On 10th and 11th June, the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) held its 3rd Annual gathering of members in Belgrade, Serbia. Hosted by Civic Initiatives, the gathering included a workshop under the theme: Sustainable Donors Strategies & Practices in Civil Society Development in the Balkans: Practices & Lessons-learned by Local Civil Society Actor.
The workshop, which gathered 24 representatives of BCSDN members, partners, donors, academia and Government, discussed main processes and challenges to civil society development in the Balkans. The participants concluded that as a result of the global economic crisis and the withdrawal of traditional donors the situation in civil society development needs urgent attention. The mistake made in the collapse of the support to civil society in Central Eastern Europe with the entering to the EU should not be repeated in the Balkans. Based on its so far successful work, the network should prepare an advocacy strategy for a political engagement with the European Commission and European foundations to support civil society development based on the real needs of civil society. The main experience-sharing and cooperation should be based on intra-Balkan regional partnerships and sharing of experience with Bulgaria and Romania should be further strengthened.
On the margins of the workshop, the 3rd Annual Council was held. TUSEV from Turkey and PartnersAlbania joined the network to become its 14th and 15th member organization. The mandate of network organs (Board, Executive office, Executive Director) has been extended from 2 or 3 years and the composition of the Board was enlarged to 6 to 8 members to account for the flexibility needed for the enlargement in this and in the coming years. Full proceedings of the meeting are available here.