The first year of the IPA FPA project was devoted to the promotion, discussion, and the start of implementation of objectives and 6 priorities set under the BCSDN Mid-term Strategy 2012-2014. Under Priority 1 (Monitoring) BCSDN, after consultations, adapted its Monitoring Matrix to country languages, laying out the ground for an extensive and inclusive (at least 630 respondents involved) monitoring exercise which saw the first 8 draft country monitoring reports being finalized towards the end of November, 2013. The Matrix has already yielded concrete effects on national instruments for CSDev being developed in WBT countries (e.g. Montenegrin Government Strategy for development of civil society 2014-2017, Serbian 1st Government strategy for development of civil society, 1st CSO declaration delivered to Albanian PM on 16th December, 2013).
Priority 2 (advocacy vis-a-vis the national governments) and Priority 3 (advocacy vis-à-vis the EC) both saw the fulfilment of very rewarding advocacy exchanges. A regional exchange and best-practices workshop on state funding where almost a quarter of participants were Government officials led to the discussion of initial monitoring results and potential strategies for country actions. Similarly an EU workshop in Brussels on the IPA CSF 2014-2020 against research on IPA CSF 2007-2011 support included 40 participants from local CSOs, EU networks, the EC, and the EESC.Qualitative regional research on CS donors’ strategies and practices (Priority 4) was also set in motion with the start of fieldwork in the form of 48 interviews in four countries. The second round of the Slovak and Balkan Public Policy Fund (Priority 5 – sub-granting capacity-building mechanism) continued and generated almost double the funds and saw the addition of an internship component. Under the last priority, coordination and information-sharing activities (Priority 6), an annual network meeting and 2 Board meetings were organized, 23 E-mail alerts and 4 Newsletters were published, and BCSDN saw a massive growth of its social media and web presence.
BCSDN submitted its Interim Report early in February to the EC after a successful audit of the total amount of EUR 298.105,17.