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Partners Albania Center for Change and Conflict Management QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER

EDITION NO. 54

TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

In this number: -Creating an Enabling Environment for civil society in Albania page 1-2 - Participatory budgeting in the municipalities of Vlora, Puka, Durresi and Lezha page2 Monitoring of the Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development - Monitoring Matrix Work Group Meeting, Skopje -Policy workshop “What is the Environment in which CSOs work, and what can the EC and Governments do to Improve it?”, Brussels page 3 -Consultative meetings with civil society on the territorial administrative reform page4 -THE ALBANIAN CROWD, an interactive platform for civil society organizations in Albania -Empowerment of School Governments in Librazhd page 5 -Development of Social Enterprises; Potential for Job Creation for Disadvanted Groups page 6 -Making Labor Market Work for Young People in Albania -Increasing Transparency and Accountability in Public Electronic Procurement at Local Level page 7 -Towards an Alternative Tourism page 8 -Joint Citizen Action for a Stronger, Citizen-Friendly Union -Enhance dialogue and interaction among citizens and European institutions toward social inclusion page 9 Participation in International Events -Roundtable on funding, independence and accountability of associations , OSCE, Warsaw page 10

APRIL - JUNE 2014

Creating an Enabling Environment for Civil Society in Albania Following the National Conference “Social Partners-Time for Action”, organized on 13 and 16 December 2013, Partners Albania has undertaken concrete steps on addressing the issues presented in the Statement of Civil Society Organizations, for which the government through the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Niko Peleshi, expressed its commitment. At the end of April, in a meeting organized with the Task Force for the Enabling Environment for Civil Society in Albania, it was decided to present a request for a meeting with the Prime Minister, to address again the issues raised in the December Conference, as well as to discuss with the prime Minister about the progress of the process so far. The meeting of representatives from the Task Force with the Prime Minister was organized on May 9, 2014. During the meeting the Prime Minister expressed once again his and the governments’ commitment and willingness to collaborate with civil society for creating an enabling environment and for addressing the issues raised at the Conference. In the meeting, the Prime Minister gave clear directives for his staff to follow the work for addressing each of the discussed issues. On the other hand, the Prime Minister asked the representatives of CSOs to prepare and present to his staff their concrete proposal related to the creation of the National Council for Civil Society, as an advisory and independent structure with representatives from both Government and CSOs. More concretely, the progress of the process for each of the issues discussed during the meeting with the Prime Minister is as follows: Charter for Civil Society There is a commitment from the government as well as from the parliament to present the Charter for Civil Society for approval within this parliamentary session which closes at the end of July. From the meetings with deputies and leading structures in the parliament was concluded that the Charter will be presented for approval in the parliament in the form of a resolution. Currently, the Charter is being adapted in the form of a resolution, and after its finalization PA will share the draft with the civil society sector for feedback. Prior its presentation for approval in the parliamentary session, the Charter will be discussed in a public hearing session, with a wide participation of civil society. The National Council for Civil Society In accordance to the recommendations of December Conference and with the EU agenda for civil society, the work for the establishment of the joint Council Government-Civil Society has progressed. After the meeting with the Prime Minister, the Task Force in collaboration with the Agency for the Support of Civil Society and the office of Prime Minister is working for the preparation of the draft for the establishment and functioning of the National Council for Civil Society. Once the draft is finalized from the actors involved in its preparation, PA will widely share it with the civil society sector for consultation. Fiscal framework of CSOs The Task Force has discussed with the Ministry of Finances regarding the clarification of the exclusion of grants from VAT scheme (through the new Law on VAT) and the separate reporting for the economic and non-economic activity of CSOs. Concrete recommendations about the above mentioned issues were sent to the Ministry, and it expected for them to be reflected in the final draft Law. PA will organize a wide consultation process with civil society to solicit opinions, suggestions and recommendations regarding the above mentioned issues, on which we will inform accordingly.

MEMBER OF PARTNERS FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE INTERNATIONAL

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Juliana Hoxha, Executive Director, Partners Albania Vjollca Meçaj, Executive Director, Albanian Helsinki Committee Gjergji Vurmo, Director of Programs, Institute for Democracy and Mediation Auron Pasha, Executive Director, Institute for Development Research and Alternatives Dritan Shutina, Executive Director, Co-Plan Gledis Gjipali, Executive Director, European Movement Albania Iris Luarasi, Executive Director, Counseling Line for Women and Girls Mirela Arqimandriti, Executive Director, Gender Alliance for Development Center Ines Leskaj, Executive Director, Albanian Women Empowering Network Delina Fico, Board Director, Albanian Women Empowering Network Andi Dobrushi, Executive Director, Open Society Foundation for Albania Ani Ruci, President, “Reflections” Association Aurel Grabocka, Executive Director, Regional Development Agency, Korçë Mihallaq Qirjo, Executive Director, Regional Environmental Center, Albania Klotilda Ferhati, Civil Society Expert Valdet Sala, Civil Society Expert Blerta Çani, Executive Director, Albanian Disability Rights Foundation Albania Aldo Merkoçi, External Affairs and Media Relations Director at MJAFT! Movement Anila Vendresha, Executive Director, QUODEV Plejada Gugashi, National Coordinator of the Olof Palme International Center

Participatory budgeting in the municipalities of Vlora, Puka, Durrësi and Lezha During this year, Partners Albania in collaboration with partner organizations of Olof Palme International Center in Albania is facilitating the participatory budgeting process, implemented by local groups and coalitions in Vlora, Puka, Durrësi and Lezha. From the needs assessment Partners Albania conducted last fall, the Participatory Budgeting was evaluated as an important mechanism for the inclusion of citizens priorities and needs in the local decision making. During May – June 2014, Partners Albania assisted local coalitions in Vlora, Durrësi, Lezha and Puka to draft an action plan for the implementation of Participatory Budgeting, through a participatory and collaborative approach with local government. The action plan consists of several main stages including the institutionalization of the relationship with the municipality, identification of citizens priorities, work with the municipality to include these priorities in the draft budget, hearings in the City Council as the decision-making body at local level, until the approval of the draft budget for 2015. Partners Albania work to facilitate the participatory budgeting process at local level is supported by Olof Palme International Center in Albania through Swedish government funds, in framework of the project “Increase Citizen Participation in Policy Making and Implementation”.

During the work with local coalitions in Vlora, Puka, Durrësi and Lezha

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Task Force for the Enabling Environment for Civil Society in Albania


Monitoring of the Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development Monitoring Matrix Working Group Meeting, Skopje The thirteen representatives of the project’ partners who developed the Monitoring Matrix and conducted the monitoring in their respective countries, gathered in Skopje, on 18 - 19 June 2014, to discuss on the 1st year monitoring experience and devise the approach in measuring progress in the current and future years. Partners Albania, the partner organization that is conducting the monitoring of the enabling environment for civil society development in Albania, was represented in this meeting by Klotilda Tavani Kosta, Director of programs. The issues identified during the first year monitoring have been the bases of PA work to create an enabling environment for civil society in Albania. PA monitoring efforts during 2013 and the work in the current year is also supported by Olof Palme International Center.

After one year of a full monitoring cycle according to the Monitoring Matrix in eight countries, BCSDN with its members have produced eight country reports and one regional report and have worked constantly on advocacy for the identified problems in the enabling environment for CSOs. The use and promotion of the Monitoring Matrix as well as the feedback from other stakeholders have lead BCSDN to refine the Monitoring Matrix as such, to work on a common methodology and to further develop the measuring of progress/regress for the following years. Photo:BCSDN

Click here to read more about the country and regional monitoring results: http://monitoringmatrix.net/

Policy workshop “What is the Environment in which CSOs work, and what can the EC and Governments do to Improve it?” Klotilda Tavani Kosta, PA Director of Programs, participated in the policy workshop “What is the Environment in which CSOs work, and what can the EC and Governments do to Improve it?” organized by BCSDN in partnership with European Center for Non-profit Law (ECNL). The event was held on 27th May at German Marshall Fund offices in Brussels. The workshop gathered over 40 representatives of the European Commission, European networks, experts and civil society from Western Balkans and Turkey. The workshop served as an opportunity to present the 1st-ever Regional Report on Enabling Environment for CSDev in Enlargement Countries. Photo:BCSDN

The findings presented in the Regional Report are result of extensive monitoring conducted by BCSDN’s members through the use of uniquely developed monitoring methodology , the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development. The methodology has been recognized by the European Commission in development of its own Guidelines for support to civil society in Enlargement countries, 2014-2020 and the monitoring data will be used as means of verification for the European Commission Progress Report assessments for 2014-2015, concretely for the first two components (conductive environment & civil dialogue) of the Guidelines. The event served to inform European Union stakeholders with the strategic regional outlook on the situation putting into perspective what European Commission can do to push the reform agenda for improving the enabling environment for civil society development. More concretely, the workshop focused on how European Union/ European Commission can help local civil society strengthen, be credible and hold governments accountable.

Photo:BCSDN

Following the presentation of the Report, Andris Kesteris, Principle Advisor for Civil Society and Media of the DG Enlargement confirmed the support of the Commission in putting importance of inclusion of and development civil society in EU Accession process as a way to transparent, predictable and quality reform policies and processes.

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Photo:BCSDN


Consultative meetings with civil society on the administrative-territorial reform Partners Albania organized during June - July 2014 a series of 12 consultative meetings with representatives of civil society, aiming to get their opinions and suggestions on the administrative-territorial reform. The meetings organized by Partners Albania were held in 4 southern qarks of Albania, respectively in the cities of Fier, Saranda, Lushnja, Vlora, Ballshi, Himara, Berati, Kuçova, Skrapar, Tepelena, Gjirokastra and PÍrmeti. About 650 civil society representatives - local and international organizations, representatives of business organizations, unions, representatives of academic institutions-universities, professional schools, representatives of local media, youngsters and active citizens participated in these meetings. The meetings were widely covered by local and national media, and were also broadcasted LIVE in PA channel in Youtube. The links of the videos are available online at: http://www.youtube.com/user/PartnersAlbania

The meetings were evaluated as an expression of respect toward engaged citizens and as a democratic way of civic participation in decision making. In general, the reform was considered as a response to the need for the restructure of local government, to offer more qualitative services for citizens and a better administration of the territory and incomes through the investments growth. The participants expressed a high interest on the way the new administrative units will function with regard to the service delivery to all citizens despite the distance from the center, and the representation of all citizens in the decision making structures (municipal council, mayor). They were informed that in the existing Local Government Units will continue to function local administrative offices to offer information and provide main services to citizens. The two approved maps by the special parliamentary commission were discussed among participants expressing their arguments for and against these divisions based on the criteria of the reform such as territorial continuity, historical and cultural connections, number of population, distance from the center, etc. Participants offered relevant suggestions for the successful realization of the Reform, supported by a legal and regulatory framework that would enable its effective implementation. They expressed the need for the Territorial-Administrative Reform to run parallel with the further decentralization of local government, to be accompanied with new development and employment strategies for the Functional Areas, as well as with improvement of the infrastructure that would facilitate the citizens access in the services offered by the new units. These activities were part of a series of 36 consultative meetings with civil society in the 12 qarks of the country, in framework of the project for the Support of Territorial and Administrative Reform – STAR, supported by the international donors community in Albania (UNDP, USAID, Swiss Cooperation Office in Albania, Embassy of Sweden).

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In each of the cities Partners Albania prepared and distributed to the participators a summary of the Administrative Territorial Reform process, the need for the reform based on the analyzes performed by the group of experts, as well as the two maps of new territorial administrative divisions approved by the special parliamentary commission on the territorial reform.


THE ALBANIAN CROWD, an interactive platform for the non-forprofit sector in Albania In June 2014 PA launched The Albanian Crowd, an interactive online platform on the civil society organizations and social enterprises in Albania. The platform provides comprehensive information on the location, scope of work, areas of activity, beneficiaries, services the organizations and social enterprises offer and projects they are working on.

Through The Albanian Crowd, members have the opportunity to share news about activities, events and programs attracting partners, volunteers and supporters. In this forum they will be able to network with other organizations part of the platform and beyond. The dynamic information of the The Albanian Crowd will also serve the institutions and individuals from the public sector, the business community, media, international organizations and donors. The Albanian Crowd platform is an initiative of Partners Albania, following the PA work as a resource center on the civil society organizations in Albania. Since 2002 Partners Albania created, published and continuously updated the Albanian NGOs Directory, providing comprehensive information on the civil society organizations sector. This project is implemented by Partners Albania and supported by the U.S. Embassy in Tirana. Visit the platform at: http://www.thealbaniancrowd.org/en/ and Like the platform Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-AlbanianCrowd/ We invite all organizations and social enterprises to become part of The Albanian Crowd by filling the online registration form at this link: http:// www.thealbaniancrowd.org/aplikimi/ For any information regarding The Albanian Crowd please contact: info@thealbaniancrowd.org

Empowerment of School Governments in Librazhd During March-April 2014 Partners Albania assisted World Vision Albania on empowering school governments in 15 pilot schools in Librazhd, aiming at improving the quality of learning process toward creating a friendly environment for students. Partners Albania conducted 21 trainings, where participated 132 students governments members and 15 coordinator teachers from the villages Babje, Togëz, Gizavesh, Kuturman, Spathar, Dragostunjë, Xhyrë, Dardhë, Hotolisht – Village, Vulçan, Vehçan, Qukës-Skënderbe, Pishkash, Skroskë, and Dritaj. Trainings were focused on providing students with information and skills ling students on the role, duties, responsibilities and rights of the Students Governments, project writing and fundraising for their schools needs, life skills and their use in improving life in the community they live. At the end of the training process, the Students Governments of 15 schools participated in a competition organized by World Vision in Librazhd, to fund the best project presented by the Student Governments and the respective schools boards in improving their infrastructure needs. The winner of the grant awarded by World Vision was “Zeqir Hunci” school in Gizavesh for building the school yard fence. Partners Albania was a member of the projects evaluation team. This cycle of trainings and activities were conducted in the frame of World Vision Albania work for the improvement of learning and teaching conditions in Librazhd, in implementation of the Regional Strategy for Pre-University Education and School Infrastructure in Elbasani Qark.

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The Albanian Crowd community has already 130 member organizations that became part of the platform. The organizations work mainly in the social field, environment, good governance, education etc. and represent different groups such as women, children, minorities etc.


Development of social enterprises Potential for job creation for disadvantaged groups On 24 June 2014, Partners Albania and UN Women presented in a public event organized in Tirana, the study “Development of social enterprises - Potential for job creation for disadvantaged groups”. Over 80 representatives of civil society, social enterprises, government, public institutions, international organizations and donors, media etc. participated in the event. The study provides an overview of the development of social enterprises in Albania, describes the characteristics of their development and opportunities for further development. Moreover, the study presents a picture of the capacity of unemployed women and girls, and the role of state institutions, local business and civil society organizations to support employment in the region of Tirana, Durrësi and Elbasani. The study also presents examples of social enterprises in the EU and beyond, as referral models for social enterprises in Albania.

Mrs. Bardhylka Kospiri, Deputy Minister of Social Welfare and Youth complemented this initiative and the study conducted by Partners Albania, which provides a good basis for policy direction of the Ministry towards this new approach. Mrs. Kospiri expressed the Ministry belief in the role of civil society in generating new ideas in the field of social entrepreneurship. She extended an invitation to all organizations to join Ministry initiatives in this field and also confirmed the Ministry support to organizations’ initiatives in promoting social entrepreneurship. This support will consist in clarifying the legal framework and referring the initiatives to local and foreign donors for financial support. Mrs. Kospiri highlighted that only through government-civil society partnership we can give life to this model of doing business differently. In his speech, Mr. David Saunders, Representative of UN Women Albania, emphasized the importance of social enterprises and social businesses in empowering people to take a full and productive role in the economy, society and family. Participants followed with interest the presentation of findings and recommendations of the study, presented by Mrs. Arjola Agolli, Director of Programs at Partners Albania. All speakers expressed their complements for the study and its importance in promoting development of social enterprises as means to increase employment. This study was found particularly valuable in the absence of literature or information about this issue for Albania, as well as lack of knowledge on the concept of social enterprise, their organization and impact on the economy. This study was conducted by Partners Albania, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth, National Social Service and the National Employment Service, with the support of the UN Women, in framework of the Cooperation Program 2012-2016 between the Albanian government and the United Nations. The study was conducted in the period May 2013 January 2014. The information and data used in this study refer to 2013. Preparation and its publication were financially supported by the Swedish government. The findings and recommendations of the study aim to promote reforms at central and local level in support of employment of disadvantaged groups, especially women and girls, through the development of social entrepreneurship. Click here to download the Study: http://www.partnersalbania.org/development_ social_enterprises.pdf

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Mrs. Juliana Hoxha, Director of Partners Albania welcomed the participants and introduced the purpose of the study as part of PA several year efforts to promote social entrepreneurship in Albania, also focusing on the methodology and some of the challenges faced by Partners Albania in conducting this study.


RisiAlbania is a youth employment project that focuses on achieving systemic changes in the Albanian labor market in order to improve access to employment and income opportunities for young women and men.

The project launched in June the RisiMarketing Initiative, in a World Café where food processors and business consultants gathered to jointly explore suitable solutions for developing and providing adequate marketing services.

In order to achieve this goal, RisiAlbania works with a wide range of partners from the private and public sector as well as civil society.

Using the outcomes of the World Cafe and co-facilitated by BiznessAlbania, the RisiMarketing Initiative will develop an innovative training and coaching program that will improve the quality and adequacy of business services provided to food processors by consultants.

Following are some of the main activities of the project during the second quarter of this year: In June, RisiAlbania and ÇELËSI sh.p.k signed a cooperation agreement, to address the weak job matching services available to low and middle skilled people in Albania. According to this cooperation agreement RisiAlbania will support Çelesi to develop a new Human Resource service as well as a comprehensive new job portal. It is expected that the new service will become available to SMEs and job seekers by September 2014. RisiAlbania and the National Employment Services (NES) organized in June round tables in five touristic regions across the country with the participation of over 150 representatives from the tourism sector and Employment Offices. The round tables served to inform tourism businesses about the Employment Office’s services regarding job information and intermediation, training and Active Labor Market Programs. In addition, businesses provided recommendations and identified some main areas of improvement for NES services. In the coming months, RisiAlbania will be supporting NES to respond to these recommendations.

RisiAlbania also signed in May a cooperation agreement with the Albanian Food Industry Association (AFI). In a first stage, this cooperation aims at delivering readily accessible and valuable information to food processors, especially women-owned, regarding the different support schemes, thereby supporting their application process. In a second stage, AFI, together with its members and other food processors, will advocate for and participate in the design and review of the support schemes, thereby increasing their relevance and applicability. RisiAlbania project is being implemented by a consortium consisting of Helvetas Swiss Inter-cooperation and Partners Albania, and is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation ( SDC) in Albania. More information on the project is available at: www.risialbania.al

Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Public Electronic Procurement Application at Local Level In frame of its initiative to increase the efficiency of public procurement through increased transparency and accountability in local government, Partners Albania have continued monitoring work in municipalities of Berat, Fier, Himara and Saranda where this initiative is currently being implemented. Since January 2014, Partners Albania is monitoring on daily bases the website of the Public Procurement Agency and all announcements published on this website and in public procurement bulletin by the four municipalities. An overview of the monitoring results for the period January-April 2014, and May-June 2014 were shared with stakeholders, and can be found electronically on our website in the links: http://issuu.com/partners-albania/docs/report_eng_january_april_2014 http://issuu.com/partners-albania/docs/report_eng_may_june_2014 Partners Albania team has conducted during this period several meetings and interviews with representatives of local procurement units and procurement committees in each municipality, to discuss the implementation of the public procurement system and some of the challenges faced during this process. Currently, Partners Albania is conducting a survey to assess the satisfaction of economic operators with the system and electronic procurement procedures carried out in the four municipalities. Part of this survey will be 160 economic operators who have applied in tenders announced by the four municipalities during 2013. Partners Albania work for monitoring the implementation of the public procurement law and procedures in the municipalities of Berat, Fier, Himara and Saranda is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Albania, under the MATRA program for civil society.

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Making the Labor Market Work for Young People in Albania


Towards an Alternative Tourism Partners Albania have continued the work for the development of alternative tourism in the region of Korca. During this period Partners Albania staff in collaboration with local partners have conducted visits to businesses, to prepare promotional information and presentation of characteristic local products they offer, in order to further promote the businesses of these areas in the country, in the region and beyond.

During the culinary course conducted from professional chefs and lectors from Marketing-Tourism Department in “Fan S. Noli” University of Korca, participants were introduced to a series of traditional recipes, as well as main elements of serving, preparing the table, placing the service facilities, etc. The participants evaluated the knowledge and skills gained as very necessary and practical. They showed a high level of interest during the trainings as well as a high motivation for concretely implementing in their businesses the knowledge gained in the training. On the upcoming period, PA in collaboration with local institutions and partners will organize a series of visits in Macedonia and Albania, aiming the exchange of experience, creation of connections among businesses in both countries as well as promoting tourist attractions and products of Albania and Macedonia, in order to develop tourism and economy in the cross-border area. The project “Towards an Alternative Tourism“ is implemented by Partners Albania and MEDF foundation in Macedonia, in framework of the European Union IPA CBC Programme Albania - Macedonia, 2007-2013. It focuses the district of Korca in Albania and the region of Struga, Ohrid, Debarca and Vecani in Macedonia. .

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PA has also continued the work on further local capacity building through training and assistance programs. During April 2014 were held in Korca two training programs, one on effective management and business plan drafting, and another two days training about culinary and qualitative service in restaurant. About 34 representatives of local businesses from Korca, Pogradec, Boboshtica, Erseka, Voskopoja, Liqenas and Buçimas, including managers, administrators and chefs, participated in these activities. During the training on effective business management, they were introduced to some of the main management principals, the main characteristics of a strong managing group, the importance of preparation, qualitative service and products/services marketing and promotion, the main elements of a business plan etc. During the training they also practiced the drafting of concrete business plans and identified the basic challenges faced while managing their businesses. The training was conducted by experts of Regional Development Agency in Korca.


Joint Citizen Action for a Stronger, Citizen-Friendly Union As one of the partner organization implementing the European project “Joint Citizen Action for a Stronger, Citizen-Friendly Union (JOIEU)”, Partners Albania virtualy attended the inter-European debate with the topic “Women for a Stronger Europe” held in Amsterdam in May 13. Held just a few days ahead of the European parliament elections, this debate addressed issues such as:

• What is the significance of the European Union for women? • What is the status quo of the EU’s gender policy? • What can be done to improve gender equality in the European society? These and other issues on the perspective and situation of gender equality in each participatory country were in the focus of the presentations of Ms.Blerina Guga, Project Manager of Partners Albania and representatives of the civil society organizations from Spain, Belgium, Estonia, Denmark under the moderation of Atria/Netherlands – Gender Equality and Women History Institute. In June, PA participated in the debate held in Romania with the topic: “Civil Society and Solidarity in Time of Crisis”, organized by the Romanian organization NACAB (Asociația Națională a Birourilor de Consiliere pentru Cetățeni – National Organization of Citizens Advice Bureau). The debate in Romania focused on issues such as:

• What lessons can the civil society draw from the solidarity movements that emerged in EU Members States in the last four years? nongovernmental organizations address them?

Ms. Blerina Guga brought PA perspective and experience in support of groups in need, through proposals for reforms and strategies at local and central level government and through the support of civil society organizations and philanthropy in the country. Ms. Olta Koci, invited by PA, brought in the debate the concrete experience of the organization Albanian Community Assist, organization that supports the basic needs and offers assistance on vocational trainings to the communities of disadvantaged people such as women and girls victims of trafficking and other marginalized groups. Debates were broadcasted LIVE at http://joieu.net/. The project JOIEU is funded by European Union through the Europe for Citizens Program.

Enhance dialogue and interaction among citizens and European institutions toward social inclusion A team of Partners Albania participated in a meeting with partner organizations from seven countries implementing the IGA Project. The meeting was organized in Florence, Italy on 21-24 May 2014. IGA Project contributes to a more inclusive Europe, stimulating dialogue and interaction between citizens and European institutions, in order to find efficient and sustainable solutions for various forms of social exclusion. The project partners and invited citizens shared the results of the project in every country and worked to finalize the recommendations on social inclusion that will be presented to the Europe for Citizen Program of the European Union. During these days, the project partners met with several social enterprises such as “Il Sipario”, a social enterprise of young workers with intellectual disabilities or sensory impairment; The Impact Hub Firenze, a network that connects people and businesses interested in issues of social innovation; Action Research for Co-development, a research laboratory of the University of Florence; ESPRIT Toscana, a nonprofit consortium working on economic development, promotion of ethical values, social cohesion and environmental sustainability; CESVOT (Voluntary Service Centre for Tuscany), a voluntary association offering information, training, consultancy, assistance etc. on behalf of over 2900 voluntary associations in Tuscany; Cooperativa Il Cenacolo, a social enterprise providing services for different groups in need, with the aim to promote inclusion and integration, etc. This meeting was the closing event of the IGA project. More information on the project is available at: http://paginas.estsp.ipp.pt/iga/index.php

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• What effects does the “new European order” have for the civil society and how can the citizens, the media and the


PARTICIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL EVENTS Roundtable on funding, independence and accountability of associations , OSCE, Warsaw Juliana Hoxha, Partners Albania Director was part of the consultative group of 20 representatives of civil society from member countries of the OSCE participating in two events organized on May 6-7, 2014 in Warsaw, Poland. The first event was a roundtable on funding, independence and accountability of associations at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw. The event brought together some 40 civil society leaders and experts from a number of OSCE states and was aimed at helping advance OSCE-ODIHR’s work with the Venice Commission in drafting guidelines on freedom of association. The group of civil society representatives also participated in a regional dialogue organized on May 7, 2014 by the Community of Democracies and the team of United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai. The regional dialogue was the first event in a new two-year project focused on enhancing space for civil society and strengthening the right to access financial resources. The event looked at international human rights norms, standards and mechanisms to promote the right to freedom of association – and possible ways to strengthen these tools. The project was launched in February, and is being funded by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. According to the participants in the regional dialogue, political will is a major obstacle in ensuring civil society’s access to resources in many OSCE countries. Download here the full press release for this event: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0k62davteun4h57/Media_statement_ political_will_an_obstacle_in_securing_association_rights.pdf

Partners Albania is an Albanian NPO committed to advancing civil society and a culture of change and conflict management in Albania. Partners Albania is a member of the Partners for Democratic Change International, a network of Centers in 20 countries, which provide conflict resolution training and services to the civic, NPO, municipal and national government, and business sectors in their countries and worldwide. PDCI website address is: http://www.pdci-network.org/

TOWARDS A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

Photo:OSBE

PARTNERS ALBANIA, CENTER FOR CHANGE AND CONFLICT MANAGEMENT Address: Rruga Sulejman Delvina, N.18, H.8, Ap. 12, Njësia Bashkiake 5, Kodi Postar 1022, Tiranë, Shqipëri, PO BOX 2418/1, Tel: +355 4 2254881 Fax: 2254883 Email: partners@partnersalbania.org Http://www.partnersalbania.org Follow us on and

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Towards a Sustainable Society, edition 54  

April-June2014

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