In accordance with the IPA regulations, the obligation of the beneficiary countries is to enable participation of civil society in the consultation process related to planning of EU aid. This meand that there is a need for the development of institutional mechanisms for the consultation process with civil society in BiH .
TASCO Bosnia and Herzegovina in December 2012 (Sarajevo Conference) started the process of exchange of experiences on participation of civil society in the consultation process related to the programming and monitoring of IPA from the Republic of Serbia regarding the establishment SECO group (sectoral consultative mechanism) that is composed of associations from various sectors that independently coordinate their activities the consultative process. So far a three-day workshop was held in June 2013 organised by TASCO BiH, while the Directorate for European Integration organized in October 2013 the Information Forum on the process of establishing institutional mechanisms for consultation with civil society organizations for the purposes of IPA programming II (2014-2020).
Civil society organizations (CSOs) participants of the workshop on SECO mechanism in June 2013 were coming from the sector of environment, energy and transport (Association Aarhus Centre in BiH Sarajevo, Center for Environmentally Sustainable Development Sarajevo, Eco element Bugojno and the Center for Environment Banja Luka). They have formed a group of organizations that wish to initiate the process of coordination of CSOs from the entire country who wish to participate in this process.
Previously mentioned associations presented their proposal of SECO mechanism for inclusion of CSOs in consultations for IPA II program under which it is planned to establish the CSO Forum with the Secretariat responsible for communication with NGOs and other stakeholders. Three working groups are formed for sub-sectors of environment, energy and transport which are important in the structure of the mechanism. The existence of the Council of Experts is envisaged, consisting of experts who not only from civil society but also from other sectors and academia. At the same, mentioned associations have made an action plan by the end of 2013 and shared responsibility related the formation of a database of NGOs in the sectors of environment, energy and transport based on the existing database of CSOs, distribution of the minutes from these workshops TASCO all CSOs, forming an email list of active CSOs, production, distribution and processing of the questionnaire concerned NGOs.
SECO Group Association announced with great pleasure that all planned activities are completed. One of the planned activities call to all the associations in the field of environment, energy and transport that want to join the SECO group. A questionnaire is made with the aim to assist in review of interests and capacities of CSOs candidates. The questionnaire is sent on 16 December 2013 to over hundred NGOs. Deadline for submission of completed questionnaires was 1 February 2014. Total of 27 registered NGOs expressed their interest to participate in SECO group.
On workshop in June 2013 it was found out that the level of knowledge about the process of CSO programming IPA II in BiH, institutions that participate in the IPA programming in BiH, accession process of candidate country for EU membership and EU policies and standards is at low level. So it would be of great importance to organize training of interested NGOs in order to strengthen their capacities for more active participation in the planning and monitoring of IPA II pre-accession funds. Since the planning process and monitoring of IPA II pre-accession funds of the EU are quite demanding, SECO group will initially make two groups of CSOs - one group with associations that have sufficient knowledge to directly participate in the consultations on the IPA II and secong group of organizations that currently do not have sufficient knowledge of the IPA II process, but who are interested in improving the knowledge and engage in the consultation process.
Meanwhile , front SECO group made of four NGOs applied for the call for proposal to initiatives, networks, alliances and coalitions of NGOs published by TASCO office in BiH.
TASCO BiH will support four initiatives, one of which is the initiative of SECO Group for the Environment, Transport and Energy in Bosnia – Organisation of Thematic Workshop "Establishing SECO group for the environment, energy and transport " (for more information look at : http:// www.tacso.org/news/training-opp/?id=10547) . Due to the natural disaster in BIH, the beginning of all activities supported by the TASCO is prolonged for September 2014.
For additional information about SECO group for environment, energy and transport , you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org