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Seminar: The necessary changes in the legal framework for the operations of non-governmental organizations
 
On July 2, 2010, the Center for the Study of Democracy with the support of Balkan Trust for Democracy, organized a seminar “Discussion on the necessary changes in the legal framework for the operations of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)”. The seminar was focused on the exchange of experience regarding the legal framework for NGOs and its application in the operations of local NGOs. The seminar took place in the town of Gabrovo and brought together 13 participants from Gabrovo and the region.

Mr. Todor Yalamov, senior analyst with the Center for the Study of Democracy opened the seminar with a focus on the need to encourage good governance and transparency in the operations of NGOs and in specific the relationship between NGOs and local authorities as a foundation for preventing conflict of interest. Mr Yalamov highlighted that the Center has been working long term for improving the legal framework preventing the conflict of interest, as well as improving transparency in the operation of organizations working for the public good. In that context the seminar is part of a project which aims to further the analysis of the processes of the so called “civil society capture”.

The seminar participants agreed on a couple of key challenges in the NGO sector on which they hope there will be specific legal and administrative changes:
• Currently the registering procedures for NGOs are burdensome, expensive and inefficient. The available public register is inefficient and the procedures in the court hinder the process of registering and re-registering.
• There are no common accounting standards for NGOs. Many of the accountants do not have the necessary skills and training for working with NGOs. Many organizations find it difficult to separate their non-profit and their for-profit activities.
• The relationship between NGOs and local authorities often create risk for conflict of interest. There needs to be more transparency and fair competition among NGOs.
 
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