Civil Society in the Western Balkans - Workshop

Civil Society in the
Western Balkans – Workshop

BRINGING CIVIL SOCIETY IN

Sarajevo, 15 - 17 April, 2012

SAISCenter for Transatlantic Relations

Organized by The Center for Transatlantic Relations
at the Johns Hopkins University SAIS
and the America-Bosnia Foundation

The overall goal of the Project is to foster regional dialogue and contribute to the empowerment of civil society to influence necessary democratic reforms in countries of the Western Balkans.

This goal will be pursued through the work on a Civil Society Manifesto, the promotional activities in the US, the EU and the Western Balkans as well as development of small and effective project ideas with representatives of the Western Balkans’ civil society.

MORE INFO

Following the major international conference in Sarajevo in June 2011, a range of multi-level and long-term activities will take place in Washington, D.C., Brussels, and the Western Balkans.

These activities will be coordinated by the newly established Southeast European Initiative at the Center for Transatlantic Relations-SAIS in Washington, D.C. in close cooperation with U.S. and EU partner organizations and foundations, as well as with relevant political, academic, and civil society actors in the Western Balkan’s. The Southeast European Initiative at CTR-SAIS will map a long-term plan for activities focusing on the Western Balkans from a transatlantic perspective; coordinate and lead these activities; and first and foremost offer assistance in promoting civil society in the region.

Objective

The overall goal of the Project is to foster regional dialogue and contribute to the empowerment of civil society to influence necessary democratic reforms in countries of the Western Balkans.

This goal will be pursued through the work on a Civil Society Manifesto, the promotional activities in the US, the EU and the Western Balkans as well as development of small and effective project ideas with representatives of the Western Balkans’ civil society.

Sunday, 15 April 2012
18.00-19.00

Opening Ceremony on the Premises of the City of Sarajevo

Welcoming Remarksby Representatives of ABF, SAIS, CEI and CSO Networks, and the City of Sarajevo

Preliminary Address by Nerzuk Curak, Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Sarajevo: Dilemmas, Challenges, and Opportunities for Civil Society in the Western Balkans and in Bosnia and Herzegovina

19.00-20.00 Reception
Monday, 16 April 2012

10.30-12.00

Opening of the Working Portion of Conference and First Plenary Session Challenges for Civil Society in BiH and the Region

  • Welcoming Remarks from ABF and SAIS Representatives
  • Address by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the City of Sarajevo
  • Address by EU Special Representative Ambassador Peter Sorensen, „The Importance of Civil Society in the Process of EU Integration“
  • Address by Ambassador Gerhard Pfanzelter, CEI Secretary General
  • Address by Ambassador of Italy, Raimondo De Cardona
  • Address by Head of Council of Europe, BiH, Ms.Mary Ann Hennessy
  • Short Inputs by Regional Representatives of Civil Society

12.15-13.30

Lunch Break
13.30-15.00

Workshop and debate along Four Thematic Groups (Part I)

1) Processes of EU Reform and the Role of Civil Society

2) Political Participation of Youth and the Education System

3) Open Society and Its Opponents: Corruption, Nepotism, Clientelism

4) Ecologically Sustainable Development: Civil Society’s Vision

15.00-15.30 Coffee Break
15.30-18.00 Workshop and debate along Four Thematic Groups (Part II)
19.00-20.30

Public Discussion and Book Launch: Unfinished Business: The Western Balkans and the International Community, editors: Vedran Dzihic and Dan Hamilton, Center for Transatlantic Relations - SAIS, Johns Hopkins, Washington DC, 2012

Participants: Vedran Dzihic, Nerzuk Curak / Sead Turcalo, Goran Nedic, Vedran Horvat, Jelena Milic, Srdjan Blagovcanin, Zlatko Hadzidedic

Tuesday, 17 April 2012
09.00-11.30

BiH Civil Society Voices on BiH's EU Integration in the Regional Context

Public Discussion/Debate

11.30-11.45 Coffee Break
11.45-12.30

Presentation: The Role of Civil Society in Crisis: Socioeconomic Challenges as a Framework for Civil-Social Action and Public Activism

Paul Stubbs (tbc)

12.30-13.30 Lunch Break
13.30-15.00

Continuation of Workshop and Debate along Four Thematic Groups (Part III)

1) EU Reform Processes and the Role of Civil Society

2) Political Participation of Youth and the Education System

3) Open Society and Its Opponents: Corruption, Nepotism, Clientelism

4) Ecologically Sustainable Development: Civil Society’s Vision

15.00-15.15 Coffee Break
15.15-17.00 Final Plenary Session: GET ACTIVITED, GET ENGAGED
17.00-17.30 Closing Ceremony

 

GENERAL CONTEXT OF THE INITIATIVE AND THE CONFERENCE

It is nearly two decades since the outbreak of hostilities in the vicious “Wars of the Yugoslav Succession,” in which nearly 200,000 people perished in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo. Since then, the countries that emerged from the former Yugoslavia have developed at varying speeds and with highly dif¬ferent results. Yet all of them face immediate challenges, the responses to which will determine whether the region moves forward, stagnates, or in some parts even reverts to the violence of the 1990’s. Despite the diversity of the region, with few exceptions, all the countries of the Western Balkans share challenges in the political, economic as well as civil sphere, including those of continuing the course of the EU integration (with exception of Croatia, which will join the Union in 2013), integrating national minorities, combating corruption and rebuilding economies, enhancing political and civil participation, etc.

Civil society organizations do not have sufficient access to decision making processes in their countries, but also in the policy making at the EU level. The EU progress reports repeatedly indicate to low participa¬tion of civil society organizations in political and policy processes the region, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also, reports by EU TACSO Project show that the level of regional networking is still not sat¬isfactory, while there is a limited number of active regional sectorial civil society networks. Finally, while policies and regulations for inclusion of civil society in decision making and policy processes at country and EU levels exist, these are not truly implemented by local governments. At the level of civil society in the region, other important challenges can be identified:

  • The Western Balkans is facing an imminent crisis of democracy, mainly characterized by the mistrust of the citizenry in the formal political institutions and political representatives as well as growing disenchantment with politics.
  • Due to a variety of reasons, such as finances, scope of activities and lack of networking opportunities, civil society organizations in the countries of the Western Balkans still remain focused on the context of their country of operation. However, the region faces interdependence of economic, cultural, social and political challenges and mutual issues within EU integration process. There is an urgent need for more prominent and active interaction between civil societies on the regional level including closer cooperation, identifying and addressing of common challenges and common actions;
  • The «Western Balkans» fatigue in the international community and the EU has been increasingly visible in the last few years, due to many factors, including EU internal problems, economic crisis, and general lack of progress within the Western Balkans region. This is specifically relevant challenge for the civil society in the region, as the decrease of international support destabilises their role and influence on decision making processes, further reverting the reforms supported by the international community. Fresh initiatives embeddied in excellent networks between the US, the EU and the region, can make a difference – they have the potential to actively empower the civil society to ensure their role is fulfiled and participation is exercised in the decision-making processes related to euroatlantic integration processes both at home and abroad.

To tackle these important issues pertaining Civil Society in the region but also general challenges of the reformist and EU integration processes in the region, National Endowment for Democracy, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Carnegie Endowment for Democracy, Balkan Trust for Democracy as well as regional partners (Ministries in BiH, BH Telecom, etc.) supported the SAIS CTR and ABF initiative to organize a major international Conference in Sarajevo in June 2011 (see www.abf.ba/wbc).

Following this Conference several multi-level and long-term activities organized by the Center for Transat¬lantic Relations, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University (CTR, SAIS) and American-Bosnian Foundation (ABF) have been taking place in the Western Balkans, Washington, D.C., Brussels, and other capitals of the EU.

Jasmin Jašarević, PRONI, Brčko

Milan Mrđa and/or Aida Daguda, Centar za promociju civilnog društva

Borislav Đurić, Mrkonjić Grad

Adis Arapović, Centar civilnih inicijativa, Sarajevo

Vehid Šehić, Forum Građana Tuzla

Amra Selesković, Organizacija VESTA, Tuzla

Mevlida Rovčanin, CEI CSO, Network, Sarajevo

Zoran Puljić, Fondacija Mozaik, Sarajevo

Mak Kamenica, America – Bosnia Foundation

Valentina Pellizzer, Platforma jedan svijet za jugoistočnu europu

Dražena Lepir, Oštra Nula Banja Luka

Darjan Bilić, Akcija građana OKC- Abrašević

Eldin Karic, Zurnal Info

Tija Memisevic, European Research Center, Sarajevo

Chris Bragdon, “BILD“ – Bosnia Initiatives for Local Development

Kurt Bassuener, Democratization Policy Council

Aida Ćorović, Urban IN, Novi Pazar, Srbija

Milan Vracar, Citizens of Culture, Novi Sad, Srbija

Olivera Vuković, SeConS, Beograd, Srbija

Miloš Đajić, Centar modernih veština, Beograd, Srbija

Jelena Milić, Center for Euroatlantic Studies (CEAS), Belgrade

Srdjan Djurovic, CPES, Director

Aleksandar Popov, Center for Regionalism (Igman Initiative)

Igor Kostic, The Initiatives

Milan Pajevic, ISAC Fund

Aleksandar Kovačević, Beograd

Zvezdan Kalmar, Bankwatch, CEKAR

Goran Božičević, ZAMIR.net, Hrvatska

Nataša Skaričić, nezavisna novinarka, Hrvatska, Natasa Skaricic

Gordan Bosanac, Centar za Mirovne Studije, Hrvatska

Iva Zenzerovic, Odbor Miramida-Centar, Regionalne razmjene mirovnih iskustava, Hrvatska,

Nataša Bodrožić, culturenet.hr, Hrvatska

Vedran Horvat, Zagreb office, Heinrich Böll Stiftung

Jelena Berković, GONG, Zagreb, Hrvatska

Teodor Celakoski, ZELENA AKCIJA

Lumir Abdixhiku, RIINVEST Institute

Ilir Hoxha, Youth Project, World Bank

Venera Hajrullahu, Kosovar Civil Society Foundation

Fisnik Korenica, Group for Legal and Political Studies

Dren Doli, Group for Legal and Political Studies

Mentor Vrajoli, Kosova

Elbassan Morina, Kosova

Valdeta Idrizi, civikos

Žarko Trajanovski, Makedonija

Žarko Trajkov, Triagolnik, Skoplje, Makedonija, Zarko Trajkov

Vladimir Mišev, Institute for Democracy "Societas Civilis", Skoplje, Macedonia, Aleksandra Bojadzieva, InSoC - Initiative for Social Change

Lidija Dimova, MCET ( Macedonian center for European Training

German Filkov, CCC (Center for Civic Communications)

Dejan Georgievski, oneworldsee, Skoplje

Ajša Hadžibegović, ex Forum MNE, Podgorica, Crna Gora

Filip Kovačević, Univerzitet Kotor, Crna Gora

Daliborka Uljarević, Centre for Civic Education, Montenegro

Jelena Miljanić, Kancelarija za mlade, Podgorica, Crna Gora

Vanja Calovic, MANS

Dritan Abazovic, Podgorica

Conclusions and recommendations

U Sarajevu je 17. aprila 2012. godine održana panel diskusija pod nazivom “ U SUSRET EU INTEGRACIJAMA: Vizije i izazovi za civilno društvo u kontekstu EU integracija u BiH i u regionu".

Ispod možete preuzeti zaključke i preporuke članova civilnog društva iz BiH i zemalja Zapadnog Balkana koji su učestvovali u navedenom panelu.

Diskusija je održana u sklopu regionalne konferencija civilnog društva pod nazivom “Uključivanje civilnog društva”, a na kojoj je učestvovalo preko 60 predstavnika civilnog društva iz cijelog regiona Zapadnog Balkana. Cilj pomenute konferencije bio je jačanje uloge civilnog društva u političkim i društvenim procesima u Bosni i Hercegovini i na Zapadnom Balkanu u procesu integracije u Evropsku Uniju. Ovaj događaj je krenuo od pretpostavke da ključ za nastavak mirnog razvoja zemalja Zapadnog Balkana leži u jačanju uloge civilnog društva.

Civilno drustvo i EU Zakljucci i preporuke juli 2012 final (PDF, 785kb)

  • woman

    Djana Kazic
    Project Manager Board Member, America – Bosnia Foundation
    djana.kazic@abf.ba

  • man

    Vedran Dzihic
    Coordinator Senior Fellow, Center for Transatlantic Relations, SAIS Johns Hopkins University
    vdzihic1@jhu.edu

 

 

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