BCSDN Newsletter 58, October - December 2014


Donor Strategies and Practices for Supporting Civil Society in the Western Balkans
"...We set out to study what motivates donors to stay, how and what they value in the organisations they fund, and how they perceive their mission and the sustainability of the endeavour..."

Less Words,
More Work

BCSDN Background Analysis of the Progress Reports and EC Enlargement Strategy 2014-2015

Environment for
Civil Society Development 

This booklet guides you through the main elements of the Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development. These elements include: Legal, Regulatory and Financial Environment in which CSOs operate, depicted through 8 steps as set forth in the Monitoring Matrix.



TUSEV: Private Philanthropic Engagement in Turkey

The report gives a snapshot of the current state of private philanthropic engagement in Turkey and its possible future directions, providing thought-provoking inputs as an encouragement for enhanced coordination among philanthropists in Turkey.

Partners Albania: Policy Paper on Social Procurement in Albania

"...The current political situation in Albania, with the development and undertaking of several important reforms, presents a unique opportunity for the successful development and implementation of social procurement..."

MCIC: Mirror of the Government - Public Participation in Law-drafting Processes

This publication is a tool that should serve CSOs, government officials and the general public to be informed about the openness of the state bodies and to increase the knowledge and the opportunities for involvement in law-drafting processes.

CRVNO: Corporate Social Responsibility Magazine #2

"...Find out how to include the employees in activities regarding Corporate Social Responsibility..."



Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association

At its 101st Plenary Session (12-13 December), the Venice Commission and the OSCE ODIHR adopted the Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association to further the goal of implementing the right to freedom of association. 

2014: The Year in Assembly and Association Rights

UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Maina Kiai has released his mandate’s first ever year-end report, which reviews the events of 2014 from the perspective of assembly and association rights. 

BCSDN Newsletter 58

IN MEMORIAM - Goodbye Miljenko Dereta

On the 3rd November, 2014 our dear colleague and former Chair of our Board Miljenko Dereta passed away at the age of 64. He was strongly devoted to building up civil society in Serbia and in the region. His achievement is an example for civil society and will be carried on in the joint fight for a better life. We are proud to have worked with Miljenko Dereta. He was not only an exceptional professional with outstanding qualities but also willing to show courage and fearlessly follow his vision.

As colleagues in BCSDN we are incredibly sad about this great loss. We pay tribute to his achievements with Civic Initiatives and remain grateful for his contributions within our network. We will always remember Miljenko as a great thinker, a positive and strong person. 


  • BCSDN is Hosting a TTF Fellow
BCSDN together with the candidate applicant Ms. Milka Ivanovska were selected for the Open Society Foundations (OSF) Think Tank Fund (TTF) fellowship as part of the Think Tank Young Professional Development Program. At BCSDN, Ms. Ivanovska is working from 1st November to 30th April as a Junior Policy and Advocacy Officer on Civil Society Development, more specifically on Monitoring Matrix issues.



  • 7th Annual Council Meeting – mid-April, Albania 
    (date and place to be confirmed!)
The traditional annual gathering of BCSDN members to discuss joint work and initiatives will take place mid-April in Albania. This year’s meeting will be focusing on reflecting the 2012-2014 Mid-term strategy achievements and setting the 2015-2017 strategy. Detailed information on the venue, dates, agenda will be available in the course of February.
  • Regional 2014 Monitoring Matrix Report Presentation - 1st week of June, Brussels
Presentation of the regional 2014 Monitoring Matrix report will focus on progress or lack thereof in Enlargement countries and will for the first time also reflect the situation vis-à-vis the EU Civil Society Guidelines. The presentation is being organized with interested Members of European Parliament at a session in Brussels 1st week of June. 


New Report Launched: Donor Strategies and Practices for Supporting Civil Society in the Western Balkans

Months of research by BCSDN and Queen Mary University of London are now available in a report that uncovers basic elements and principles on which support to civil society by foreign donors rests and which need to be challenged to strengthen the potential and role civil society has in current Balkan societies. The report provides an insight in the donors’ relation towards civil society in the WB,  motivations for their presence, mechanisms employed in supporting CSOs, as well as the perception of civil society in the WB countries. In November, BCSDN held two workshops - in Sarajevo (20.11) and Skopje (28.11) - to present the findings and recommendations from the research to 21 key donors' representatives and discuss the specific situation in the countries. Read more.

Consultations Organized and Comments Sent on New Draft Bylaws Relevant for Civil Society in Macedonia

On 15th December, BCSDN together with MCIC organized public consultations on the two draft bylaws concerning the establishment of a Council for cooperation and dialogue with CSO and conditions of state financing in Macedonia, and with the support of 57 CSOs representatives, sent comments and proposals to the General Secretariat of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Unit for Cooperation with NGOs. The main focus of the letter is on the concrete recommendations for the establishment of a well-designed and inclusive Council and a complete reform of the system of state financing. Read more.
Board Meeting on Regular BCSDN Activities Held
The Board held its regular session in BCSDN's Executive Office on 25th November. Traditionally, the November session focus was on reflecting the work done in 2014 and plans for 2015. Among the substantive topics, the Board discussed how coordination vis-à-vis the EU CS Guidelines with TACSO/DG NEAR can be improved and brainstormed ways to provide input to the EU with regards support to civil society under the IPA II being programmed at the moment. Minutes from the meeting are available on the Intranet

International Workshop on EU Integration and Minority Protection in the Western Balkans Held in Sarajevo

As part of the MAXCAP project, in partnership with Queen Mary University London and the LSEE, BCSDN organized the workshop an international workshop on the EU Integration and minority protection in the Western Balkans. Around 30 participants - EU officials and leaders, domestic politicians, civil society representatives, and academics gathered together to assess the effectiveness of EU instruments and strategies for strengthening minority rights protection in the Western Balkans. Read more.

Workshop on Economic Value of Civil Society in the Balkans Held in Belgrade

A kick-off workshop on the economic value of the civil society in the Balkans took place in Belgrade on 3rd and 4th November. Civic Initiatives hosted BCSDN partners to identify and discuss most important parameters of economic value of civil society in WBT countries, so that in 2015 and 2016 research and advocacy on the economic value of civil society would start, and parameters would be included in official statistical measurements. Read more.

Analysis of the Progress Reports and EC Enlargement Strategy 2014-2015

For the 6th time, BCSDN has analyzed how the EC has treated the issue of civil society development (CSDev) and assessed the progress made in the Enlargement countries within the Enlargement Strategy 2014-2015 and the country Progress Reports published in October. The analysis, titled "Less Words, More Work" shows the Commission has unified its approach towards the issue of civil society and for the first time has structured it as separate section within the political criteria of the progress report for each country. The analysis is presented through the framework of the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for CSDev. Read more

Civil Society and Government Officials Take Part in Study Visit on Service Provision in Slovenia

A study visit on service provision by CSOs was held in Slovenia, from 22nd till 24th October. Hosted by CNVOS, representatives of BCSDN member organizations and public institutions from Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia were introduced to the long-standing practice of CSO service provision in Slovenia. By visiting the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Municipality of Ljubljana, participants were presented with programmes for social protection, their legal framework and cooperation between government and CSOs on this issue. Read more

Joint Initiative for Amendments to the Macedonian Tax Law Provisions for CSOs

Nineteen CSOs in Macedonia, led by Konekt, have jointly initiated efforts towards improving the tax framework for CSOs, stressing that the tax policies are of great importance for creating an enabling environment for sustainability and development of civil society. The initiative, targeting changes to the law on personal and profit tax necessary for CSOs, has been distributed to all MPs in Macedonia. BCSDN and its member organization MCIC supported this initiative, based on MCIC’s analysis “Tax environment of CSOs in Macedonia” and reinforcing the recommendations from the Monitoring Matrix Report for Macedonia 2013. Read more.




PA: Albanian Parliament Passes Resolution on Role of Civil Society 

On 24th December, the Albanian Parliament passed the Resolution "For Recognition and Strengthening the Role of Civil Society in the Process of Democratic Development of the Country". This is the first political document that recognizes and establishes concrete commitment for development of a transparent and comprehensive consultation process with civil society and stakeholders, and support initiatives aimed at strengthening and promoting cooperation between civil society and public institutions, esp. at local level. This achievement is a result of the efforts of the Working Group for the Enabling Environment for Civil Society in Albania, which is under the coordination of Partners Albania. Read more.

IDM: Bringing ASCS Closer to Civil Society

Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) published a paper aiming to encourage a process of discussions and a platform to strengthen the role and contribution of the Agency for Support of Civil Society (ASCS) as an influential mechanism for supporting civil society organizations and strengthening of democracy and sustainable development in Albania. This document identifies and provides an analysis of the main challenges of ASCS, presenting alternatives to be further discussed with the civil society sector. Read more.

KCSF Wins 2014 PASOS Think-Tank Achievement of the Year Award

Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF) was honoured with the Award for its work on leading a campaign to preserve the integrity of civil society in Kosovo. KCSF initiated and led a multi-CSO coalition after Kosovar lawmakers adopted legislation that would have done great harm to the integrity of NGOs by allowing micro-financed CSOs to convert into joint-stock companies. The KCSF filed a lawsuit, eventually arguing in front of the country’s top constitutional court. In April 2013, the court ruled that provisions were unconstitutional. Read more.

CPCD New Advocacy Program for Creating an Enabling Environment for CSDev in BiH

The Centre for Promotion of Civil Society (CPCS) has launched a new advocacy program for creating an enabling environment for development of civil society in BiH, in the framework  for developing a more sustainable civil society in BiH. The main objective of the Program is to promote advocacy and support the creation of a more favourable legal, institutional and tax framework for the development of civil society in BiH. The Program will be implemented in four separate and interrelated advocacy campaigns and will form an informal, cross-sectoral coalition called “Civil dialogue”. Read more.

CI: Opening of Human Rights House in Belgrade

On 6th November, the Human Rights House (HRH) was officially opened in Belgrade by the Norwegian Crown Prince Magnus Hokon. The Human Rights House aims to build democratic and open society based on respect of human rights and rule of law. HRH Belgrade gathers five organizations involved in human rights and democratization topics: Civic Initiatives, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights - YUCOM and Policy Center. The house will be available to all citizens and is expected to be a place of genuine dialogue that is essential to Serbian society. Read more.

The Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) has opened the first institutional grants call for CSIs registered in Macedonia, through the Civica Mobilitas program for civil society support. The main goal of the Institutional Grants Programme is to strengthen the capacities of the civil society with the aim to manage their organisations in a transparent, efficient and sustainable manner, as well as to build their professionalism with the aim to enhance their influence in the society and attain higher level of provision of services. Read more.
Centre for Development of NGOs (CRNVO) has started a school for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Social Entrepreneurship for companies, CSOs and individuals interested in and working in the field of CSR and social entrepreneurship. The school comprises lectures and trainings which took place during October and November 2014, and a mentorship programme lasting until April 2015. Read more.

CNVOS Proposal for Court Fees Exemption for all Slovenian CSOs Working in Public Interest

Center for Information, Cooperation and Development of NGOs has submitted comments to the Ministry of Justice in Slovenia on the proposal of the Court Fees Act. CNVOS proposed to extend the circle of CSOs which are exempt from payment of court fees - currently comprising only CSOs working in social protection and disabilities - to include all CSOs recognized by the State to act in the public interest, whatever their field of activity. Read more.


TACSO has selected the organizations who are taking on the role of national TACSO offices as of autumn/winter 2014. TACSO has entered into partnerships with CSOs in the region, with similar missions and approaches to civil society development as TACSO, in order to ensure the sustainability of TACSO's functions and services upon the project's completion in 2017. The selected organizations per country are: consortium of VESTA Association and Trainer’s Network Association in BiH (Bosnia and Herzegovina), KCSF (Kosovo), MCIC (Macedonia), CRNVO (Montenegro), consortium of Civic Initiatives, Human Rights House, Dokukino and CRNPS (Serbia) and STGM (Turkey). The selection of Resource Centre in Albania will be finalized at the later stage. Read more.

The Monitoring Matrix Presented to the Black Sea Region CSOs

Tanja Hafner Ademi, BCSDN's Executive Director, participated to the 2014 edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum (8th-9th December) in Kiev, Ukraine, in the panel devoted to the enabling environment for CSOs in the region. She presented the Monitoring Matrix to an audience of 150 representatives of civil society from 11 countries of the Black Sea region as example of civil society shadow monitoring mechanism. The 7th annual edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum was discussing a new strategic approach to make the Forum effective and define strategy for civil society engagement in the region. Read more.

Efforts Successful - European Parliament Rejected Tibor Navracsics

BCSDN has joined European CSOs in asking the European Parliament to reject the nomination of Tibor Navracsics. A joint letter was produced and a petition was promoted to demand from the European Parliament to blockTibor Navracsics from taking on the role of Commissioner for Citizenship, Culture, Education and Youth. Eventually, the Culture Committee MEPs voted against the Hungarian Foreign Minister taking on this crucial post and accepted that Navracsics can be part of the Commission, but should not have the specific portfolio of citizenship, culture, education and youth. Read more.

Civil Society Europe Launched

More than thirty European Networks of civil society supported the creation of Civil Society Europe on 16th December 2014 in Rome. This initiative aims to establish a permanent coordination of the organised civil society at EU-level, a place for horizontal dialogue and a strong voice for effective advocacy in favour of policy changes that address the transversal issues of Equality, Solidarity, Inclusiveness and Democracy. Civil Society Europe’s objective is to create an enabling environment for horizontal exchanges between CSOs and movements across Europe. Read more.

EC Published IPA CSF and Media Programme 2014-2015

The programme aims at stimulating an enabling environment for civil society and media freedom, supporting CSOs capacity building and mechanisms for civil society-government dialogue. It is composed of one multi-country and seven national actions under a single financing decision. The actions will be implemented through call for proposals targeting CSOs and media professional organisations, direct grants to IOs and service contracts for technical assistance. Read more.

AID Transparency Index (ATI) 2014 Published

Despite making several international transparency commitments, the vast majority of Europe’s aid donors are still not sharing enough data about their development activities. The Aid Transparency Index (ATI), released in October by Publish What You Fund, is the industry standard for assessing transparency among the top 68 aid-giving organisations, from countries, to influential organisations. For the third time now, BCSDN' has taken part in the ATI evaluations by assessing DG Enlargement. Read more.

International Civil Society Week 2014 - Inspirational Global Gathering for CSOs

To celebrate South Africa's 20th anniversary of freedom and democracy, CIVICUS and its partners gathered change makers from around the world in Johannesburg for International Civil Society Week (19-25 November) 2014. The ICSW 2014 had over 500 civil society leaders and activists from more than 100 countries, tackling the world’s most pressing challenges. Ilina Nesik, BCSDN programme manager represented BCSDN at the ICSW. MCIC, Macedonia and TUSEV, Turkey had also their representatives in Johannesbourg. Read more.
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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