The importance of the NGO-municipal relations in developing local democracy: case study of two Lithuanian municipalities

Arvydas Guogis, Dangis Gudelis, Andrius Stasiukynas

Abstract


The article deals with five attributes of the NGO–municipal relations: institutionalization, intensity, functionality, mutual trust and resource dependence. A theoretical model of NGO–local government relations was formed on the basis of those characteristics. The model is based on normative assumption that institutionalized, intensive, functional, based on mutual trust and in terms of resource independent NGO–municipal relations sustain local democracy. The survey conducted in municipalities of Vilnius city and Ukmerg district revealed that interaction between municipalities and NGO’ s is limited by those major obstacles which is possible to distinguish into three major problem groups: • Intolerant attitude of municipal representatives towards NGO; • The lack of activity of NGO’ s and citizens in general; • Different attitudes towards cooperation among representatives of municipalities and NGO’s which negatively affects functionality of interaction. The identified problem groups have proximate relationship, where the first problem group (the attitude of municipal representatives) has an impact on the third one (functionality of cooperation) and the second problem group (NGO activity), as research results suggest, may have impact on the first and third problem groups. The research identified differences of interaction between municipalities and NGO’ s in Vilnius city and Ukmergė district, it was revealed that NGO’ s are more independent and forms of their activities are more varied in Vilnius than in Ukmergė district. Some problems that cause obstacles to the NGO-municipal interface are closely related to the work specifics of non-governmental and municipal organizations as well as civic culture, social psychology and mentality of the inhabitants of Lithuania.

Keywords


municipalities; non-governmental organisations; network attributes; local democracy

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"Public Policy and Administration" ISSN online 2029-2872 / ISSN print 1648-2603