Since 2015, WFD’s regional programming in the Western Balkans focused on effective financial scrutiny and parliamentary openness. In August 2018 a new regional programme was launched to engage with eight parliaments across six countries, public institutions, political parties and civil society organisations. WFD implements programmes in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro Kosovo and Serbia. The regional Western Balkans programme is based and managed out of our regional hub in Belgrade.
The breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the creation of six separate states exasperated ethnic tensions and nationalist rhetoric that to some extent still frame politics in the region today. As the region’s countries move towards European integration, well-functioning institutions that pass quality legislation, monitor the work of governments and, critically, represent and promote the interests of all citizens, is essential.
The overall aim of the programme is to:
- Encourage political parties to be more policy-focused and orientated towards voters’ needs and desires;
- Develop more effective parliamentary practice which leads to better quality legislation, closer scrutiny of the executive and a greater focus on service delivery in line with voters interests;
- Enhance democratic culture with greater interaction between state and non-state actors on challenges effecting citizen’s lives.
In recent years, our institutional support across the Western Balkans has:
- Exposed legislatures to UK parliamentary practice and enhanced links between the UK and the region’s decision makers;
- Enhanced financial oversight practices including the establishment of two parliamentary budget offices in Serbia and Montenegro;
- Supported parliaments to restructure and revive their parliamentary services, introducing modern human resources practices;
- Assessed parliamentary capacities to promote and protect human rights to support strengthen these functions;
- Built parliament’s capacities to communicate effectively with citizens and be more open and transparent institutions.
Our engagement and support to civil society has:
- Enhanced the ability of our partners to research and produce evidence-based policy papers for engagement with institutions and policy-makers;
- Promoted civil society engagement with parliamentary committees to advocate for legislative change.
Our work with political parties has:
- Built party structures and systems;
- Enhanced women and youth political participation;
- Provided education, support and advice relating to campaigning and elections;
- Given opportunities for networking and engagement, including exposure to UK and European counterparts.
- Established the Network of Parliamentary Committees (NPC)
- Established the first ever Parliamentary Budget Office in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in November 2015
- Established an effective board for the Network of Parliamentary Committees with membership from across the region
- Established the first ever Parliamentary Budget Office in the Parliament of Montenegro in April 2016
- Established a knowledge and information sharing partnership between the NPC and World Bank
- Over 160 analyses developed for Members of the Serbian and Montenegrin parliaments
Supporting Serbia’s Parliamentary Budget Office and the regional Network of Parliamentary Committees
Planned end: March 2018