Seminar for NGDO Platforms of New Member States
Budapest, Thursday 9 – Friday 10 of March 2006
Lithuanian country report
To meet NMS commitment to reach 0.17% GNI by 2010 would ask Lithuania to increase its ODA from spending now (2004) 7.66 mln. or 0.0418% GNI (figures by MFA) to 30 mln. euros by the year 2010. four times in five years. The commitment is confirmed in the drafted by MFA Lithuanian ODA policy guidelines for 2006-2010.
Responsibility for Lithuanian ODA policy formulation is assumed by MFA. Drafted Lithuanian ODA policy guidelines for 2006-2010 are focusing on democracy promotion in former Soviet Union countries (South Caucasus and neighboring Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova). In international policy Lithuanian is sending its peace keeping forces to Iraqi, Afghanistan and Bosnia.
Increase of ODA every year by 7-8 mln. euros means enormous development in Lithuanian ODA system. Is the declaration by Lithuanian ODA policy guidelines for 2006-2010 to meet 0,17% GNI in five years realistic or mere propaganda? The ODA policy is concealed as activity limited to the circle of MFA specialists and linked to the major global organizations, e.g. UNDP Lithuanian office.
Civil society and NGDO Platform
Lithuanian NGDO Platform submitted its members recommendations to include in ODA policy guidelines for 2006-2010 CSO and NGDO participation in earlier than implementation ODA policy stages, partnership with NGDOs and their associated networks, public awareness building and development education issues.
For time being, Seimas (Lithuanian Parliament) has no plans to discuss ODA issues. So the Government. Lithuanian NGDO Platform is looking for the ways to initiate the discussion in over the issue of ODA.
In line with other new EU member states, the Development NGO sector in Lithuania is seeking to establish core guiding principles for civil society work, and trying to influence Government decision-making. In contrast, however, to other New Member States, the Lithuanian Development NGO sector has not been able to fully benefit from existing mechanisms of support (ODACE, Trialog) to facilitate these attempts. There is great enthusiasm for NGO networking among civil society organisations in Lithuania, but little shared understanding of priorities and little practical experience of collective action by civil society organisations.
Moves towards establishing a Lithuanian NGDO platform were made in 2004 with the support of the Canadian ODACE programme and TRIALOG. Eighteen Lithuanian NGOs have joined the network so far. The platform aims to officially register by 2006. At member meeting on 10 of February adopted The Agreement оf Collective actionwith the aim to be it signed by all member organisations and serve as a foundation in dealings with social partners, officials as well as registration with the state.
Important achievement in 2005 is active partnership with the Irish Platform Dochas (director Hans Zommer). The project proposal Strengthening Development NGO networking in Lithuania was submitted to the first call of Presidency Fund. The proposed project with the Irish NGDO platform Dochas is expected to lead to valuable support in strategic planning and provide the Lithuanian platform with advice on how to secure financial sustainability, by clarifying members’ expectations and values, and by formulating clear focus areas for the network.
The project aims to facilitate the participation of Lithuanian NGOs in policy debates on Development, by strengthening the mechanisms for collective action and reflection. The strengthening of the NGDO network will strengthen the NGO sector in the country and in particular its ability to engage with aid policy-making. Ultimately, this would also prepare the ground for Lithuanian NGO involvement in EU-level policy discussions.
Coordinator Julius Norvila