Supporting Environmental Civil Society Organisations in Serbia (SENSE)

Supporting Environmental Civil Society Organisations in Serbia (SENSE)

Source of funding

Government of Sweden

Name of client/donor

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

Overall project value

EUR 2,300,000

Date

December 2012 – October 2015

Beneficiary countries

Serbia

Number of staff

10

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have an important role in improving dialogue between civil society and government, and in increasing the involvement of the civil sector in decision making on environmental policies.

The SENSE project aimed to promote the role of CSOs in Serbia in order to improve environmental policy making; build the capacities of CSOs; and encourage partnerships and networking among CSOs. The project was designed to help CSOs to become involved in decision making on environmental issues, contributing to inclusive governance where decisions are consensus based.

The project was implemented in four components:

  • Grants to CSOs in Serbia
  • Capacity building and training
  • Networking and public discussions on environmental protection issues
  • Support to the media in the presentation of environmental issues in Serbia

1. Grants

Grants were made available to organisations active in the field of sustainable development. Two calls for proposals were published, the first in 2013 and the second in 2014. Applicants for CSO grants were also eligible to participate in the other components of the SENSE programme. The organisations selected to receive grants had to demonstrate that their projects led to environmental improvements that integrated environmental, social and economic aspects of life in the local community.

2. Capacity development

Grants were also given to develop the capacities of CSOs for project implementation via training courses. The first master class module was delivered in Serbia and improved skills and knowledge in the areas of legal issues, advocacy, lobbying, watchdogging, public participation, gender equality, effective communication, public access to information, and access to EU funds. In the second master class module, representative of CSO grantees had an opportunity to learn more about how similar organisations function in EU countries and to meet CSO representatives from EU member states.

3. Dialogue and networking

In this component, CSOs were supported to play a more active role in lobbying decision makers to integrate sustainable development aspects into local plans. Grant recipients organised consultation meetings between decision makers and the wider CSO community and worked on the creation of a common platform for the civil sector to discuss issues related to Serbia’s EU accession.

4. Media

In order to disseminate good practices, promote the results of civil society and government dialogue and improve the image of the civil sector in Serbian society, this component included training for media and CSO representatives and awards for the best news articles and reports. Cooperation with the media was promoted throughout the project period, and journalists were invited to monitor and report on events taking place in the context of the CSO projects.

  • Capacity building
  • Training
  • Public consultations
  • Grants