Civil Society and coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound impact on the work of the EBRD and we are working on ways to practically support our Civil Society stakeholders in our countries of operations so we can understand how we can best help you on the ground. We are conducting ongoing regional and country virtual consultations to understand your needs and how we can directly support the Covid-19 response by implementing projects as part of our Capacity Enhancement Framework.

The Bank’s efforts between now and the end of 2021 will be focused on dealing with the Covid-19 crisis response and preparation for eventual recovery - a total financing of 21 billion Euros will be available representing the EBRD’s Solidarity Package.

The Civil Society Engagement Unit (CSEU) will continue to engage with civil society representatives in the EBRD Countries of Operations (CoOs) to:

  • Gather information on how COVID‐19 is affecting vulnerable parts of the population;
  • Gain insights into how policies adopted at the national or local level to blunt the spread of the virus are working;
  • Share with them the intentions behind the EBRD Solidarity Package and test reactions to it on the ground;
  • Maintain important aspects of our stakeholder engagement during turbulent times (on country and strategy consultations, project‐related communication);
  • Identify specific areas where EBRD can support resilience of civil society organisations through capacity building.

As in past crises, the solidarity packages are being built bottom up, from the Bank’s partnerships on the ground with governments, business, international partners, and other stakeholders.

Until now, we had over 20 country specific consultations with civil society stakeholders.

The consultations are a collective effort of CSEU, Heads and teams of the Resident Offices, the Environment and Sustainability Department, the Gender and Economic Inclusion team, SME Finance and Development teams.

So far, key takeaways from our consultations have been as follows:

  • The transformation of civil society is expected in three stages: Survival, Adaptation, and Institutionalization of Adaptation;
  • CSOs’ institutional sustainability is at risk due to financial hardship;
  • Digitalization is on the agenda of civil society;
  • New ways of doing fieldwork, monitoring activities, fundraising strategies and organisational structures are explored;
  • The suffering of disadvantaged groups increases as the activities of civil society are interrupted.

It is important during this crisis that we rethink business as usual, that we create new partnerships and collaboration to increase impact on the ground and emphasise ongoing dialogue in our countries of operations.

We want to reassure our CSO community that we’re still here, we’re still engaged, we’re still active and we’re working harder than ever to collaborate and understand your needs during the Covid-19 crisis. As always, please feel free to get in touch via CSO@ebrd.com or via the Access to Information enquiry form. #EBRDsupport

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