2016 EBRD Civil Society Programme

By Luisa Balbi


25 years of transition and the role of civil society

The 2016 EBRD’s Civil Society Programme, which traditionally runs parallel to the Bank’s Annual Meeting and Business Forum, will discuss the role of civil society in transition and development.  

The programme includes a series of multi-stakeholder roundtable sessions with speakers from civil society, the private sector, government, the EBRD and other international organisations.

Civil society, operating in the space between the public and private sectors, has played an important role in socio-political and economic transition around the world, including the countries where the EBRD invests.

Its contribution to the transition process has, however, varied across the post-communist transition region. 

In some countries, the work of civil society organisations (CSOs) has contributed to more democratic political systems and more open market-based economies as a ‘reputational actor’ performing a ‘watchdog’ function and as a generator of ‘social capital’ necessary to sustain the change process through the difficult early years.

In other countries, the focus of CSOs has been on providing a variety of social services particularly to disadvantaged and vulnerable people negatively affected by the transition process.

Many civil society actors have been operating in restrictive regulatory environments and have relied heavily on international donor funding.

Around 100 representatives of civil society organisations, NGOs, academics and international organisations discussed the role of civil society at the 2016 EBRD Annual Meeting. Sergei Guriev, Professor at the Sciences Po Paris, explains importance of the engagements with the CSOs.

More videos

This year’s programme for the civil society will discuss its input in promoting good governance, sustainable development and economic inclusion, and will look at key lessons learned from both successes and failures.

The panels will also reflect on the challenges civil society is facing and what steps could be taken to enhance its role in promoting positive change in societies and economies.

The 2016 Civil Society Programme includes the following events:

25 years of Transition - The Role of Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

This fireside chat between Sergei Guriev, Professor at the Sciences Po Paris and incoming EBRD Chief Economist, and Biljana Radonjic Ker-Lindsay, Head of Civil Society Engagement at the EBRD, will look back at the key achievements and setbacks of the civil society sector in contributing to transition since the Bank’s establishment in 1991.

Engaging civil society to promote transparent procurement

Representatives from Transparency International, the UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the Romanian Academy Society will discuss challenges related to disclosure of information and capacity of civil society to promote accountable public procurement. The EBRD will share its experience in promoting accountable procurement, including by working with civil society to achieve greater transparency.

EBRD’s Strategy for the Promotion of Gender Equality (2016-2020): the role of civil society

This roundtable discussion will address the challenges related to implementation of the EBRD Gender Strategy and the role of civil society in helping promote equal opportunities and equal access to finance, skills, employment and finance for women and men in the EBRD region.

Inclusion through skills and innovation

The EBRD believes that economic inclusion – the opening up of economic opportunities to previously under-served social groups – is integral to development. The session will look at how the EBRD can help its clients embrace inclusive business models, lead on and adapt to innovation and promote vocational training.

The Civil Society Programme will also host an event organised by the youth international organisation AIESEC, which will look into the role of youth in shaping the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related Sustainable Development Goals.

More information about EBRD 2016 Annual Meeting and Business Forum

Register for EBRD 2016 Annual Meeting and Business Forum