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Wednesday, 15 June 2016 14:20

Slow Economic growth and continuous increase of unemployment, which is now 44% represents the biggest problems and challenges in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such a high unemployment rate is a result of devastating effects that recent conflict and economic transition process had on big employers, state owned holding companies that have been a backbone of Bosnia and Herzegovina economy and provided most of the jobs — working places in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Privatization rather negatively affected these processes since privatized companies didn`t manage to achieve revenue they had before 1992 and many of them are extinguished. With view of it, the Fast Growing Small and Medium Enterprises (FGSMEs) that represent a small percentage of the total number of companies (up to 10%) contribute significantly to the solving of problems by creating between 60% and 75% of new jobs. FGSMEs are also resistant to market recession and don't lose jobs during this period.

Since Sarajevo Macro Region has no sufficient developed business support services oriented to the SME sector, in 2014 Sarajevo Economic Regional Development Agency (SERDA) initiated the solution aiming to foster business expansion of FGSMEs through development of the new services/consultancy for FGSME/SME support in the region.

The solution developed and introduced new specific local economic development tools created for employment and economic growth, including methodology for new jobs creation and provided 15 FGSMEs with the following services:

  1. 15 business analysis for FGSMEs;
  2. 15 Business consultancies for FGSMEs (management consulting, sales, changes management, support to development of export, financial consolidation, business planning, marketing, Business plan development, support to innovation development, market research, rural development);
  3. Of 15 companies that received business analysis, 11 companies receive grants of direct support (up to 50% project contribution), for production tools development, software, innovation development, EU standards introduction, education, equipment, product design, fairs visits).

Owing to the support received the following has been achieved:

  • 11 companies has expanded their business. Among them is the FGSME Procedo that has reported 30% job growth in past 12 months (from 24 to 32) and 70% of export increase;
  • Strengthened capacities and business expansion of FGSME in pilot municipalities;
  • Positive experiences and best practices disseminated and transferred to wider regional area.
  • 73 new working places were created;
  • Transparency in SME sector increased through transparent financial support to companies that want to increase their business, to purchase new equipment, new software;
  • Communication and cooperation among local institutions and B2B developed and supported
  • The methodology for identification of FGSME and growth potential has been developed (for local purpose)
    • Local SME sector analysis and set of indicators developed and applied in three municipality/partners
    • Local action plan for support to the SMEs created (three of them) and Guidelines for local action plan on this practice developed (will be used in other municipalities)

Budget: 102,000 euro 

Partners: Association of Business Consultants in BiH – LESPnet, Municipality Vogošća, Municipality Ilijaš, Municipality Novi Grad

Contact information:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Sarajevo Economic Regional Development Agency (SERDA)
Contact Person: Faruk Cerić
Phone: +387 33 652 935; +387 33 648 686
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Thursday, 14 April 2016 14:15

Solution: Since its inception, ASAN Xidmət has become a state agency most widely applying the volunteer activity. Volunteerism is the activity undertaken by young people at ASAN Xidmət centers aimed at their self-development and enhancing their knowledge.

Goals and objectives: In order to facilitate employment opportunities for and support undergraduate and graduate ASAN volunteers in building their professional careers, ASAN Xidmət launched a website called ASAN Kadr (www.asankadr.az) in March 2015. This portal creates the bridge between young and experienced persons with distinctive work potential and public and private entities.

Implementation: Every young person between 17-25, both undergraduate and graduate, can apply for volunteerism in ASAN Xidmət. Those, who pass the selection process, undergo two-month volunteer work in ASAN Xidmət centers. Volunteers who successfully complete the contractual obligations are awarded a special certificate and reference by the State Agency and this provides an opportunity for their successful transition to the next phase of their professional life. So far more than 7000 young people have successfully undergone a volunteer activity in ASAN Xidmət centers.

Until 13 April 2016, 2227 CVs of ASAN volunteers have been uploaded on the portal. Moreover, 444 public and private entities have registered to the portal. Altogether 5579 job applications and job interviews have taken place through the portal.

Achievements: It is remarkable that so far 556 professionally distinguished young ASAN volunteers have found employment in ASAN Xidmət centers, other state entities, private companies and enterprises with 268 of them through the ASAN Kadr portal. Information on all volunteers, who have found employment, is regularly updated and their testimonials are placed on the portal.

Replication: The solutoijn can be replicated in countries in need to improve the youth employment system.

Budget: Access to and use of the portal by volunteers and entities are free of charge. Maintaining the portal is done by ASAN Xidmət HR Department, and requires minimum financial resources.

Contact details:  
Azerbaijan, Baku
ASAN Xidmət
Contact person: Mr. Elchin Huseynli
Phone: (+994) 12 444 74 41
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web links:  www.vxsida.gov.az, www.asan.gov.az  

Wednesday, 31 August 2016 14:03

The Romanian Mobility Fund for Governmental Experts is a rapid response financing tool that facilitates the quick transfer of Romanian experts and expertise to Romania’s ODA priority countries, such as Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan in order to meet the ad hoc needs in development sectors in which Romania can bring an added value, by sharing its transition experience to democracy and a market economy. This instrument is addressed to public servants from both Romania and its partner countries.

The Mobility Fund has been designed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania (MFA) in consultation with the UNDP and became operation in the autumn of 2013. The instrument is fully financed form the MFA’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget on an annual basis and is implemented jointly by the UNDP Regional Hub in Istanbul and the MFA.

The Mobility Fund’s focus areas are:

  • Transition to democracy (reconstruction of the state, democratic governance, administrative reform, support for the civil society, the media, and conflict resolution);
  • Support for agriculture and sustainable economic growth in the climate change context– preferably in the phytosanitary and sanitary and veterinary fields;
  • Environment protection and support for activities to promote sustainable energy in the context of the climate changes;
  • Health and education (secondary priorities).

The Mobility Fund is an application-based financing instrument, whereby interested representatives of public authorities in Romanian or the ODA partner countries (and in exceptional cases, where the requested expertise cannot be found in public institution, representatives of the private sector and the civil society) can submit their proposal, using a standardised application procedure. Applications for the Mobility Fund are received throughout the year, depending on the availability of funds, and are awarded on the first-come first-served principle, granted that the assistance needs are well justified.

Which are the eligibility criteria?

  • The applicants can be Governmental experts from Romania or partner countries (representatives of civil society in exceptional and justified cases, when their expertise could add value to the actions of the Governmental experts);
  • The proposal must respond to a direct development need of at least one partner country;
  • The activities must have practical objectives and must produce tangible results/deliverables;

Eligible costs: transportation/flight tickets; Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA), as per the UNDP list of DSA rates around the world;

What is the application procedure?

The application process lasts up to 15 working days. The complete application must be sent to the UNDP representative with at least 10 working days prior to the event/meeting. Within maxim 5 working days from the receipt of the complete application, the applicant will receive a response to the acceptance or rejection of the application. In the case of acceptance, the flight ticket will be procured by UNDP in the shortest time possible, and the respective DSA will be granted to the successful applicant.

Between August 2013 and April 2016, 31 mobility missions were financed through this mechanism, targeting the following fields of expertise: public health – phyto-sanitary, agriculture, consumer protection; project writing, M&E; market economy; internal affairs and public safety; anti-corruption and justice; child protection; public communication; and education.

The Mobility Fund for Government Experts:

  • Offers a low-risk, low-cost and timely solution for scaling up adequate development solutions upon the request and with the ownership of the partner countries, in a complementary manner to the other available funding modalities used by Romania;
  • Is well suited for small scale interventions that do not require a more ambitious project or programme-type intervention;
  • Is dedicated to development needs that had not been planned/could not have been planned in advance so as to be financed through other financing modalities, such as annual calls for proposals.
  • Offers reduced bureaucracy of the application process, with rapid deployments of experts in maximum10 days upon the application submission;
  • Can be used as seed funding to assess the potential for partnership development in a partner country.

Budget: 73,000 USD between 2013 and 2016

Contact details: 
Romania
Contact person: Anca Stoica, Romanian ODA Project Manager, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub
Phone: +40729660597
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

The Mobility Fund for Civil Society Experts is a financial instrument facilitating the transfer of expertise and knowledge sharing between civil society experts in Romania and the Republic of Moldova. This financial instrument is administered by the Romanian NGDO platform (FOND) and is fully financed by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs from its Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget.

The Mobility Fund was established in 2013, by FOND, in response to the request expressed by the participants at the 2010 Civil Society Forum Romania – Republic of Moldova that aimed at strengthening the cooperation and dialogue between the NGOs from the two countries.

The Mobility Fund for Civil Society Experts includes two types of financial support: funding for individual missions and small grants awarded to NGOs.

What are the eligibility criteria?

Eligible applicants:

  • Representatives (individuals) of civil society/academia from Romania and the Republic of Moldova only. An expert can benefit from only one grant per each financial cycle of the Mobility Fund.
  • Experts cannot also be awarded any type of professional fee by the organiser/any other third party.
  • Moldovan and Romanian NGOs that aim to exchange experience and best practices in development-related fields.

Eligible activities:

  • For individual mobility missions of NGOs representatives: seminars, working meetings, mentoring activities, individual consultancy services provided that the applicant serves as resource persons;
  • For organizations (small grants): public communication activities relating to European integration, workshops, trainings, study visits for groups of 2-5 people in Romania / the Republic of Moldova, short internship programmes in Romanian organisations.
  • Each grant does not exceed the threshold of 5000 USD.

What is the application procedure?

FOND launches the call for individual mobility proposals/small grants. For individual mobility missions, applications are accepted on a rolling basis following the first-come first-served principle. The complete application, including the application form, CV, meeting agenda, a brief overview of the activity must be submitted within 15 days prior to the event. An answer should be received in maximum 5 working days.

The grant is awarded in two tranches and covers transportation, accommodation, meals and other incidentals. For small grants, FOND launches a separate call. The application file must include the application form, registration documents and certificates of the applicant and its partners and the last activity report of the applicants and its partners. A commission composed of representatives of FOND, UNDP and the MFA evaluates the applications.

The Mobility Fund supported approximately 20 individual mobility missions and 10 small projects, between 2013 and 2016.

The Mobility Fund for Government Exerts:

  • offers a low-risk, low-cost and timely solution for scaling up adequate development solutions upon the request and with the ownership of the partner countries;
  • is well suited for small scale interventions that do not require a more ambitious project or programme-type intervention;
  • is dedicated to development needs that had not been planned/could not have been planned in advance so as to be financed through other financing modalities, such as annual calls for proposals.
  • offers an effective application process;
  • can be used as seed funding to assess the potential for partnership development in a partner country.

Budget: 71,000 USD between 2013 and 2015.

Contact details:  
Romania
Contact person: Adriana Zaharia, Adela Rusu
Phone: +40734325662/0747798582
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Sunday, 04 September 2016 11:03

Drafting public policies, strategies and action plans in the area of preventing and combating corruption is part of the mandate of the Ministry of Justice.  The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) initiated and coordinated the drafting process of three such strategies. The latest one, the National Anticorruption Strategy (NAS) 2016-2020, was drafted following a complex consultation process of all relevant stakeholders, following the good practice established under the previous strategic cycle (2015-2015). Around 90 civil society organizations, public institutions, companies and business associations were consulted during a 6-month period, resulting in more than 170 drafting proposals. The consultation process was divided in five different platforms, representing: (i) the central public administration; (ii)the independent authorities and anticorruption institutions; (iiI) local public administration; (iv) business sector and (v) civil society. The document entered into force on August 23, 2016.

The strategy made use of the self-assessment report of the implementation of the previous strategy, as well as of an independent external audit report on the results of NAS 2012-2015, undertaken by experts contracted by the OECD.

As an outcome the multidisciplinary strategic document was developed, addressing all public institutions, including the executive, legislative and judiciary, local public administration, business environment and civil society. The strategy represents a real anticorruption agenda that needs to be assumed at the level of all public institutions. It builds on the lessons learned from the previous strategy, while emphasizing the measures and sectors that still require a focused response, such as health, education, public procurement, local public administration, political party financing, whistleblower protection, ethics counseling and revolving doors.

The mechanism of thematic peer review missions at the level of the public institutions will form the bulk of the monitoring process. Evaluation visits will be carried out at the level of public institutions by expert teams composed of representatives of the five cooperation platforms (including civil society), in order to assess their progress in implementing the commitments undertaken in accordance with the programmatic document. Between 2012 and 2015, 83 evaluation missions took place, 17 in the central public administration and 66 in the local public administration. The evaluation visits result in an evaluation report that is published online and complements the self-evaluation procedure envisaged by the strategy.

The Executive summary on the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption on Romania, published on the UNODC website, notes the involvement of the private sector and civil society organizations in the implementation and monitoring of the National Anti-corruption Strategy as an example of success and good practice.

This model of periodically evaluating the implementation of NAS builds trust between NGOs and public institutions and opens dialogue channels that are otherwise neglected or undermined by reciprocal distrust.

The model implemented by the Ministry of Justice in designing strategic documents could be easily transferred in other countries with low trust in the AC efforts to contribute to building ownership of the people over the anticorruption agenda.

Contact details: 
Romania, Bucharest
Contact person: Anca –Luminita Stroe
Romania’s Department for Crime Prevention, Ministry of Justice
Phone: +4037.204.10.60.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://sna.just.ro/

 

Thursday, 04 August 2016 00:49

The strategic movement One Village One Product (OVOP) was designed specifically for regional development in Japan and implemented in a number of Southern countries, with Kyrgyzstan being first in Central Asia.

The OVOP concept was adopted and indigenized in Kyrgyzstan by Kyrgyz artisans and local producers under coordination of the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic and with support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with a vision to increase incomes and wealth of local communities through value addition to local resources, human capacity development and marketing of high value added products, which would be recognized worldwide.

The uniqueness of the OVOP approach is that oriented to achieve economic development in regions and communities by identifying and further production exclusively from local resources, development of packaging design and labels, followed by quality control, as well as the promotion of local and global markets.

Development of the new regional product involved producers, farmers, Committee members and other regional representatives. Producers are not left alone to find new idea and produce something unique; on the contrary, regional people with joint efforts and together with the project support identify available raw materials in the region, look for historically and traditionally known or regionally and culturally specific products.

Today, the OVOP has more than 1,500 members who make up the Association. About 300 - 400 producers annually make jointly felt souvenirs, which are later exported to Japan and through Japan are available worldwide in Muji shops.

  • Use of local resources and the generation/stabilization of income of the villagers, the promotion of local production and the acceleration of regional development, and promoting cooperation among the villages in the area of ​​industrial activity. An example is usage of only natural dyes for felt products using herbs growing in Issyk-Kul region such as sainfoin, yarrow, chiy, husks etc. Utilization of those will enable producers to market final products as regionally specific products.
  • Encourage and stimulate local people to make own efforts in development and marketing of regional products, which leads to improvement of their life standards.

The OVOP does not provide any financial means and support for raw material procurement or for transportation expenses. All activities of the producers are business based which contributes for their further sustainable and independent management of their activities.

Initially, the project was piloted Issyk-Kul region. The Ministry of Economy intends to scale-up the model in other areas of Kyrgyzstan.

Tajikistan expressed its interest in replicating the model with an initial study-tour in Kyrgyzstan organized by UNDP Tajikistan. The Deputy Minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Development from Afghanistan also took part in it. Such elements as joint efforts of producers and the government institutions, continuous communication and information sharing, selecting proper raw materials, understanding customers’ needs, advancing production technology, improving workshops, developing unique design and well-organized production system play a vital role in replicating the model.

Partners: JICA, the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic and the Authorized Representation of the Central Government in Issyk-Kul Region.

Contact details:
Asel Bogombaeva - Chief Specialist of Strategic Planning and Development, Department, the Ministry of Economy
Phone: +996312620535
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Friday, 16 September 2016 00:41

UNFPA in Armenia supports various initiatives aiming at reduction of maternal mortality, as well as abortion and infection rates through introduction of modern methods of contraception, improved access to and quality of Reproductive Health/Family Planning services, better antenatal services and care, education of young people on reproductive rights, health, and sexuality issues.

In 2002,UNFPA Armenia in cooperation with the Center for Perinatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology (CPOG) introduced the services of Mobile Gynecologist in hard-to-reach and remote rural areas of Armenia. The Mobile Gynecologist is a fast way of reaching women in labor by mobile gynecologist teams (MGTs) using an ambulance car fitted with the needed equipment. MGTs operate in six cities of five regions in Armenia, namely, Ararat (Ararat region), Armavir (Armavir region) Gavar and Vardenis (Gegharkunik region), Artik (Shirak region) and Spitak (Lori region)). From these base locations the teams are called to remote rural areas whenever there is a difficult case of woman in delivery and a life of woman is endangered.

The MGT consist of highly qualified and trained medical personnel (a gynecologist and a sonographer). Each team utilizes a vehicle that is fully equipped with necessary medical equipment (mobile ultrasound machine, portable Doppler and cardiotocograph machine) and supplies. 

The MGTs were providing antenatal services to approximately 1200 women annually as a part of the regular antenatal public service provision to pregnant women. The establishment of MGTs contributed to:

  • Decrease of maternal mortality rate. The maternal mortality was reduced by 20 percent in 2009 and by 70 percent by 2010;
  • Helped to address the regional disparities;
  • Changed reproductive health services for the better in rural areas;
  • Also due to regular visits to communities, signs of cervical and breast cancers and other health issues could be identified at an earlier stage to take preventive measures.

The Mobile Gynecologist model can be replicated in any country to ensure universal assess for care, especially for poor population in remote areas and can serve as an alternative solution to provide access to reproductive public health services in remote communities.

Partners: Republican Institute of Reproductive Health, Perinatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology (Armenia)

Budget: Equipment costs per car $15,000 in addition to the cost of ambulance cars

Contact details: 
Yerevan, Armenia
Contact person: Tsovinar Harutyunyyan, UNFPA Armenia CO Program Analyst
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Countries involved: Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

Relations between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan can be characterized as cooperative and peaceful but there are a significant number of unresolved border-related issues that threaten to undermine the countries’ security and developmental gains. Analysis of the incidents between Kyrgyz and Tajik neighboring communities pointed to youth as a key demographic group behind much of the recently recorded inter-communal/ cross-border tensions. Given the fact to the demographic situation in both countries and significant representation of the youth in overall demographic structure of the population the decision was made to pay special attention to addressing the youth issues through a number of strategic interventions. Need assessment of youth identified poor communication and lack of cooperation among the neighboring community as well as low level of ethnic tolerance of youth of two countries. 

Therefore, in 2016 UNDP came up with the initiative to target youth through educational and capacity development initiatives and foster youth involvement in the development and implementation of joint youth activities in Tajik-Kyrgyz border areas, thereby, contributing to the strengthening of multicultural understanding and tolerance.

UNDP focused its youth related activities on the group of youth between 18-30 years old that are prone to conflicts and their consequences and probable incidents with the neighbouring communities in Kyrgyzstan. It is assumed that through participation in the project activities the young people will build friendship, cooperation and social networks with their peers from the neighboring villages of Kyrgyzstan, learn together the social and business knowledge and develop the skills through implementation of joint social and business initiatives.

To achieve the set goals in frames of the current initiative the decision was made to bring to the youth of neighboring communities the knowledge and opportunities to cooperate through the following activities:

  1. Establishing of Youth Contact Groups in the 8 target villages of Isfara and B. Gafurov districts, Sughd region of Tajik side and 15 target villages from Kyrgyz side consisting of young entrepreneurs, teachers, representatives of local government, and “youth-at-risk” (8 - 10 people per group, at least 3 of them are females).
  2. Conducting 4 cross border youth camps (two in each country) for 272 participants from two countries and facilitate the developing of the joint action plans of socio-economic cooperation;
  3. Support to implementation of the joint action plans of socio-economic cooperation by youth in the target villages throughout the year 2017;
  4. Build capacity of the Youth Contact Groups through the following training programs (two following major packages):
    • Social development and peace building package, consisting of: Tolerance; Leadership; Critical thinking; Negotiation and dialogue; Participation in decision making;
    • Business package, consisting of: Joint assessment of the local business opportunities; Business plan developing; Trainings on taxation and entrepreneurship legislation; Learning the best practices and success cases – meetings with the local entrepreneurs, the owners of the enterprises in Isfara and study visits to the enterprises; Couching in practical implementation of business ideas and starting of business.

The following results have been achieved so far:

  1. The Youth Contact Groups in the 8 target villages from Tajik side and 15 target villages from Kyrgyz side consisting of young entrepreneurs, teachers, representatives of local government, and “youth-at-risk” (8 - 10 people per group, at least 3 of them are females) are established.
  2. The first out of four planned cross border youth camps (two in each country)  for 86 participants from two countries  is conducted and the joint action plans of socio-economic cooperation of 6 Tajik and 10 Kyrgyz communities are developed;

Partners:  FTI Kyrgyzstan - Foundation for Tolerance International; ASTI Tajikistan (Association of Scientific and Technical Intelligentsia); Local Authorities at district and Jamoat  level.

Budget: 141.000 USD

Contact information:
UNDP Tajikistan: Ms. Gulshod Sharipova, M&E Specialist, UNDP Khujand AO
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Phone: +992939999202

UNDP Kyrgyzstan: Mr. Akyn Bakirov, Project Specialist, UNDP Batken AO
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +996770220922

Monday, 08 August 2016 22:18

Strengthening the innovation capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is a precondition to improve the competitiveness and sustainable development. The innovation capacity of SMEs in Varna region, Bulgaria, IS lower than of large enterprises. In order to increase it the web-base group was created to establish qualified and fitting frameworks to motivate SMEs for innovation and to bring them closer to the results of research and development (R&D) activities.

In 2012 Varna Economic Development Agency (VEDA) within the EU-funded “Asvilok Plus” project created a social network of young innovators, entrepreneurs, and managers to support small business initiatives, to motivate them to join efforts in implementing their innovative ideas, get online education, consultations and opportunities for information exchange with VEDA and members of the network.   

The initiative aimed at:

  • creating a platform for knowledge sharing, communication and networking;
  • providing up-to-date information on funding opportunities for innovative projects and ideas as well as for training and scholarships aimed at innovative capacity building of human resources;
  • taking advantage from an innovative ICT application with regard to the dissemination of information regarding EU financial support and project implementation, for better visibility and transparency.

The initiative comprises of the following activities:

  • dentifying and establishing a creative environment that allows people interested in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship to learn from each other by sharing knowledge, experience, and information;
  • promoting the initiative and attracting people to the group who participate and frequently use social networks for communication and exchange of information (including people with hearing disabilities);
  • group management including general support and dissemination of updated information on innovation, training and financing issues relevant to young high-tech companies and innovative products (to overcome the lack of management skills and financing).

Since the group creation, the number of its members has risen to 542. The people networking on the platform actively post information on upcoming events, trainings, programs, etc. and develop business relations amongst each other. Thus, the VEDA’s initiative enables the economic environment of the involved regions to turn more innovation friendly setting up a virtuous circle at regional level where supply of new ideas and demand for new solutions both push and pull innovation.

After the project end, the group continues to function and expand its network by accepting new members. On a volunteer basis its members regularly exchange information on new funding schemes for entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs and innovation, for free training, workshops, meetings, exhibitions, mission travels and similar opportunities, for current competitions and awards in the country and abroad, and other topics relevant to the competitiveness and innovation.

Partners: The EU’s South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme (SEE Programme)

Budget: during the project lifetime a salary of virtual network’s manager.

Contact information:
Bulgaria
Varna Economic Development Agency
Contact person: Todorka Dimitrova, VEDA Director
Phone: +359 887 934526
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

www.facebook.com/groups/187570071286415

Thursday, 19 May 2016 21:57

Even though the Corporate Social Responsibility was rather new concept for the Republic of Macedonia a decade ago, now it has already established the institutional setup for CSR, including the National CSR body, adopted national CSR policy and proved dedication of the Government toward development of CSR in the country. 

In 2007 the Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted the Programme for Stimulating Investment in RM for 2007-2010, in which, considering the importance of the corporate social responsibility in securing the welfare impact of investments, the special provisions were made for development of the corporate social responsibility (CSR).

POLICY FORMULATION AND INSTITUTIONAL SETUP 

Further, the Ministry of Economy initiated activities on establishing a formalized body, responsible for promoting CSR in the country and for coordinating the activities of all stakeholders in this field. In 2007, the National Coordinative Body on CSR was established as a permanent working group within the Economic-Social Council of the Government. The Coordinative body on CSR consists of 17 members and represents a formalized structure for multi-stakeholder dialogue and identification of actions for CSR promotion and implementation. It involves all stakeholders under a Government umbrella, and yet, it is not governmental body. The Ministry of Economy acts as a coordinator of CSR promotion activities on behalf of state institutions. 

The Body developed the National CSR Agenda for the Republic of Macedonia 2008-2012, a policy document approved by the Government in October 2008. The multi-stakeholder approach to the formulation of the national CSR policy promotes joint actions, which can complement each other and create synergies and defines the roles, responsibilities and activities of all stakeholders. Government’s role is seemed in creating an enabling environment that promotes growth, inclusion and sustainability. The priority objectives include raising awareness on CSR; developing the capacities and competences to help mainstream CSR; and ensuring favorable environment for development of CSR.

Ministry of Economy is responsible for implementation of CSR policy and mainstreaming the CSR related practices and policies within different CSR stakeholders.The Department for promoting CSR was established within the Ministry, comprised of the Unit for Socially Responsible Practices and Unit for Social Responsibility Policy.  The activities are focused to promote and reinforce the national multi-stakeholder dialogue on CSR, exchange of ideas and experiences on CSR practices, develop capacity of National CSR body and encourage uptake of CSR practices in all sectors. 

MACEDONIAN CSR PROJECT

With financial support of the European Commission Programme for Competitiveness and Innovation (CIP) and cooperation with the Association of Chambers of Commerce of the Republic of Macedonia, and two civil society organizations, Macedonian Enterprise Development Foundation and Macedonian civil association Konekt, the Ministry of Economy implemented a project, aimed to support the mainstreaming of CSR related practices and policies within different stakeholders, through implementation of measures and activities foreseen in the National Agenda on CSR. The project targeted companies, especially SME’s, their employees and consumers, civil society organizations, government representatives and media. Main components of the Project correlated with the priority objectives of the National Agenda. Within the framework of the project the review of laws and regulations on compliance to CSR, was done in order to develop recommendations for synchronization of legislation with the CSR concept.

NATIONAL AWARD ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY 

Since 2007, every year, traditionally a National Award event is organized for the best practices in corporate social responsibilities, in five categories: relations with employees, ethical governance, market relations with suppliers, consumers and customers, environmental protection and community involvement. Recently, a new sixth category was introduced - the most innovative SR practice. On the annual Call for applications for the National Award for best CSR practices, the Macedonian companies are invited to apply and compete in each category, while documentation is evaluated by the Expert Jury Commissions for selecting the awarded practices in each category. So far, the Macedonian small/medium sized enterprises and large companies have presented their 500 social responsible practices, demonstrating the dedication to society and the environment.

Categories, number of application each year:

 

Category

Number of applications  in 2008

Number of applications  in 2008

Number of applications  in 2009

Number of applications  in 2010

Number of applications  in 2011

Number of applications  in 2012

Number of applications  in 2013

Number of applications  in 2014

Relations with employees

73

9

10

16

12

10

10

12

Ethical governance

2

4

7

7

5

2

5

Market relations with suppliers, consumers and customers

10

6

8

3

7

12

4

Environmental protection

11

6

8

7

17

6

8

Community involvement

20

16

24

30

27

26

21

Total:

73

52

42

63

59

66

56

50

 

The future development requires:

  • developing a new strategy for stimulating CSR in line with: UN and EU policy, regulatory developments, national development priorities and needs of key stakeholders;
  • capacity building of the institutional structures in charge of formulating, coordinating and implementing measures on CSR, to create foundations for implementation of the new strategy.

The expected result is the new mid-term national strategy for stimulating CSR and further developed capacities of the main structures for implementing measures to support CSR, on the base of the CSR policy approach of the UN and European Commission in the Republic of Macedonia.

Improving and advancing the corporate social responsibility in the Republic of Macedonia contributed to a favorable environment for sustainable development and competitiveness, social inclusion and improved overall business environment.

As a result of the joint activities of all stakeholders in the past years, Macedonia is now positioned as one of the leaders in CSR in Europe and its approach to the development and implementation of CSR can be shared with and replicated in other countries interested in introducing CSR into development agenda.

Budget: 5,000 EURO per year during 2008-2015, 10 000 EURO for 2016

Contact details:
Ministry of Economy 
Jurij Gagarin - 15, 1000 Skopje 
Republic of Macedonia 
Department for stimulating corporate social responsibility

Maja Kurcieva, Deputy Head of CSR Department
Tel: 02 3093 403
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sofija Kuzmanovska, Head of Unit for CSR policy
Tel: 02 3093 421
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 10 February 2017 21:36

Corruption is a prevalent problem in Serbia, with two sectors – health and education – vital for development of the country, in continuous need of support. This has been recognized in the 2013 EU Progress Report for Serbia, which has once again, outlined that “health and education remain particularly vulnerable to corruption”.

As a part of the global GAIN initiative, Innovation against Corruption in Serbia targets specifically these two areas – health and education, identified by the National Anticorruption Strategy and EU Progress Reports. Since 2014 UNDP Serbia in partnership with the Ministry of Health  and the Ministry of Education and Justice has been leading an intensive campaign to fight against corruption in the sector and introduced a few innovative tools, such as:

  • A C2C (citizen to citizen) SMS system for reporting corruption in the health sector;
  • Citizens’ charters in health institutions; and
  • An anticorruption legal clinic providing free legal aid to victims of corruption at the Law School of the University of Belgrade.

These tools were coupled with training of advisors on patients’ rights, healthcare officials and staff and follow up on concrete cases.

Based on initial results in the health sector, UNDP embarked with a social accountability approach in the education sector as of 2014, managing to support the establishment of an innovative anticorruption legal clinic at the Law School of the University of Belgrade providing free legal aid to victims of corruption. The Law School managed to enroll a second generation of students into the legal clinic, started providing free legal aid to clients and based on initial success, allocated further resources for its sustainability beyond the project duration.

Using the 2012 OECD survey as a baseline, an integrity assessment of the education sector in Serbia was conducted. It provided an inventory of integrity violations, issues and possible responses, which the Ministry of Education started to integrate in its policy plans. Finally, UNDP supported the national anticorruption coordination authority – the Ministry of Justice, with an overview of implementation of the National Anticorruption Strategy and Action Plan, with focus on the Health and Education sector. The overview is being used by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia in advancing the implementation of pending measures, the results of which are yet to be recorded in the medium term.

As shown below, this resulted in the improvement of perceptions of corruption in these sectors, as measured through an anticorruption benchmarking survey with the number of those polled who believe healthcare is corrupt declining by 11 percentage points and a ten-percentage-point drop relative to 2014 in the number of those polled who see education as prone to corruption:

  • 2015: Education 43%, Healthcare 59%
  • 2014: Education 53%, Healthcare 70%
  • 2013: Education 50%, Healthcare 71%.
  • The solution can be implemented in other countries with similar healthcare and education systems.

Partners: the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, the Anti-corruption Agency of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Serbia

Contact details: 
UNDP Serbia
Contact person: Jelena Manic
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Website: http://www.oecdbookshop.org/en/browse/title-detail/?ISB=5K91GVT3SNKL
 

Problems linked to finding markets, sale of products, establishment and development of trade relations are crucial and important in the cross-border areas of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The cross-border market and cross-border bridge infrastructure constructed in Tajikistan’s side and ready to be officially opened in 2017 after completion of “Silk Road” construction and demand in sharing of knowledge and experience on cross-border trade of Tajikistan's stakeholders by the counterparts in Afghanistan created favorable conditions and served as a well-timed opportunity to enhance the economic cross-border cooperation.

With the purpose to create favorable environment for entrepreneurs to discuss and enhance business development and extension opportunities, to make presentation of locally produced products, establish long-term business ties and partnership links between local, Tajik – Afghan, regional and foreign entrepreneurs, investors and business stakeholders in Tajik-Afghan cross-border areas, in 2016 UNDP with support of JICA initiated series of events related to establishment and promotion of cross-border cooperation, like: a) Tajik - Afghan Business Forum, b) Trade Fair  and c) Business to Business (B2B) Meetings that considered as the only initial solutions for establishment and development of cross-border trade.

Project beneficiaries' needs assessment was conducted before conducting B2B meeting, matchmaking exercise, business forum and trade fair to follow knowledge of entrepreneurs in cross-border trade and accordingly experience exchange (study tours) between Tajik and Afghan entrepreneurs has been conducted during B2B meeting, matchmaking exercise. In addition, business training has been conducted for additional 185 entrepreneurs (including 55 women) before planned events. 3 Business Support Centers (BSCs) has been established with the purpose to provide consultations to entrepreneurs on development of business sector. 

Accordingly, as a result of above-mentioned interventions the following results have been achieved:

  1. Ensured favorable opportunities for 150 entrepreneurs from Afghanistan, Tajikistan and other countries to discuss establishment, development and extension of cross-border trade through cross-border forum;
  2. Increased knowledge of 33 (9 female) Tajik – Afghan entrepreneurs on establishment and development of cross-border trade and the ways of joint cooperation through matchmaking and B2B meeting;
  3. Ensured presentation of both countries entrepreneurs produced products in the trade fair event with the purpose to establish trade relations;
  4. 12 memorandums of understanding including cooperation contracts have been signed between Tajik – Afghan entrepreneurs in the cross-border forum with the purposes to establish, develop and extend joint businesses;
  5. 16 memorandums of understanding on further cooperation in the amount of more than 600 000 USD have been signed between Tajik and Afghan entrepreneurs on purchase and sale of dried and processed fruits, products, jewelry, construction of sugar factory, etc.;
  6. Experience exchange visit of Afghan entrepreneurs has been conducted to local enterprises to see and get acquaintance with the opportunities on further establishment of cross-border trade development and promotion of entrepreneurship network and relations.

From the social point of view cross-border business forums, trade fairs, B2B meeting and other relevant events ensure good neighborhood between Tajikistan and Afghanistan entrepreneurs. Similar events do also significantly contribute to promotion of peace, stability and security in the cross-border areas. It also creates a platform for cross-border economic cooperation, enhances trade ties and addresses the needs of rural population in employment through initiation of income-generation activities and sustains livelihoods of rural population (including women and young people) and rural development, promotes women economic empowerment in targeted communities.

Partners: Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) of Afghanistan, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan (MEDT), JICA, Embassies of Japan in Tajikistan and Afghanistan; State Committee on Investment and State Property Management of Tajikistan; Local Executive Body of State Power of Khatlon Province, Tajikistan; Local Executive Body of State Power of Kulob city, Khatlon Oblast, Tajikistan. 

Budget: USD 97,000 (for business forum, trade fair, B2B event and business training) within USD 11 mln “Livelihoods improvement in Tajik-Afghan Cross-border Areas (LITACA)” funded by the Government of Japan, through JICA: https://vimeo.com/148089340

Contact information:
UNDP Tajikistan : Ruslan Ziganshin, LITACA Project Manager
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Tel: (992 44) 600-55-96/97/98
Website: http://www.tj.undp.org
UNDP Afghanistan: Mohammad Resool, Programme Officer, Livelihoods and Resilience Unit
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +93 728999925
Website: http://www.af.undp.org

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