On Friday, 19 May, the annual Saeima and non-governmental organisation (NGO) forum took place at the main building of the Saeima. This year the forum was focused on security aspects, with an emphasis on the importance of democracy and civic awareness, support for Ukraine and prosperity for national development.
“Cooperation with non-governmental organisations intertwines the daily work of the parliament through the representing and defending the interests of various groups of society. Conversation, dialogue is a fundamental principle of democracy, and the Saeima and NGO forum has proven itself to be a lasting platform of democratic tradition,” Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, said when addressing the forum remotely as he is currently in Tallinn where he is discussing the current regional security situation with the speakers of parliament of the other Baltic States.
The Speaker of the Saeima also noted that both the parliament and NGOs are constantly keeping up-to-date with the latest developments and various challenges, and these have been reflected in the agenda of this forum.
Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Deputy Speaker of the Saeima, addressed the forum saying that “today’s discussion begins by talking about openness and interaction which can strengthen our democracy and state, and this serves as inspiration to continue moving forward, as well as to make information easily accessible to everyone all the time.” When closing the forum, Deputy Speaker Kalniņa-Lukaševica said: “We sincerely thank all non-governmental organizations for their daily work, because without it we would not be able to meet here today and without it Latvia would be much weaker.”
During the event, the new section of the Saeima webpage was presented, which provides easy and clear access to anyone interested to follow the draft laws on the current agenda of the parliament from their submission to the Saeima up to their announcement or rejection.
This year’s forum was dedicated to security under the motto “Safe in our Latvia”. The participants of the event took part in thematic debates and discussed the participation of non-governmental organisations in the drafting of legislation, as well as how to help Ukraine win and how to reduce exclusion and inequality in society.
This forum has become an annual tradition since the Saeima adopted a declaration in 2006 establishing the principles for cooperation between the parliament and NGOs, as well as the course of action for improving this cooperation. This was the 15th Saeima an NGO forum, and it was organised by the parliament in collaboration with non-governmental organisations.
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Saeima Press Service