The Advanced Social and Political Research Institute is an Institute of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Latvia, Riga. The main branches of research are Communication Science, Information and Library Sciences, Political Science, and Sociology. The main research topics of the Institute are 1) Latvia in international affairs, particularly in the Baltic Sea region, 2) Democracy and Minorities, 3) Regional and Human Development in Latvia, and 4) Media, Information and Culture.
Building upon the Academic Unit of the Baltic Data House (est.1991), the Baltic Institute of Social Sciences (BISS) was founded in January 2000. The Academic Board of the Institute sets the strategy for academic and research activities of BISS aimed at promoting scholarly excellence and providing research applicability. The Baltic Institute of Social Sciences is actively involved in a number of research projects in adjacent fields of social sciences. Here is a brief list of our main research activities:
a) public policy analysis;
b) political marketing research;
c) social marketing research;
d) monitoring and analysis of public information campaigns;
e) research on political parties;
f) comparative sociological studies.
The Centre for Public Policy PROVIDUS is an independent, non-partisan policy institute working in the following main policy areas: criminal justice, education policy and anti-corruption policy. It also provides an institutional home to the public policy website www.politika.lv / www.policy.lv. PROVIDUS was founded in December 2002 but effectively continues the work in a number of policy areas that was begun as early as 1992 by the Soros Foundation - Latvia. Currently, PROVIDUS is engaged in policy work in the criminal justice area, promoting alternative sentencing, assisting in the creation of a probation service, undertaking policy research in areas such as pre-trial detention, sentencing policy and police abuse. In education policy, PROVIDUS has recently released a broad policy report on the state of education in Latvia, focusing on challenges to management: education finance, tax policy, innovation and other issues. PROVIDUS is engaged in anti-corruption work, promoting proposals for campaign finance reform, and designing new models of civil society monitoring for corruption prevention.
The Latvian Centre for Human Rights (LCHR) was established in 1993 as an independent non-governmental organisation. LCHR works with integration (minority rights and promotion of tolerance) issues, elimination of discrimination and hate crimes/speech, asylum, migration and fundamental rights (freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, etc) issues, as well as human rights observation in closed institutions (prisons, police, immigration detention places.)
LCHR conducts human rights monitoring, research and policy analysis, training of various target groups, provides legal aid to victims of human rights issues, including representation of clients before domestic and international courts. The LCHR frequently provides expert opinions both locally (to government, parliament, media, educational institutions, courts, prosecutors and lawyers), as well as internationally. The LCHR is actively involved in advocacy for change, ranging from raising public awareness to specific policy or legislative change. LCHR also publishes a daily monitor of Latvian press on minority and integration issues.
The Ministry of Economics is the leading state administrative institution in the field of economic policy formation. Established on March 1st, 1990, the aim of the Ministry of Economics is to increase the competitiveness of the national economy to European levels. The Ministry promotes the sustainable development of structurally and regionally balanced national economy, working closely with non-governmental organizations from entrepreneurial and social sectors. The Ministry of Economics develops and enforces the structural policy of the national economy and ensures the representation of Latvia abroad, develops the policies of industry, energy, internal market (for goods and services), the development of business activities, the development of competitiveness and technologies, consumer rights protection, housing, construction, and the policy of tourism and foreign trade policy. The function of the Ministry is to introduce and supervise the programs and projects of EU structural funds and other foreign financial means.
The Ministry of Environment is a central executive dealing with the protection of environment and nature, the maintenance and rational utilization of natural resources, as well as sub-sectors of hydrometeorology and use of subsoil. The Ministry works out the national policy of environmental protection and holds and coordinates implementation of environment policy. It develops projects of legislative acts and papers (conceptions, programs, plans), formulates opinions about projects prepared by other institutions, represents interests of Latvia in the international and foreign institutions, as well as informs society about politics of the field and work of the supervised institutions.
The University of Latvia with its 15,000 students, 13 faculties and more than 20 research institutes is one of the largest comprehensive and leading research universities in the Baltic States. The University offers more than 130 state-accredited academic and professional study programmes. At University of Latvia, research is conducted in over 50 research fields which represent four main areas of inquiry: the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and education sciences.
TI Latvia promotes an open, just and democratic society, free from corruption in politics, in business and interpersonal relations. It works to increase the awareness for democratic principles in Latvian society in order to enhance its participation in fighting corruption. TI Latvia fights for an increase of the transparency and accessibility of information from national and local private and public institutions. It analyzes what causes and promotes corruption and develops and implements high profile programs aimed at the reduction of corruption. It consistently lobbies for legislative reforms. TI Latvia targets any opaque or inadequate behaviour of government officials or anyone with entrusted power in every suitable way. It also promotes the cooperation between non-governmental organizations and national and local agencies.