While the overall objective of the project is to enhance good neighbourly relations and prosperity in the Western Balkans through improved cooperation between border regions, the project purpose is to enhance regional coordination and harmonisation of approaches and mechanisms in the field of cross-border cooperation at intra-Western Balkan borders in line with EU frameworks and guidelines in the area of territorial cooperation and support a smooth transition from PA I to IPA II.
Paving the way for harmonious regional policies
Regular regional coordination meetings provide opportunities for exchange of experience, good practices and knowledge, facilitating common problem solving and the creation of synergies, partnerships and networks across countries, cultures, borders and thematic sectors.
CBIB+ phase 2 keeps on supporting the organisation of CBC Regional Consultative Forums, that is, a platform for permanent dialogue between the WB Region and the European Commission. It ensures the inclusive participation of relevant stakeholders for a better understanding of joint challenges and the application of common solutions. This ultimately has an empowering impact, increasing CBC programme ownership and sustainability. Under the auspices of the Forums, CBIB+ phase 2 mentors topic-oriented technical working groups offering solutions to concrete challenges in programme implementation.
Ensuring a long-lasting empowerment effect on stakeholders
Project capacity building efforts are aimed at both national and joint structures, responsible for programme management and implementation. CBIB+ phase 2 seeks to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the new generation of CBC programmes (2014-2020), to simplify the access to available funds and safeguard their sound usage. The following advisory actions are therefore implemented:
- preparation of guidelines/manuals
- delivery of targeted tailor-made training workshops
- organisation of specific, purpose driven exchanges of staff
- flexible mechanism for coping with the provision of demand-driven technical expertise
- promotion of linkages with other EU-funded initiatives in the field of territorial cooperation.
Impact on the life of citizens as ultimate goal
Experience with CBC programme implementation in the WB has been growing fast and it is now necessary and appropriate to fully exploit it. This knowledge has to be assessed and compared with the achievements of ETC. CBIB+ phase 2 is thus engaged in the preparation of a strategy for assessing lessons learnt and synergies following the findings of an overall evaluation of the 2007-2013 IPA CBC programmes. CBIB+ phase 2 is to analyse in detail those findings. Furthermore, as different monitoring systems are in use for different CBC programmes, the project is to develop a methodology and set up a model for systematic result/impact measurement. Through an active consultative process with key stakeholders, the methodology, covering the full monitoring cycle and serving as a feedback system, is to be tested and adopted. We will then be able to catch those changes the programmes would have made in the life citizens. CBIB+ plays a supervisory role on the methodology’s implementation until the end of the project.
Simple e-tools to ease the access to and the knowledge about EU funds
In order to promote best practice culture, cross-fertilisation of experience, facilitate knowledge sharing, management and implementation of CBC programmes and projects in line with EU standards and IPA requirements in a simplified, but at the same time harmonised manner throughout the region, the following e-tools will continue to be available: e-library, e-forums, database of best practice project examples.
Moreover, CBIB+ phase 2 carries out a prize contest for universities, research centres, individual researchers and other entities for the preparation and publication of CBC relevant thematic studies.
Making CBC visible in WB and beyond
The capacity building efforts are complemented with horizontal, cross-cutting activities on information dissemination that ensure professional communication and visibility of CBC programmes within the WB region itself, but also beyond its borders. The following communication tools have been developed: website, the newsletter Yellow&Blue, regular e-flash news, discussion forums and social media, researches and studies, various booklets and leaflets.