If Non-Profit Associations Take Responsibility, Will the Republic of Estonia Reach Participatory Democracy?
On 14 December 1999, by signing a cooperation memorandum, a cooperation assembly of Estonian political parties and non-profit associations was founded. The task of the assembly is to help through exchange of opinions to shape views of the both parties on long-term strategic goals of development in Estonia.
The cooperation assembly provides a forum for political parties where they can listen to people’s opinion. So they can hear signals which are useful to take into account when defining the policies of their parties. This is another step towards participatory democracy offering the more active part of the people a possibility to say what they think, knowing that they are listened to and that there exists readiness to discuss things with them.
Umbrella organisations for non-profit associations have received motivation for cooperation and have formed a Consultative Council of Non-Profit Organisations for the purpose of coordinating their activities.
The whole activity got started at the end of 1998 from a project called “The Strengthening of Sustainable Development of Estonian Non-Governmental Organisations” supported by the United Nations Development Programme. Part of the project is strengthening of the partnership between the state and non-profit organisations (see also: http://www.ngo.ee ).