Tangible and visible projects that bring specific benefits for the communities in the cross-border regions and that are based on good communication with local actors are the characteristics required for the EU-funded cross-border projects. This was stated at the TACSO conference "The role of civil society organizations and other actors in Cross-border cooperation programmes” held on 16th and 17th February 2017 in Strumica.
The analysis on the involvement of civil society organisations and other actors in cross-border cooperation programmes was presented at the conference. “The results showed that CSOs dominate in the CBC programme with Albania” – stated Julija Maroshek, author of the analysis report.
She added that several challenges were identified during project implementation, including: implementation of procurement procedures, ensuring competence for project implementation and financial resources by actors with lower financial capacity in order to bridge financial gaps during implementation.
During the plenary sessions and the workshops, the participants had opportunity to give their views and comments about the programming process and decision making; the conditions set in the calls for proposals and the operation of the programme bodies.
They also gave proposals about strengthening the capacities of the relevant stakeholders, suggested how to strengthen local and regional partnerships, how to improve the sustainability of the results and how to strengthen the joint elements in the projects. The good practices from implemented projects that were presented during the conference were inspiration for these discussions.
“We opened the doors to new changes” stated Irena Ivanova, programme manager for civil society and cross-border cooperation with Kosovo at the end of the conference. “CSOs’ role in the cross-border cooperation programmes is essential and the results from the Conference will trigger new processes that will facilitate better use of the funds” – added Ivanova. She spoke about the role of the support and the cross-border cooperation projects that bring regions closer together, erase the borders and contribute towards their Europeanisation.
„I am glad that many different actors crucial for cross-border cooperation responded positively to our invitation. The analysis that was prepared within the TACSO project together with the participants’ experience contributed towards the productive discussions, conclusions and recommendations which we hope will facilitate future improvements” stated Suncica Sazdovska, TACSO resident advisor.
The conference was attended by more than 80 participants from the country and the neighboring countries, including representatives from CSOs, municipalities, other institutions and EUD representatives.