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Table of content

Donor Strategies

Enabling Environment
Training and Education

Donor Strategies

Supporting vs. Fostering: The Effectiveness of EU’s Regional Support for CSO Partnerships

BCSDN is proud to present its latest policy brief, authored by Biljana Spasovska, BCSDN’s Policy and Advocacy Officer, assessing how the EU support for regional partnerships of civil society has contributed to fostering democratic reforms and more effective policies in the democracy and rule of law areas (incl. human rights, social dialogue) in current Enlargement countries. The paper finds that the Commission has been moving away from action-focused, shorter-term interventions towards a more strategic development support, recognizing the need to support independent civil society activities, rather than encourage donor-driven actions. Strengthening the capacities of the participating CSOs, is perceived by the organizations as one of their projects’ biggest achievements and the biggest added-value of this type of EU support, despite this not being the primary goal of the assistance in some cases. Despite the tangible outcomes and the increased cooperation with the Commission, the paper points to the further need by the Commission to go beyond financial and project support, and to provide political support for the networks and the outcomes of their projects. In this way, civil society will be made an effective and de-facto partner EU needs for enforcing domestic democratic and accession related reforms, by creating a so-called triangular reform relationship: Government-CSO-EU. The full brief is available for download here.
Source: BCSDN

Multilateral Donors: How Can CSOs Get Involved and Get Support from Them?

Multilateral agencies like the UN, the World Bank and others provide multilateral aid to developing countries. The significance of this type of aid is the very large scale under which it operates and provides support for addressing issues related to poverty, economic development, human rights, healthcare, peace and development and other areas. Although this type of aid mostly started as a Gov2Gov arrangement, in the 90s multilateral agencies started to give high priority to CSOs. The INTRAC’s Multilateral Agencies and CSOs: A Position Paper says that multilateral agencies found that large-scale government investments alone would not lead to create an impact and CSOs had to be involved at some level for bringing about deeper change. The paper further explains that advantages of CSOs in development actions were seen as being relatively low cost, in direct contact with communities, lacking bureaucracy, honest, better at targeting the poor and with a proven track record, etc. Read more here.
Source: FundsForNGOs

Are the Donors in Donor-Advised Funds “The Promised Land” or Just Regular Folk?

Fidelity Charitable Funds has just released its latest report on its donors, 2016’s “Giving Report”. Fidelity Charitable is the US second-largest grant-maker behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, propelled by the collective generosity of the more than 132,000 donors who actively use their Giving Accounts to support the charitable causes closest to their hearts. Last year, these donors recommended USD 3.1 billion in grants to support more than 106,000 organizations in every state and around the globe. As more people adopt donor-advised funds as an efficient, tax-effective and accessible means of supporting their philanthropy, their impact on the charitable sector grows as well. This report is designed to provide insight into donors’ behavior and motivations, so that their impact can be better understood. Read more here.
Source: Fidelity Charitable

Enabling Environment

Fundamentalism’s Impact on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Fundamentalism can encompass much more than religion, and in this report the Special Rapporteur takes a much broader view of the term. He believes that fundamentalism can and should be defined more expansively, to include any movements – not simply religious ones – that advocate strict and literal adherence to a set of basic beliefs or principles. Adherence to the principles of free market capitalism, for example, has spawned what has been called “market fundamentalism.” And the unbending belief in the superiority of one ethnic group, race, tribe or nationality can lead to what might be called “nationalist fundamentalism.” Numerous other examples are detailed in this report. This report is not concerned with fundamentalist viewpoints per se, but rather with fundamentalism in action: concrete, specific violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association that are motivated by these viewpoints. More information is available here.

Government Mirror: Public Participation in the Law-making Processes in Macedonia

Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) published the third edition of the Government Mirror – report based on monitoring the legal framework and public participation in the process of law making in Macedonia. According to the report findings, the openness of the institutions has decreased since the 2014 report, no changes has been noted on the enabling environment for public participation in the law-drafting processes, and a downward trend in the openness of the processes of draft laws preparation has been noted. The aim of this MCIC publication is to contribute to the participation of civil society in the preparation and implementation of public policies, by establishing and implementing a model for monitoring the process of drafting laws and the effectiveness of the mechanisms provided for the participation of the general public. More information is available here.
Source: MCIC

Second CPCD ARENA: What’s Beneath the Official Data on Financing Bosnian CSOs from the State Budget

The Second CPCD Civil Society ARENA was organized on 31st May, with the aim to open a broad public debate on the effectiveness, priorities and the effects of the current system of financing programs and projects of the CSOs from the budget. The experiences of CSOs, recent research and the latest findings of the Office for Audit of Institutions in FBIH, raise concerns and warn that the current system of allocating funds to CSOs is not transparent and that there are “holes” that open doubts on illegal activities or misuse of public money, which is getting less and less available for the CSOs. The ARENA is a new space for public discussions on key or controversial questions regarding civil society development in FBIH, realized through innovative public forums attended by representatives of civil society, state administration and media. The full video of the second ARENA is available here.
Source: CPCD

Statistics is (Not) Important: Public Policies in BiH and a Dinner for Five

European Stability Initiative analyst Adnan Ćerimagić has reflected on the compliance of BiH statistics with EU standards and the potential benefits from the harmonization of BiH statistics with EU statistics’ standards on BiH public policies. He starts off by saying that any consideration on the importance of timely, reliable and comprehensive statistics for the development of a society must begin with questions about intentions and expectations which that society has from public policies, and providing a vivid comparison of preparation of a dinner with preparation of public policies. Upon request by EUROSTAT, BiH Statistics Agency’ employees conducted self-assessment on the compliance of the Agency with EU standards. The results showed that, after Kosovo, BIH is the least aligned with EU standards in terms variety of data, data collection method and speed of data collection. Harmonization with EU standards would help BiH in achieving two important goals – (1) ensuring data comparability with the region and EU; and (2) data availability in variety and speed. Finally, Ćerimagić highlights that harmonization with EU standards may be catalyzed in two ways – (1) in the context of EU integration, EU pressures BiH to harmonized BiH statistics with EU standards; or (2) Those that have an interests in better results stemming from pubic policies, as well as data quality hence academia and research community. More information is available here.
Source: Policy Hub

CSE Survey: Civil Society Participation in EU Decisions

Civil Society Europe (CSE) and its working group on Civil Society Recognition has prepared a questionnaire on an assessment of civil dialogue mechanisms open for both European and national CSOs. The responses to the questionnaire as well as the results of interviews with CSOs and EU institutions will contribute to the preparation of a report on the State of the Union of civil dialogue in the EU to be issued in the autumn. This survey aims at analysing CSOs’ interaction with the different European Union institutions and the possibility to share their expertise and influence decisions on EU policies and legislation. The survey includes questions on the dialogue organised by the European Commission, European Parliament and the Council both in Brussels and at national level. The link to the survey is available here.
Source: Civil Society Europe


Key Macedonian CSOs Call on the Government to Stop Selection Process, Revise the Gov-CS Council

Despite the initial reaction by civil society on 20th May over the sudden adoption of the Decision on the Establishment of the Council for Cooperation between the Government and Civil Society, on 23rd May the General Secretariat of the Government published a Call for selection of 13 members of the Council coming from associations and foundations. With this procedure, the Government did not take into consideration any recommendations and indications of the CSOs regarding the establishment of the Council and thus additionally undermined the already fragile trust between the state institutions and the civil sector. Therefore, 89 CSOs have signed a Statement asking the Government to stop the selection process, make changes to the adopted Decision, and open a consultative process with civil society representatives in which the different opinions of the Council will be taken into consideration, and will be adjusted according to the comparative experience and practices. The full statement and more information is available here.
Source: BCSDN

Albania: Elected Members from CSOs for the National Council of Civil Society Announced

On 13th June, the Agency for Supporting Civil Society (ASCS) announced the list of CSO representatives to become members of the National Council of Civil Society (NCCS), based on the online voting process for the candidates of civil society representatives to the Council. ASCS has published the final results of the voting process, as well as the final list of the members elected to the Council in the first electoral process for NCCS. The NCSS is a bilateral forum with state and civil society representatives, established in the attempt to create an organized structure that includes the voice of civil society in the policy-making processes in Albania. More information is available here.
Source: ASCS

Slovenia: Small CSOs no Longer Obliged to Use Fiscal Cash Registers

On 3rd June, the Slovenian Ministry of Finance enacted amendments to the Rules on the Implementation of the Law on Value Added Tax, which stipulate that smaller CSOs are no longer required to issue invoices when selling their products or services, thereby they will no longer be obliged to use fiscal cash registers. The change is the result of intensive joint advocacy efforts and actions by CNVOS, the Olympic Committee, Alpine Association and the Association of Pensioners. Thus, as of 04th June, when the conditions specified in the Rules are met, CSOs that make small sales revenues will not need to use fiscal cash registers for issuing invoices, as previously required by law. Instead, data on revenues from sales of goods or services will have to be recorded differently (e.g. with a list of inventory before and after the sale, revenue records etc.)  More information is available here.
Source: CNVOS

Croatia CSO Days: More than 300 CSOs Have Opened their Doors to the Public

The 2016 Open CSO Days in Croatia were held from 23rd to 25th May, and more than 300 associations presented their programmes and activities, bringing them closer to the citizens. With their participation in the CSOs activities, the citizens were able to gain insight in the wide array of activities that the associations are engaged in, so that they could gain incentives for action in their own local communities, either as service users or as volunteers. They organized sport activities, amateur radio courses, handicraft workshop, they marked the European Day of Parks, held a number of volunteer actions, opened a cafeteria staffed by people with disabilities and a range of other interesting events. On this occasion, the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs organized a conference on “The Role of Civil Society in the Socio-economic and Democratic Development” on 23rd May in Zagreb, which was opened by the Vice President of the Government, Mr. Božo Petrov. More information is available here.
Source: Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs – Croatia

INGO Debate ‘Only a Matter for Politicians? Civil Society, Money and Political Activities’

In some countries, new laws and government decisions have blocked the ability of CSOs to fully participate in public policy, often through restrictions on access to foreign funding. Human rights defenders have been harassed or arrested, and CSOs closed down. The Conference of INGOs organized a debate on 6th and 7th June in Strasbourg “Only a matter for politicians? Civil society, money and political activities”, which looked at the challenges facing CSOs in a time when civil society space is shrinking. Participants outlined methods to prevent inappropriate restrictions on CSOs, which are essential contributors to political debate and to the development of new policies and laws. The conference aimed to recommend ways to fight restrictive measures against CSOs, which some governments often justify for so-called political stability. More information is available here.
Source: European Movement

Civil Society Europe for a Mandatory Transparency Register

Civil Society Europe (CSE) has participated to the European Public Consultation for a Mandatory Transparency Register, opened by the European Commission since March 2016. CSE calls for the Register to become mandatory and to cover all EU institutions and be complemented with further transparency rules and codes as regards meetings of officials involved in policy development. Ethical and Transparent Lobbying are critical to ensure a healthy policy making environment. Furthermore, a balanced access of the different interests to decision-makers must be ensured. Access of CSOs remains marginal compared to corporate interests. According to CSE, the Register could be used as a tool to ensure greater balance. More information is available here.
Source: Civil Society Europe


CfP: IPA2CSO Supporting Development of Policy Analyses – Macedonia (Deadline: 30.06.2016)

The first call for proposals under the IPA2CSO Mechanism in Macedonia is to provide support for CSOs in the process of developing sectoral policy analyses, which describe the current situation in one of the sectors identified in the CfP and give suggestions and recommendations for its improvement, as well as implementing related advocacy activities. The specific objective is the promotion of the IPA 2 Mechanism that provides effective support to participative democracy through cooperation between the government and CSOs. The overall indicative amount made available under this call is EUR 40.000, while any grant requested must fall between EUR 3.000 and EUR 5.000. The initial planned duration of the action is 6 months, beginning 1st September 2016. More information is available here.
Source: MCET

CfP: IPA Media Professionalism Programme 2015 – Montenegro (Deadline: 29.08.2016)

The specific objective of this call is to support quality media production in the areas related to Montenegro’s European Integration and to enable media to report fairly, freely and in a professional and ethical manner. At the same time the citizens are meant to be further educated about their rights in the context of the Code of Ethics to strengthen implementation while the economic models of media enterprises should be strengthened. The priorities of this call for proposal are the following: strengthening investigative reporting, strengthening EU affairs reporting, and supporting the Code of Ethics. The overall indicative amount made available under this call is EUR 500.000, while any grant requested must fall between EUR 75.000 and EUR 125.000, with 50%-90% of the total eligible costs of the action. The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 12 months nor exceed 18 months. More information is available here.
Source: EuropeAid

CfP: Development of Effective Community Services in the Area of Education and Social Welfare at the Local Level – Serbia (Deadline: 15.07.2016)

The specific objectives of this CfP are to: 1) establish, improve or sustain community-based social services, 2) establish and strengthen social business initiatives, and 3) support local-level inter-sectoral measures for decreasing early school leaving, preventing dropout and increasing educational attainment. The overall indicative amount made available under this call is EUR 5.500.000. Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fail between minimum EUR 60.000 and maximum EUR 200.000, with 60%-90% of the total eligible costs of the action. The initial planned duration of an action may not be lower than 12 months nor exceed 24 months. The deadline for submitting Concept Notes is 15th July 2016. More information is available here.
Source: EuropeAid

Training and Education

CfA: Atlas Corps Fellowship for CSO Leaders (Deadline: 15.07.2016)

Atlas Corps is inviting CSOs leaders from around the world for its overseas fellowship program. Their mission is to address critical social issues by developing leaders, strengthening organizations, and promoting innovation through an overseas fellowship of skilled non-profit professionals.  The U.S. Atlas Corps engages leaders committed to the non-profit sector in 12-18 month, professional fellowships at organizations to learn best practices, build organizational capacity, and return home to create a network of global leaders. More information is available here.
Source: FundsForNGOs

CfA: ECIT Summer University on European Citizenship – 29-31 August, Brussels (Deadline: 30.07.2016)

Maison des Associations Internationales is hosting the ECIT first Summer University on European citizenship. From 29 to 31 August students, academics, policy makers and civil society representatives from all over Europe will meet in Brussels to exchange views on the gaps and future challenges of European citizenship. During this three-day event, participants from different backgrounds will discuss whether a stronger European citizenship based on shared values could resist the downward spiral of extreme nationalism and xenophobia that threatens the EU. More information is available here.
Source: Citizens for Europe

CfA: 2016 Global Perspectives: The Future of Civic Space – 26-28 October, Berlin (Deadline: N/A)

Global Perspectives brings together key national and leading international CSOs with high level representatives from politics, the corporate sector and academia to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. How can civil society actors worldwide protect and expand civic space, in order to make meaningful contributions to the implementation of the SDGs and climate goals?  Participants will be able to propose topics and workshops based on their experience and devise common strategies to deal with opportunities, challenges and trends which are impacting CSOs.More information is available here.
Source: International Civil Society Centre

CfA: OSCE Project on Enhancing Regional Connectivity among Serbian and Albanian Youth Actors (Deadline: 20.06.2016)

The OSCE Mission to Serbia in co-operation with the OSCE Presence in Albania is inviting representatives from youth organizations from Serbia and Albania to participate in the OSCE Mission to Serbia project for building bridges. The project aims to support youth actors from Serbia and Albania to improve connectivity, co-operation and dialogue. The project consists of several phases: 1) Conducting of two five-day training modules on digital skills and project cycle management for up to 26 representatives; 2) Development of an on-line platform for youth co-operation; 3) Development and implementation of selected participants’ joint project proposals; and 4) Conference on youth connectivity in the Western Balkans: #OSCEyouth: Regional connectivity & Generation Y. No fees apply to any phase of the project. All costs related to logistics (boarding, lodging, transport, etc.)will be covered by the OSCE Mission to Serbia. More information is available here.
Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe


Comparative Study of the Enabling Environment for Associations and Businesses (in Macedonian language)

MCIC has translated into Macedonian language the third report submitted to the General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur, which was presented to the United Nations General Assembly in October 2015. In the report, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association is comparing the enabling environments for businesses and civil society around the world. It found that States and others often impose more burdensome regulation upon civil society, both in law and in practice, with businesses receiving more favourable treatment. The net result is that for businesses the enabling environment — defined broadly as action or inaction by States and other actors to promote a particular non-State sector — is typically much better than it is for associations. More information is available here.
Source: MCIC

The EU’s Political Integration Capacity in Eastern Europe: Coming Together or Drifting Apart?

MAXCAPs working paper no. 23  assesses the external political integration capacity of the EU across neighbours, candidates, and new members in different regions of Eastern Europe. External integration capacity refers to the ability of the EU to prepare non-members for accession and association, respectively; political integration capacity refers to strengthening democracy and governance effectiveness in. Eastern Europeans have been moving on distinct sub-regional paths and unable to catch up with the old member states. MAXCAPs analysis of the EU impact shows a robust effect of EU accession conditionality. Once countries become members, the EU’s political integration capacity weakens. Finally, they observe that the EU has a stronger effect on governance effectiveness than on democracy as such. The report is available for download here.
Source: MAXCAP

The Croatian Third Sector in 2015: Barriers and Way Forward

The TSI Croatia team formulated a number of significant recommendations to address challenges, elaborated in this latest TSI policy brief. As noted in the policy brief, it is necessary to adjust tax frame to needs of development of the third sector. Also, there is clear need for obtaining relevant skills in the sector such as management, leadership, and entrepreneurship that could be integrated in educational programmes. The modernization of social policy seems to be a key issue in opening additional space for TSOs that should go along with the acknowledgement of good governance as a concept. Researchers also raise measuring impact as an important issue, arguing that making a clearer connection between outcomes of programs and projects with their concrete contribution would reduce ‘doubts’ and enhance trust in third sector organizations. Furthermore, demonstrating contributions would increase legitimacy and development of the third sector resulting in changing public awareness. The report is available for download here.
Source: TSI

“This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of BCSDN and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.”


1. To the BCSDN knowledge, all information contained in the E-mail alerts are correct. Each news item contains original source of information. BCSDN would be glad to hear of any inaccuracies so that they can be rectified in subsequent editions.
2. BCSDN does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage caused due to incorrect information contained in its publications.
3. The views expressed in its publications do not necessarily reflect BCSDN’s views.

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Balkan Civil Society Development Network · Bel Kamen 6/8 · Skopje 1000 · Macedonia

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