Support to the Office

Strengthening the dialogue between the Government of Serbia and civil society

As stated by the Office in its external communication, civil dialogue is “institutionalized communication between civil society organizatios and government bodies, a substantive inclusion of civil society in decision-making as well as an exchange of views and opinions between equal partners in a constructive dialogue”.

Since there are no consolidated mechanisms for consultations during policy processes, the role of line ministries and authorities in this respect needs to be clarified and internalized by all parties.
Building the recognition of the role of the Office within the “system” is one of the key tasks of this project. Thus, the Office role vis-à-vis other units in government shall be communicated to the entities concerned. Through training and outreach activities, the project will assist the Office in raising awareness within the government on importance of partnership and dialogue between Government and civil society and the role of the Office in this process.

One of the important tasks for the Project and the Office is to identify and establish structures and processes for the Office outreach in Serbia. Out of Belgrade activities by the Office will assist in building its image as a support function catering to the needs of all strata of civil society.

Apart from training program for the Office, the Project will also support consultations with civil society on EU accession process through recently established Sector Civil Society Organizations (SEKO). Although SEKO mechanism is primarily designed to consult with civil society in the context of IPA programming, SEKO mechanism shall be also used for familiarizing CSOs in Serbia on chapters of the acquires and EU negotiation process.

These project activities are led by Branka Andjelkovic, Team Leader of the Project.

Enhancing enabling environment for civil society development

SIPU project team shall support the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society to draft a National Strategy for Creating  an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2015-2019.. As a first step in this process, the National Council for Communication and Enabling Environment for Civil Society shall be established. The Council would participate in the development of a sector strategy, monitor its implementation and support other processes of relevance for the development of civil society in Serbia.

Based on the analyses, the Project shall define options for further advancement of the legal, financial and institutional framework conducive to civil society development. This includes improvement of the institutional framework on the national, provincial and local level as well as legal amendments and adjustments based on an assessment of deficiencies in sector laws relevant to CSOs.

Annual reports prepared by the Office on financial allocations from national and municipal budgets for CSO programme activities shall be supported. Yearly survey and release of information from line ministries and other public institutions about funding of CSOs is expanded and the report for 2012 includes information from local self-governments in Serbia. The aim of activity is to increase the transparency of public budget allocations in terms of processes, distribution (sectors and territorially) and outcomes (based on the recently introduced but not yet fully implemented regulations).

Promotion of new sources of financing to civil society organizations is a precondition of sustainability. This includes the promotion of institutional grants, the establishment of a National Foundation, CSR activities, corporate philanthropy, social entrepreneurship, transparent public spending by local self-governments, and other similar measures. The project will support the Office also in this endeavor.

These project activities are led by Branka Andjelkovic, Team Leader of the Project.