Solidar Balkans meeting

The Solidar Balkan Network meeting, held on November 11, 2008, in the premises of the TUC “Nezavisnost”, in Belgrade, gathered around 25 participants, representatives of the SOLIDAR member organizations active in the Western Balkan: the Olof Palme International Center, Volkshilfe Austria, SLA –Swiss Labour Assistance, UGT ISCOD, Progetto Sviluppo, Friedrich Ebert Foundation and other organization that cooperate with Trade Unions, political institutions and civil society organization. The ITUC PERC was represented by the regional SEE Office representative Mr. Jasmin Redzepovic.

Meeting participants gave an overview on the projects of their organizations, sharing their experiences and information on their past and future work in the region. The ITUC PERC SEE Office representative presented the ITUC PERC project partners in SEE and briefed the participants about the PERC projects in the region (ETUE project, Informal economy project, country specific programs) and the actions of Trade Union confederations on the World Day for Decent Work - 7 of October. He also explained the establishing of the SEE TU Forum and the cooperation with the Regional Cooperation Council - Sarajevo.

The SOLIDAR Balkan network agreed in July 2006 on modalities for the improvement of the SOLIDAR members cooperation in the region. Since the SOLIDAR members in the Western Balkans work on a wide rank of issues, the organizations participating in the SOLIDAR Balkan Network were categorized into four main fields of engagement:
1. Trade Unions and Social dialogue
2. Human rights and democratization
3. Income generation, Rural development and health and social services
4. Humanitarian Aid, disaster relief, reconstruction, refugees and IDPs

During the meeting, the participants worked in three evaluation workshops assessing the current state of situation, the implementation of the follow up steps of 2006 and discussed the steps that could follow after this meeting.
The “Trade Union and Social dialogue” evaluation workshop concluded that the development of social dialogue is one of the key areas for the future work of all the organizations in the region, as well as, Trade Union education and the support to youth and women TU work.

Finally, the meeting participants agreed (1) that information on the different projects and “outcomes” (manuals, etc.) will be shared on a SOLIDAR web based data base that all members will have to fill in; (2) all SOLIDAR member organizations and partners are asked to share information on their activities and of their contact persons in the region; (3) the SLA will organise the next SOLIDAR Balkan network meeting, before the mid of 2009, which will be a programming meeting focusing on the content of the work of SOLIDAR members in the region; (4) the SOLIDAR member organizations are asked to put the SOLIDAR logo on their letterhead and the link to the SOLIDAR web site; (5) to establish regular (once a month) national “coffee clubs” where all the SOLIDAR members would meet and exchange information on their work and (6) a number of trainings on fundraising regarding the EU IPA funding possibilities for civil society projects will be organized in Brussels and in the region.

Jasmin Redzepovic