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BCSDN Newsletter 51, November - January 
BCSDN Mid-term Strategy 2012-2014
The objective of the workshop was to foster a debate on the Negotiation process of the EU Accession and EU’s Structural Finds as well as to provide concrete recommendations for joint action of CSOs and other relevant stakeholders.









 
 The general conclusion of the E-mail Alerts Survey is that the EMA satisfy the expectations, especially in terms of content; most of the respondents support the alerts as they are now and find them useful. 










 
 The focus of the Conference "Keeping the Momentum"was on the current regional and European initiatives to improve civil society cooperation with public institutions in context of the European Accession. 












 
Euronews story of the EYC High Level Event in Brussels

















 
BCSDN will lead the working group on the EU Pre-accession countries



























 
BCSDN also took part at the conference by providing input for recent developments in the civil society development field 



















 
BCSDN has outlined the TACSO position to the DG Enlargement, but since this concerns primarily local CSOs and actors, we deem it extremely important that everyone has a say in outlining their views in how they are best supported in developing their capacities as organizations as well as a sector.












 
EHO received the Making a Difference Award for tangible impact in working with vulnerable groups













 

BCSDN NEWSLETTER 51

PAST ACTIVITIES & EVENTS

New IPA CSF Approach to Supporting Networks: Framework Partnership Agreements (FPA) Kick Off Conference, Brussels

In November 2012, the EC awarded 18 grants to networks of CSOs from the Western Balkans, Turkey, Iceland and the European Union to enter into 4 year partnership with each other and the Commission with the aim to define and implement strategies in key sectors for CSDev. The teams of the awarded project of the FPAs as well as other stakeholders and the European Commission’s, Civil Society Facility Team at DG Enlargement, gathered on the 21st January to exchange views on what they can do to strengthen the civil society in the Western Balkans and Turkey, to present the FPAs and see the possible synergies and possibilities among the networks’ projects. One of the main message(s) at the kick off conference was that CSOs need to engage with each other and their authorities and that a good communication is needed both ways. The EC Task managers highlighted this as not just essential to understand what the projects are doing, but also to create additional coalitions, beyond those in the project's partnership. BCSDN has been awarded support for the “Balkan Civil Society Acquis: Strengthening the Advocacy and Monitoring Potential and Capacities of CSOs, which aims at implementing network’s Mid-term strategy 2012-2014 and comprises a partnership of BCSDN and its members with ECNL and ENNA. More information on the awarded projects is available here.


EU Accession: What is the role (if any) for CSOs?

BCSDN together with Cenzura Plus-Croatia and the European Policy Institute-EPI organized a workshop entitled „Accession to EU: What is the role (if any) for CSOs?” The workshop took place on the 16th of January in Skopje. With  around one hundred participants coming from different CSOs,  around 15 speakers and panelists, and excellent media coverage,  this workshop provided in deep debate on the Negotiation process of the EU Accession and EU’s Structural Funds, as well as concrete recommendations for joint action of CSOs and other relevant stakeholders. In light of the EU perspective of the country, fruitful discussions took place about the Active involvement of CSOs in the Negotiations for EU Accession, and the use of EU (Structural) Funds. One of the main conclusions was that a common action and one voice is the way for CSOs to be heard and to be involved in this process. As a follow up of the event a joint letter was announced to gather CSOs around this agenda in the upcoming period. Read more...


IPA CSF Programming Committee Meeting Held in Brussels

On 14th of December, the IPA CSF/TACSO Programming Committee was convoked by the DG Enlargement with the aim to inform European networks and seek their comments on the up-coming plans with regards to IPA CSF activities. On the occasion of the meeting, which was attended by around 10 representatives of European networks, the organizations were informed that the P2P instrument has been moved to the CSF unit and that a new person is handling the programmes 2013 until the P2P is taken over by TACSO in Phase 3. The programme 2013 is still open for suggestions, so organizations are invited to submit their proposals for topics of study and exchange visits. TACSO 3 (2013-2015) tendering procedure will start in January, while a feasibility study is currently being subcontracted to map out concrete actors who could take over the TACSO functions per country. The feasibility study which is to be conducted in the 1st quarter of 2013 will include wide consultation with local CSOs and stakeholders. The civil society support of the strategy under IPA II 2014-2020 was also discussed. DG Enlargement will organize a regional consultation in Brussels at end of February 2013 in which 5 representatives per country covering 8 sectors will be invited to attend. See more information in the Announcement section. Read more...


E-mail Alerts Survey Results: Confirmed Relevance and Usefulness to Serve the CSO Community

In order the E-mail Alerts to be adapted to the changing environment in the civil society sector and to respond to the needs of CSOs, a new survey was conducted in November 2012, followed by redesign of the Email Alerts. 76.9% of the respondents were CSOs representatives, 7.7% donors, 5.8% state officials and 9.6% individuals interested in the work of BCSDN, development partners, projects, and research organizations. The E-mail Alerts Survey clearly shows the support of the readers to the service. Few thematic suggestions were given and BCSDN commits to integrate more articles on these topics. With regards to the technical improvements that BCSDN undertook until the end of 2012, those are related to a more easy to read format, making no major changes as the survey results suggest. The technical solutions to the listed suggestions were discussed with the IT experts in order to respond to the demands and the needs of those who read and use this service. The Survey analysis and the general conclusions are available online. BCSDN strongly appreciates the contributions and input from all subscribers which have completed the Survey and commits to further development of this service in order to provide better as well as more easily accessible information to all interested parties. Read more...


GOV2CS Relations Discussed at TACSO Regional Conference        

Over 100 representatives of public institutions, civil society, the media and donor community from the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey gathered in Skopje to participate in the two-day regional conference “Keeping up the Momentum: Improving Cooperation Between Public Institutions and Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey” in November. The Conference was organised as a platform for experience exchange and open discussion to provide a forum for presenting current regional and European initiatives and to improve civil society cooperation with public institutions. At the same time, participants from each country were able to identify the next steps they will take to improve civil society cooperation with public institutions during the next year. The report from the conference is now available at this linkRead more...

GLOBAL & REGIONAL INITIATIVES

Launch of European Year of Citizens: Focus on Citizenship, Identity and Agenda Developing

A high visibility event organized by the DG Communication and EYCA  on the 21st of January served as a raising awareness event and an official launch of the European Year of Citizens. The last plenary meeting held on the 17th of December gave the opportunity to discuss the latest developments of EYCA, in particular those taking place at national level and within the newly developed Working groups. For more information you can download BCSDN participation report. The EC has designated 2013 as the «European Year of Citizens» to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the European Union Citizenship under the Maastricht Treaty.  Major European civil society organizations and networks have joined their forces and created the EYC2013 Alliance to put forward proposals aimed at placing European citizenship at the heart of the EU political agenda. Relying on the experience and the expertise of its members who continuously act for citizenship to become a permanent and transversal dimension of European public policies decision-making, implementation and assessment, the EYC2013 Alliance will use this year to promote activities aiming to have an impact on the building of a citizen-friendly European Union which would no longer be reduced to merely economic preoccupations and would facilitate and support various expressions and mobilization of active citizenship. The European Year of Citizens it’s about engaging citizens on all sorts of topics, from questions regarding free movement and different rights to their expectations from the European Union.   

Creating Synergies to Better Serve the Citizens of Europe: European Civil Society House Conference in Brussels

The European Parliament in Brussels and the Proinfo Foundation, in partnership with the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS), on the 7th of November 2012 organized a conference entitled “Not-for-Profit Resource Centers in Europe: Creating Synergies to Better Serve the Citizens of Europe”. The Conference brought together representatives of more than 30 organizations from 26 European countries to discuss and focus on the creation of the European Civil Society House (ECSH). The ECSH will work according to the directions of the 3 “C”s – Civil society, Citizens’ rights and Civic participation and will be located close to the European Institutions in Brussels. During the meeting, participants shared their expectations about this ambitious project and committed and proposed further steps for realization of this idea. The participants from Western Balkans and Turkey exchanged joint dilemmas and expressed a necessity for this ”House” to also deal with the accession issues and to be available to CSOs from this region. In the following period, a Working Group for the Accession and Pre-Accession countries will be formed. As a follow up a survey was launched, which emphasizes the services that the ECSH would offer, asking the respondents to give their feedback and to provide new ideas on activities the ECH could promote. The Survey Results point out that for 44% of CSOs responded that ECSH’s primarily role is to serve as a space to find European partners for projects and to deliver advice on fundraising opportunities. A particular emphasis is put on ECI and on the need to inform and help citizens in civic action. Read the complete report here.

Linking Lifelong Learning and Civil Society Development – Regional Workshop in Podgorica

The Centre for Civic Education (CCE) and the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association (dvv international) organized a regional workshop on "Lifelong Learning and Civil Society Development," 11-13 November, which gathered civil society organizations from Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The aim of the workshop was to gather representatives of the CSO sector working on education for active citizenship, lifelong learning, and the development of civil society to jointly analyze policy and practices in this area, the possibility of common action, sharing of information, lessons learned and concepts concerning lifelong learning for further lobbying and advocacy. The key topics discussed were the role of adult education and lifelong learning in enabling active citizenship, as well as similarities in concepts of citizenship learning in the region of Southeast Europe. BCSDN participated at this workshop by presenting the Networks advocacy efforts and the European Year of Citizens 2013 Alliance which BCSDN recently joined. The efforts under the BCSDN monitoring matrix for civil society development were also presented to exchange how it could affect the adult education efforts.

ADVOCACY

Next Phase of TACSO Should be Led by Local CSOs

As a key regional actor in civil society development, BCSDN with its members has been involved in the two phases of technical assistance to CSOs offered in the framework of TACSO project, primarily as a member of the EU Programming Committee or via its members as LAG members or host of TACSO local offices. With a 3rd phase in sight as of August 2013, BCSDN has laid out in its Position how this ultimate phase in which local CSOs should take over the responsibility and ownership of TACSO national components and activities, should look like. The specific added-value of the next phase should include support to these local CSO-successors in taking over the portfolio of activities in an effective and sustainable manner. Procedures and criteria for selection of successor organizations should be both pre-determined and consensus-based by EC/EUDs and CSOs (via established national bodies for cooperation or platforms or other forums). Moreover, each of the successors would need to present a sustainability plan, which would include synergies with government bodies/mechanisms for cooperation and which would be developed jointly with government bodies and CSOs. The full Position, which has also been presented to the European Commission, is available here. 

JOINT INITIATIVES & EXCHANGE

BCSDN Member EHO Wins Best Funded Project Award of the Norwegian Embassy

The Norwegian Embassy has supported around 80 different projects in 2012. In addition, the Norwegian Ministry has supported a number of different projects. On Monday, December 10, the Embassy invited all 2012 grantees to the Ambassador’s residence to discuss the cooperation between the Embassy and the grantees, to award the best Norwegian funded projects and to a reception to celebrate the cooperation. The final award was presented by Milica Delevic, Chair of Parliamentary Committee on European Integration, to Ecumenical Humanitarian Organisation from Novi Sad. For more information on the project please go here and to find out more on the awards please visit this website.

NETWORK BODIES

Council –Istanbul 5th ACM

The 5th Annual Council Meeting (ACM), the announce gathering of BCSDN members, will celebrate what we have achieved in the first year of the Mid-term strategy plan 2012-2014 and help shape our action for the coming 2 years  - through discussions, debates and exchange. The ACM will be this year hosted by our member TUSEV from Turkey and will take place end April in Istanbul, jointly with a national conference event to enable networking and exchange with Turkish organizations.

4th Board meeting - 10th December

BCSDN held its Board meeting on 10th December, 2012. to Several strategic issues were discussed incl. review of financial health of the network and future trends, which confirmed the network has become stable, credible and successful network. Several multi-lateral policy and project initiatives were also discussed and position on the network was also formed. In order to better include stakeholders important for the area of CSDev, the Board has proposed to establish an Advisory. The draft minutes of the meeting are available to members via the Intranet.

Executive Office – OSI TTF Fellow Joins the Team

BCSDN Executive Office has been reinforced with Lale Azak, new fellow from Turkey that will mainly focus on supporting BCSDN team in research and advocacy. The OSI Think Tank Fund provided finances for a Young Professional that has been studying in the main EU universities to continue that professional engagement in the Balkan CSOs. You can find out more about Lale’s profile here. You can contact Lale at laz@balkancsd.net.  

ANNOUNCEMENT BOARD

February EC consultation on IPA CSF II: An Opportunity for CSO to Have a Say on 2014-2020 Spending

A multi-beneficiary event "Multi-Stakeholders consultation on the IPA II strategy for civil society support" will be held at the end of February 2013 in Brussels. The aim of the event is to consult CSOs on future needs and priorities for funding under the IPA 2014-2020 funding cycle advance of the start of programming per multi-beneficiary and country components. DG Enlargement strongly encourages CSO representatives from each of the candidate and potential candidate countries to take part in the consultation process and in the Brussels event. The travel to/from Brussels and the accommodation costs will be covered by the P2P programme for up to 40 selected participants. Max 5 participants per beneficiary country can attend the event. One CSO can nominate only one representative per organization. For more information please contact TACSO office in your country and follow the link.  
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: 
Executive Office
Bel Kamen Street 6/8
1000-Skopje, Macedonia
Tel: ++389 (0))2 614 42 11