Our activities are focused on three thematic areas:
1. Laws that relate to NGOs
Law on Associations, Foundations and Federations
A contemporary and modern legal framework is necessary to strengthen Civil Society. Laws should promote transparency and good governance, without hindering the operation of NGOs or only control them. The law brought some improvements but has also created a number of new challenges.
Since the adoption of the law in 2017, we have been closely monitoring its implementation and we have supported NGOs to change their statutes to meet the requirements of the law. In addition, we have provided advise to several NGOs to register under the new law.
Law on Private Organisations of General Interest
Under the current legal framework (July 2023) there are two categories of Charities.
- Approved Charities, which are approved under certain conditions by the Ministry of Finance given that the main benefits of this status are tax-related.
- Charitable Foundations, which are approved under the respective law.
For the relevant laws click here.
This system has been deemed inadequate since 2007 and efforts are being made to modernise it with the Law on Private Benefit Organisations (in greek ‘Ιδιωτικοί Οργανισμοί Κοινής Ωφελείας-ΙΟΚΩ’). The draft bill was discussed in the Committee on Internal Affairs of the House of the Representatives.
The list of approved charities is available here.
2. Strengthening Civil Society
We work to improve all aspects that affect the operation of Civil Society. In this respect, as the NGO Initiative, in 2015 we published a paper that analyses the international legislative framework for NGOs, the state of Civil Society in Cyprus, and presents an action plan for strengthening Civil Society in Cyprus.
The policy paper, with slight changes, was adopted by the Council of Ministers and it was published by the Republic of Cyprus in 2017.
The main areas of improvement are:
- Developing a modern legislative framework for Civil Society
- Promoting more positive attitudes about Civil Society
- Ensuring that Civil Society has sufficient access to funding
- Supporting and promoting good governance
- Promoting active participation in decision-making processes
- Ensuring Civil Society has access to justice
3. Information and capacity-building of NGOs
We regularly organise workshops and consultations for capacity-building and raising awareness on the laws that concern NGOs in Cyprus, as well as for other NGO-related issues.