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Evaluating donor assistance in BiH and Serbia by Adam Fagan

Evaluating donor assistance in BiH and Serbia by Adam Fagan

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  • 1. Civil Society or state-building? Evaluating donor assistance in BiH and Serbia Adam Fagan [email_address]
  • 2.  
  • 3. Civil society assistance in post-socialist Eurasia: what we saw…
    • New NGO networks disconnected from indigenous networks
    • External assistance failing to generate advocacy networks
    • Project management capacity rather than political capacity
    • Lack of accountability and legitimacy; dependency on donors
    • Democratic deficit: low levels of participation and citizen engagement combined with restricted political access and expertise
    • Lack of transnational linkage and “global” network formation
    • “ Successful” NGO networks engaged in service provision (state/market substitution) rather than state-building or post-conflict reconstruction
  • 4. What we missed (and probably got wrong…)
    • Too much expected of NSAs and NGO networks (seen as agents rather than conduits of change)
    • Impact of donor assistance was being judged far too early
    • Focus on “democracy” and “civil society” obscured “behind the scenes” governance role and impact
    • Too dismissive of service provision - the basis for expertise and legitimacy
    • Underestimated the extent to which NGO networks represent new policy knowledge – “epistemic communities”
  • 5. An assessment of EU capacity assistance for NGOs in Potential Candidate Countries of the Western Balkans
  • 6. Project focus:
    • To what extent are EU compliance and “soft” conditionality triggering new modes of (environmental) governance?
    • What role(s) do civil society actors, NGOs and IFIs play in environmental governance and regulation?
    • Is there evidence of increased state capacity and reform?
    • How effective is donor capacity assistance for NGOs in strengthening multi-level governance?
    EU Compliance in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia
  • 7. Research focus and methodology:
    • Environmental governance in BiH and Serbia as optic on NGO/NSA activity
    • Road construction :
      • Serbia - “Corridor X” (800 KM);
      • BiH - “Corridor Vc” (European route E73) - Mostar and Sarajevo by-passes; Banja Luka-Gradiska road; Buna-Neum road and Banja Luka-Doboj road
    • Quantitative analysis of REC data on ENGOs: relationship between foreign donor revenue and action repertoires
    • Qualitative interview data: ENGOs engaged in EIA public hearings, recipients of donor funding
    • Attend public hearings and interviews / focus groups with all stake-holders
    • What are we measuring? - conditionality and compliance; formal vs. informal change; multi-level governance; political economy and regulation
    EU Compliance in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia
  • 8. EU civil society assistance: what’s it all about?
    • Dates back to the late 1980s - Phare funding
    • Framed initially in terms of supporting transition in CEE states - democracy promotion
    • Based on US donor model (short term project grants)
    • Shift in emphasis towards accession goals (early 2000s) and “good governance”
    • Civil society as instrument of all assistance - EIDHR, SAPARD
    • Civil society assistance = support for NGOs in context of policy development, knowledge and implementation
  • 9. Why are NGO networks so important?
    • Key actors in multi-level governance - policy development and also implementation
    • Represent new knowledge - new “epistemic communities”
    • Requirement of EU - partnership between state and non-state actors critical component of conditionality
  • 10. NGOs and new modes of governance:
    • Less hierarchic, shift away from command and control decision making
    • Policy knowledge, expertise and implementation
    • Existing capacities of NGOs – critical ( Borzel; Heritier and Lehmkuhl )
    • State capacity also critical determinant
    • Principal – agent / transaction cost theory (state agencies must not be threatened by NGOs, but see benefit of co-operation; NGOs must see opportunities without threat of co-option)
  • 11. Transactional activism ?
    • “ the ties - enduring and temporary among organized non-state actors and between them and political parties, power holders and other institutions”
    • Petrova, T. and S. Tarrow (2007) “Transactional and participatory activism in emerging European polity: the puzzle of East-Central Europe” Comparative Political Studies , 40: 74-94.
  • 12. Findings:
    • Neither BiH nor Serbia is “outlier” in terms of NGO activity ( cf CEE)
    • Donor funding provides NGOs with more revenue than reliance on other sources (state, public)
    • More revenue = greater focus on policy, education and involvement with regional and transnational networks
    • Widening resources gap between richest and poorest NGOs in both locations
    • Low level of NGO participation in public hearings (EIA); relatively high levels of citizen mobilization and engagement
    • Emergence of 2 groups of NGOs: transactional (donor funded) orgs., and local participatory (no donor funding) orgs.
    • A few NGOs combine both, but hard to “progress” from one to the other Block funding or relationship with several donors are empowering in terms of developmental advocacy
    • Particular donors and type of funding: some place more emphasis on longer-term “block grants” and the building of regional and trans-national co-operation
  • 13. (tentative) conclusions…
    • Environment – how representative? (important aspect of conditionality, mobilization capacity, involvement of NSAs)
    • Early analysis of foreign donor funding for NGOs – too critical
    • NGO networks emerging with transactional capacity
    • Some regional and trans-national co-operation is occurring
    • Type of donor and funding - critical
    • Weak state capacity in BiH allows NGOs to play greater policy role, but not necessarily more empowered
    • Greater state capacity and centralised Serbian state – impact on transactional activism of NGOs
    • Development agency of NGOs being built – but state-building dependent on other variables (bureaucratic capacities; co-ordination of elites; progress of Europeanization and complexity of reforms)
  • 14. Duration of project Hypothesis: “Assistance delivered as part of short-term grants”
  • 15. Human Resources
  • 16. Does the project involve you working with state/government? Hypothesis: “assistance helps to build good governance”
  • 17. Is this the first EU project grant awarded to your organisation? Hypothesis: “assistance benefits the same organisations in each round”
  • 18. Where is your organization located? Hypothesis: “narrow diffusion and dispersal of aid - urban dominance”
  • 19. Does the project involve you working with other organizations? Hypothesis: “aid helps to build NGO/CSO networks”