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1st Western Balkans Civil Society Summit successfully concludes its 3- working days with recommendations for the governments

5 March, 2020
1st Western Balkans Civil Society Summit successfully concludes its 3- working days with recommendations for the governmentsThe Western Balkans Civil Society Summit


Source: Western Balkans Fund


The Western Balkans Civil Society Summit was held from February 27-29 in Tirana. It gathered more than 100 civil society representatives who discussed the future development of the region and the role of the civil society sector in enhancing the regional cooperation. The agenda of this 3 day gathering included panels with high representatives from the governments, and also high representatives of international and regional organizations in the region, discussing the challenges and successes achieved so far.


The Western Balkans Fund organized this first of this kind summit with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, making this event and important milestone in the regional cooperation process.  The preparations have started moths before, and have resulted with 3-productive days, where some of the most important topics were debated and discussed in order to provide recommendations for the governments. The participants came from all over the region, experts with experience in the field and which were selected in a very rigorous process by WBF. They gave a great contribution to the summit brining their best experiences and also presenting the challenges which our region has to deal with.


Important representatives from governments, international organizations and civil society organizations had their discussions in the panel. In the first day of the Summit a special guest was Mr. Seiichiro Taguchi – Director, Central & South-Eastern Europe Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, but also different politicians had their speeches like Nenad Koprivica – Director General,  Ministry of Sports and Youth, Montenegro, Zoran Popov – Secretary of State, MFA North Macedonia, Mimi Kodheli – Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, Assembly of Republic of Albania and Andor F. David – Executive Director, International Visegrad Fund.


There were important representatives form regional organizations like Fatos Mustafa – Deputy Secretary General, RYCO, Juliana Hoxha – Executive Director, Partners Albania, Bojana Dujkovic – Board Member, EUROCLIO, BiH, Uranik Begu – Executive Director, Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK) and Irina Ljubic – Executive Director, Jelena Santic Foundation. Part of the Western Balkans Civil Society Summit were as well Jelica Minic – Vice President, European Movement in Serbia, Bardhyl Jashari – Executive Director, Metamorphosis Foundation, Mirela Rajkovic – Executive Director, SEEYN, Igor Milosevic – Programme Manager, ADP ZID, Montenegro.


The second day of the summit was dedicated to the working groups, giving a full attention to participants’ exchange their experience and agree upon the recommendations for the governments to improve the regional cooperation and tackle some of the most important challenges. There were four working groups during this day focusing on the topics which are key priorities for WBF like Education & Scientific Exchanges, Cultural Cooperation, Sustainable Development and a working group with representatives from Think Tanks. In the end the working groups came up with their recommendations which were presented to the representatives of the governments and will be published further on. Oltion Rrumbullaku Deputy Minister of Education, Sports and Youth of Albania, Almir Sahovic Assistant Minister–Ambassador, MFA-BiH, Pavle Jankovic – Head of Department for Regional Initiatives,  MFA Serbia, Sokol Dedja – Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania and H.E. Makoto Ito – Ambassador of Japan in Albania were invited to discuss the recommendations which came out of the working groups. The officials present at the wrap-up took commitment to introduce a much supportive approach within their governments in order to work together with the Western Balkans Fund in enhancing regional cooperation.