IPA CSF 2011-2013 Revised Approach-Available in Working Document

BCSDN Shared Local Experience and Needs in Relation to the Creation of a Western Balkan Fund on the European Civil Meeting 2011
June 10, 2011
BCSDN Holds Extraordinary Regional Workshop to Discuss Exiting Donor Strategies & Practices in Civil Society Development in the Balkans
June 13, 2011

The new, or rather differentiated approach under the IPA CSF 2011-2013 will include a unique (one) Commission decision covering all IPA countries and 3 year time period. In terms of the financing, the overall budget envelope for 3 years is planned for over 60 million EUR, of which 30 million EUR will be allocated to regional activities (s.c. Multi-beneficiary programme).

The TACSO phase 2 (August 2011-August 2012) and P2P funding for the period are outside of this envelope as well as national activities for some countries already approved (e.g. IPA Macedonia 2011 project fiche-support to civil society/dialogue on local level). Continuation of TACSO services (i.e.phase 3) is planned for in the approach. For the first time, consultations organized by EUD and DG Enlargment have taken place in some countries in the region. The EC has also made available the working documents of the revised approach ( Annex_CSF_2011.doc, PF_1_CSF_Multi-beneficiary.doc).

The main thematic focus of this support will be reaching:

smaller community-based and grass-root organisations (primarily through big-help-small approach);
supporting networking and partnership-building[1];and
support to strategic CSOs carrying out sustainability-based activities

The main added-value/change is in:

better coordinated support between region and national activities;
shorter time span between call for proposal and funding to CSOs;
flexibility in spending for EUD and DG Enlargement (e.g. on national level, the moneys can be spent before other planed project under IPA in support of civil society);
re-granting (but only up to 10.000 EUR for single grant is allowed under current EU Financial Regulation).

The approach presents a positive response by the Commission to local CSOs efforts (incl. BCSDN and its members) in better support to their ongoing work in civil society development, esp. in supporting locally-owned and grounded processes and actors in their efforts and work. However, the real effect of the approach will be limited both in timing and size, i.e. the first support will be able to be launched in beginning of 2012 and will affect only Partnership Action pillar of the support[2] in the Multi-beneficiary programme. On national level, all activities after 2011 will be affected (in case not planned before – see case of Macedonia above). Roughly, the funding on national level will be less to the regional one, but flexibility exists based on the needs of CSOs. In the new IPA CSF 2011-2013, the Commission will be roughly allocating 2/3 of funding through grants. There is a need to clearly communicate to the civil society community what can be realistically expected and when in order to avoid the gap in expectations and understandings as with the original planning and design of the IPA CSF.
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[1] Here, support to network around key themes is envisaged. First, a (restricted) call for concept notes will be launched to gather ideas on what kind of support is needed, followed by seed-funding to develop ideas further and the finally followed by a call for full proposals.
[2] IPA CSF in divided in 3 pillars: technical assistance (TACSO), study visits (P2P) and grant support (Partnership Action) on regional level. The methods diverge at national level.

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