Accompanying and shaping reform processes with the involvement of civil society

At the end of 2016, the previous sector network SELLER, covering a broad region and several thematic issues, was re-structured and re-branded SENECA. Representatives of participating projects within – covering all governance projects – came together at a high-level meeting in Belgrade and discussed the future structure as well as working groups. Four topics emerged as the coming focus: (1) Local Governance, (2) Impact assessment, (3) Access to Justice, and (4) Reform Processes.

This assignment was commissioned by the sector network working group on Reform Processes. The guiding questions for the working group’s focus were:

  • How can a positive and sustainable impact on complex reform processes be supported through GIZ interventions?
  • What role does civil society play in reform processes and how can the GIZ support and facilitate the cooperation between CS and the State?
  • Have the EU standard formats for civil society coordination and civil society engagement strengthened civil society in EU association countries? Or has the engagement been strengthened through endogenous influences?
  • What can different civil society platforms from the countries in the region learn from each other?
  • How can the GIZ projects support these learning processes?

The guiding questions reflected the issues in other countries where the prospect of EU membership could offer incentives but also pressure for reforms. In order to maintain the social consensus for reforms it was essential to ensure that the benefits of the reforms are extensively communicated and stronger cooperation with CS can be a conduit for improving communication.

The assignment had two major objectives:

  1. Developed case studies of the engagement of civil society players in reform processes within GIZ projects in the governance sector in the SENECA sector network region;
  2. Based on the case studies, developed lessons learned for other GIZ governance projects on how to involve civil society stakeholders more effectively in the on-going or future interventions.

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