Civil Society Support

The topic area aims to advance the development of civil society in CEE and SEE by strengthening the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the fields of environment and sustainable development. Since its foundation the REC has focused on meeting the needs of CSOs in the region. A strong, vibrant and influential environmental CSO movement is crucial to environmental protection as well as to regional processes such as the EU accession process and the "Environment for Europe" process. The team supports environmental CSOs primarily through the provision of financial resources (grants), capacity building, and support to organisational viability and networking.

  • Team
  • Activities
  • Selected projects
Capacity building
  • Improving knowledge: enabling CSOs to make use of the available tools; providing trainings on thematic issues of priority importance; providing training and direct support (grants) tailored to specific needs of civil society; organising exchange programmes between CSOs and EU NGOs on methods, tools and forms of cooperation between CSOs and authorities/businesses.
  • Improving skills and capacities of CSOs and empowering leadership: continuing the Young Environmental Leaders programme at regional and national level, aiming at supporting grassroots CSOs and CSOs in regional/national and cross-border contexts; and organising exchange events among SEE and EU CSOs.
  • Improving development infrastructure for CSOs: continuing to provide CSO institutional development/infrastructure funds, mainly supporting grassroots CSOs.
  • Strengthening and improving cooperation among CSOs at regional and national levels by supporting networking on content issues; platform building on environmental and sustainable development issues; organising exchange events with CSOs of neighbouring countries on specific environmental issues.
  • Strengthening cooperation with authorities: strengthening the capacity of CSOs (at national and/or local level) to influence policy formulation on environmental and sustainable development issues, EU accession; and public involvement in decision making.
Building Organisational Viability
  • Further promotion of organisational viability and its assessment, taking into account lessons learned and combining organisational viability with grants and trainings; providing assistance on fundraising for projects.
  • Facilitating the use of the Organisational Viability Toolkit among a broader circle of CSOs; developing the trainer’s/facilitator’s handbook and training courses; expanding the network of facilitators and making it easier for CSOs to access them; transferring knowledge from successful CSOs to new CSOs going through the assessment process; preparing a simplified version of the toolkit for smaller CSOs.
Grant support for CSOs:
  • Influencing policy making and decision making and formulating/influencing public opinion, behaviour, attitudes and values; supporting public participation in decision making (working with authorities at different levels and other stakeholders).
  • Innovative approaches towards sustainability: focusing on environmental, social and economic aspects in order to put sustainability into practice; promoting cooperation on a river basin/ watershed basis, or in national parks, mountain regions, cross-border areas etc.
  • Community development: jointly defining development perspectives and social, economic development options (eco-tourism, eco-agriculture, bio-products, organic agriculture, local branding, etc.); serving community needs and strengthening the role of CSOs in communities.
  • Sustainable consumption patterns: supporting the involvement of CSOs in informing public attitudes towards food, housing, transport/mobility; supporting CSO involvement in climate change and renewable energy issues.

The team comprises internationally experienced experts from a variety of backgrounds and with different expertise and experience in the field of civil society support, including public participation, stakeholder involvement, facilitation, training and mediation, good governance and related legal and policy issues.

The team has access to an extensive international and CEE network of governmental, NGO and other experts, and cooperates with a wide range of organisations and institutions in Europe.

Our main experts include:

  • Magda Toth Nagy   
  • Entela Pinguli   
  • Kaidi Tingas   
  • Orsolya Szalasi   
  • Jerome Simpson   
  • Gabor Heves   
  • Mihallaq Qirjo   
  • Eduart Cani   
  • Genta Sema   
  • Djordje Vojnovic   
  • Viktor Bjelic   
  • Katarina Stojkovska   
  • Kornelija Radovanovic   
  • Valentina Petrusevska   
  • Jovan Pavlovic   
  • Zorica Korac   
  • Lucian Ionescu   
  • Magda Chitu Burlacu   
  • Milena Marega   
  • Mateja Sepec   
  • Srna Sudar Vilotic   
  • Mira Puric   
  • Yesim Caglayan   
  • Zeqir Veselaj   

The team is headed by Magdolna Toth Nagy, an internationally recognised senior expert on public participation, good governance, civil society, environmental policy and sustainable development. She has an MSc in economics, a doctorate in international economic sciences and almost 20 years’ experience working in the field. The deputy topic area leader is Entela Pinguli, who has a degree in industrial chemistry and who is currently studying for a master’s degree in waste management. She has 14 years’ extensive experience in designing and implementing civil society projects, which include developing and implementing grants programmes, capacity building and networking.

  • Implementation of National and Regional Grants Programmes for NGOs in Danubian Countries
  • Development of Regional NGO Activities for Sustainable Development
  • Establishment of Funds for Local-Level NGOs
  • Strengthening Civil Society in the Pre-accession Process: NGO Grants Facility
  • Sustainable Kosovo: Raising Environmental Awareness through a Critical, Vital and Multiethnic Environmental Movement
  • Sustainable NGO Financing Project: Supporting NGO Self-financing Ventures
  • Strengthening Regional and Local Environmental Authorities in Sibenik-Knin County, Croatia
  • Trust Fund for Locally Initiated Environmental Projects in Albania

More projects
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