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Germany/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.3 Associations of citizens, advocacy groups, NGOs and advisory panels

In Germany there is a National Network for Civil Society (Bundesnetzwerk Bürgerschaftliches Engagement BBE), linking organisations and associations from the third sector (non-profit organisations) and civil society, from business and work life and federal and community institutions. It was founded by the National Council of the International Year of Volunteers (IYV 2001) in 2002. Meanwhile, the BBE has 250 member organisations representing millions of members. The BBE promotes civic involvement in all social areas and forms (e.g., in social work and health care, sports, cultural activities, the environment, education and academic life, politics and business). (Civic involvement means holding an honorary office, doing volunteer work or participating in self-help projects. People are involved in clubs, associations, political parties, (civic) foundations, networks, citizens' initiatives or social movements.) The BBE aims e.g. to improve the general conditions of civic involvement including the improvement of the compatibility of social welfare reform programmes and actions with civic involvement. In 2009 the BBE implemented the National Forum for Civic Engagement and Partizipation. The main tasks of the forum are to summarise the results of debates on civic engagement, to develop recommendations for a federal strategy on civic engagement and to assists it further development.

The German programme of the "European Year of Volunteering 2011" (EYV) focused on cross generation activities and the engagement of women, young people, senior citizens and migrants. The main instruments of implementation were 8 regional conferences, the week of civic engagement in September and the station of the EYV Tour in Berlin in October. The flagship projects in Germany that received a grant from the European Commission within the framework of the EYV were the above mentioned BBE and the State Youth Ring Berlin (a federation of youth associations).

The European Council and the European Parliament named 2012 as a "European Year for Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity". The implementation in Germany was realised by the Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth with the close involvement of civic society. The main issues in Germany were to raise awareness for images of ages, potentials of best aged people for civic society and the economy as well as independent and mobile life for elderly people. Within this framework, the federal ministry provided 800 000 EUR, supporting 46 projects.

Chapter published: 12-09-2016

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