Western Balkans: support to CSOs is key to promoting fundamental rights and social justice

With inputs from members of the IRIS network and partners of the IPA project “Improving the provision of Social Service Delivery in South Eastern Europe through the empowerment of national and regional CSOs”, SOLIDAR developed a fact sheet providing recommendations on how to make the best use of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations (CSOs) providing services to refugees along the Western Balkan route.

Enabling the environment for the development of an empowered and vibrant civil society is one of the main priorities of the IPA programme, as stated in the Multi-Country Indicative Strategy Paper (2014- 2020). With the support received by the European Commission through the IPA Civil Society Facility (CSF) instrument, the IRIS Network has increased its capacity to influence social policies at national and regional level significantly and has improved the expertise and managerial capacities of its members.

During the course of the year 2015, marked by an increase in migration flow along the Western Balkan route, many IRIS members have been in the forefront of providing support and services to migrants and refugees. Many of them have promptly organised humanitarian assistance plans, built refugee camps, provided first aid and psycho-social support to people on the move and assistance to local authorities in the management of the crisis. In this context, being part of a regional network has been an added value for them because it allowed them to have a more constructive sharing of information and good practices as well as a stronger voice in advocacy initiatives and campaigns.

Therefore, in view of the mid-term evaluation of the IPA CSF programme foreseen for 2017, the IRIS network has developed recommendations to ensure continuity in the support to CSOs providing social services which directly contribute to the active inclusion of the most vulnerable groups as well as to the revitalisation of economic, social and cultural rights in the Western Balkans. Find more in the fact sheet.

© Photo by IRIS Network, on facebook

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