Introduction to Research
This research is the result of a collaboration between three partner organizations sharing an interest in intersectoral collaborations that strengthen accountability and citizen participation in Central and Eastern Europe. ePaństwo Foundation (Poland), Funky Citizens (Romania) and K-Monitor (Hungary) conducted research in their respective countries to explore the experiences and difficulties that advocacy organizations and informal initiatives face when seeking collaboration with local authorities. The research report consists of one horizontal chapter that generalizes the findings and three country chapters with four case studies each. Between May and July 2020, we conducted 64 semi-structured in-depth interviews with representatives from 35 organizations in 35 different local entities, involving both activists and local government officials.
“Local governance in Central-Eastern Europe is at a crossroads. It will either lose its relevance or evolve into a pocket of democracy that actively invests in civic ecosystems to support a democratic renewal.“
Conclusions and recommendations
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a collaboration meltdown in many of the case we investigated, CSOs provided flexible voluntary services even during this period. This disengagement happened despite the fact that municipalities had to establish strong, transparent and accountable measures to ensure proper funding allocation and regulation almost overnight. This phenomenon draws our attention to the resilience and sustainability of collaborative practices. Civic ecosystems have to identify and enforce baseline requirements for democratic governance, including remedies for the logistical and capacity constraints that contributed to the near shutdown of local governance mechanisms. Coming up with quick responses to unforeseen circumstances by involving and linking up local stakeholders is in everyone’s interest. Ensuring continuity instead of having to start from scratch again and again presupposes permanent links between the civic ecosystem and the local administration, as well as knowledge transfers and organic development between waves of mobilization, even in the face of occasional stagnation and dead-ends.
Embassy of Community Foundation (pol. Ambasada Społeczności) Nowy Sącz, Kraków Embassy was established in 2013 in Nowy Sącz, although it...Read More