The Delegation of the European Union to Belarus launched a Call for proposals "Supporting Capacity Building and Partnership of Civil Society and Local Authorities in Belarus". Awareness session with the representatives of civil society was held on May 4 in Johannes Rau International Centre for Education and Exchange in Minsk (IBB).
The head of the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin noted in her speech that the European Union already enjoys a long-standing relationship and cooperation with civil society and local authorities in Belarus based on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. These principles constitute the basis of the European Commission assistance programmes launched in Belarus as well.
According to Ms. Wiktorin, over the period of 2007 - 2017, the EU has allocated more than EUR 40 million to support civil society-led activities in Belarus, and almost EUR 10 million to support local authority-led actions. “These funds have been mainly provided on a competition basis, via calls for proposals, first by the Delegation of the EU to Ukraine and since 2013 by the Delegation of the EU to Belarus”, said the Head of the Delegation, “We have supported a large number of beneficiary groups, such as children, young people, women, residents of rural areas, people with disabilities, prisoners, etc. Topics have varied – but there is a clear shift towards democratic principles of governance”.
The call for proposals is being financed by means of “Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities,” designed to strengthen civil society organisations and local authorities in the EU's partner countries, and "The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights" that aims at contributing to the development and consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Andrea Wiktorin underlined that the objective of this call for proposals is to strengthen the role of civil society and local authorities in Belarus in promoting participatory governance, democratic reforms and inclusive socio-economic development.
She also added, “We are very much aware of the conditions in which you are working in Belarus. Nevertheless, we are confident that this call for proposals will attract a number of competitive bids that will result to five to ten high-quality projects that contribute to the development of the sector, for the final benefit of Belarusian society in general”.