On 2nd November, BCSDN team composed of Tanja Hafner Ademi and Milka Ivanovska Hadjievska presented the report Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in the Black Sea Region: Towards a Regional Strategy for Cooperation at the 8th edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum held in Tbilisi, Georgia. This report has been commissioned by the Black Sea NGO Forum with the aim to assess the state of the enabling environment for civil society development in eight countries of the Black Sea region: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
The analytical framework was based on combination of its experience in monitoring the EE for CSDev in EU Enlargement countries with the Monitoring Matrix Tool-kit and the Civil Society Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) Framework for Assessing Enabling Environment Progress resulting in analysis of 10 core dimensions of EE for CSDev. For BCSDN team, this has been an opportunity to test the Monitoring Matrix tool in other regions outside the Balkans and help civil society discuss and strategies about common actions to address identified challenges.
The Report has found that: “While considerable differences in the state of the enabling environment exist in the eight countries, some key common concerns can be discerned and thus, present a basis for possible joint action. Adoption or harmonization of the legislation on freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression in line with international standards and their full respect in practice is crucial for unlocking the needed reforms in the area of fiscal frameworks and state support. These reforms will insure diversification of funding sources, and with this support independent and autonomous civil society in the Black Sea region. Institutional mechanisms both on the public sector and civil society side need to be established to implement the needed reforms. More specifically, limitations on CSO registration and operation should be lifted and acts of state interference should be continuously monitored and reported by CSOs. Programs and activities for capacity building of officials who work in institutions relevant for CSOs operation and CSO-public institutions relationship should be implemented. On regional level, programs and educational activities for peer-to-peer exchange and learning inclusive of state officials, CSOs and foreign donors and other stakeholders should be facilitated. Better structuring of donor-CSOs relationship into a continued and inclusive stream and exchange of ideas based on partnership is crucial for foreign donors to allow CSOs grow and lead the agenda for change in their countries.”