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Regional Report: “Impact of COVID-19 on sustainability of Civil Society Organizations in Western Balkans Region”

We have the pleasure to share with you, the Regional Report: “Impact of COVID-19 on sustainability of Civil Society Organizations in Western Balkans Region”.

Regional Report: “Impact of COVID-19 on sustainability of Civil Society Organizations in Western Balkans Region”

The Report is compiled as part of a Project, implemented by the Western Balkans Fund (WBF), with the kind support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, during the period: December 2020-March 2021. Within the Call for Research Papers, WBF received over 50 research papers from the region, where 18 research papers were selected and supported, while the findings, analyses and concussions were used, alongside other materials, by the regional experts and Report’s writers: Mrs. Alba Cela and Mr. Zoran Nechev.

The aim of this Regional Report is to depict a picture of the situation of Civil Society Organizations in the Western Balkans during the Covid-19 pandemic. How has the pandemic impacted the sector and in what ways already existing challenges have been aggravated by the crisis? Has there, been a silver lining in the situation where CSOs could benefit, or at least make the best, of it?

Within this broader scheme, the Report is particularly focused with the regional cooperation perspective in the Western Balkans. How regional cooperation has been affected by the pandemic? How the work of CSOs involved in regional projects has been impeded and how the shift towards digital and other virtual event planning enabled regional cooperation on a new level? The study is based upon the analysis of 18 case study reports, looking at the impact of Covid-19 on CSOs within local and regional contexts and presents a selected amount of case studies and will identify common challenges, opportunities and best practice from the region.

Most importantly, the Report leads towards a set of Recommendations aimed to enable regional cooperation and to strengthen CSOs role, during the pandemic and beyond. The Recommendations are based on Papers conclusions, desk research of the authors of this Report, as well as, from a process of consultation with CSOs carried out during a webinar organized by WBF with participation of more than 30 interested parties, in early March 2021.

WBF and Report’s  co-authors are aware of the complexity of the situation we are passing through, of many elements and specifics that maybe are not included, or fully covered, or extensively explained in the Report.  Therefore, along with our hope that you will find the document useful and inspiring, we are open for your suggestions and comments to make it better and more inclusive.