Experts call for more government financial support to NGOs

The ministry of has licensed all the NGOs here to run their own investments to find alternative financial sources.

By Ahmed Shaaban (senior Reporter)

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Published: Tue 26 May 2015, 11:42 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:25 AM

Dubai: With some 150 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operative in the country, experts have called for more government financial support and thorough auditing spanning their recently permitted investments.

This was affirmed at the ‘Towards strategic partnership with NGOs’ forum, the first of its kind in the UAE, run by the Federal National Council in collaboration with the state ministry for FNC affairs, on Monday.

Mariam Mohammed Khalfan Al Roumi, UAE Minister of Social Affairs, said they set up a special panel for assessing the activities of the NGOs operating in the UAE ten years ago. “An NGO needs to clear a checklist of 20 standards to be eligible for financing and government support.”

The ministry of has licensed all the NGOs here to run their own investments to find alternative financial sources, she added. “However, our current auditing, which is only limited to the government assistance, must be expanded to private investments as well.”

Al Roumi said the ministry checks if the NGO has met the set strategic objectives or not. “We also need to know if the voluntary organisation has attracted more members and was valuable to the community or not.”

Noting, she said all NGOs have to change their strategic plans to efficiently participate in the process of sustainable development as was the case before. “Nowadays, NGOs must focus more on attracting young people, and be involved in strategic partnerships, and observe the framework of the UAE 2021 vision.”

The UAE government is to more seriously adopt outsourcing and build up long-term partnerships by assigning NGOs or private sectors to provide certain services on behalf of the government, the minister unveiled.

“The move is aimed to reduce financial burdens on the state, cut down costs, make procedures more flexible and innovative, and boost the level, quality and quantity of the services being supplied.”

Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Speaker of Federal National Council, said the forum is meant to develop the role of NGOs and make them more active and fruitful for the parliament.

“NGOs are the most interacting entities with all segments and sectors of the society, and hence must be taken in consideration with the advent of the 3rd parliamentary elections to elect half of the FNC members for the 16th legislative chapter by the end of this year.”

However, it is no long possible for private institutions to just observe their social responsibilities without adopting and supporting joint development programmes and initiatives, she underlined.

“Partnership is not an option any more, and has to be founded on well-studied plans, clear objectives, and proper performance. The power and development of a society is determined by the efficiency of partnership among government, civil and private sectors. These have all to share responsibility based on mutual interest to achieve the set goals of sustainable development.”

Dr Mariam Lootah, a professor of political sciences at the UAE University, said lacking the values of volunteering is one of the main challenges hampering the work of NGOs.

“We need to develop people awareness about the salient development role of NGOs, and boost media coverage and involvement in the activities of these critical entities to clear the public’s doubts about their agenda, programmes and financial sources,” she said, adding that building strategic partnerships with all local and federal departments is another big challenge for NGOs.

ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com



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