Information on public financial support for projects on minorities (excerpts), 2010

(..)

INFORMATION SUBMITTED BY LATVIA

On December 27, 2002, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia adopted Regulation No 612 establishing the Secretariat of the Special Assignments Minister for Social Integration (hereinafter – Secretariat).29 One of Secretariat’s tasks was to provide support for the work and activities of national minority organizations in Latvia from the state budget. The Ministry of Culture grants the subsidy from the state budget to the national minorities’ umbrella association. The information below reflects the state of affairs in terms of the support for national minority organizations from the state budget in a form of subsidies in years 2003 – 2008.

Footnote 29 from July 1, 2009 the Secretariat’s functions and obligations have been transferred to the Ministry of Justice

1. Please give the following information for each national minority:

  • description/name and size of the national minority

Current statistics for the national minorities reflected in Table 1 (data at 01.07.2009.)30

Ethnic belonging
Number of population%
Latvian 1 340 767 59,3
Russian 626 136 27,7
Belarussian 81 3483,6
Ukrainian56 3312,5
Poles52 8552,3
Lithuanian30 2571,3
Jews98890,4
Roma85820,4
German45300,2
Tatar27910,1
Armenian27150,1
Estonian24630,1
Other43 0881,9
Total2 261 752100,0

Footnote 30 Data of the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, available at http://www.pmlp.gov.lv/lv/statistika/dokuments/ISVN_Latvija_pec_TTB_VPD.pdf

  • number of minority associations receiving subsidies per year (including umbrella associations).

Subsidies were available to individual national minority and interethnic organizations, which were registered within the Secretariat and which have defined the following goals in their statutes:

  • defending the rights of national minorities;
  • reserving and developing the ethnic identity and cultural heritage of national minorities in Latvia;
  • promoting intercultural dialogue.

Table 2 reflects the information on subsidies allocated by Secretariat in 2003 – 2008.

Year200320042005200620072008
Subsidies (LVL)39 371102 70198 694145 146152 82291 520
Number of subsidies 14223624333631698
Number of national minority
organizations supported
766373999674
Number of ethnic groups
supported
201718171717

In year 2002 – 2008 subsidies were allocated by Secretariat to minority non-governmental organizations representing 22 ethnic groups: Russian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Estonian, African, Jews, Polish, Romanian, Armenian, Arab, Azerbaijani, Georgian, German, Old Believer,
Livs, Moldavian, Latgalian, Hungarian, Uzbek, Yakut, Gypsy (Roma).

It should be mentioned that the approximate proportional number of subsidies allocated to different ethnic groups and the proportional division of subsidies according to the aims of the projects were similar in years 2003 – 2007. As an example year 2007 is chosen in order to show the distribution of subsidies to different ethnic groups and the aims of the projects in graphical way.

Diagram 1 reflects the total number of subsidies allocated to different ethnic groups in 2007 (in per cents):

Subsidies to national minority NGOs in 2007:

Russian25%
Interethnic21 %
Ukrainian15%
Belarusian9%
German8%
Slavic5%
Jewish5%
Romanian4%
Other NGOs3 %
Lithuanian3 %
Old Believers2 %

The subsidies allowed national minority organisations to implement various educational projects, to publish informative materials about the activities of national minorities in Latvia, as well as to organise events, which promote participation of national minorities in public life.

The following types of projects were supported: school projects, exhibitions, national and traditional holidays, support for creative groups, festivals, publishing of books and other materials, seminars and conferences, teaching activities, administrative support and other activities.

Diagram 2 reflects the type of subsidies allocated in 2007 and their number

The division of subsidies according to the aims (number of subsidies) in 2007

School projects7
Exhibitions, museums8
National days11
Support of creative groups25
Administrative support30
Festivals30
Publishing33
Seminars, conferences, researches43
National holidays52
Other activities72

In order to support the efforts of Gypsy (Roma) non-governmental organizations to preserve the identity of Gypsy (Roma) community in Latvia, to promote intercultural dialogue and participation of Gypsy (Roma) representatives in public life, in 2006 – 2008 the subsidies for Gypsy (Roma)
organizations and other non-governmental organizations working with Gypsy (Roma) were allocated. It should be noted that subsidies in 2007 and 2008 were allocated within the “National Action Plan “Gypsy (Roma) in Latvia” 2007. – 2009.” which was approved by the Decree of the Cabinet of
Ministers No. 802 in 2006.

Table 3 reflects the information on subsidies allocated by Secretariat in 2006 – 2008 for Gypsy (Roma) organizations and other organizations working with Gypsy (Roma):

Year200620072008
Amount of subsidy (LVL)30000,0018320,6719999,12
Number of subsidies183621
Number of organisations71113
Number of activities183627

Table 4 reflects the type of the activity within subsidies for Gypsy (Roma) organizations other organizations working with Gypsy (Roma):

Type of activity200620072008
Administrative support946
Publishing of books 1
Informative seminars237
Cultural events52113
Activities promoting education of Gypsy
(Roma)
162
Activities promoting employment of Gypsy
(Roma)
21

Diagram 3 reflects the type of subsidies allocated in 2007 and their number for Gypsy (Roma) organizations other organizations working with Gypsy (Roma).

Subsidies to Roma and multiethnical NGOs, which support the inclusion of the Roma community into Latvian society, in year 2007

Administrative support7 %
Roma Cultural development projects60 %
Informative seminars/ public discussions9 %
Projects for improving Roma Employment7 %
Projects for improving Roma Education17 %

According to Prime Minister’s resolution of 8th August 2003 and the Amendments to the Regulations of the Ministry of Culture of 19th August 2003, the Ministry of Culture grants the state subsidy for national minorities’ culture societies that are members of Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’ Association of Latvia (Association). The Association consolidates 21 different societies and unions of national minorities.

2. Do you distribute public subsidies to national minorities’ associations? Which budget (national, regional, local) is used for this purpose?

Yes. Public subsidies are granted from the state budget.

3. Who determines the total amount of the subsidies to be distributed to national minorities’ associations (parliament, public administration)?

The total amount of subsidies for non – governmental organizations (e.g. national minority organizations) is indicated in the Law on State Budget in which a special budget line is allocated for subsidies. The distribution of subsidies for certain beneficiary groups is done within relevant state
institution.

4. Which criteria is used to determine the amount of the subsidy for each national minority association? Is the number of persons affiliated with a national minority one of the criteria?

In 2003 Secretariat has worked out special Regulations for the allocating of state budget subsidies and controlling their utilization (hereinafter – Regulations for subsidies) for the organizations of national minorities. Since 2003 the Regulations have been altered several times.

Applications for funding could be submitted to Secretariat every month in 2003 – 2005, four times per year in 2006 – 2007 and in year 2008 three calls for proposals were launched – one call for proposals for the applications for subsidies for the support of the administrative activities of national minority organizations and in two calls for proposals for the applications for subsidies for the preservation of ethnic identity of national minorities and the promotion of interethnic dialogue.

The following components were taken into account in the process of allocation of subsidies for national minority organizations: the total amount of the budget available for subsidies, the relevance of the application to the priorities of the Secretariat, the quality of the submitted application, the
relevance of the expenditures to the aims of the application, previous experience of the organization in administrating the projects and if organization has submitted the reports for the implementation of the previous projects. The number of members of national minority was not the criteria determining the number of subsidy for the corresponding national minority.

One of the criteria for obtaining subsidies for non – governmental organizations in the field of support of Gypsy (Roma) was the previous experience of the applicant organizations in Gypsy (Roma) issues.

In case of Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’ Association (umbrella
association) the basis for granting the subsidy is the Law on Transferring the Real Estate in Riga, 37 Slokas street, to Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’ Association . A part of the subsidy is allocated for the maintenance of the house and the rest, divided among the minorities’ culture societies, is used for cultural activities.

5. Who decides on the allocation of the subsidy to a minority association within a national minority and are there any criteria, priorities or guidelines or advisory bodies?

National minority organizations themselves decide upon the submission of the application for the subsidy from state budget and the mechanism for the decision for application for subsidy has always been of the internal nature and it was different in each organisation. The priorities for the application were determined by the concrete needs of the organization (e.g. administrative support for the maintaining of the accountant, national holidays of a particular ethnic group, etc.).

The State Cultural Policy Guidelines (2006-2015) declare that cultural diversity is one of the prerequisites for sustainable and balanced development of the country. Cultural diversity means various manners how social groups and communities manifest their culture. Also cultural pluralism that allows harmonious interaction between different people and different ethnic groups plays a significant role in achieving the diversity in Latvia’s culture. According to the available budget, the Ministry of Culture decides on the allocation of the subsidy.

6. Is the distribution of subsidies made by public administration, outsourced institutions or by minority associations? Which advantages or disadvantages are associated with your own national system; which experience have you encountered and what should be avoided?

It should be pointed out that there are no unified regulations for allocation of subsidies from state budget for all public administration institutions. The distribution of subsidies for national minority organizations was made by public administration institution – Secretariat which has worked out
Regulation for subsidies, based on which the subsidies to the organizations of national minorities are allocated.

It should be noted that organizations of national minorities in Latvia have limited experience in attracting financial support from the financial institutions from abroad and due to the low capacity level only some of the organizations were able to receive grants from the Society Integration
Foundation in Latvia. Thus, Secretariat remained the only source for obtaining financial support for the activities of some organizations of national minorities in Latvia.

The amount of subsidies for the organizations of national minorities granted by Secretariat was ranging from LVL 50 till LVL 5000 that allowed both small and big national minority organizations to apply for financial support and administer it. One of the biggest advantages is that no co-financement was required in order to apply for the subsidy from the state budget.

One of the biggest disadvantages is that the financial resources allocated for national minority organizations from the state budget fluctuate every year. The other disadvantage already mentioned before – low capacity level of the organizations of national minorities, for example, insufficient
knowledge of the state language, inability to find co-financement for big projects and lack of skills in administration of the projects, require extra support activities for organizations of national minorities, for example, seminars on accounting and project writing, that would allow them to increase their capacity and apply, administer and report about the finances received.

The subsidy granted by the Ministry of Culture to Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’ Association is distributed by the Board of the Association.

7. Is the distribution of these subsidies made by a contract or by a formal decision of an authority?

The distribution of the subsidies for national minority organizations was regulated by the contract between the relevant national minority organization and the Secretariat (or the Ministry of Culture in the case of Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’ Association). The contracts between the Secretariat and national minority organizations were signed after the project proposals were evaluated and approved by special commission within the Secretariat.

8. Please indicate the purpose(s) of the subsidies. Which targets/priorities are favoured when attributing subsidies? Are there any guidelines for national minority associations and/or public administration or institutions which grant the subsidy contract or subsidy decision?

The purpose of the subsidies was to provide support for the work and activities of national minority organizations from the state budget. Regulations for subsidies mentioned before served as the guidelines for national minority organizations in the process of application, administration and final report preparation for the subsidy allocated. The Secretariat provides counselling service in preparation of project proposal and help is given in preparation of the final reports.

9. How concrete should the subject/object/topic of the financial support request be? Is there a distinction between basic subsidies and project subsides? In the affirmative, please clarify

The subject of the financial request had to be concrete and the objectives of the application had to be clearly stated. Before 2008, national minority organizations could submit their applications both for the activities aimed at preservation of ethnic identity and cultural events alongside with the
applications aimed at the support for the administrative activities of national minority organizations. However, in 2008 three calls for proposals were launched – one call for proposals for the applications for subsidies for the support of the administrative activities of national minority organizations and two calls for proposals for the applications for subsidies for the preservation of ethnic identity of national minorities and the promotion of interethnic dialogue.

In terms of organizations working with Gypsy (Roma) issues, the calls for proposals for the applications for subsidies were launched once in year 2006 and 2007 and in year 2008 two calls for proposals were launched – the call for proposals for the applications for subsidies for the support of
the administrative activities of Gypsy (Roma) organizations and the call for proposals for the applications for subsidies for the preservation of identity of Gypsy (Roma) and the strengthening of civil society.

The Ministry of Culture allocates the subsidy to Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’ Association as a basic subsidy by means of the contract with the Association, according to the Law on Transferring the Real Estate in Riga, 37 Slokas street, to Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’
Association
.

10. Are the minority associations obliged to set up corresponding financial accounts? When, to whom, and in which manner (submission of invoices or only written reports or both)? Is the reporting controlled by the same authority or institution which is responsible for the subsidy contract or decision?

Both Regulations for subsidies and contract signed between national minority organizations and the Secretariat regulate the procedure of the submission of the reports after the implementation of the projects. National minority organizations were obliged to set up corresponding financial accounts.

Both technical implementation report and financial reports containing also the certified copies of the financial documents justifying the expenses occurred during the implementation of the project had to be submitted to the same institution which was responsible for the subsidy contract.

In case of Ita Kozakevica’s National Cultural Societies’ Association, the financial report (invoices and a written report) for the Association is mandatory. The reporting is controlled by the same institution
which allocates the subsidy, namely, the Ministry of Culture.

11. Are the lasting results, success, and efficiency of the subsidy awarded to minority associations evaluated?

The efficiency of the subsidy is taken into account while evaluating both the technical implementation report and financial reports. After the initial check of the both parts of the report, national minority organizations might be asked to clarify some parts of the technical implementation report or financial report.

12. Is public administration, or the institutions which are responsible for the subsidy contracts or decisions audited? Are there any reporting duties for public administration or institutions responsible for awarding these subsidies with regard to concrete actions (e.g. to the parliament, Audit Office or internal revision department)?

Every public administration institution in Latvia is responsible for the efficient utilization of state resources. The internal regulations of each institution serve as a basis for the mechanism of the allocation and utilization of state funding. For example, in the case of the Secretariat, Regulations for subsidies served for such purpose. The correspondence to principles of these regulations has been regularly checked by the State Control of the Republic of Latvia and the recommendations of the State
Control have been taken into account while improving the Regulations for subsidies. Also the Ministry of Culture submits annual reports to the State Control of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Finance.


Document data: 05.05.2010; DH-MIN(2009)007 rev 2 Link: https://rm.coe.int/CoERMPublicCommonSearchServices/DisplayDCTMContent?documentId=090000168009b1f9

Tagged: Tags