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Stronger Together Bolstering resilience among civil society in the Western Balkans

Learn more about civil society organizations in The Western Balkans in our webinar on the 19th March 11 am (CET.) The event will be available in English, Shqip, Македонски, and Bosanski-srpski-crnogorsk

As the space for civil society appears to be shrinking in the Western Balkans, with organizations being under pressure from governments and increasingly concerned about their security, this report looks at organized crime and corruption in the region from a civil society perspective.

The report aims to give an overview of how civil society organizations in the Western Balkans deal with issues related to organized crime and corruption and highlights their main activities and concerns.

Less than 1% of the more than 100 000 civil society organizations (CSOs) registered in the Western Balkans Six (WB6) countries deal directly with organized crime or corruption.

Key points:

  • Few CSOs in the Western Balkans Six countries deal directly with organized crime or corruption. This is surprising given the impact and threats of organized crime in the region.
  • Nevertheless, many organizations address vulnerabilities to organized crime and corruption and work on issues ranging from drug use to youth development, post-prison reintegration, media freedom, environmental matters and marginalized groups.

Individuals and community groups are able to build their individual and collective capacity to respond to and recover from organized crime.

Courageous and committed CSOs across the Western Balkans are doing the same, however, they would benefit from further support to help strengthen communities’ resilience.

What are the obstacles ?

  • A systemic lack of coordination and solidarity among CSOs and few means of disseminating and sharing successes and good practices.
  • CSOs sometimes lack awareness about the links between organized crime and the core issues of social protection and development which creates a structural barrier to building resilience against organized crime.
The COVID-19 pandemic and assosciated restrictions have significantly hampered community engagement by civil society at a time when it is badly needed.

The work of civil society organizations across the Western Balkans is vital to tackle organized crime in the region. They provide training and support for journalists reporting on crime and corruption, teach the youth in the region about the risks of illicit activities and ways to counter it, and support people who have been affected by these crimes.

Watch these videos and learn more about the Global Initiative's courageous Resilience Fund grantees, who are responding to organized crime in their communities.

The GI-TOC’s experience of engaging with community actors all over the world has shown that individuals and community groups are able to build their individual and collective capacity to respond to and recover from organized crime.

Credits:

Created with images by vait_mcright - "team motivation teamwork" • fernandozhiminaicela - "covid-19 coronavirus virus"