On 20th May 2021, BCSDN member the Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC) held a session to review the first draft of the Code of Ethics for the Macedonian CSOs. Representatives of the informal platform for CSO transparency and accountability in the country joined together virtually to reflect on the principles and actions covered in the Code. The document was delivered after the CSOs’ open conversation during the previous workshop on creating the Code of Ethics for CSOs organized in March 2021, and the organizations’ individual feedback on the document. The event also brought BCSDN EO representatives who relying on the network’s international experience, and partnership in the Global Standard for CSO Accountability, provided further input and support in the process. The meeting was also an opportunity to exchange information with the National Resource Centre from Partners Albania, whose representatives shared their experience regarding drafting and institutionalizing the Code of Standards for the Albanian CSOs.
Ms. Aleksandra Savevska, the MCIC Project Officer, opened the event with an overview of the CSOs’ role in the country’s socio-economic, political, and democratic development and the importance of CSOs’ investment in accountability and transparency, legitimacy, and good management in their internal practices and programs.
The discussion reflected that the Code should comply with the democratic principles, including respect for human rights, justice, and equality, embracing the process of gender equality and women’s empowerment, and the legitimacy and credibility of the CSOs. The participants pointed the feedback mechanism to be included in the Code as a critical element of accountability and a pivotal vehicle to engage the organizations’ stakeholders in responding to CSOs’ work. It was decided an emphasis to be poured on solidarity, which as a fundamental civil society value, involves different stakeholders working on shared objectives and interests. The participants also alluded to the need for the Code to include the inclusive and participatory governance of CSOs members and their involvement in the organization’s decision-making processes.
To strengthen the culture of learning and regional cooperation on civil society accountability and self-regulation, Ms. Ariola Agoli, the Director of Programs in NRC Partners Albania, focused her presentation on the challenges and opportunities for delivery of the Albanian Code of Standards, which after the long process of consultation, debates, and mutual feedback, will be officially launched during the summer of 2021.
Building on the national, regional, and international best practices, including the BCSDN Code of Conduct and the 12 commitments of the Global Standard for CSO Accountability, the two Codes will strive to present the organizations’ understanding of accountability. It will further encourage CSOs to learn, improve, and change, develop trust with stakeholders, and enhance their legitimacy and credibility. These are also the principles that signatory organizations of the Codes will commit to respecting and promoting in the long run.
As a regional network working on programs and practices on CSOs’ accountability and enhanced CSOs’ capacities, BCSDN commits to provide further support to its members and the national organizations towards improving CSOs’ accountability practices, thus strengthening the overall civil society resilience in the Balkans.