Regional Environmental Center:

Strong Civil Society For Better Environment

The Environmental Civil Society Support Programme for Serbia, CSOnnect, has been implemented by the the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), office in Serbia since 2015, with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency that will keep it running until 2019

The beginning of 2018 marks the last year of the programme. We have worked with various target groups, from civil society organisations to journalists and media editors and other interested parties, and have had great results. A total of 66 civil society organisations across Serbia, gathered in 11 consortiums, carried out their projects from mid-October 2016 to mid-October 2017.

From March this year institutional grants will be given to 11 consortiums which, due to some minor changes in the partnership structure, now gather 64 organisations across Serbia. The total funds for this cycle are 413,000 euros. Programme activities will cover numerous topics concerning environmental protection, and we expect great results in the areas of waste management, horizontal legislation, water management, nature preservation, climate change, agricultural waste management and civil protection.

The Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe strives to fulfil its mission by assisting in finding solutions to environmental problems through synergies with various entities. Civil society organisations are our traditional, natural partners, and most activities of our office in Serbia focus on helping them grow, become stronger and continue their work on environmental issues.

Under the CSOnnect programme, we apply a new, innovative approach to supporting civil society organisations that deal with environmental issues. Our team helps institutional capacity building in civil society organisations that have the potential to assume a leading role in key environmental challenges, especially in Serbia’s negotiations with the European Union on Chapter 27. REC helps strengthen these organisations and supports them in their efforts to contribute to the negotiations through constructive dialogue with government bodies on environmental issues.

Our team helps institutional capacity building in civil society organisations that have the potential to assume a leading role in key environmental challenges, especially in Serbia’s negotiations with the European Union on Chapter 27

The CSOnnect programme is implemented through two mutually connected components: financial support to organisations, i.e. institutional grants, and the Help Desk, an office that provides support to civil society organisations.

By approving grants to civil society organisations we want to help their institutional capacity building and ensure that their work continues, even if it is not necessarily connected with the implementation of specific project activities. The Help Desk is tasked with coordinating the activities of civil society organisations concerning capacity building, increasing their visibility and networking, and coordinating their communication and cooperation with the institutions directly involved in environmental protection and the EU membership negotiations.

Whether through training, seminars, round tables, meetings with local, regional and national institutions and regional conferences, or through competitions for the best media piece on the environment, our aim is to strengthen civil society organisations and help them take an active role in society. We also wish to increase the visibility and importance of environmental protection and make it one of the key topics in the public debate. In doing so, we have had great support from the media and journalists.

For further information on the Environmental Civil Society Support Programme for Serbia CSCOnnect, please visit our website csonnect.rec.org