The total number of non-profit organisations and foundations in Estonia as of 1 January 2008 was 26,363, the majority of them dealt with fields of real estate, rental and business activities (12,057) and other fields of community, social and personal services (12,822).

In 2007, the Network of Estonian Non-profit Organisations published the Declaration of Estonian NGOs. In the declaration specific proposals were made to the Parliament of Estonia, on how to improve the participation of NGOs in the decision-making process and to increase their administrative capacities and financial capabilities.

One of the proposals made in the Declaration, for the establishment of the National Foundation of Civil Society, was accomplished in 2007. By order of the Government of the Republic on 20 December 2007, the foundation was established under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior and a budget of 20 million EEK was assigned to it. The goal of the Foundation of Civil Society is to “assist in increasing the capacities of the non-profit associations and foundations operating in the Estonian public interest for shaping of society that promotes civil activism and the development of a civil society.” The foundation bases its allocations of support on the Estonian Civil Society Development Concept and the Concept of the National Foundation of Civil Society.

Estonia does not have an institution for the promotion of national human rights and the protection of human rights, the activities of which would be in conformity with the Paris Principles[1] and has not made the resources necessary for the execution of the mandate available to the given institution. The Human Rights Institute has repeatedly approached the Parliament of Estonia and the Government of the Republic with the corresponding proposal to create an internationally recognised institution that would be financed by Estonia. According to the official government positions presented by the Ministry of Justice, the protection of human rights in Estonia is sufficiently guaranteed by existing institutions, such as the Chancellor of Justice and the Gender Equality Representative.


[1] Resolution of the UN General Assembly, 4 March 1994 UN document no. A/RES/48/134.