At the end of 2011 participants of two-day seminar that closed the Building Capacities on EU nature policies project, shared their views and main findings related to the action of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and drew their way forward. The second day was dedicated to information sharing on funding opportunities enabling implementation of nature protection in the region.
After the high-level training and the inspiring study tour earlier in the year, project coordinators agreed that organizing a farewell get-together, although not initially planned in the project, would be appreciated by all hitherto CSO participants. At the closing event national coordinators presented the case studies for the 3 project sites - Tamis river basin as birds protection zone, Ratkova Skala supporting traditional farming practices, and the future Piva Regional Park connecting Durmitor and Sutjeska National Parks. IUCN summarized the main project conclusions and recommendations, as well as participants’ thoughts and ideas generated in the course of the project implementation.
CSOs in Western Balkans countries have good potential to develop and advocate for society’s interests. However, to be genuinely involved in policy shaping, they need to further build up capacity and increase resources. There are EU policy areas not directly connected to biodiversity conservation that could still have potential impact on nature. This is where CSOs have a role to play, too. Without coordinated actions between CSOs the efforts will not receive the necessary effect; therefore their collaboration is crucial. They should network and share information and know-how, and form coalitions. Concerted action and division of work is something that will help cover a wide range of activities, such as preparation of written statements, meeting with responsible institutions, initiating petitions, organizing media events, and challenging management decisions, if need be.
For more information please contact Veronika Ferdinandova, Biodiversity Project Officer at IUCN Programme Office for South Eastern Europe.