transecIn the frame of the Civil Society Facility South (CSF South), a regional program funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by a Technical Assistance team provided by the consortium led by Transtec, the 2013 grantees of EU projects in the MENA region (more than 55 organizations in Europe and the southern shore of Mediterranean), gathered in Istanbul the 28 and 29 of November. The “Civil Society Convention” brought together civil society grantees, activists, practitioners, experts, and development administrators. During the two days, three main perspectives on civil society work have been applied, namely those of the supported projects, the thematic policy areas, and the country challenges and opportunities.

The first day was mainly devoted to project presentations. This was meant to allow all participants to get an overview of what it is that members of the grants consortia are doing. After presentations, the work continued with breakout sessions in Working Groups by policy areas, clustered into five overarching themes: education, health, environment, local development, and political transition.  The aim of the Working Groups by policy areas was to identify the key issues in the respective thematic areas, to assess the contribution of CSOs to policy making (from policy formulation, to implementation, monitoring and evaluation), to diagnose the weaknesses and gaps for a fruitful contribution of CSOs, and to assess the needs to remedy shortcomings.

During the second day, participants worked in Working Groups by countries. Here, the purpose was to allow participants across the different grants contracts and beyond the policy themes to get together country by country. The event was organized by Transtec with the logistic support of GIZ.