TransConflict tailor its projects and research to the changing situation on the ground.
Through their day-to-day interaction with a variety of local counterparts, civil society organizations (CSOs) accumulate a wealth of information and insights relevant to the process of transformation throughout the Western Balkans. The lack of an effective reporting system, however, means that such knowledge remains largely inaccessible to other actors (such as other CSOs, Embassies, international organizations, think tanks and the media), and therefore does not contribute to the identification of problems and the formulation of appropriate project and policy-responses. To overcome this problem, TransConflict Serbia is looking to recruit a range of CSOs from areas of multi-ethnic diversity throughout Serbia and Kosovo to participate in a Reporting Transformation initiative.
The aim of this initiative is to provide a clear and concise reporting mechanism and structure that facilitates the flow and sharing of information garnered by CSOs through their on-going monitoring activities. CSOs will be asked to submit reports on a quarterly basis (see the ‘provisional reporting schedule‘ below), which would be analysed by TransConflict Serbia and the findings distributed to a variety of international and domestic actors in the form of a quarterly report. Individual reports from specific municipalities will also be distributed (with the express permission of the participating CSOs), whilst CSOs will be encouraged to submit special reports, should there be particular events or incidents deserving of immediate and broader attention. These reports will provide a clear insight into the nature of political change at the municipal level, particularly in areas of multi-ethnic diversity.
Provisional Reporting Schedule – the participating CSOs would be asked to submit their reports at the end of each respective three-month reporting period.
To facilitate the collation and dissemination of relevant information, TransConflict Serbia has designed a special reporting template – divided into three categories with two broad questions per category:
- Political Will – for instance, how is reform presented by local politicians? What is the attitude and approach of the municipality to issues related to corruption and conflict of interest?
- Political Capacity – are there signs of political negotiation and compromise between the main political actors at the municipal level? What are relations between the municipality and neighbouring municipalities/government Ministries/state institutions?
- Political Dynamics – what significant political developments have occurred, particularly in terms of inter- and intra-party relations? Are there specific opinions, concerns or rhetoric coming from political party leaders at the local level that suggest a change in political dynamics?
The overall objective of this initiative is to provide a reporting mechanism and structure that facilitates the flow and sharing of information garnered by civil society organizations (CSOs) in their day-to-day activities, such that it can act as a constructive resource for a variety of other domestic and international actors.
Other objectives include:
- To produce quarterly reports that highlight specific instances or examples facilitating or impeding the transformation of areas of multi-ethnic diversity throughout the Western Balkans.
- To strengthen the capacity of CSOs to act as key providers of information and insight to domestic and international actors;
- To improve understanding about regional political developments by strengthening reporting on political will, capacity and dynamics.
- To undertake regular and ongoing reporting training, including political reporting and analysis techniques.
- To improve communication between CSOs, and between CSOs and international/domestic actors, by raising awareness about the necessity and value of CSO inputs and monitoring activites;
Specific Reporting Examples
These examples serve to demonstrate some of the types of political developments and trends that are relevant for reporting purposes:
a) Political Will:
- Policies justified in terms of the particular interests of an ethno-national group or as necessary for Serbia’s EU accession;
- Funding accessed from a wide variety of sources, including state Ministries and the National Investment Plan;
- Attitude and approach of municipality to issues related to corruption and conflict of interest.
b) Political Capacity:
- How party politics are influencing or delaying ordinary executive decision-making at the municipal level;
- Existence of ‘top-down’ politics, whereby senior politicians exert excessive influence over officials at the municipal level;
- Disagreements among local politicians as to “appropriate” distribution of appointed positions, particularly perceived entitlements from a political perspective;
- Relations between the municipality and state Ministries/institutions.
c) Political Dynamics:
- Opinion, concerns or rhetoric coming from political party leaders at the local level;
- Local views towards political developments taking place at a regional or state level;
- Local issues of concern projected into national level political discussions and the media;
- Appointments within political party boards, particularly if this is suggestive of a change in party direction at either the local or national level.
d) Other Issues:
Particular views on Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and the issue of Kosovo’s status;
Other issues or events of note.