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Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Monitoring 2019

August 1, 2019

Presently, the culture of open discussion seems to be threatened in an increasing number of countries. In Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE's) democracies, recent political developments appear to jeopardize progresses made in the past. Against this background, this study aims at shedding light on the dynamics of CEE'scivil society and gives a brief overview of the status quo and recent developments that directly affect civil society. The study was conducted by the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship at WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), commissioned by and in collaboration with ERSTE foundation as well as with a group of country experts. The inclusion of expert assessments on civil society aims at giving a voice primarily to practitioners. Therefore, the study included an online survey in each participating country, addressing CSO representatives operating in various fields of activity.

Economic Empowerment for Women Affected by Conflict

May 1, 2019

Since 1993, Women for Women International has served more than 479,000 marginalised women affected by conflict. Through our yearlong programme marginalised women are supported to: earn and save money; influence decisions; improve their well-being; and connect to networks for support. We see promising results in our monitoring and evaluation efforts.Based on our evidence and complemented by global studies, we highlight four key, interlinked components that are necessary for effectively supporting women's economic empowerment in conflict:1. Work with men to address discriminatory gender norms. All members of society suffer from patriarchal attitudes and have a role to play in promoting gender equality – these are not just "women's issues".2. Holistic and integrated programming. Women's needs and experiences in conflict are complex and interlinked. Solely economic interventions alone have not proven to yield long-term benefits.3. Build women's economic knowledge and skills. This is vital to supporting them to build agency and influence decisions, increase their income and increase their resilience to economic shocks.4. Informal and formal support networks. In the absence of government and financial services, networks are key to supporting women to access financial support, particularly for savings and income.In conclusion, this paper makes five recommendations for international governments and donors to effectively deliver on international commitments and support marginalised women's economic empowerment in conflict-affected contexts:1. Urgently increase funding for women's rights organisations.2. Support economic empowerment programmes that include men in their programme design.3. Target the most marginalised women.4. Support holistic and integrated programming.5. Listen to the needs of marginalised women and actively include them in the design, implementation and review of economic empowerment programmes.

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

March 1, 2017

More than two decades have passed since nonprofit and third-sector researchers "discovered" Central and Eastern Europe as an area of scholarly interest. After the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain, scholars noted the emergence of new civil society actors and were curious to understand the role these actors would play in their societies. Since that time, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has experienced intensive periods of transformation, conflict and renewal. This study is guided by the intention to develop a better understanding of the current state of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the diverse pathways of its development, and its possible future trajectories.

The Proposed New Kosovo Power Plant: An Unnecessary Burden at an Unresaonable Price

January 20, 2016

The World Bank is deciding whether to fund construction of a new coal-fired power plant outside Kosovo's capital, despite a 2013 pledge to avoid funding coal projects. Kosovars currently get a majority of their electricity from low-grade lignite coal reserves, but air pollution takes a toll on their health and already causes over 800 premature deaths each year.A report by Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and Kosovo Civil Society Consortium for Sustainable Development (KOSID), sheds further light on why another coal-fired power plant in Kosovo would be the wrong direction for the country's development.According to the report "the people of Kosovo will have to drastically reallocate their household budgets to pay for the New Kosovo Power Plant if it is built." For instance, if a number of assumptions, like construction costs and economic growth rates, are not met, it is likely that household electricity costs will rise in the country to over twice the European average. The report also projects that the huge debt burden on banks in a country the size of Kosovo will crowd out other new investment across the country.At a November 2015 TEDx presentation, Visar Azemi, a coordinator at KOSID, described the challenge posed by the coal plant as an opportunity for civil society members, think tanks, media organizations and grassroots activists to come together and collaborate on sustainable future for Kosovo, in line with global developments.The report notes that Kosovo has appealing alternatives, including implementing energy-efficiency measures and installing renewable energy sources, that would be less expensive and stimulate a broader range of economic development.

Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2015

June 7, 2015

This publication aims to provide the reader with a comparative overview of the diverse legal and fiscal environments of foundations in 40 countries across wider Europe: the 28 EU Member States, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It includes charts, draw on the basis of the updated online EFC (European Foundation Centre) Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, which are available to download at www.efc.be. The EFC online profiles include more detailed country information and further explanation of the information presented in those charts.

An Eye on Justice: Monitoring Kosovo's Courts, 2008-2014

March 2, 2015

As Kosovo prepared to declare independence in February 2008, it still lacked a court system that was efficient, trusted, and open to public scrutiny. Most judges had trained under the communist government of the former Yugoslavia and were unaccustomed to public observation of their work. Procedural errors were common, and cases often languished in the judicial system for years. In response, the leaders of two Kosovar nongovernmental organizations decided to train and dispatch recent law school graduates to observe court sessions, report on whether proper procedures were followed, and assess the conduct of judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. Gradually, the program overcame initial hostility within the court system and gained the trust of judges and others working in the courts. By 2014, monitors had covered more than 8,000 sessions, and their reports documented improvements in the openness of court proceedings and in adherence to proper judicial procedures.

Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2015 (Chinese Translation)

January 1, 2015

This publication aims to provide the reader with a comparative overview of the diverse legal and fiscal environments of foundations in 40 countries across wider Europe: the 28 EU Member States, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It includes charts, draw on the basis of the updated online EFC (European Foundation Centre) Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, which are available to download at www.efc.be. The EFC online profiles include more detailed country information and further explanation of the information presented in those charts. (Edition translated from English to Chinese)

The Operating Environment for Public-Benefit Foundations in the Western Balkans Region : A Project Supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

November 1, 2014

That study explores the operating environment for public-benefit foundations in the Western Balkans region. Examining the legal and tax framework for foundations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, it draws on data provided by local foundation law experts in each of the countries surveyed and presents a comparative analysis.

Re/integration of Trafficked persons : Working with Trafficked Children and Youth

October 1, 2014

This paper was developed in the context of the Trafficking Victims Re/integration Programme (TVRP), which funds NGO's in several countries of Southeastern Europe. It is the fifth of a series that aim to shed light on good practices in the area of re/integration as well as on important lessons learned.This paper addresses the issue of the re/integration of trafficked children and youth, drawing on the first hand experiences of service providers in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia.Children and youth have become an increasing portion of persons being trafficked from and within the Balkan region. Some are exploited sexually, others are exploited for different forms of labour, including begging and street selling. This paper discusses each of the different services and types of support needed to meet the specific re/integration needs of trafficked children and youth in the light of international standards. It also looks into challenges facing service providers such as the identification of trafficked children, prosecution of perpetrators due to gaps in the criminal code as well as forster care.

Nations in Transit 2014

June 12, 2014

This is the the 18th edition of Freedom House's comprehensive report on post-communist democratic governance -- highlights recent setbacks to democracy across Eurasia and the Balkans, as well as in Central Europe. Russia served as the model and inspiration for policies that have led to an uninterrupted retreat from free institutions throughout Eurasia and in 2013 brought a new and alarming level of repression. In Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries, civil society responded with remarkable resistance to repressive governance. The year also featured improved elections and peaceful transfers of power in Kosovo, Albania, and Georgia.

Building Open Society in the Western Balkans, 1991-2011

October 4, 2011

Provides an overview of the Open Society Foundations' activities in the former Yugoslavia, including humanitarian assistance, support for civil and human rights, and establishment of arts, legal, and educational institutions. Considers remaining issues.

Developing a Strategy for Kosovo's First 120 Days: Conference Summary Report

April 14, 2007

Outlines the proceedings of a conference designed to assist the Kosovo government in developing a sound strategy for governance during its 120-day transition period following the United Nations Security Council vote transferring administrative control.