Since the Enlargement Strategy 2007-2008, civil society development has been a reform priority in the EU agenda of enlargement. The objective has been to strengthen the role of civil society in the democratisation and reconciliation process while also supporting better communication of enlargement processes and mutual understanding between EU Member States and the candidate countries’ societies.
In order to respond to the need of fully engaging civil society in the EU integration process, an overall strategy for supporting civil society has been developed in the framework of IPA under the Civil Society Facility (CSF). The CSF focuses on supporting Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), i.e. all not-for-profit, non-market and non-state organisations and structures in which people organise to pursue shared objectives and ideals.
The global objective for the CSF is:
‘To contribute to anchoring democratic values and structures, human rights, social inclusion and the rule of law, thereby supporting the EU integration process.’
The specific objective is to achieve:
‘A more dynamic civil society actively participating in public debate on democracy, human rights, social inclusion and the rule of law and with capacity to influence policy and decision making processes.’
In November 2012 the European Commission contracted 18 Partnership Programmes for CSOs under the CSF global and specific objectives. The aim is to contribute to achieving these objectives though the establishment of regional CSO partnerships that pursue shared objectives regarding good governance and the fulfillment of the political criteria for EU accession. Beyond the global and specific objectives, the call for proposals prioritised applications that addressed all of the following issues:
1) Strengthened capacity and efforts to provide analysis, advocacy and monitoring of key sector reforms at regional and national levels
2) Improvement of the environment for civil activism and state-civil society dialogue at regional and national levels
3) Improvement of the legitimacy, transparency and accountability of CSOs in the region
Each of the 18 Partnerships Programmes targets a specific sector of relevance to the enlargement agenda. Individual Partnership Programmes have their own global and specific objectives reflecting this sectoral work while also showing a clear linkage to the global and specific objectives for the call for proposals as a whole. They fall into three broad categories as follows:
- Social development, human rights and reconciliation
- Environment, natural resources, energy
The mid-term review (MTR) will assess the progress of the Partnership Programmes against the stated specific objectives as well as identify issues and recommend course corrections. In doing so, the MTR will assess each Partnership Programme both individually as well as collectively through an assessment of the portfolio of Partnership Programmes as a whole.
The MTR will assess each Partnership Programme as well as the portfolio as a whole according to standard evaluation criteria:
- Lessons Learnt