BCSDN Newsletter 55, November - January, 2013/14
BCSDN Mid-term Strategy 2012-2014

Click on the image to view a number of key bottlenecks in the enlargement process as identified during the workshop on state financing.

SBPPF grantees discuss how to map out important actors, networks, and policy centres at a second training in Tirana



Tanja Hafner Ademi, BCSDN Executive Director, addresses representatives from 30 Serbian CSOs on lessons learned from IPA CSF 2007-2011

BCSDN's monitoring activities under its Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development will play an integral role in feeding the EC's Guidelines for Civil Society Support


BCSDN will continue monitoring and communicating with the DG Enlargement on the future set-up of TACSO


The Visegrad Balkan Public Policy Fund continually supports young researchers 


The BCSDN Executive office was very happy and excited to move to bigger offices!




Innovative and Inspiring: Trends in State Financing

BCSDN, in cooperation with ECNL and its member EHO, organized a regional workshop on State funding for CSOs on the 13-14th of November, 2013 in Novi Sad, Serbia as part of the EU and BTD funded “Balkan Civil Society Acquis” project. The workshop was attended by 38 representatives of CSOs and relevant state institutions from 13 countries. The overall goal of the workshop was to identify key bottlenecks in Enlargement countries and steps to overcome them, as part of the advocacy plans for 2014 for improving regulatory practices and state funding in the represented countries. The workshop participants concluded that from the countries in the region Croatia is by far the most advanced in their national set up for supporting CSOs’ financial viability while the other countries more or less still lag behind in basic institutional frameworks. Among the common issues presented were: the lack of Strategy for support and cooperation with CSOs, lack of developed mechanisms for support of social dialogue and inclusive practices, lack of funds and mechanisms for co-financing, lack of non-financial support, and still insufficient transparency in state funding. More detailed information on what was discussed at the workshop can be read in BCSDN’s workshop report.

BCSDN Attends Government Offices’ Meeting to Discuss Joint Activities in 2014

On the 22nd of November, 2013 BCSDN’s Executive Director, Ms Tanja Hafner Ademi, attended an informal meeting of representatives from State bodies responsible for cooperation with CSOs from Croatia, BiH, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey in Zagreb, Croatia. The event hosted by the Croatian Office and MoFA Centre of Excellence, was a follow-up to similar meetings of State institutions in the region (Zadar, September 2012, Ankara, April 2013) aimed at exchanging information on recent developments in represented countries and drawing up a plan of joint activities for 2014. The discussion was focused around the EC/DG Enlargement draft Guidelines for Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Countries 2014-2020 and how governments need to respond to the increased expectations from the EC in this regard. A number of activities for enhancing mutual cooperation and support were proposed: establishing of an internet platform for exchange, promotion of EC/DG Guidelines at country level, introductions of Annual Civil Society Enabling Environment Awards, introduction of State-CSOs trainings via ReSPA, etc. At the meeting Ms Hafner Ademi also presented the upcoming activities under the Monitoring Matrix and the proposal for the development of a self-assessment mechanism for State bodies to measure their progress in the CSDev area. For more details a meeting report is available here.

EMI Calls for More Action in the Development of Civil Society within the Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries

The BCSDN Executive Office and a number of BCSDN members attended a joint congress, held in Budva, Montenegro on the 21st-24th of November, where the European Movement International (EMI) and the European Movement Montenegro called for more action to be taken regarding CSDev in the candidate and potential candidate countries. BCSDN was presented at the congress by Taulant Hoxha (KCSF), as a panellist on the civil society development panel, as well as Ilina Nesik (BCSDN EO), Juliana Hoxha (PA), Maja Stojanovic (CI), Aleksandar Krzhalovski (MCIC), and Ana Novakovic (CRNVO). Mr Hoxha spoke about the state of civil society in Kosovo and the region, mentioning the BCSDN Monitoring Matrix and the cooperation with the EC on the development of the EC Guidelines for Support to Civil Society in Enlargement Countries and concluded that the vision for CSDev and EU support is and should be set by CSOs from the region themselves. Other participants included Mr Milo Đukanović, Prime Minister of Montenegro and Mr Igor Lukšić, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European integration, as well as other representatives from governments, parliaments, and other CSOs.

SBPPF: Second Training on Public Policy, Advocacy and Policy Paper Writing in Tirana

On the 6th of November, 2013 the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) delivered the second training on Advocacy and Policy Paper Writing for selected grantees within the Slovak and Balkan Public Policy Fund (SBPPF). The training took place in Tirana and gathered 11 grantees from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. The main objective of this training was to provide guidance and to better prepare the grantees on how to write analytical policy papers and plan good advocacy strategies. At the end of the training the grants contracts were signed with the grantees. The outcome of the selected projects will be policy papers which are aimed at bringing the EU membership debate into a broader point of view. Later, not only will policy papers be used for communication with the wider public they will also be offered to national governments and the European Commission. These activities are financed by the EU within the “IPA Civil Society Balkan Acquis – Strengthening the Advocacy and Monitoring Potential of CSOs” project and BTD. More information about SBPPF objectives, selected project information, etc. is available here.

Serbian SECO CSOs Equipped for IPA II Advocacy

On the 9th of December, 2013 Tanja Hafner Ademi, Executive Director of BCSDN, delivered a 1-day training for over 30 Serbian CSOs, involved in the SECO mechanism, in Belgrade, Serbia. The training was commissioned by the Serbian Office for Cooperation with Civil Society and supported by the EU-TA project lead by SIPU. The training was opened by Ms Ivana Cirkovic, Director of the Government Office and Ms Ana Ilic, Assistant Director, Serbian European Integration Office. The training was aimed at transcending the lessons-learned of the implemented support for civil society in Enlargement countries and Serbia under the IPA Civil Society Facility support in the period 2007-2011 and to present novelties under the IPA II regulation to be adopted for civil society in the next IPA planning period 2014-2020. As part of the training representatives of CSOs developed a basis for an advocacy platform for the SECO mechanism in various sectors and teams to enable the effective use of IPA funds and support to CSOs in Serbia in the period 2014-2020.


Brainstorming with CIVICUS on the Ultimate Civil Society Monitoring Toolbox

On the 11th of December, 2013 CIVICUS in cooperation with One World Trust (UK) organized a brainstorming event in London on the future of CIVICUS’s work on the monitoring of developments in civil society’s operating space. The workshop attended by around 25 international non-profit experts and CSO practitioners, including Tanja Hafner Ademi, Executive Director of BCSDN (via Skype), discussed draft analyses of 9 global indexes, including the BCSDN Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for CSDev, to provide a basis for CIVICUS’s further work surrounding its State of Civil Society Report and Enabling Environment Index. The workshop looked at identifying possible goals, indicators, date gathering methods, and steps to be undertaken to develop an 'ultimate toolbox' for monitoring civil society. For future information and updates follow CIVICUS's website


DG Enlargement Finalises Guidelines for Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Countries

After an extensive development and consultation process which included stakeholders from civil society, government offices for cooperation with civil society, and EU Delegations the DG Enlargement has finalised its Guidelines for Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Countries for the period 2014-2020. The Guidelines include a set of objectives, results, and indicators for the EU support to civil society which will allow for the measurement of progress at country level as well across the enlargement region. Recognising the value and parallels of BCSDN’s Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development and its resulting country monitoring reports, to be published January through February, 2014, the DG Enlargement will use BCSDN’s reports as a means of verification for the first two components (conductive environment & civil dialogue) of the Guidelines, while the 3rd component (CSO capacities) will be subject to a survey. BCSDN also contributed with input on the final selection of indicators during a meeting on the margins of its State Financing conference in November. The latest version of the Guidelines can be downloaded here.

IPA II Approved by the European Parliament

On 11th December, 2013 the European Parliament adopted a Resolution approving the next round of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA II). The EP’s Resolution made several amendments to the initial Commission proposal and focused primarily on further strengthening the proposed principles for a more flexible and tailored approach and a performance component with newly introduced performance rewards, increased donor coordination, and increased transparency and accountability in the delivery of assistance. The proposed financial envelope of EUR 14.11 billion has been lowered down to EUR 11.697 billion for the 2014-2020 period, while the proposed 3% allocation to cross-border cooperation programmes was increased to 4% of total IPA assistance. Read more.

BCSDN Presents Updated TACSO Position

In December, 2013 BCSDN submitted an updated position on TACSO regarding the next phase of the EU’s support to empowerment and capacity-building in (pre-) accession countries to DG Enlargement. BCSDN has highlighted that while the support of the government would be valued and sought after, its approval should not be obligatory or pose an obstacle in implementing the roadmap for TACSO’s transfer strategy and the dynamic for each Enlargement country. The document is accompanied by a full phase-out structure proposed for the process of transition to local successor organization (Phase I, 6 months), and for the successor organizations leading TACSO components (Phase II, 7-24 months). DG Enlargement responded that the suggestions are helpful, but no decision will be taken at this moment regarding the future set-up of TACSO. It was stated that such a process will be fully transparent, involving many actors in each country.


Balkan CS Acquis: One Year of Successful Implementation

The first year of the IPA FPA project was devoted to the promotion, discussion, and the start of implementation of objectives and 6 priorities set under the BCSDN Mid-term Strategy 2012-2014. Under Priority 1 (Monitoring) BCSDN, after consultations, adapted its Monitoring Matrix to country languages, laying the ground for an extensive and inclusive (at least 630 respondents involved) monitoring exercise which saw the first 8 draft country monitoring reports being finalized towards the end of November, 2013. The Matrix has already yielded concrete effects on national instruments for CSDev being developed in WBT countries (e.g. Montenegrin Government Strategy for development of civil society 2014-2017, Serbian 1st Government strategy for development of civil society, 1st CSO declaration delivered to Albanian PM on 16th December, 2013). Read more.

VBPPF Young Researchers Programme, Another Fellowship Successfully Completed

The second CfP of the Visegrad Balkan Public Policy Fund, Young Researchers Programme resulted in the selection of Ms Aleksandra Zivkovic for her internship at Transitions (TOL) International Publishing and Media Development Organization in Prague, the Czech Republic on the project “Improving media professionalism through practical experience in Transitions”. The internship ended in January, 2013. As foreseen in the programme, a national event for promotion of the Visegrad Balkan Public Policy Fund, Young Researchers Programme and the outputs and experiences of the three fellows from Macedonia (Aleksandra Zivkovic, Aleksandar Jovanovski, fellowship at Pontis Foundation in Bratislava and Elena Anchevska, fellowship at NGO Nőkép in Budapest) will take place on 24th of April in Skopje. In regards to this, a meeting with the fellows took place at BCSDN’s office on the 6th of February, 2014 when they shared their experiences and discussed the organization and the content for promotion of their outputs at the event in Skopje. More information about the fellowships and outputs can be found at here and should shortly also be available on BCSDN’s website! Information on the other fellowships within this programme can be found here


The BCSDN Executive Office has Moved

As space at our previous location became a bit limited for our growing team the BCSDN Executive Office moved to a new address during December. We are very excited about this new chapter in the network’s story and hope you can share with us in this excitement. Fortunately only our physical address will change, so all our contact information (phone, fax, e-mails) will remain the same. In the future you can find us at:

Metropolit Teodosij Gologanov 39/II-2

BCSDN Board Meetings

On the 5th December, 2013 BCSDN's Board held its 4th session in Skopje to discuss the network's activities in 2013 and enter into the new Mid-term strategy 2015-2017 planning phase. This Board meeting was special as it focused on upgrading internal governance practices into acts needed for a mature and growing network. The accountancy and reporting standards were adopted while the newly developed internal governance acts such as the Executive Office rule book, Board Rules of procedure, and procedure for election of the Executive Director were discussed and will be adopted after finalization in early 2014. The draft Annual Report 2013 and the draft Annual Plan 2013 (with projection 2014-2015) were also adopted. A network code of conduct defining elements such as relations between the network and members, fundraising etc. will also be developed in 2014. Members can access documents through the BCSDN Intranet. The Annual Report, Annual Plan, and other documents will be available to the public once updated and finally adopted by the BCSDN Council in April, 2014.

Membership Fee Reminder

The BCSDN Executive Office would like to thank the network’s members for their support through membership fees and would further like to send a friendly reminder to those that haven’t yet paid the 2013 Membership fee to please do so as soon as possible.


Advisory Board Nominations Reminder

BCSDN is currently electing members for its newly established body in the form of an Advisory Board. The Advisory Board is a multi-stakeholder body established with a 2013 Council Decision. The Advisory Board’s role is to advise the BCSDN organs and bodies on general policy, strategy, and outreach and will also serve as a fundraising and programmatic body that will advise the general decision making of the network. Furthermore, the Decision states that the Advisory Board members are nominated by member organızatıons and appointed by the Board based on pre-defined criteria. With this the BCSDN EO would like to remind its members that nominations are expected by the end of this month, the process of selection and proposal to join the Advisory Board will be done in the following months so that the 5 selected members are appointed by the Board and presented at the next ACM in Prishtina in April, 2014. Their first task would be to assist the network in the Mid-term Strategy 2015-2017 process.

Annual Council Meeting, Prishtina, 16-17 April 2014

The ACM this year will take place in Prishtina, Kosovo and will be organized by BCSDN member KCSF. A possibility to discuss the potential regional approach on research methodologies regarding the state of civil society in the context of the BCSDN Monitoring Matrix methodology will exist during a side event as a precursor for work on the Mid-Term Strategy 2015-2017. Please save the date in your calendars. Registration forms and other documents will be distributed in the course of March.

Monitoring Matrix Promotion Dates

Representatives of national institutions, EUD, CSOs/platforms, and the donor community will be exposed to the monitoring results and policy recommendations of the baseline monitoring reports during a number of events. These events will target stakeholders such as national institutions (Government office for cooperation with CSOs, line ministries dealing with CSOs, Parliament, etc.), Councils for civil society development (if existent), and national TACSO offices in order to ensure the policy input is conveyed, undertaken, and followed-up by the institutions. The first event will take place in Albania on the 27th of February organized by Partners Albania; KCSF will organize an event in Kosovo on the 11th of March and CRNVO in Montenegro on the 14th of March. MCIC will organize the promotion event in Macedonia on the 20th of March. Exact Dates for the events in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Turkey will be announced shortly.
This Newsletter is a 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
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