The Civil Society Facility South (CSF South) is a European Union (EU) funded regional program covering the period 2012-2017. The Facility is a result of the new approach announced in the communication on "A New Response to a Changing Neighborhood" of 25 May 2011. The approach advanced by the EU, based on mutual accountability and transparency and a shared commitment to respective universal values, international human rights standards, democracy and the rule of law, and entails a greater involvement of civil society in a policy-structured dialogue. In this regard, the EU supports civil society organizations (CSOs) to boost their capacities and possibilities to contribute to policy-making and hold governments to account.
The Facility is also referenced in the communication on “A Partnership for Democracy and Shared Prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean". This document embodies a response to the recent events in the Neighborhood South while building upon proceeding actions, like the regional programme Civil Society South implemented during 2009-2012. However, to build on what has already been achieved, it is necessary to enhance the credibility of the process, encourage more target-oriented approaches from organizations, by taking into account the development of policies, especially the European Neighborhood Policy.
In this regard, the initiative will align the assistance and the policy dialogue with the institutionalized political dialogue carried out by the EU with partner countries, in the context of the Association Committees and appropriate Sub-Committees of the ENP. It is thus essential to underline the commitment on promoting an enabling environment for CSOs and their participation in national reforms, at the political level.
The CSF Program will be working across 10 countries in the Region through a multi-layered approach, targeting and covering:
- CSOs, decision and policy makers, introducing them to more participatory governance and preparing them for a smooth process of a structured policy dialogue, to accepting ideas around: advocacy for rights realization and CSOs participation in policy making process,
- Civil society organizations – introducing them to, a demand driven capacity building, in order to boost up their contributions in the policy making process and encouraging the development of their capacity in monitoring actions towards governments and engaging both (CSOs and governments) in a deeper and structured dialogue.
- CSO's middle level management and involved committees within the participating CSOs – empowering them on best practices regarding internal governance and social accountability mechanisms through, motivation, training, workshops, seminar, symposiums and capacity development to develop their citizenship skills and engage them in expressing their opinions and concerns, and participating and even beyond,
- Youth groups – supporting their mobilization in order to work on social change initiatives that address root causes of rights violations and achieve positive changes in their spheres of life. Raise their interest and participation in the democratization and policy cycle within their communities; introduce them to tools of social accountability for policy dialogue issues and step by step structred particpation on policy making, democratic governance, equitable development and inclusive growth. The focus was given to build up new leaderships who can stand for local elections of their CSOs, local and national municipalities and People’s Assemblies, the CSF Program will facilitate the creation of “Active Change Agents” within CSF South partners CSOs.
- Adopting a "learning-by-doing" approach enhances the effectiveness of capacity building by encouraging ownership, securing stakeholder “buy-in” and building technical capacity through direct engagement of local actors and institutions.