“The Estonian Parliament ( Riigikogu ) celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Estonian civil society”

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The Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) will hold a reception on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the implementation of the Estonian Civil Society Development Concept, where President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor will thank the activists of civil society.

Nestor said that the Estonian civil society had developed very rapidly during those 15 years, and the non-governmental organizations had become a valuable partner to the state. “Today we cannot imagine any more that a resolution or draft legislation could be debated in the Riigikogu without involving the non-governmental organizations,” Nestor emphasised.

In Nestor’s opinion, every citizen can have a say in the development of the society by joining a non-governmental organisation that deals with the issues that concern them the most.

During the whole day, the representatives of the Estonian Social Enterprise Network will introduce their products and services in the lobby of the Riigikogu Building. Altogether 15 organisations are represented. For example, Meditech Estonia will introduce the Medi.ee alarm button service for elderly and disabled persons. Solve et Coagula, dealing with the employment of special needs persons and handicraft production, is also present.

The Estonian Association of Sleeping School (Eesti Unekooli Ühing) will teach practical ways for improving sleep hygiene, and YFU Estonia will tell about development possibilities for young people through student exchange programmes in various countries all over the world.

On 12 December 2002, the Riigikogu adopted the Estonian Civil Society Development Concept, a document which defines the mutually complementary roles and the principles of cooperation of the public authorities and the civil initiative in shaping and implementing public policies and building up civil society in Estonia.

The objectives of the Estonian Civil Society Development Concept are involvement, participatory democracy, citizens’ initiative and developing cooperation with the business sector.

Krishan Chand

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