As a regional network focused on empowering civil society, promoting an enabling environment, and safeguarding civic space, BCSDN is closely following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on civil society in the Balkan region. In a joint effort with our 14 member organizations, we have been working on developing a regional overview on the effects of the corona-crisis in the Balkans, dedicated to the CSOs’ efforts and the influence this crisis has on their work.
As a follow up on the first issue focusing on Restrictions on Civic Space and Basic Freedoms under the state of emergency throughout the region, we are happy to publish the second issue titled: The State of CSOs, their involvement in the Crisis Response & State, and Donors Support. It presents the uncertainties and difficulties with which the civil society in the Balkans has been faced amid COVID-19 crisis. While adjusting their operations and shifting the priorities to respond adequately to the emergency and still meet their goals, CSOs are struggling with the funding and support available from both the states and the donors. Still, driven by self-initiative, CSOs have contributed significantly to filling the gaps and responding to the increased needs of citizens, especially to the most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Thus, CSOs have proved they can be a relevant and irreplaceable partner to the state in such unprecedented times. Having this in mind, the role of donors as partners and supporters of civil society will be even more important both in ensuring its sustainability and supporting the CSOs’ efforts.
In an effort to provide an overview of responses and examples we could all learn from, BCSDN also developed a new Balkan Civic Practices online edition – a separate website dedicated to the COVID-19 response of and impact on civil society in the Balkan region, covering the Western Balkan countries, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Romania and Turkey. The website aims to provide regular updates and follow up on the two issues of the regional overview published, and other upcoming developments. The website offers the possibility to explore different topics across countries, and to download all published materials, including the special newsletters by BCSDN.
Follow this link: http://bcp.balkancsd.net/ for more information.