Civil Society Forum Trieste

11-12 July 2017

The Civil Society Forum Trieste will be organised linked to the 4th intergovernmental Summit of Western Balkans and EU countries and it will bring together representatives of civil society organisations with the objective of providing a platform for their impact on the so-called Berlin Process. The Forum will consider the topics high on the agenda of the political Summit: youth cooperation, rule of law and anti-corruption, enterprise development and innovation potentials, regional cooperation and bilateral issues; also, it will initiate debates on questions as environment, energy and climate change, migrations, media freedoms, the issue of Brexit in relevance to the Western Balkans and the possible role of civil society in increasing the efficiency of the Berlin Process through communications.

The Civil Society Forum policy recommendations are being formulated for topics which are in line with the priority themes of the upcoming Trieste Summit and were developed in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy, as hosts of this year’s Summit: business environment and innovation, rule of law, youth cooperation, regional cooperation and bilateral issues. The recommendations were prepared during an expert meeting (Civil Society Forum in Tirana, April 2017), and with inputs provided through a broad online consultation process. As result of the online consultation process with the involvement of a wide circle of CSOs from all over the Balkans, two more topics will be included in the final document of summarising the CSF policy recommendations: Environment, Energy and Climate Change and Communicating the Berlin Process in the time of rising populism – possible roles of civil society.

The outcomes of the Civil Society Forum meeting in Trieste will be communicated to the intergovernmental Summit in several ways: at a policy event attended by a number of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and a number of representatives of civil society of the Western Balkans, on July 12; at a press conference organised by the Civil Society Forum; in form of recommendations which will be presented to the Summit organisers and through the follow-up advocacy process.

Therefore, the Civil Society Forum will contribute to the Berlin Process in two ways: by extending its democratic potential, through inclusion of citizens in its proceedings, as well as by presenting technical and expert support to fulfilment of the Process goals, through own engagement in pushing forward the cooperation and the reform agenda in the region.

The Civil Society Forum Trieste is organised under the umbrella of the Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Summit Series, as a joint initiative of the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB), ERSTE Foundation and the Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung, in partnership with the Heinrich Böll Foundation (HBF), and in close cooperation with the Central European Initiative (CEI), Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Centro Studi Politica Internazionale (CESPI) and Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso.