18. Dec 2015.

Regional Conference "Waiting for the EU: Civil Society Participation in the Light of the ‘New Approach’ to Enlargement" held in Belgrade

Belgrade Open School has organized a Regional Conference „Waiting for the EU: Civil Society Participation in the Light of the „New Approach“ to Enlargement“ in Belgrade, on 16th and 17th of December 2015, at „Parobrod“ Cultural Centre.

The conference was dealing with the question of how civil society can influence specific public policies within the process of European integration, in the light of the „New Approach“ to enlargement to the Western Balkans. Various discussions and workshops have been held, mainly regarding strategies of involvement and creation of more powerful and more effective mechanisms through which civil society can contribute to the process of European integration. The particular focus of the conference has been how to link the local, the national and the regional level. Discussion went through two thematic parts, case studies and parallel sessions: Energy, Climate and Environmental Protection, and Transparency.

Within the session regarding energy policies was held a workshop named „Climate change and decarbonisation“, that started a debate on influence of the energy policies, environmental protection policies and climate change on the process of the EU accession. Other topics included the improvement of participation of local communities in the process of decision making, so as the possibilities for improving the regional cooperation of civil society, based on the recommendations from Paris. Dragana Mileusnic from the Climate Action Europe was moderating this workshop.

Within the next session, Belgrade Open School presented a study „Institutional Feasibility for Sustainaible Energy Policy in Serbia – Case of Energy Efficiency Policies“, developed by Aleksandar Macura, Jasminka Young and Mirko Popovic. Energy efficiency plays a significant role in transferring Western Balkan states towards low carbon economy. With an aim to support responsible energy policies, especially regarding energy efficiency and energy poverty reduction, Belgrade Open School develops different analysis of public policies based on the case of energy efficiency policies in Serbia. This publication was supported by Friedrich Ebert Foundation and their Belgrade office.

The Transparency session consisted of two parts. In the first part, Belgrade Open School presented a research on transparency in local self-governments, which was made as a part of the project „Local Transparency Booster“. Complete research can be found at dostup.no. The second part covered a workshop, held in a World Café method. Participants, divided in three groups, were discussing the information booklets as the basic mechanism of proactive transparency of government institutions, involvement of CSOs in local self-governments, and campaigns at local level that would influence the increase of disclosure of public information.

As a part of the conference, an exhibition of photographs „Pravo na reku“  was presented. More on this exhibition can be found at the official website of this initiative „Pravo na reku“.

Activities of the Belgrade Open School are supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.