Sustainable Donors’ Strategies and Practices in Civil Society Development (CSD) in the Balkans – A Quagmire or Opportunity for Success?


In 2011, when the region is celebrating 20 years of transition, there is little reason for citizens and civil society in the region being jubilant. The already problematic economic development aggravated by the global economic and financial crisis has brought about a sharp decline in foreign donor support in a situation of extreme poverty, unemployment and apathy among the citizens.

While there has been many efforts launched in evaluating the impact of donor assistance and its better coordination on the part of Governments and foreign donors (e.g. establishment of donor coordination forums, establishment of donor databases), there has been little or no access by local stakeholders, esp. local CSOs to improve synergies, decisions on funding priorities and needs etc. in support to civil society development. At a time, when major (foreign) donors are largely exiting the region, it is strategically important to review the past and current state of affairs, identify gaps and present lessons-learned and recommendations for effective, sustainable and locally-owned transition to civil society funded by local sources. Moreover, the EC this year is starting with developing the new post-IPA regulation, which will include future EU support to civil society development in pre- and accession countries.

For these reasons, the network is “zooming” out its focus on mapping the different donor strategies and practices in civil society development in the Balkan region in order to provide locally-driven input to both withdrawing donors exit strategies and national institutions in charge of developing long-term legal and financial environment for sustainable civil society development.

This project is funded by the Balkan Trust for Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund and Compagnia di San Paolo.


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