The Civil Society Forum has been launched in the second year of the Berlin process, namely in 2015 in Vienna. The idea was to establish a relevant platform for civil society involvement within the Berlin Process - to steer, advise, and complete the regional cooperation format.

The Civil Society Forum was launched to serve as a relevant segment of closer exchange and cooperation between civil society and governments and decision-makers in the region. Furthermore, it intends to contribute to a greater role, visibility and impact of civil society and existing knowledge.

After Vienna 2015, the next Civil Society Fora took place in Paris 2016, Trieste 2017, London 2018, and Poznan 2019. In Poznan, the Think Tank Forum has been added as an additional format. The hosts of the Berlin process 2020, Bulgaria and North Macedonia, decided to merge these two and since then the format is called “Civil Society and Think Tank Forum”. In 2021 and 2022 the Berlin process was “back at home”, with Germany hosting.

In 2023, the Berlin process, together with the accompanying Civil Society and Think Tank Forum, will take place in Tirana.

The initial hope of constructing a more permanent format for civil society to cooperate and develop a dialogue with decision makers and governments did not fulfil, but regional civil society actors are better connected and use the format to develop joint position papers, recommendations as well as a slowly developing monitoring and evaluation mechanism, as the yearly one-off set-up has been identified as improvable.

The Civil Society and Think Tank Forum is a dynamic format, with actors and participants developing increasingly assertiveness to suggest and implement changes for achieving to be heard.