A number of decisions were taken at the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum annual event held in Poznan, Poland, on 28-30 November 2011.
1. Permanent participant status
The important news learned just before the Poznan event was that the CSF has been granted for the next 12 months (and hopefully it will continue after that) permanent participant status at the intergovernmental thematic platform meetings of the Eastern Partnership. It will be important that the CSF makes maximum use of this, and shows that civil society has expertise to bring added value to the meetings.
2. Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility
In addition, civil society organisations in the Partner countries, other ENP countries, EU members and candidate countries are invited to submit concept notes for funding under the Neighbourhood Civil Society Facility. The Steering Committee is preparing a submission to support the work of the national platforms and to establish the Forum Secretariat. For Forum participants interested in sending applications, the call can be found here.
3. Decisions on Social Dialogue Working Group, Strategy Concept, and Legal Registration of Secretariat of CSF
a. It was approved that from the 2012 annual Forum event there will be an additional working group:
WG 5. Social Dialogue – to focus on social rights and social dialogue, labour market and other social and economic issues pertinent to the Eastern Partner countries.
b. A decision was taken to register as a legal entity the Secretariat of the Forum, the governing body of which should be the CSF Steering Committee, and accountable to the whole Forum through the Steering Committee. The statutes will be finalised by the Steering Committee at the end of January 2011 following a final call for feedback from Forum participants.
c. The draft Strategy Concept was approved – and will be finalised by the Steering Committee at the end of January 2011 following a final call for feedback from Forum participants.
The European Training Foundation (ETF) is putting forward a new work programme with activities spanning all ETF partner regions in the EU’s neighbourhood, culminating in a high-level corporate meeting during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November. A main focus of the team’s work will be on the identification and dissemination of good practice – “We intend to examine the real value of good practice in the areas of entrepreneurship and enterprise skills,” said the ETF’s Director, Anthony Gribben.
Underscoring the importance of establishing a more systematic approach for quality assurance, he added: “For the most part, good practice is subjectively defined and if it is to have real learning value some kind of quality assurance needs to be brought into the process. We therefore intend to road-test a good practice peer review mechanism.” Three areas have been selected to test the peer review model including training for youth start-ups, female entrepreneurship and skills for growth enterprises.
Good practices in all areas are presently being sought from within the European Union and ETF partner countries, and could feature in the road-testing phase. The outcomes of the project will be shared during an international meeting to be held 14-15 November in Brussels as part of ETF’s activity plan for Global Entrepreneurship Week.
The team’s 2012 work programme also includes customised policy support to a number of partner countries including Moldova and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. “Our Palestinian partners are particularly keen to bring forward developments on teacher training for entrepreneurship,” said the ETF’s Denise Loughran. “Our plans are to borrow on expertise from our partner institution SEECEL and its school network for the Palestinian project,” she added.
A series of human capital assessments in the EU’s Mediterranean neighbourhood are also being planned as part of a wider review of enterprise policy associated with the Euro-Mediterranean Charter for Enterprise. “This assessment drive will allow us to determine progress in each country since our last assessment in 2008,” said Aziz Jaouani, who leads the activities in the region. “The assessment will be preceded, in June 2012, by a regional capacity-building seminar to prepare the stakeholders from partner countries for the assessment exercise,” added Jaouani.
Following an in depth analysis of policy developments in some 14 countries undertaken in the latter half of 2011 in the areas of entrepreneurial learning and enterprise skills, the European Small Business Act (SBA) assessments in the pre-accession and Eastern Partnership regions will be finalised. The ETF assessments will feature in reports to be published by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry later this year.
Referring particularly to the SBA assessment in the Eastern Neighbourhood, the assessment coordinator, Olena Bekh, said: “It has been an amazing challenge and an excellent learning opportunity for ETF to work so closely with our partner countries on the SBA assessment. We appreciate very much the interest and readiness of all stakeholders to engage in the process.”
The European Training Foundation is an agency of the European Union established to contribute to the development of the education and training systems of the EU partner countries. With an annual budget of €18 million, its mission is to help transition and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU’s external relations policy. (ENPI Info Centre)