January 11, 2013

Civil Society Transformations on the Way to the European Union

The general objective of the project Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organisations (TACSO) is to strengthen the civil society within a participative democracy, to stimulate a civil society-friendly environment and culture, as well as to strengthen the overall capacities and accountability of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) within the IPA beneficiaries (Western Balkans and Turkey - WBT), to guarantee the quality of service of CSOs and a sustainable role of CSOs in the democratic process.

An important cross-cutting component of the project is to contribute to strengthening the civil society of the WBT within the EU accession process and on this occasion TACSO Croatia, in cooperation with other TACSO offices, is organising an international conference: Civil Society Transformations on the Way to the European Union: Looking at the past, present and future of civil society in Western Balkans and Turkey to be held in Zagreb, Croatia, on 17-19 April 2013.

Objectives and Focus 

The EU enlargement processes considerably influenced the development of CSOs in the Western Balkans and Turkey. The aim of this conference is to identify the key challenges faced by the CSOs in the framework of the EU enlargement process and to present the changes that CSOs and other actors in the field went through during that process. 

The main objective is to articulate the lessons learned in the course of the accession process, especially during the four years of TACSO’s presence in the region, and to assist CSOs in the Western Balkans and Turkey to cope with the challenges ahead.

The conference will bring together civil society entrepreneurs, activists and researchers to discuss, learn and reflect on the following issues:
· What is the impact of the EU accession process on civil society in the WBT?
· Is there an impact, and what it is, of civil society on the EU accession process?
· What to expect from the process and what are the lessons learnt from the accession to the EU?
· What is the future for the civil society from the WBT?

Who Can Apply? 

Representatives of CSOs and CSO networks, including independent civil society experts and researchers, based in IPA countries and involved with the EU enlargement issues. The applicants need to be fluent in English to the extent that they can actively participate in the conference. 

Each country will be represented by 5 participants (4 CSO representatives, including 1 representative of the TACSO Local Advisory Group, and 1 media representative), except for Croatia. Since the concept of the conference puts Croatia in the focus, it is expected that participation of Croatian CSOs will be greater than of CSOs from other IPA countries. 

Application Procedure 

Interested applicants are requested to submit:
·  Short bio note
· Motivation letter in which they describe their expectations from the conference, what specific knowledge and experience they will share with other participants, how will their organisation and the civil society sector at large benefit from their participation in the conference. The letter should also clearly state how is the applicant’s organisation involved in EU enlargement issues.

The completed application needs to be sent to the e-mail address of your national TACSO office (contact details for all TACSO countries listed below) by 21 January 2013 with the subject heading: CONFERENCE - Civil Society Transformations. The selection process should be completed by 31 January 2013. Please note that only selected applicants will be contacted.

For selected participants, the organiser will provide travel costs (including cost of visa, if applicable), accommodation, meals and refreshments during the conference.  Further information can be obtained from the TACSO website (http://www.tacso.org/news/training-opp/?id=8440). 

If you have any additional questions on the conference, please contact the local TACSO offices.

TACSO local contacts:
Albania - info.al@tacso.org ­| info.albania@tacso.org
Bosnia and Herzegovina - info.ba@tacso.org
Croatia - info.hr@tacso.org
Kosovo - info.ko@tacso.org
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - info.mk@tacso.org
Montenegro - info.me@tacso.org
Serbia - info.rs@tacso.org
Turkey - info.tr@tacso.org

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