The Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) last week held the launching event of the research papers prepared within the scope of the CSO – Private Sector engagement research, supported by the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness.
During the event, the research partners, Albanian Center for Economic Research, European Policy Institute – Skopje (North Macedonia), and Trag Foundation (Serbia), presented their research findings, methodologies, and recommendations on enhancing CSO-Private Sector cooperation towards promoting civic space.
The tone of the event was set by Ms. Tala Bantangan who addressed the audience on behalf of the Private Sector Engagement Task Force in the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness. Ms. Bantangan presented the audience with the endeavors that the CPDE is undertaking throughout the world to enhance CSO-Private Sector cooperation aiming to minimize the negative effects of the corrosive capital.
Mr. Stefan Ristovski presented the study “Corporate sustainability reporting as a mean for the engaged private sector – Regulatory framework, corporate sustainability and reporting practices in North Macedonia”, developed by the European Policy Institute Skopje. This study is presenting and compares the sustainability reporting requirements in the EU and North Macedonia. The new Corporate Governance Code and ESG Reporting guidelines of the Macedonian Stock Exchange are the first steps that introduce environmental social and governance reporting standards in North Macedonia and effort to meet the EU’s and global best practices. The analysis shows that the CGC does not fully reflect the EU’s disclosure requirements. The scope of the application has been altered to reflect the size of listed companies at MSE. The report surveys sustainability disclosure practices among Macedonian companies and presents three case studies. His presentation was followed by Ms. Margica Porchu from the Macedonian Stock exchange who addressed the event in the capacity of an expert keynote speaker. Ms. Porchu emphasized the role of active transparency in the process of building quality corporate governance policies.
Ms. Nevena Mijatović covered the partnerships between the city and the business sector from the perspective of a foundation that promotes the development of an open and civil society based on solidarity covered in the study “Who Cooperates Wins”, developed by the Trag Foundation, aiming to analyze of the best partnerships between the two sectors from the perspective of a foundation that promotes the development and open society principles based on the pillars of solidarity, cooperation, and participation. The analytical strategy of this report was shaped by the available dataset, which was derived from practical work. Mr. Nathan Koeshel, the Executive Director of Catalyst Balkans, delivered expert input towards the presented findings and practices acknowledged through the study. He stressed the role of building human relations while building bulti-sectoral partnerships because those partnerships create engagement that permanently changes the nature of human relationships.
The study titled “Exploring CSOs-businesses partnerships in the context of Albania” has been developed by the Albanian Center for Economic Research (ACER), provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities that the Albanian CSOs face while partnering with the private sector, was present the audience by Ms. Brunilda Kosta, Ph.D. Thirty Albanian CSOs were interviewed for the analysis, half of whom had previously formed partnerships with Albanian businesses. These fifteen CSOs have explored a range of relationship opportunities, from philanthropy—a more conventional kind of collaboration—to more strategic alliances. Through her address, Ms. Kosta elaborated on the models of cooperation between civil society and the private sector, and challenges in the matching process between the CSOs and the companies, but also addressed the needs and opportunities. Mr. Ilir Ciko, Ph.D. delivered findings by Ms. Kosta. Mr. Ciko elaborated on the essence of creating shared value between the cooperating entities from the private sector and civil society, guided by the fact that CSOs play a crucial role in the delivery of added value for the benefit of all society.
The wrap-up session was delivered by Ms. Christen Dobson as food for thoughts on the ongoing trends, the awaiting prospects, and hidden threads in the private sector and civil society cooperation. Ms. Dobson noted that through her engagement with the Business Human Rights Resource Centre, they have concluded that in general there is an ongoing increasing understanding that actors should care about civic space, but civic space still depends on the protection of fundamental freedoms that continues to deteriorates – hence the need for further development of building the trust needed for effective cooperation between the two sectors and work on clear communication of the needs and expectations.