The Balkan Civil Society Development Network organized a regional workshop “Partners or Foes? Exchange of Good Practices in Monitoring of Government Policies and Processes in Enlargement Countries”, which took place on 4th July in Skopje. The workshop was organized in the framework of EIDHR project ” Government Mirror: Public Participation in Legislation Preparation Procedures” implemented jointly by MCIC– Macedonia, CNVOS-Slovenia and BCSDN. Around 40 participants gathered for this workshop from CSOs, Governmental institutions and international organizations.
The CSOs representatives from the region had the opportunity to tackle and exchange good practices on three sessions and in three different fields: Monitoring of Government Policies and Processes: CSO (Good) Practices; Participation and Consultation of Civil Society and Citizens in Policy-creation and Decision-making and New Technologies and Participation.
The Government Mirror methodology and implementation results were presented in the first panel by the Slovenian project, implemented by CNVOS, and the Macedonian one. Through this project, MCIC follows and assesses the openness of the Government institutions to the civil sector and the practice of consultation process in the decision making through the methodology previously developed by CNVOS from Ljubljana. This methodology has been successfully implemented during the past few years in Slovenia. The joint advocacy efforts of Croatian CSOs though the Platform 112 were presented as well. Platform 112 is developed by 60 civil-society organizations that are continuously working on protection of human rights, democratization, peace-building, combating corruption, and protecting public resources, especially the environment.
The second session focused on the consultation processes, providing three genuine examples: the consultation processes in Kosovo and the Manual on Public Consultation, prepared by KCSF and adopted by the Government providing Official guidance for public consultations and general information, advice and tools for consultation; the SEKO mechanism for consultations from Serbia, reffering to the IPA programming (SEKOs represent sectorial civil society organizations involved in the programming of IPA in their area of work. There are 8 areas of work that include: Rule of law; Reform of public administration; Civil society, Media and culture; Concurrence; Human rights development; Local and rural development; Transport and Environment and energy efficiency); the experience from the participation to intern-ministerial working group on Chapter 23 in Montenegro as the newest example of participation and consultation with the government in Montenegro. This will permit an active role of civil society in the negotiation process for the EU Accession. The presentation also focused on the Council for civil society development as an opportunity for Macedonian participants to learn more about a structure that is about to be developed in Macedonia.
The 3rd panel was dedicated to e-participation and the possibilities that the new technology offers to Governments and to the Civil Society in form of new types of participation and consultations. A variety of examples of existing tools was provided, as well as innovative ways for CSOs to reach target groups and to transmit their messages. The two speakers from INePA, Slovenia and Dokukino, Serbia, presented initiatives implemented recently in their respective countries.
The meeting was an excellent opportunity to discuss current concerns through local good examples and to propose new opportunities for cooperation between CSOs and other partners (Governments and International organizations). The workshop’s conclusion was that the CSO engagement is necessary for a real partnership and engagement in the creation of policies and decision making processes.