BCSDN Newsletter 59, January - June 2015


Monitoring Matrix On Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development - Regional Report 2014
The report presents the regional state of play of civil society in 2014 and highlighting the priorities for intervention by national and EU institutions at the regional level towards creating a more enabling environment for civil society.

Monitoring Stats for 2014

Brief summary of the enabling environment in each WBT country, presented through statistical data on the number of registered CSOs, recent information on state support and human resources, as well as available strategic documents and bodies/mechanisms for Gov-CSO cooperation.

Ways of Non-Financial Gains for CSOs in the Balkans and Turkey

The brief maps the state of play of the legal and policy frameworks regulating NFS availability and distribution for civil society in the region. It focuses on best practices in the region on local and national level, concluding with a set of recommendations.

EU Funds for Supporting CSDev in the Western Balkans 2007-2013

Policy brief that outlines how the EU assistance for civil society was used, the trends in implementing the assistance, the use of the IPA Cross-Border Instrument by CSOs, and a comparison of state funding in three countries. Available also in local languages.


CNVOS: International Analysis of Public Participation in the Decision-Making Process 

In this analysis, the normative overview is presented through a systematic examination of minimum standards of public participation in 22 individual countries, 16 of which are members of the European Union.

MCIC: Economic Activities of CSOs in Macedonia

Introduction to the legal framework for economic activities of CSOs, as well as a general environment for economic activities in Macedonia, with the aim to clarify the opportunities and encourage the implementation of economic activities by CSOs.

KCSF: Incomplete Chain - Policy Brief 
on Minimum Standards for Public Consultation

Contains an analysis of the current legal framework and its level of implementation, main challenges of public consultation process and a detailed list of (sub)standards to be implemented by all government level institutions. 

CRNVO: Guide for Establishing Social Enterprises

How can socially beneficial ideas transform into entrepreneurial business models, which contribute to solving social problems, especially unemployment and poverty?



CIVICUS State of Civil Society Report 2014: Reimagining Global Governance

"...represents a body of critical thinking on the changing state of contemporary civil society and global governance."

Freedom House: Nations in Transit 2015

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. 

Hudson Institute: Philanthropic Freedom 2015
" examining barriers and incentives for individuals and organizations to donate money and time to social causes, CGP has measured, ranked, and compared countries on their ease of giving."

CONCORD: EU Delegations Report 2015
Analysis of the mutual engagement between EU's delegations and CSOs across the world. 

UN Special Rapporteur on Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association Factsheets
Two of the latest editions in the Maina Kiai's factsheet series: 1) Best practices on the rights to freedom of association and) An installment on civil society's ability to access resources.

ILO Manual on Measurement of Volunteer Work
The first internationally sanctioned approach for gathering official data on the amount, character, and value of volunteering. 

ENoP: Building Bridges between Civil Society and Party Political Actors in the Western Balkans

Through case studies and examples, this paper underlines the benefits of establishing dialogue between civil society and party political actors.  

Right Goals, Wrong Tools

DGAP presents seven recommendations for strengthening CSOs as active partners in the EU accession process. 


BCSDN Newsletter 59

Foreword by the Executive Director

Dear colleagues and partners,

The first half of 2015 was very busy and productive for us. We are proud to have presented the 2nd annual enabling environment monitoring reports in 8 countries and at the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as closed the first 2 years of our biggest project - “Balkan Civil Society Acquis”. Our members have discussed the network’s strategic priorities at our April annual meeting and agreed that a new strategic discussion is needed for post-2017 period, while the 2013-2015 framework still fits current network’s needs.

We contributed to both global and European initiatives to share our knowledge, experience as well as link and promote our work to diversity of stakeholders; civil society, governments, international organizations, academia. We hope you enjoy reading details of our engagement, use shared information in your daily work and engage in our upcoming planned activities till the end of the year and beyond.

With best wishes,

Tanja Hafner Ademi


  • Changes in BCSDN EO Staff
Our Executive Office has welcomed Ms. Gabriela Aleksova as the new Administration and Finance Officer. She has considerable experience in accountancy and organizational/project financial management. Ms. Jelena Mirkovic, our Policy and Advocacy Officer, will no longer be working for BCSDN starting July 2015.
  • New BCSDN Website Coming Soon
With the support of Cenzura Plus, and as part of the Europe for Citizens project, BCSDN is now working on redesigning the organizational website with a more refreshed and modern look, and easier and more interactive access to the information on the network, its activities - both EO and members’ activities, and relevant civil society news from the region. The new website is expected to be published by the end of the summer.



  • Finalizing the Proposal for Sustainable Environment Monitoring - July 2015
A Monitoring Matrix Working Group will meet on 15th July in Skopje to finalize a proposal that would enable easier, harmonized and sustainable monitoring of standards of the enabling environment for CSDev, and will present it for a final round of consultations before its implementation under the 2015 monitoring exercise. The proposal includes categorizing/labeling the state of enabling environment via a back-end platform of the website, and visualizing progress/regress over time and countries, to allow for clearer communication of the state of the enabling environment.
  • Preparation of 1st Region-wide Economic Value of Civil Society Study
In line with the recommendation for the need for improved collection, availability and use of data on civil society for sound policies and measures, BCSDN and its members have organized a basic workshop and started collection of available data in the course of first half of 2015 which will be analyzed by Dubravka Velat, experienced statistician and civil society expert from Serbia. The analysis to be published in autumn will enable review of all existing data, challenges and proposals on how this should be addressed by public institutions in Enlargement countries. For this aim, BCSDN has linked to Third Sector Impact (TSI) research project which is working on the same issue at the European level. 
  • Supporting Development of the Black Sea Civil Society Strategy
BCSDN has been selected to help lead the research and development of the Black Sea Civil Society Strategy for the Black Sea NGO Forum, bringing together CSOs from countries of the Black Sea region. The support includes development of an analytical framework, mapping of the situation on the enabling environment in 8 target countries and proposal for a civil society strategy for the region. The draft report and strategy development are led by BCSDN Tanja Hafner Ademi and Milka Ivanovska Hadziska and will be presented at the next edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum taking place an the end of 2015. 
  • C20 Summit in Istanbul - 15-16 September 2015
C20 is one of the engagement groups of G20, focusing on 4 priority issues: governance, gender equality, sustainability and inclusive growth. 4 working groups are established with the participation of civil society leaders to develop policy recommendations to key G20 decision-makers. Consultation process will continue over the next few months and BCSDN and its members are encouraged to engage by participating in the WGs. Participation to the summit will be free of charge and registration procedures will be announced soon.


2014 Monitoring Results Published: Limited State Support and Gov-CSO Cooperation throughout the Region

After the extensive monitoring conducted by BCSDN’s members through the jointly developed Monitoring Matrix, BCSDN published the new MM Regional Report for 2014. The preliminary findings were presented at the 17th April workshop in Tirana, which was opened by Mrs. Romana Vlahutin, Head of EU Delegation to Albania, while the final report was presented at the European Parliament to MEPs and other key EU stakeholders, at the 4th June Brussels debate “Norms over Forms: Empowering Civil Society in the Western Balkans and Turkey” hosted by Ms. Ulrike Lunacek - Vice-President of the European Parliament (The Greens/EFA) and co-chaired by Ms. Venera Hajrullahu BCSDN’s Board Chair. Both events served as an opportunity to discuss the state in which civil society operates in the region, the challenges commonly faced by CSOs, in particular limited tax benefits available to CSOs, inadequately transparent allocation of public funds and insufficient cooperation between government and CSOs, as well as the impact of EU and the EU integration process on the civil society development in Enlargement countries. The national presentations of the country reports, upon which the Regional one is based, took place during April and May. All reports are available here.

Research on EU Funds for Supporting CSDev in the Western Balkans 2007-2013
Since 2008, BCSDN has been following EU’s support to civil society in Western Balkans through the IPA Civil Society Facility Instrument. As IPA I is closing down and in the frame of the planning of the EU assistance for the forthcoming period, BCSDN has broadened the analysis to assess EU's support to civil society for the entire 2007-2013 period. The policy brief outlines how the EU assistance was used, the trends in implementation, the use of the IPA Cross-Border Instrument by CSOs, and provides a comparison of state funding in three countries. The brief is available in English, Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian here.

BCSDN/MCIC Interview for CIVICUS on Protests and Civil Society in Macedonia

Emina Nuredinoska (MCIC) and Tanja Hafner Ademi (BCSDN) spoke to CIVICUS about ongoing protests in Macedonia, the current political situation and the state of civil society. The interview discusses reasons for and main drivers of the protests, violations by the state, such as detentions, limitation, and lack of investigation into use of force, vis-à-vis the freedom of peaceful assembly standards, and the general situation with civil society development in the country. 

BCSDN Raising the Issue of Civil Society's Role in the Current Political Situation in Macedonia

BCSDN EO representatives took part in two meetings regarding the current political situation in Macedonia, the accession process and the role of civil society in it. Tanja Hafner Ademi together with a group of civil society representatives, met with Commissioner Johannes Hahn on 17th February to exchange views on civil society’s contribution to overcome the deadlock on country’s accession process. She further stressed the need for the Commission to ask for commitment to implementation of the Guidelines of the EU Support to Civil Society in Enlargement Countries, and in Macedonia particularly to call the Government to change the draft Decision on establishing the civil society Council to enable civil society to elect its representatives and hold majority, as demanded by an initiative supported by 75 Macedonian CSOs. Ilina Nesik met with the Working Party on the Western Balkans Region (COWEB) in Skopje on 23rd April, urging the member states to bring the discussion and the inclusion of civil society on political level in the Enlargement process.

BPPF New Call: Investing in Policy and Advocacy Capacities of CSOs in IPA Countries

BCSDN and its members announced the 3rd Call for Proposals for CSOs from IPA countries to develop policy or advocacy proposals, this time within the scope of the EU and BTD-funded Balkan Civil Society Acquis project. The specific objective is to contribute to the capacity building of CSOs in monitoring and advocating on civil society-related policies covered by the Monitoring Matrix areas or the EU CS Guidelines. Out of 47 applications, 12 were selected (2 per each country) and awarded grants of EUR 3.000, as well as a training on advocacy and policy paper writing, and continuous support in the implementation of the project by BCSDN and member organizations. Read more.

BCSDN Annual Meeting 2015: Focus on Internal Cooperation

BCSDN Annual Council Meeting (ACM), hosted by IDM, took place on 17th April in Tirana. The annual gathering brought together representatives of 12 members and several guests to reflect on the network’s work in the past year, as well as to adopt the Annual Plan of activities for 2015 and to discuss the new mid-term strategy 2017-2020. The key substantive debate evolved around enlargement of the network and internal deepening and strengthening of the network. Read more





Cenzura Plus on Citizen Participation in Political Processes and Decision-Making

On 29th and 30th April in Split, Cenzura Plus organized an international conference entitled „Citizen Participation in political processes and decision-making“ - Mechanisms and tools for participation. The Conference tackled citizens’ participation issues and especially its role in policy development and policy implementation with focus on successful principles, tools, processes, stories etc. of citizens participation at all levels. Concrete examples from EU countries and analysis of different methodologies for greater citizens’ participation were presented to more than 60 representatives of CSOs and public authorities. Read more.

CRNVO in the Montenegrin CSO Coalition "Saradnjom do Cilja" towards more Transparent CSO Financing

CRNVO has been actively involved in the CSO Coalition “Cooperation towards the Goal” (“Saradnjom do cilja”), advocating for better regulation and transparency in the area of CSO financing in Montenegro. In May, the Coalition submitted to the Ministry of Interior Affairs a proposal regarding the upcoming amendments to the Law on CSOs and the bylaws for regulating the new system for financing CSOs through public funds. In February the Coalition published its Financial Report for 2013, aiming to contribute to the improvement of program and financial transparency of the non-government sector in Montenegro. 

CNVOS: First Steps towards the Strategy for CSDev and Volunteering in Slovenia Successfully Completed

On 21st April, CNVOS and the Ministry of Public Administration organized a conference called "Co-create SLOVENIA - join forces for the development of a strategy for developing the civil society and volunteering by 2020", in which the Strategy measures were discussed. Mr. Koprivnikar, the Minister of Public Administration, stressed the Ministry’s commitment towards preparing a strategy that would enable a greater role for CSOs and volunteering in society. The participants had the greatest influence on the content of the strategy, as through an open space method they could propose topics for discussion and measures to be included in the Strategy, which is to be adopted around February 2016. Read more.

Civic Initiatives Organized the First CSO Fair in South-West Serbia

More than 20 CSOs have taken part on the first CSO Fair in South-west Serbia, organized by Civic Initiatives on the 21st and 22nd April in Novi Pazar. The stands of CSOs from 6 cities in the Region were set up at an open public space, reaching out to the local people and the media. The aim of the Fair was to promote the work of CSOs and increase their visibility, as well as to encourage CSO networking and establishing cooperation with the local self-governments and the media. Read more.

CPCD Debates on CSOs Financial Transparency in BiH

CPCD organized several debates on CSO financial transparency during May and June, 3 of them taking place in Sarajevo, Tuzla and Banja Luka. The events aimed to raise the issue of how to improve financial transparency of CSOs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the need for CSOs to establish internal operation rules in order to ensure efficient and accountable management and use of (public) financial support, and uphold their public image and legitimacy. Read more.

For the second successive year IDM is implementing the Project Citizen against Corruption with high school students, with the intention to increase awareness in the fight against all forms of corruption. The Minister for Local Government Bledi Çuçi stressed that corruption cannot be fought by the government alone, and civic education has a very important place in the anti-corruption strategy. Introduction of an anti-corruption module in the civic education curriculum was proposed in order to educate citizens to fight against this phenomenon. Read more.
Half-way through its implementation period, 48% of measured envisaged in the Strategy were started and only 2 have been fully implemented so far, said MCIC at a workshop on the progress in realization of the measures from the Strategy implementation for the period June 2012 to December 2014. In addition to presenting the policy document and discussing its findings and recommendations, the event served as an opportunity to identify future challenges in the cooperation and in the implementation of the planned activities by both representatives of Ministry contact point for civil society and CSOs themselves. Read more.

KCSF Open Letter for Kosovo Visa Liberalization

KCSF and other civil society representatives in Kosovo have sent an open letter on Kosovo visa liberalisation, addressed to the HRVP Federica Mogherini and the Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Dimitris Avramopoulos. As the letter states, Kosovo is the only country in the Western Balkans without visa-free travel. The letter signatories appeal that the EC uses precise formulations to describe progress or the lack of it for each point included in the visa liberalization roadmap in the next report - it is only when fair, clear, and transparent assessment criteria is used, that civil society is in a position to pressure the government to work more and hold it under proper scrutiny. Read more. 

PA NPO Academy: Empowering Change Actors to Contribute to Developing Albania Society

The NPO Academy is Partners Albania newest initiative, a program which will offer education and development opportunities to non-profit organizations’ executives. The Academy serves as a space for non-formal education to enhance skills and develop competences of NPO executives; increase their professionalism through a unique curriculum, learning methodology and diverse professional expertise; and create generations of professional and committed NPO executives who will become change actors to contribute in the development of Albanian society. The trainings are taking place from March to end of November 2015. Read more.


On 17th June, Tanja Hafner Ademi, the Executive Director of BCSDN, presented the Monitoring Matrix at the CIVICUS-AGNA (Affinity Group of National Associations) “Workshop  on Civic Space Monitoring and Enabling Environment” held in Istanbul, Turkey. The aim of the workshop was to reflect on civil society led tools in the assessment of enabling environment and civic space and how to use their results for advocacy and policy influencing. Read more.

Participation of Civil Society Concerns at Vienna Western Balkans Summit Initiated

On 26th May, 2015, European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) organized a working workshop under the title “Culture of Regional Cooperation” in the framework of the newly launched “Civil Society Initiative of the Vienna Western Balkans Summit”. The workshop brought together over 30 representatives of civil society, academia, think-tanks and RCC to discuss concrete practices in several thematic areas. Tanja Hafner Ademi presented the example of BCSDN network and its work on setting the agenda in the area of civil society development. The Vienna Western Balkans Summit will take place on 27th August 2015, with the participation of heads of EU member states and SEE countries. It is a continuation of the so-called “Berlin Process” initiated in  2014 to show political commitment to the future enlargement of the EU towards the Western Balkans. Read more.

AID Transparency Index 2015 Published, BCSDN Contributed

Lack of transparency by major European donors is hindering development outcomes in some of the poorest countries in the world, according to Publish What You Fund’s latest report. Together, the EU and its member states are the largest body of donors in the world, yet nine out of 16 key EU donors and institutions are still not publishing their data on time and in detail, leaving recipient countries in the dark about expected funding. The Publish What You Fund Initiative calls on EU donors to meet their aid transparency commitments by publishing the data; making the data useful and making the data accessible and promoting its use. BCSDN has been involved in the past 3 years in promoting the aid transparency commitments and in the assessment of the DG Enlargement and now the DG NEAR performance. Read more.

TSI Project Brings Together EU Statistical Institutions to Improve Stats for Non-Profit Sector

TSI and DG Research and Innovation organized a meeting on 1st June in Brussels, to discuss the potential uses of data on the third sector in EU policy with European Commission officials and to define the elements of an EU agenda for civil society-related statistical data. In addition, the event sought the active involvement of national statistical agencies in implementing the new procedures available to begin making the key components of the third sector visible in European statistics, with an outlook to expand data on other components of the third sector over time. BCSDN has facilitated the participation of Serbian Business Register Agency representative and is working with TSI project to share experience and knowledge on the civil society related data from Enlargement countries. Read more.

CSOs, Government Representatives and EU Delegates Contribute to the EU CS Guidelines Refinement and the EC Progress Reports 2015

The regional conference “Monitoring of the EU Guidelines for the Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Countries, 2014-2020-Year 1”, held 27th-30th April 2015 in Belgrade, brought together key stakeholders (representative of civil society including most of BCSDN members, TACSO, governments, EC, EU Delegations) to contribute to the refinement of the EU Guidelines for Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Countries, 2014-2020 from regional and national perspective. On a previous TACSO regional meeting in Brussels, it was concluded that BCSDN Monitoring country reports will be used to assess the fulfillment of the indicators, and national targets and benchmarks set up in the EU Guidelines. Read more.

BCSDN at the MAXCAP Young Researchers Conference in Istanbul

As part of the MAXCAP project in which BCSDN is partner in, a Young researchers’ and Midterm conference was held from 20th to 24th of April in Istanbul aimed for presenting the activities and research conducted so far by the nine-partner consortium of academic and policy excellence. Biljana Stojanoska presented the findings from the field research BCSDN conducted in Macedonia and Serbia on the discourses on social acceptance of the EU enlargement. Tanja Hafner Ademi, took part at a round table on streamlining the research findings for addressing policy challenges, speaking about the value and the role of civil society in the democratization and accession processes of EU candidate and potential candidate countries, and the importance of EU’s support and regard for the development of the civil society in these countries. Read more.

BCSDN Presented to Bulgarian Organizations

On 24th March, Bulgarian Center for Non-profit Law (BCNL) hosted a meeting for interested organizations working on civil society development and active citizenship in Sofia. At the meeting, Tanja Hafner Ademi, Executive Director of BCSDN, presented the network and its current work with the aim to exchange ideas about possible cooperation. Following the presentation of BCSDN and its areas of work, participants were most interested in how the network assesses its impact and makes effective work for individual citizens. Read more.

EP Calls on Governments of Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to Improve Cooperation with Civil Society

On 11th March, 2015, the European Parliament has adopted Resolutions on the European Commission’s Progress reports on Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia for 2014, calling governments in all four countries for improved involvement of the civil society in the law and policy-making process. The EP Resolutions, similarly to the Commission’s latest 2014-2015 Enlargement strategy and Progress Reports, puts the biggest focus on the need for improved CSO-government dialogue and greater involvement of civil society in the reform processes of the countries. In addition, some key issues related to the enabling environment on civil society noted in our own monitoring reports have been particularly addressed, as in the case with the Montenegro Resolution. 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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