In March, our network has started development of the 1st monitoring matrix on enabling environment for civil society development (CSDev) with the aim to provide for CSOs with an effective monitoring and advocacy tool for consolidating the legislative and especially the implementation of the enabling environment to be in place for a vibrant, effective and developed civil society sector. The groundbreaking work has been undertaken by 10 CSO practitioners/experts from the Balkans in partnership and support by European Center for Non-profit Law (ECNL). The development of this monitoring tool has provoked great interest among civil society and stakeholders and before turning into an advocacy tool-kit, we consider it important all interested organizations, institutions and individuals provide us with comments, suggestions etc. to make this tool useful and realistic to the needs esp. of Enlargement countries. Therefore, please send us your comments and suggestions to our Executive Office at email@example.com by 30th November.
Monitoring Matrix for Civil Society Development is the first document which defines areas of CSDev, outlining the principles for each (sub-) area and setting standards against which development in each country will be monitored. The standards have been defined taking into account the existing international/regional legal standards and practice, such as the area of freedom of association and the consultation processes, but some, like the tax/fiscal regime and the state support, are defined for the first time. The matrix defines optimum, not minimal standards with the aim to set an agenda for CSDev. It provides indicators for both the legislation in place and the way in which is implemented in practice, as this is the main challenge in our countries. Before monitoring takes place, the indicators will be adapted to take into consideration the specific country situations. The monitoring is envisaged to be financial-, human- and time-effective as it aims to take advantage of already available data and information. The concept of the matrix has been presented to the EC in May and was received well. At the end of September, the draft matrix has been presented to Government offices and bodies and the region in order to gain their feedback on human and financial effects of the implementation of the standards proposed in the matrix. The feedback from the two main stakeholder groups proves that the matrix has an immense added-value and can foster consolidation of the enabling environment for CSDev in our countries in the mid-term (3-5 year) period. With its members, BCSDN will start the monitoring test phase as of January 2013. The expert work on the matrix has been supported by the project “Cross-Sector Regional Partnership for Enabling Legal Environment for CSDev” supported by USAID and ICNL under the Legal Innovation Fund.