Overview

Representation of interests of civil society and CSOs


CAL is an independent non-profit civil society organization that acts as a platform to represent and defend the common interests of Latvian CSOs and civil society at a regional, national and the European Union level, to participate in the development, implementation and supervision of state policies, as well as encouraging other organizations to engage and participate in decision-making processes at local, regional and national levels.

CAL promotes dialogue, exchange of experience, raising awareness of problems and interests between civil society organizations in Latvia, summarizes the interests of the non-governmental sector and forms a constructive, collaborative dialogue with the public administration, represents the common interests of the non-governmental sector, and provides expertise on issues related to the non-governmental sector in Latvia.

CAL encourages policy planning documents and legislation to be developed based on the interests and needs of CSOs and different social groups. To achieve this, CAL actively participates in the development of policy initiatives affecting the activities of associations and foundations, regularly following current developments in public administration. CAL employees actively participate in various meetings (~200 meetings per year).

CAL researches, compiles, formulates and submits to the public administration institutions the views and proposals of CSOs for solving issues of concern to the public. CAL provides an average of 50 opinions and proposals per year, in the development of which CAL consults with its member organizations and cooperation partners on the most appropriate legal framework. CAL provides opinions on draft legislation and development planning documents.

CAL initiates and implements measures that promote the development of cooperation between CSOs and public administration, including since 2006, in cooperation with the Speaker of the Parliament and the Chancellery of the Parliament, and other CSOs, the CAL organizes the annual CSO and Parliament cooperation forum, and, since 2016, the Memorandum Council Conference in cooperation with the State Chancellery.


Ensuring public participation in political processes in the country, including civic education


Participation of civic representatives and civil society organizations (CSO) as a principle is a generally accepted norm in a democratic society. The aim of the participation is to ensure that the policy planned, implemented and evaluated by the public administration meets the needs of the public. Participation requires the action of CSOs -  legitimate representatives of interest groups of citizens responsible for the interests they represent.
CAL not only actively participates in civil and political processes, but also organizes various other activities, bridging gaps between the public administration and the public, and seeks to build and approbate a consolidated model of public participation infrastructure.

The CAL regularly holds public discussions involving representatives from different sectors and social groups.
CAL organizes public discussions not only in Riga, but also in the regions of Latvia. The topic of discussion is related to issues of importance to civil society, such as integration policy, the future of the EU, sustainable development of CSOs, etc.

CAL has been hosting the education program “Young Citizen” for 9 years, educating more than 12 000 young people. The purpose of the civic education program “Young Citizen” is to promote youth civic participation competences, which has not been included in the school curriculum so far. In 2018, CAL started cooperation with the Youth Guard Centre in order to implement the State Defense Training (SDT) within the framework of the lecture “Politically active citizen”, which is planned to be introduced as an optional subject in classrooms from 2020 to 2024.


Promoting CSO access to financing


CAL promotes the attraction of financial resources to the non-governmental sector as a whole by participating in the development, implementation and supervision of funding programs.
CAL consistently stands for general sustainability of financing in the non-governmental sector, including the promotion of reducing administrative burden associated with obtaining funding for the purposes of the organizations, especially those concerning funding that is independent of the state and municipalities - donations from private individuals and companies - and the right to engage in economic activities without limitation.

• As a result of the CAL activities, the establishment of the National CSO fund in 2015 was achieved with 400 000 EUR funding, and the funding for the CSO fund reached already 1.2 million EUR.
• CAL is a managing partner in the EEA/NOR-fundedActive Citizens Fund“, together with Kurzeme, Zemgale, South-Latgale CSO Centre, Valmiera Municipality Fund and Latvian Rural Forum.
• CAL supports opening of structural fund programs for CSO projects. CAL also consistently promotes the issue of supporting civil dialogue from the EU Structural Funds on the involvement of civil society organizations in this process and in monitoring committees.
• CAL cooperates with other CSOs in the EU to lobby for the creation of the Rights and Values Program in the new EU budget planning period.
• CAL supports reducing administrative burden associated with obtaining funding for the purposes of the organizations, especially those concerning funding that is independent of the state and municipalities - donations from private individuals and companies - and the right to engage in economic activities without limitation.


Strengthening the capacity of CSOs


CAL develops and implements training programs on topics such as CSO participation in decision-making, advocacy activities, internal resources of the organizations and other topics.
CAL provides consultations (~200 consultations per year) on topical issues on civil society organizations and civic participation, such as: organizational management, legal issues, document management, accounting, fundraising and other topics.

The website of the CAL - www.nvo.lv provides free access to information about current affairs of the sector and public administration, financial opportunities, research, other educational and cognitive materials necessary for the development of civil society activity and ensuring sustainability.

In 2019, CAL created the Democracy app - Participation. Advice. Activism. (or L.P.A.), which provides access to useful resources for civil activism, public participation and political dialogue (resource database), informs about current developments in civil society issues, including legislation, as well as serves as a platform for inviting representatives of the public to act in solidarity and engage in civic activity.
In order to strengthen the understanding of the legal framework of civil society, CAL has published legal advice concerning various aspects related to civil society.

For more than a decade, CAL has been distributing a free electronic newsletter “Don't sit in the dark!” (Nesēdi tumsā), providing the latest information for the CSO sector, concerning the changes in binding laws, project competitions and seminars. In addition, it serves as a platform for organizations to disseminate information about their events and initiatives and seek cooperation partners. The weekly newsletter is received by more than 2500 subscribers, including CSO representatives, activists, government, business and media representatives, etc.

CAL  also prepares monthly financial news, which are received free of charge by the CAL members, and are available for everyone else for a small processing fee. The financial news provide information about the latest project competitions and initiatives in Latvia, Europe and the world, where Latvian organizations can participate.


One of the activities of CAL is the operation of the CSO Resource Centre of Riga region (RRRC). The aim of the RRRC is to strengthen civil society and create a favorable environment for result-oriented informal groups, associations and foundations in the Riga planning region.

In parallel with other activities, CAL carries out research work on the non-governmental sector, which allows using the research data for additional activities and the development of the civil society in Latvia.


Raising awareness and promoting CSO activities


CAL regularly informs organizations and other cooperation partners by sending out an electronic weekly newsletter “Don't sit in the dark!”, as well as provides information to the CAL members and the general public on social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), including CSO representatives, activists, government, business and media representatives, etc.

In 2009, Mārcis Liors Skadmanis and CAL initiated the World CSO Day, and after 10 years it has grown into a global celebration. The World CSO Day is celebrated on 27 February to highlight working for the common good, for the improvement of the quality of life of fellow people, as well as for the development of countries, and sustainable peace.

Since 2014, CAL, in cooperation with the US Embassy in Latvia, has been hosting an award competition for Human Development, with the aim of emphasizing sustainable human development. The award for Human Development is presented in four categories: For Social Responsibility”, “For Outstanding Contribution to Education”, “For Outstanding Contribution to Health and Welfare” and “For Contributing to the Future of Latvia”.

CAL is a member of CSO platforms at the European Union and global level with the aim to represent and present internationally the work of the Latvian associations and foundations or the civil society. CAL is an active member of the European Civic Forum, CIVICUS or World Alliance for Citizen Participation, ALDA or Association of Local Democracy Agencies, AGNA or Affinity Group of National Associations, LPA is also a longtime member of the Baltic Sea Region CSO network.

In 2018, CAL launched an information partnership with LV portāls to promote and explain the role of civil society and civil society organizations in the development of the country and strengthening of democracy.

In 2018, CAL signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Latvia's largest business association, in order to promote cooperation between entrepreneurs and representatives of the public interest.