vidačak the Head of the Government of the Republic of Croatia Office for Cooperation with NGOs, and Slađana Novota, President of the Council for the Development of Civil Society.
A plenary meeting on the role and contribution of NGOs in accessing EU funds followed the introductory speeches, and was also the main theme of the NGO Days.
On Friday 14th May a plenary session discussing the differences and similarities of EU pre-accession and structural funds was held. It served to point out the importance of timely preparation for the use of Structural funds. After the session a panel discussion was held on the effectiveness of technical assistance NGOs receive in accessing EU funds, which was followed by a short presentation of research findings regarding management practices and activism in civil society organisations engaged in democratisation and promotion of human rights.
Between 3PM and 5PM five parallel round table discussions were held with a general aim of discussing current issues of importance to NGOs and stimulating networking between NGOs to encourage optimal use of EU funds. The topics of round tables were i) The importance of EU funds for increasing the level of social inclusion, ii) Opportunities and difficulties of encouraging volunteering through EU funds, iii) The importance of changes to the Law on the rights to access to information and anti-corruption, iv) Sustainable development of islands and coast through biodiversity protection, and v) Promotion of human rights in Croatia; possibilities through EU funds.
At the start of the Saturday’s programme a plenary session with questions and answers regarding the current tenders for financing NGOs from pre-accession funds was held. A presentation of the conclusions of the parallel round table discussions was held after the plenary session, and was followed by the closing of the conference.
To mark the end of the NGO Days volunteering actions, aimed at reiterating and promoting the importance of volunteer work, were organised. One happening was at the Home for the old and needy in Zadar where the volunteers had the opportunity to directly contribute to the quality of life of older and needy persons through conversation and keeping company. Volunteers also had the opportunity to assist in charity kitchen work and presentation of the activities of the Zadar archdiocese Caritas as a way of marking the International Day of Families.