Civil Society

For the creation, existence and activity of civil society organizations essential requirement is legally defined and protected freedom of association and the citizens. Civil society organizations represent an essential segment of participatory democracy.

Civil society organizations are voluntary forms of organization created by private citizens or legal document (Memorandum of Association), which aims to protect the interests of certain groups of people or society as a whole and which are not part of the governmental structure.

Civil society acts as an intermediary between the public authorities and citizens. Basic legal act which is in the Republic of Serbia defines the establishment of associations of citizens and other civil society organizations, is the Law on Associations (Official Gazette RS, No 51/2009)

Get familiar with the OCDoskop - interactive web platform for CSOs in the Rpeublic of Serbia
The Serbian Business Registers Agency (SBRA) - Official Register for associations and other forms of civil society organizations

Civil society presupposes the freedom of civic association without state (i.e. governmental) supervision or tutelage over their operations. Civil society is an area of political action in the community (local, regional or national). It represents the field of voluntary and autonomous self-organized actions of individuals, informal groups of citizens or of registered civil associations, who through their activities seek to bring qualitative change in social and political life of the wider community (local, regional, state).

Civil society represents political stakeholder of public life which acts outside of the institutional system but with the clear goal –to effect on public policy in the direction of greater transparency, accountability and openness of the public sector towards citizens.

Civil society is a particular type of social action which fills the political space between the state, economy and private sector. Complexity of the term “civil society“ let alone complexity of it usage in public discourse which comes out from broad diversity of the role that civil society has in the socio-political life in the society. Some of the roles of CSOs in the society are following:

  • development of civic activism and participation in social and political life;
  • advocacy for different social groups and therefore making a pressure toward public institutions regarding the protection of variety f citizens interests nurturing of culture of philanthropy, voluntarism
The number of registered CSOs and their active role in the public policy process and the impact on the structures of public sector is directly related to the degree of democratization of the society and the level of transparency of the institutions.

In the Republic of Serbia there are several types of CSOs:
Citizens Association, Foundations, Endowments, Unions, Professional associations
Religious Organizations, National minorities councils, Political parties, Sports associations
Informal groups of citizens etc…