The thematic scope of the Project is in line with the European Commission’s policy “to promote civil society development and dialogue” in accession countries and has been prepared in consultation with Serbian civil society organisations . In the survey conducted by the Sector for IPA programming of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia Sector, nearly 100 CSOs responded to a questionnaire detailing their views about the priority areas which IPA national funds aimed at civil society should target. The survey was followed up by Civil Society Conference held on May 28, 2009, providing a forum for direct consultation with civil society about IPA programming. In October 2010 the data on the priorities was updated through an assessment of the needs of the civil society sector in Serbia.

The overall goal of the Project is to support active civil society participation in Serbia’s EU-integration and its specific objectives are defined as:
Specific objective 1: Building social cohesion and overcoming discrimination in Serbian society by promoting tolerance and cultural diversity;
Specific objective 2: Active civil society participation in the socioeconomic development.

The following types of actions are eligible for financial support under this Project:
Under Specific objective 1:

o within the theme Anti-discrimination and tolerance;

  • Increasing knowledge on inequality by collecting and producing data on discrimination of vulnerable groups and its consequences,
  • Combating all discriminative practices in public life (on grounds of race, ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation) by mobilising community support,
  • Development of the cooperation with the relevant bodies dealing with this issue,
  • Contributing to social cohesion through development of non-discriminative policies (equality plans i.e.) and establishment of non-discriminative public environment (accessible facilities i.e.),
  • Mainstreaming of non-discrimination policies (by promoting diversity at the work place, through training of civil servants on equality issues and other similar actions),
  • Identification and dissemination of good practices in the EU in combating discrimination
  • Enhancing expertise of civil society organizations in the field of anti-discrimination through partnerships with EU CSOs, training and production of policy analysis.

o within the theme Cultural diversity and pluralism;

  • Increasing public understanding about cultural pluralism by making social, linguistic, religious and other specifics of diverse communities known to mainstream public,
  • Fostering intercultural respect by mainstreaming cultural diversity in public policies and practice, including education, social services, etc.,
  • Enhancing public knowledge for cultural diversity through cultural production (i.e. of arts, films, music, TV), cultural events (museum exhibitions, theatre plays, festivals etc.) and organisation of lectures and debates on related topics,
  • Increasing the inter-cultural dialogue among different communities,
  • Contributing to regional cooperation by exploring common values and issues of concern in the region,
  • Promoting European cultural diversity in partnership with EU CSOs through organisation of different cultural events.

Under Specific objective 2:

o within the theme Local socio-economic development;

  • Minimising the long term unemployment by implementing specialised initiatives in cooperation with local authorities and local structures (for example vocational training or retraining programs in accordance with local specifics),
  • Increasing youth employment and employability of socially disadvantaged by cooperating with local authorities and business , by providing career guidance, exploring alternative employment possibilities, establishing links between the education and business sector, etc.,
  • Mediate for an efficient social dialogue at local level by establishing structured cooperation with social partners, with a focus on local specific labour market challenges and human resources competencies,
  • Enhance local socio-economic development through promotion of innovation and alternative economy including cooperatives, branding of products, alternative tourism, development of innovative uses of information and communication sector etc.

o within the theme Public policies and EU standards at local level;

  • Enhancing expertise of civil society organizations in the field of socio-economic development, through partnerships with EU CSOs, training and production of policy analysis,
  • Ensuring citizens, and in particular small scale producers, consumers and specific professionals are aware of the EU Aquis in socio-economic sphere and also relevant EU standards through effective ways of spreading information and advice about the EU integration requirements (establishing help-lines, web-sites, producing videos etc.),
  • Supporting implementation of local development strategies and action plans through representative activities (including policy awareness, monitoring, dissemination and analysis of relevant data and information, lobbying and advocacy, networking etc.),
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of local development strategies and action plans by implementing specific tasks and measures either in partnership with local authorities or as commissioned by them,
  • Ensuring public participation in decision-making processes on measures, programs and investments with potentially significant environmental and/or socio-economic impacts,
  • Ensuring greater transparency, openness and accountability of public administration at local level through issue-specific advocacy initiatives relevant for the fight against corruption.

The implementation of the supported actions shall further strengthen the role of the civil society in Serbia and help develop partnerships across sectors.