BCSDN Newsletter 52, February - April 
BCSDN Mid-term Strategy 2012-2014
Table of Contents
  • IPA FPA - National Kickoffs
  • Monitoring Matrix - Advocacy Tool-kit 
BCSDN would like to thank the experts involved in the development together with ECNL as well as USAID, Pact. Inc, and ICNL for their support of the overall process of expertise, workshop and publication of the Tool-kit, which was provided under the LIF Grant. We also thank the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) which financially supported part of the work of the experts.
 The website has already been developed,  and the commune of Etterbeek confirmed the use of the premises at Chaussée de Wavre for the purposes of the ECH.

 The IPA 2014-2020 background paper prepared by BCSDN highlights, as much as it is possible at this stage, CSDev and consultation processes envisages.

After the first phase of the Slovak Balkan Public Policy Fund was brought to an end with 11 successful advocacy projects, BCSDN continues this year with the programme by implementation in 6 countries and new elements introduction as internships.

BCSDN next Board and Council meeting will take place in Istanbul on the 24th of April.

 MAXCAP will be the first international collaborative project to systematically compare and assess the institutional, economic, and social effects of enlargement on the capacity of the EU to absorb new members without compromising the working of its institutions and policies.




IPA CSF Balkan Civil Society Acquis National Kick offs: Monitoring Matrix and Action Plan Consulted

During the first quarter of 2013, BCSDN and its members have held kick-off events for its Mid-term strategy supported under the IPA Balkan Civil Society Acquis project. The recently published monitoring Matrix on enabling environment for CSDev was also presented at these events. The first event was held on Feb. 27 by CRNVO from Montenegro. The event fetched positive results from stakeholders and also initiated a fruitful discussion about the treatment of employees in the civil society sector by labour law in Montenegro. On Mar. 11 KCSF presented the monitoring Matrix and the BCSDN’s Mid-term strategy at the launch of the new resource center for civil society development in Prishtina. IDM and Partners Albania also organized a kick-off event on the 12th of March, in Tirana. The Matrix received a positive reaction and participants stressed that wide consultations are needed in order to have a thorough report, which is in line with the monitoring approach chosen in Albania. At TUSEV’s launch of the project, on the 29th of March, forty representatives from civil society, academia, and public institutions attended and discussed the priorities and possible implementation of the monitoring Matrix together with TUSEV’s Civil Society Monitoring Report 2012. In Macedonia, MCIC held a kick-off event in Skopje on the 4th of April. The event also saw the formulation of 3 working groups which discussed the content of the matrix and also identified points of improvement which can be incorporated in later editions of the Matrix. The project was also presented in Zagreb on the  How to Successfully Survive the Transition from Pre-Accession Financing to Structural and Cohesion Funds of the EU Conference. For more information on the specific events visit the BCSDN website. The project and the Matrix will also be presented in May in Sarajevo and at the NGO Open Days in Croatia.

Monitoring Matrix for Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development – the Advocacy Tool-kit Published

The Monitoring Matrix presents the main principles and standards that have been identified as crucial to exist in order for the legal environment to be considered as supportive and enabling for the operations of CSOs. It underscores the fact that enabling environment is a complex concept, which includes various areas and depends on several factors and phases of development of the society and the civil society sector. The standards and indicators have been formulated with consideration of the current state of development of and diversity in the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey.They have been drawn from the experiences of the CSOs in the countries in terms of the legal environment as well as the practice and challenges with its implementation. Thus, it is recognized that other issue areas may need to be revised and added to reflect on emerging issues or areas of importance for other regions and countries in future reviews of the Matrix. More information as well as the Tool-kit is available here.


European Citizen’s House: Recent Developments

BCSDN strongly supports the ECH initiative and sees this House as an opportunity for Balkan CSOs to have a contact point with Brussels, whether by the website as a collector of information or the physical house as a receiver of assistance and physical space for organizations that do not have access to Brussels. A Resource Centers meeting, on Nov 7,  has been organized in which most of BCSDN’s members participated and discussed the role of the ECH and their possible cooperation.  BCSDN has been called upon to lead the Western Balkans Chapter of the House by providing input on what kind of use this House could have for WB CSOs (especially the Resource Centers) and how BCSDN can contribute to the further development of the concept of the ECH.  The latest initiative for the ECH is to create an interactive map/tool for Europe containing information about private donors and their recipients following a methodology provided by the US Foundation centre.  BCSDN supported this idea by sharing the donor maps already created in 2011 and also by offering possible cooperation while continuing the mapping on national level in 2013. BCSDN expects concrete action in 2013, by having members’ clear expectation for this initiative and transposing them into the whole concept of the ECH initiative.  


IPA 2014-2020 Regulation & Civil Society: What to Expect?

The IPA I (2007-2013) regulation will expire on 31st December, 2013 and IPA II (2014-2020) regulation is in the final preparation phase. BCSDN has prepared a short background paper highlighting what the main novelties of the IPA II are, including no differentiation between countries in access to assistance, performance, introduction of policy areas and sector-based approaches and a 3-year review, rather than a yearly rolling basis one. The paper highlights that while CSDev remain a specific objective, rules governing partnership and consultation are being strengthened to some extent and should allow more space and better access for stakeholders including CSOs. The background paper has been prepared by Lale Azak, Advocacy and Lobbying Intern at BCSDN under the OSI TTF Young Professional Development Programme.

During April, several events were scheduled and held regarding the planning of IPA 2 assistance . On the national level CSO meetings focused on discussing the manner of IPA 2 sector involvement for civil society. On the regional level, the DG Enlargement is starting the consultation cycle on civil society support for the 2014-2020 period on the 25th and 26th of April, 2013 in Brussels. A group of 50 representatives of CSOs from IPA countries is taking part in the P2P “Multi-stakeholders Consultation on EU support to Civil Society” event with the aim to contribute in finalizing the draft Guidelines for EU support to CSDev in the Enlargement Countries 2014-2020, which is set to be finished after the workshop. The main objective of the consultation meeting is to improve the elaboration of Annex A, and in particular the EC expects comments, critical remarks and additions on the objectives, results and indicators for measuring and planning of the support to civil society in this period. 
Based on the participation of the EO and members that are part the consultation process taking place end of February and March and the opening of the tender for the next phase of TACSO (2013-2015), BCSDN expressed concerns over the inclusiveness of the consultation process and the link the consultation feedback will have on the new mandate of the TACSO 3, for which the tender has been launched in parallel. Finally, BCSDN further expressed concerns about the need for a unified interpretation of conflict of interest and eligibility given by the DG to interested CSOs applying for managing TACSO 3. The DG Enlargement has responded that they would look carefully at the issues raised. In November 2012, BCSDN published its Position on the next TACSO phase in which it calls on the Commission to ensure the effective and immediate transfer of TACSO implementation to local CSOs. As a member of the IPA CSF/TACSO EU Programming Committee, BCSDN will continue monitoring the tendering process as well as its implementation expected to start in the autumn of 2013.

IPA CSF 2007 – 2011, Evolution not Revolution Infograph

In 2009 BCSDN addressed the DG Enlargement with a set of concerns and recommendations on the design of IPA CSF 2007-2011. BCSDN has been conducting extensive research on the support under the IPA for the period 2007-2011. Due to the limited availability of qualitative data, the first research findings presented are based on quantitative parameters.The overall paper will be published in the following months containing all the data collected while the preliminary results are now available in the “Evolution not Revolution” infograf. The document presents IPA overall support vs. IPA CSF, Facts about EU support to civil society, and the national absorption capacity. All tables backing the findings for the infograph are available on request, if interested please contact the Executive Office at


Building Capacities through Funding Research and Advocacy Projects

BCSDN together with the Pontis Foundation and other organizations from Visegrad countries have developed the Junior Researchers Program under the Balkan Public Policy Fund.  The program falls within the scope of priority five of the BCSDN’s Mid-Term Strategy 2012-2014 which seeks to increase opportunities for influencing EU & national policies & programmes for civil society.  It hopes to see greater capacity by CSOs to initiate as well as influence policy procedures and discussions.  The program aims at building the capacities of young research professionals from the Balkans by funding a number of one month long internships to take place at the Pontis Foundation (Slovakia), DEMAS (Czech Republic), and Demnet (Hungary). BCSDN will also continue with providing small grants to young researchers from CSOs in the Western Balkan countries through the Balkan Public Policy Fund which is supported by SlovakAid (to be confirmed in May) and the IPA FPA project.


5th Annual Council Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey 

BCSDN and TUSEV will organize the 5th Annual BCSDN Council Meeting, which will take place on 24 April 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The aim of the meeting is to review the network’s activities in 2012 in light of the Mid-term Strategy Plan 2012-2014 and discuss the its future work for 2013. The Agenda items will include: New members & changes to membership; Audit & Annual Report 2012 presentations; Annual plan 2013 (based on reflection of country kick-offs) and Mid-term perspective 2012-2016; Election of Board members (substituting for outgoing members) and Advisory Board. All documents have been uploaded to BCSDN intranet. The passwords have been changed, please contact the Executive Office for all necessary information.

2nd Board meeting in Preparation to the 5th ACM in Istanbul

The Board held a correspondence session on 25th February in order to approve the Final Accounts for 2012. The 2nd Board meeting will take place in advance of the 4th ACM in Istanbul on 24th April. The issues to be discussed are: approval of Annual Report 2012 proposal and Audit Report 2012, Annual Plan 2013 proposal, kick-off the mid-term strategy process beyond 2014, establishment and the role of Advisory Board, update on Board tasks by end of mandate 2014 and other outstanding issues. The full agenda and draft documents to be discussed are available on the Intranet.

Executive Office – Communication Intern

BCSDN Executive Office has engaged a Communication Intern, Cobus Victor, which will assist with all BCSDN outreach activities.  Cobus Victor holds a BPolSci International Politics degree and a BA (Hons) International Relations degree from the University of Pretoria, South Africa.  For his full profile please visit the BCSDN website


Strengthening Civil Society Development and Civil Society-Public Sector Dialogue in Turkey, (25-26.04)

On 25th-26th of April, TUSEV will be hosting an international conference on the Strengthening of Civil Society Development (CSDev) and the Civil Society-Public Sector Dialogue project.  The conference will address question regarding why civil society-public sector dialogue and cooperation is important in participatory democracies as well as what the nature of this relationship should be.  Furthermore, it will also address the principles and mechanisms by which this relationship should be regulated and discuss how an enabling environment for CSDev can be maintained.  The conference also aims at learning from experiences and examples regarding civil society-public sector cooperation and at determining the expectations of CSOs in Turkey.  Parallel workshop sessions will also be organized around the following questions: According to which principles, roles and responsibilities should a Code of Conduct which will regulate civil society-public sector cooperation be implemented? (i.e. Roles and responsibilities of the public sector and CSOs, etc.); and What kinds of problems and needs might occur during the formation and implementation of a Code of Conduct? The conference will follow BCSDN annual council meeting and it has been organized in the scope of the project which is co-financed by the European Union and the Republic of Turkey and implemented by STGM, TÜSEV and YADA.

Maximizing the Integration Capacity of the EU: Lessons of and Prospects for Enlargement and Beyond (MAXCAP) - Kick-off Conference, Berlin (30.05-01.06)

MAXCAP is a research project which investigates the political and economic effects of the 2004-2007 enlargement, the strategies the EU developed to cope with the political, social and economic challenges accompanying it, and the lessons for future enlargements. The kickoff event will consist of a steering committee, a public event in the form of a round table discussion at the EUD in Germany, and a conference devoted to the research in work packages 1 to 6. BCSDN is a partner in this project and its role is to assist in field research in the Western Balkan countries, including provision of civil society perspective and dissemination of policy findings to decision makers in the region. 
The Open Days for Associations in Croatia will be held from 12 to 15 June 2013 organized by the Office for cooperation with NGOs of the Government of Croatia. For the first time this year, this event will be a combination of the existing traditional conference, NGO Days, and the Open days organized by the Office for Cooperation with NGOs.  The event aims to bring closer to citizens and the general public the programs and projects of public interest that are implemented by the CSOs in Croatia.  This will be done through the organization of different events in or outside of their premises, and through “open days” events for citizens. The Office for cooperation invites all interested organizations from all areas of activity to engage in Open Days and the deadline to do so is 13 May 2013. BCSDN will use this opportunity to present the Matrix together with its Croatian member, Cenzura Plus.  More information is available here.

EYCA European Year of Citizens 2013 Alliance Conference, Zagreb (08-09.07)

European Year of Citizens 2013 Alliance EYCA Working Group I issued a Working Paper entitled “Recommendation and Proposals to Improve Citizens Participation and Civil Dialogue” as a result of the discussion held during the previous meetings. The results of the discussions, included in this document, are promising and inspiring. Nevertheless, work needs to be done in the next months to prioritize them and to put them in a more concise document to be shared to the larger public. Many proposals and recommendations have been identified as solutions to different but linked obstacles and work with the members of the group is still needed to shape a more consistent and coherent  document. The main points of the discussion which came out in this Working Paper were to deal with the lack of Motivation/Trust/Identification in a Common European Project; Communication, Cooperation, Access to Information, the Role of the EP and dealing with democratic deficit in the light of the EP Elections 2014 and how to strengthen CSOs, especially capacity building for CSOs. A future event where this work will continue will be in Croatia on the 8-9 of July, 2013.
This Newsletter is publication of the Balkan Civil Society Development Network. It is published on a periodic basis in English. For  more  information  on  the  network  visit: 
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