BIRN Attends EU Civil Society Forum for Western Balkans and Türkiye

June 5, 2023
The EU Civil Society Forum for Western Balkans and Türkiye 2023 and a launch meeting for new grantees under the Regional Grant Beneficiaries Civil Society Facility 2022 was held from May 31 to June 2 in Podgorica, Montenegro.

The EU-funded Technical Assistance to Civil Society Organisations in Western Balkans and Türkiye (EU TACSO 3) project, on behalf of the European Commission, DG NEAR, hosted the events, in which representatives of BIRN participated online, presenting the project ‘Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Türkiye II’.

The EU Civil Society Forum brought together representatives from the civil society organisations from the Western Balkans and Türkiye and the authorities in the enlargement region to discuss the findings of the baseline assessment of the DG NEAR Guidelines for EU Support to Civil Society in the Enlargement Region 2021-2027 and to contribute to an agenda for future action for civil society in the region.

The opening remarks were given by Lidija Ljumovic, Director General of the Directorate for Innovation, Openness of Public Administration and Cooperation with NGOs at the Ministry of Public Administration of Montenegro, and Zorana Markovic, Executive Director of CRNVO – Resource Centre for Civil Society Organisations.

The findings of the Baseline Assessment served as the basis for subsequent discussions. These discussions primarily revolved around topics such as the enabling environment for civil society organisations, the utilisation of digital tools to safeguard this environment, and the promotion of the rule of law, safety, security and financial sustainability.

There was also an exchange of experiences and ideas about the effective use of digital tools to enhance public engagement, advance the Green Agenda, foster regional cooperation and facilitate local collaboration in the delivery of services for the development of local communities.

The second day of the Forum primarily centred around in-depth discussions aimed at promoting diversity mainstreaming and exploring strategies for civil society organisations to actively involve, include and represent minorities and marginalised groups.

The focus was on equipping non-profit organisations with the necessary skills for establishing partnerships, developing professional standards and enhancing governance and accountability practices. Emphasis was placed on fostering good governance through effective board management, robust policies, and ensuring diversity and equality within civil society organisations.

On June 2, the Launch Meeting for New Grantees from the Regional Grant Beneficiaries Civil Society Facility was convened.

“BIRN’s project Strengthening Quality News and Independent Journalism in the Western Balkans and Türkiye II is part of the Facility’s programme and I was happy to participate online at this event that opened up opportunities for further cooperation between different CSOs working in similar areas to our project. BIRN is happy to be part of a group of projects that will bring valuable changes in the region,” said Marija Vasilevska, BIRN’s Project Manager.

The meeting served as a platform for representatives from DG NEAR, Grant Beneficiaries, EU Delegations/Offices, and the EU TACSO 3 Team to engage in discussions about regional projects that have recently started. The primary focus of the meeting was to foster cooperation among the participants and explore opportunities for the exchange of data and information, aiming at enhancing the overall effectiveness and impact of the projects.