Balkans Policy Research Group
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Projects

Strengthening Kosovo’s Institutions, Democratisation and Regional Cooperation
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This project aims to advance Kosovo’s EU Agenda through strengthening institutions, and regional cooperation with participation from all levels of society. The two year project targets a broad range of stakeholders who can affect change, such as civil society, governments, political parties and media. Activities encourage and promote participation from women, ethnic minorities and youth to fully empower decision making processes and build a culture of inclusion. The project is structured into three major components, Political Dialogue, Regional Cooperation and Enhancing Checks and Balances.

Planned activities foresee high level, roundtables, research, capacity building, providing expertise, partnership building and outreach.

Specific Objectives:

  • Foster dialogue and consensus of political parties by encouraging inclusion of women, youth and civil society and educate future political leaders.
  • Promote and support dialogue on normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, bi-lateral relations between Kosovo and Bosnia Herzegovina, and enhance regional cooperation by engaging institutions, media and civil society.
  • Strengthen good governance and rule of law through research and debate of legal gaps and construct harmony between the constitution, political system and governing branches.
Promoting and Communicating Benefits of the Kosovo-Serbia EU Facilitated Dialogue
European Union

Led by BPRG, this project seeks to promote and communicate the benefits of the EU facilitated technical dialogue on the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia to the wider public by focusing on a number of communication and outreach activities, peer to peer cooperation, research and local engagement.

Objectives include:

  • Broaden the support for the Belgrade-Pristina EU facilitated dialogue
  • Review the citizens perspective on the dialogue and its processes
  • Facilitate cooperation and networking among youth, CSOs, opinion makers and media
  • Enhance communication and foster citizen’s progressive perspective
  • Establish a standing group of CSOs and think tanks capable of advocacy and support

The Kosovo Serbia Policy Advocacy Group, will implement this action and is composed of 8 regional CSOs: Balkans Policy Research Group (BPRG), Democracy for Development (D4D), Kosovo Centre for Security Studies (KCSS), and NGO AKTIV in Kosovo; Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence (BFPE), European Movement in Serbia (EMinS), Belgrade Center for Security Policy (BCSP), Lawyers Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) in Serbia.

Empowering the Reporting on Rule of Law Standards in Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia
American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative

The overall goal of the project is to improve the capacity of journalists for reporting on the rule of law progress in Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina and to support better inter-sectoral cooperation between bar chambers, journalists and civil society within each country and in the region.

In order to achieve the overall goal specific objectives will be:

  • Tracking the quality of media reporting on specific issues
  • Empowering professional journalists for professional reporting and respect for the presumption of innocence, protection of minors, securing the identity of protected witnesses, etc.
  • Raise the level of communication and exchange of information between advocates who are well introduced to fair trial standards and journalists
  • Creating a sustainable united front for tracking the rule of law implementation in all five partner countries
  • Creating new lines of communications between bar chambers in the region and CSOs
Empowering Women and Girls, Promote Security and Inclusiveness by Fostering Political Dialogue in Kosovo
Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI)

Balkans Policy Research Group (BPRG) facilitates the Mediation Dialogue between leaders of the government and the opposition in Kosovo since march 2016. BPRG became the first and only local organisation to succeed in bringing senior political leadership of the five key parliamentary parties to the negotiating table. As an independent and impartial think tank, BPRG was able to successfully steer political developments towards stability and a more democratic approach.

The purpose of this project is to:

To include minorities in the process of fostering a culture of dialogue that strengthens political stability and democratic principles;

To involve parliamentary and women caucuses on building consensus on key policy issues; to reach consensus on key EU-integration reforms;

To strengthen the role of youth in politics and contribute to a new wave of changes within political parties.

Building a World-Class Think Tank in the Balkans
Open Society Initiative for Europe (Think Tank Fund)

The project is aimed at strengthening BPRG’s internal capacities (i.e. provision of staff trainings, acquisition of statistical software) and improving the quality of its outputs. The grant enables BPRG to fully utilise its existing and incoming human capacity and increase its ability to successfully advocate for policy change.

Objectives:

The proposed project seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Enhance the quality of research outputs of BPRG experts by acquiring advanced quantitative skills and tools
  • Boost the development of a new programmatic area and complement the existing expertise with the necessary instruments for high quality research and analysis
  • Develop tools and human resources for better visibility and impact of BPRG’s work
  • Employ innovative tools to increase the interest of institutions, media and public in the work of BPRG
  • Consolidate internal governance structures to fully utilise the potential of the Board of Trustee and the Advisory Board for contributing to BPRG’s further development.
Support for the Promise: CVE Communications Campaign
US Department of State

The project consists of a comprehensive communication campaign aimed at increasing civic awareness on the consequences of extremism and religious radicalism in Kosovo. The main activities (i.e. FDGs, open debates) located in the municipalities of Ferizaj, Vushtrri and Drenas, where a high number of fighters joined to fight for jihad in Syria and Iraq.

Project Objectives:

To affect Actions/Behaviors: Encourage target audiences to seek more information about the consequences of extremism and religious radicalism and proactively take preventive measures to prevent extremism in cooperation with relevant institutions and partners.

To affect Social Norms: Promote the prevention and report radicalisation amongst our target audiences, in all stages of the recruitment process. This includes preventing and reporting recruitment sites, identifying their goals, beliefs, means of persuasion, etc.  Our campaign will also try to affect social norms so that our target audience talks to their peers about the great risks of becoming directly involved in terrorist activities.

Raise public awareness and knowledge about the consequences of radicalism and the importance of countering VE ideologies in both words and practice. In close collaboration with other teams, “Support the Promise” will offer audiences an opportunity to learn about extremism and religious radicalism, as well as voice their concerns and address the relevant questions in the post-campaign forums that we organise.

Democratic Consolidation: Civil Society for Policy Change
Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF)

The project is aimed at encouraging reforms that contribute to democratic consolidation through an improvement in the quality and intensity of civic engagement in policy-making. The project activities (i.e. Policy Forum, briefings and policy one-pagers) are intended to offer policy alternatives to the most burning institutional problems, foster informed public debate on major issues, pool their resources and advocacy influence to effect tangible change, and fill in existing gaps in institutional functioning.

Objectives:

The specific goals of the programme are to;

  • Improve the ability of civil society to advocate to policy change by enacting innovative advocacy tools
  • Enhance the quality of public policy-making and decision-making by increasing expert input from civil society on specific policy issues related to institution-building, rule of law, and public administration
  • Encourage more active citizen participation in public debates through provision of accessible information on major policy questions, and foster the ability of citizens to hold institutions accountable
  • Encourage administrative procedural reforms as a means of improving public confidence in and attitudes towards institutions (local and central).
Enhancing Kosovo’s Think Tank’s Impact on Policy-Making
Norwegian Embassy

This grant supports BPRG to enhance its impact on the Policy Dialogue, Policy Forum and the dialogue for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. With regards to the latter component, one of the main project aims is to advance cooperation between CSOs of Kosovo and Serbia, and mobilise efforts to support a formal consortium of think-tankers whose aim will be to support the normalisation of relations between the two states and societies.

This grant has resulted in the formation of the Think Tankers Policy Forum (BPRG, KCSS and D4D)

 And the Kosovo Serbia Policy Advocacy Group (KSPAG)

Objectives:

The Project aims to achieve greater impact of think tank production through four separate but mutually supportive component:

  • Policy Dialogue

In reaction to the persistent political crisis, BPRG has designed and launched a locally-driven Policy Dialogue between the ruling parties and the opposition in hopes of halting the crisis and achieving a reform-driven agreement. The Dialogue roundtable was successfully launched in March 2016 by BPRG, where we act as an impartial mediator and facilitator, as well as an adviser on expert policy matters. The project timeframe of Policy Dialogue is one to three years starting March 2016. The aim is to foster political stability and establish a culture of dialogue cooperation between political actors, institutions and CSOs.

  • Policy Forum

Balkans Group is in the course of establishing a POLICY FORUM, a high-level advocacy of think-tankers in Kosovo. Bearing in mind the limited capacity of the civil society to impact policy change, BPRG took the lead to develop a project aimed at amplifying the ability of CSOs to affect policy-making. We plan to initiate a dialogue between think tanks and institutions, through joint publications, joint research and advocacy initiatives with fellow CSOs. Through this intervention, we aim to pool expertise of think tanks on cross-cutting issues, produce common research and policy papers, organise coordinated and joint public events, and to mobilise institutions to work on topics that consolidate Kosovo’s state. This activity will strengthen local think tanks’ ability to effectively advocate on their way to becoming sufficiently empowered to trigger change at the state-level.   Dialogue for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia

  • Dialogue for the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia

The Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has been severely criticised by the opposition and civil society in Kosovo, where nationalism has already gained grounds against what is perceived as a corrupt governing elite making too many concessions to Belgrade. BPRG, on the other hand, perceives any setbacks to the Dialogue as damaging to the fledgling state of Kosovo, and plans to engage think tanks in Kosovo and Serbia in designing and developing joint programmes that are conducive to the normalisation of relations. We are hopeful that the project will conclude with the establishment of a joint consortium between local think tanks and their counterparts in Serbia. Indeed, BPRG has already initiated and spearheaded drafting of a joint letter by Kosovo and Serbian think tanks calling on the EU institutions and member states to support civil society in its efforts to enhance normalization of relations between the two countries at state-to-state level but also at societal levels. The initiative arose an interest of the EU High Representative to support creation of a consortium of Kosovo and Serbian CSOs for the normalisation of relations, under the leadership of the Balkans Group.

  • Policy Reporting

 BPRG is committed to continuing to produce quality reports based on field research, and to actively advocate for institutional reform and policy-change. We aim to utilise our expertise to support progress in areas crucial to Kosovo’s state building and EU integration efforts, namely institution-building democratic consolidation, community integration and reconciliation and rule of law.

Policy Dialogue: Achieving a Political Agreement and Advance State Building through Reform-Driven Dialogue
Swiss Confederation, represented by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

The project promotes democratic consolidation, cooperation, reform dialogue, and thus ends the political crisis through its Policy Dialogue discussions. The Dialogue roundtables are an activity of BPRG which were successfully launched in March 2016 as a pilot that brought together senior members of political parties at a roundtable focused on finding a way out of the crisis.

Objectives: 

The overall goal of the project is to resolve the political crisis and prevent violence from taking place as well as to advance Kosovo’s state-building agenda.

By helping to develop working relations among all political parties, a more “normal” working atmosphere will be established which will contribute to returning institutions back to their full functionality, especially the Parliament.

By identifying themes and issues of common interest, the project will lead to a reform-driven political agreement addressing the major points of dispute while bringing about concrete reforms and policy solutions.

The project makes an important contribution to preventing state failure that has been lurking on the horizon for almost two years.

Objectives include:

  • To build consensus on key policy issues for Kosovo (including dialogue with Serbia)
  • To enable the full functioning of the institutions (including a return of the opposition parties to the Parliament)
  • To develop a culture of political dialogue in Kosovo.
Inclusive Policy Making in Kosovo and Serbia: Advance harmony and peace through dialogue, integration, and improvement of services, jobs and people
Olaf Palme International Center

The project aims at contributing to the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, through integration of respective minorities/communities and addressing their interests and needs for better services and jobs. 

The first component, to be implemented in North Kosovo, is focused on identifying mechanisms and actors that would prompt integration of local public companies vital to the life of the northern Serbs. 

The second component, to be implemented in South Serbia, is focused on obstacles that hinder institutional integration of Albanians and issues that are crucial to advancing minority rights. 

The first component is implemented in cooperation with Team for Social Research (TDI) while the latter is carried out jointly with Centre for Advocacy and Democratic Development (CADD).