AGORA Platform has started in May 2010 the Pro Participation project supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy , A Project of the German Marshall Fund. The Platform is a Project Coordinator on behalf of the The Civic Participation Forum (CPF) and will work for preparation of the NGO sector for involvement in the next planning period in close collaboration with the Open Society Institute project "Analyses and Assessment of the Programming of First Planning Period 2007-2013 in Bulgaria". The project duration is 10 months. Major project partners are the Civic Participation Forum members:
- The Club of the NGOs - Targovishte (http://clubngo.org );
- Devetaki Plateau Association - Lovetch, Letnica, Sevlievo (http://www.devetakiplateau.org );
- South Chitalishte Association for Development (AGORA Platform member);
- Pleven Community Fund "Chitalishta" (AGORA Platform member).
The goal of the project is to foster the consolidation of civic organizations in Bulgaria at local and regional level for more effective use of institutional mechanisms for civic participation. More concretely its objectives are:
- To create conditions for ensuring systematic participation of civic organizations in the process of planning of the next programming period 2014-2020 by stimulating debate and creating civic coalitions in each of the 6 planning regions in the country.
- To promote and spread action models of civic involvement, based on systemizing working practices of effective interaction between NGOs and local governments.
- To expand the legitimacy of the Civic Participation Forum as a strategic and representative country wide civic network advocating for effective citizen participation in the decision making process at local, regional and national levels.
The planned activities include:
- Organization of coordination meeting where members of CPF's Coordinating Council, representatives of OSI experts' team and the coordinating organizations from the six planning regions will discuss the strategic approach and action plan;
- Focus groups in the six planning regions and in Sofia for discussions of existing procedures for application of the partnership principle in the process of planning and gathering proposals and recommendations for increased level of participation of citizens into the planning process;
- Forming of Regional Pro-participation Initiative Groups in the six planning regions involving active organizations from the region that will support the initiative and help its enhancement. Due to the specifics of each region, an approach needs to be tailored to respond to the level of consolidation of civil society, existence of active organizations and the conditions of the environment.
- Mapping of working models of civic participation in the decision making in each of the regions to outline existing practices in the different municipalities in the region and to identify initiatives that can serve for developing working models of civic participation and case studies.
- Organizing regional forums for civic participation in each of the six planning regions.
- Analyses and formulation of recommendations based on results from the discussions from all regions;
- National meeting - where the position of the Civic Participation Forum will be finalized and a specific action plan for putting in practice the recommendations in 2011 nation-wide will be discussed with a public presentation of the report.
Results and potential effects:
- civic participation: systematically in the public debate - on regional and national level;
- expanded capacity and support base of the Civic Participation Forum - more active members from different parts of the country that provide for better representation and ability to hear the voice of the consolidated civic sector;
- preparedness and civic coalitions: regional groups for participation in the six planning regions that will support the application in practice of the recommendations for more efficient participation in the process of planning the next financial period.