The Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) is pleased to present the 2019 edition of the Monitoring Matrix on Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development, examining developments in the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia).

The Regional Report summarizes the findings and recommendations from all the country reports for 2019. A web platform offering access to the monitoring data per country is also available at www.monitoringmatrix.net .

In 2019, the general situation in the Western Balkans faced socio-economic and political challenges, affecting the environment and operations of civil society. The political environment in most countries remained unfavorable, especially towards civil society development.

According to the findings for 2019, freedom of association continues to be legally guaranteed in all countries of the region. However, a few challenges remain. Shortcomings in protection against unwarranted interference of the state in CSO affairs have not been fully addressed. Even though basic freedoms continue to be legally guaranteed, countries need to strengthen accountability of all relevant institutions in charge of protection and enforcement of these fundamental rights. The legislative and tax framework for CSOs continues to pose challenges for donors in most of the countries. Foreign donors are the dominant source of funding and that the area lacks diversification. The legislation and policies pertaining to employment do not take into account the specific nature of CSO operation. CSO-state relationships are regulated by legal and/or policy documents in all of the countries. Dialogue with public authorities has been limited, particularly with regard to CSO involvement in the decision-making processes. Legal frameworks for service provision continue to be unsupportive of CSOs as service providers, resulting in only a few public service contracts.

Overall, not many changes were introduced in 2019 to improve the enabling environment for development of civil society in the Western Balkans region.

Read more and download the report here.