For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released the 14th edition of its 2010 NGO Sustainability Index (NGOSI), a key analytical tool that measures the progress of NGOs in the Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia (E&E) region. The Index tracks the progress of the NGO sector in twenty-nine countries over the past fourteen years. The Index examines the overall enabling environment for civil society, focusing on NGOs' legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure, and public image.
The full report can be found at: http://transition.usaid.gov/locations/europe_eurasia/dem_gov/ngoindex/.
Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized the importance of the role these organizations play by establishing the first Strategic Dialogue with civil society stating "Civil society help(s) to strengthen the basic bonds of trust that are essential to democracy."
In 2010, NGOs across Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia furthered their efforts to improve their societies in activities ranging from educating citizens on environmental issues to providing input on new constitutional changes to protecting the homeless. The latest Index reflects the wide range of challenges and issues facing NGOs in the region. Financial stability and organizational capacity remain concerns for even the most established NGOs. Efforts to establish and maintain relevant NGO support services continue with mixed results. NGOs' attempts to engage with governments, to engage with the public, and to encourage their sectors to adhere to high ethical standards are having more success, but there is still much work to be done.
A number of countries in the region experienced significant political and humanitarian challenges in 2010 and NGOs played a noteworthy role in meeting and addressing these issues. To overcome the political instability that arose as a result of the April Revolution, Kyrgyzstani NGOs launched several initiatives to help restore the rule of law, provide humanitarian assistance, and initiate peace building endeavors in the southern provinces. In 2010, NGOs became more instrumental in providing assistance to victims of humanitarian crisis and natural disasters as seen in Slovenia and Tajikistan where NGOs helped thousands of people affected by floods and in Kyrgyzstan where NGOs assisted victims of the ethnic clashes. NGOs throughout the entire region became more effective in advocating for democratic reforms. As a result of pressure and direct input from NGOs, laws promoting democratic reform were passed throughout the region: Georgia adopted an updated media law, Ukraine passed a law on access for information, and Serbia adopted laws designed to improve the legal environment for NGOs. These examples highlight the type of civil society activism steadily growing throughout the region.
USAID Assistant Administrator for Europe & Eurasia, Paige Alexander noted, "An engaged and vibrant civil society is the foundation for a strong democracy. Just as we observed in prior years with the Orange and Rose Revolutions in this region, this spring saw the power of civil society across the Middle East to assist governments to respond to citizen needs. The NGOSI is an important tool that enables us to monitor progress and challenges to the strength and resilience of these organizations over time. USAID is proud to support valiant civil society actors and provide the Index as an important resource for the region and others around the world."
For more information about USAID's programs, please visit: www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: June 12, 2012