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Towards regional advocacy for cooperation in the Balkans via European best practices - english (2009)



“TOWARDS REGIONAL ADVOCACY FOR COOPERATION IN THE BALKANS VIA EUROPEAN BEST PRACTICES”


This project is realised by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation in partnership with The Institute of Public Affairs. 

PROJECT SUMMARY
Although progress has been made on regional owned initiatives in the South East European countries, cooperation has not yet reached an institutionalized form. The overall goal of the project is to develop a perspective of institutionalized inter-parliamentary regional cooperation that would support different initiatives from various public or private actors by offering selected examples of best practices of successful cooperation from the VISEGRAD, Nordic and also Baltic countries. More specifically, the project objectives are:
 
• To lead a process of initiating regional cooperation caucuses in each of the national parliaments of the countries in the region,
• To offer selected examples of best practices of successful cooperation from the VISEGRAD, Nordic and Baltic countries,
• To promote successful experiences of the Nordic countries, e.g. their regional visa-policy based on the model of Nordic Passport Union
• To enhance regional awareness based on jointly approved recommendations on incentive cooperation agendas that would further provoke informed debate in regional countries.

As clearly indicated by the objectives, this is a unique effort of regional character that would provoke through regional cooperation through existing effective and long-term partnership schemes of European best Practices.  

ACTIVITIES TO BE CONDUCTED WITHIN THIS PROJECT
As preparatory work, the first phase of the project will start with the research component.. IDM will prepare the agenda of a regional conference on the following dates 20/03/2009 – 21/03/2009 after inputs received from the Visegrad, (Nordic and Baltic) countries’ partnering organizations that will offer different perspective of effectiveness of cooperation models of these countries.

On the other hand, IDM will also contact its partnering organizations throughout the Western Balkan countries that could possibly contribute to efforts in convening the event. In addition, IDM directly or through regional partners, or the diplomatic channels will try to contact and invite targeted participants. It is highly expected that positive consideration will be given by our regional partners and most of the parliaments. Preliminary field visits might appear important especially in Serbia in order to make sure that they are represented, not only by civil society activists but also by parliament representatives. A Regional tour of IDM representatives & member of Albanian parliaments will pursue on the following dates 04/04/2009 – 08/04/2009.

The findings of the research and contributions of our VISEGRAD partners’ expertise as well as other European best practices in this regard (Nordic and Baltic experience) will lay down the basis for the discussion in the Conference. They will also serve the process of drawing some regional recommendations and a policy paper that will be produced after the conference.

After the conference IDM core staff will produce a Publication of best Practices to be distributed regionally to all interested institutions. A Policy Paper will also be produced that will be distributed electronically to all regional, and European institutions vis a vis Western Balkans challenges that would be dealt most effectively and tangibly through a regional cooperation model.

TARGET AUDIENCE
The target audience will be cross-party parliamentarians from Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, civil society and media representatives from throughout the region. Representatives of foreign diplomatic missions will also attend the event. Each country will be represented by 3 invitees - members of parliament, media and civil society representatives.

RESULTS
Considering the importance of the Regional cooperation for Western Balkan countries this project will contribute to:
• a process of sensitivity to initiating regional cooperation caucuses in each of the national parliaments of the countries in the region,
• enhanced regional awareness based on jointly approved recommendations on incentive cooperation agendas that would further provoke informed debate in the region and support for governmental regional cooperation agendas,
• sharing best practices of successful cooperation from the VISEGRAD countries,
• the final output will include the publication with the main contribution, comments and suggestions of the conference discussions (English & Albanian) and a summary of the recommendations in Albanian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian & Bosnian.


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