Putting society first

SpECIES programme will promote multi-level advancement of environmental CSOs in Kosovo*

June 19, 2017

Pictured (from L to R): Fatos Mulla, Programme Officer, Embassy of Sweden in Pristina; Fitore Ferizi, Financial Manager, REC Kosovo; Abedin Azizi, Country Office Director, REC Kosovo; Goran Paulsson, Counsellor/Head of Development Cooperation, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden in Pristina; Firdeze Bekteshi, Junior Expert on Local Initiatives, REC Kosovo

REC Office Kosovo* and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) have signed a four-year agreement of mutual support for the advancement of environmental civil society in Kosovo* through the “Sustainable Environmental Civil Society Support” (SpECIES) programme. With Sida providing financial support, REC Office Kosovo* will be tasked with programme implementation.

Civil society organisations are a driving force behind multi-stakeholder cooperation at local, regional and international levels, and they are vitally important in actively mobilising public support to protect and enhance the environment and ecosystem services. The main objective of the SpECIES programme is to strengthen environmental civil society in Kosovo* through assisting organisations and communities in articulating needs, providing services and support, and developing partnerships and networks that can effectively address environmental priorities and make progress towards achieving sustainable development goals. Present efforts will focus on the areas of air, water and waste.

It is expected that, at the end of programme, Kosovo’s* environmental civil society organisations (ESCOs) will be:

  • knowledgeable and sustainable functioning entities that can partner and work together with governmental institutions to achieve targets elaborated in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 (clean water and sanitation), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 15 (life on land);
  • able to undertake policy and advocacy actions that will have impacts on legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks to achieve adequate improvement in priority sectors, as identified during the assessment phase (i.e. air, water, waste);
  • able to develop and implement methods and models of partnership for working together with communities and local authorities to improve environmental quality at the local level;
  • knowledgeable about procedures and application processes for gaining access to GEF Small Grants Programme funds.

SpECIES envisions three main clusters through which to achieve programme objectives. They are as follows:

Cluster I: Capacity building, development and exchange

The objective is to provide an overview of the different tools available to CSOs for taking concrete actions to enforce the right to a healthy environment, to provide them with knowledge to use those tools in practice and, ultimately, to enable them to make an impact on decision making. Capacity building will be delivered through a series of training packages and will focus on: lobbying, campaigning, education and public awareness, advocacy for environmental justice, public participation in decision-making processes, cooperation with authorities and other stakeholders, networking at the national and regional levels, and using the media to promote their vision.

Cluster II:  Networking and partnership

It is widely understood that individual CSOs cannot advance a vision for a better society on their own. CSOs must work together with other entities and stakeholders to achieve common goals. By establishing new partnerships, CSOs can gain access to new resources, information, expertise and skills—including funding and in-kind support. Moreover, partnerships and networking can be an important tool to help CSOs built visibility and capacity—particularly those which are weaker or newly established.

Cluster III: Grant support mechanism                                        

There will be three types of grants over the course of the programme:

  • institutional grants, targeting weaker and newly established ECSOs, to assist in producing development plans;
  • pilot partnership grants, focused on reaching stronger, established ECSOs, to help provide concrete environmental solutions at the local level; and
  • grants for integrated actions through ECSO coalitions with sufficient implementation capacity at the national level.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

TAGS: Civil society | Grants | Kosovo* | Air pollution | Water protection | Waste management