OSI – Capacity Building Grant
The Think Tank Fund of OSI's Human Rights and Governance Grants Program
Project dates: 2007 -2009
The future of Macedonia has depended on the inter-ethnic harmony and thus there has been constant need for strong ‘policy analysis and research voice’ of the civil society on the wider reform processes. “Analytica” is covering this gap with channeling the minority support in the achievement of the strategic goals of the country. Minority support is crucial in this context. Therefore, a strong think tank with potential to have synergy to the overall civil society development and thus of policy research and analysis capacity in the country has major influence in strengthening the voice of the citizens in the governmental decision making processes. However, in order to widen its audience and increase its influence on wider policy reform processes, it is of need for donor support that will take it away from having impact only on small elite circles to wider spectrum of other stakeholders in the country and wider in the region. The overall goal of the activities undertaken in the framework of the period under the OSI Think Tank Fund grant is to contribute in the successful implementation of the reform agenda and European integration processes in the country. Thus, the goal is increasing the research capacity of “Analytica” in order to be able to enhance its policy research and analysis capabilities. This angle essentially involves seeing the establishment of ‘Analytica’ in terms of a new framework – that is to say, setting the groundwork for a paradigm shift from ‘NGO’ to a ‘thinking laboratory’.
In the framework of the OSI Think Tank Fund grant, activities undertaken were focused on having impact in the policy agenda. Mainly, the efforts were related to European Integration consisting in the areas of Environment, Energy, Security, and Public Administration. Various tools had been used for making the impact more consistent.
Through the grant from OSI Think Tank Fund, “Analytica” produced policy relevant knowledge about policy options for the top policy priorities on the government agenda well in advance, which through dissemination and communication was made readily available for decision makers and wider public for discussions of policy options. The aim was to raise sensitivity of both government and stakeholders of the policy options to be chosen for a particular policy area.
Bridging the divide between the communities of producers and receivers of information by providing policy relevant knowledge is the eventual outcome. Thus, overall aim of the project was to promote inclusive policy change through changing decision makers’ perceptions toward information on policy options available in the context of their functioning. Analyzing and identifying policy options, communicating recommendations to governmental decision makers, advances better understanding of socio-political problems facing the country. Thus, we believe that inclusive policy change was indirectly achieved through our activities.
Initial activities under the OSI Think Tank Fund grant period include:
- Problem search: producing policy issue papers, policy briefs and reports on policy areas of public interest. Among the issues to be covered include political corruption, regional cooperation, public administration reform including the process of decentralization, governance assessment, regulatory reform, including in the areas of information society, media, and education, and continuous monitoring, research and advocacy on the rapprochement of the country towards the EU structures.
- Problem identification: listing top policy areas and existing strategic priorities of government.
- Problem sensing: forecasting possible policy issues that need immediate attention in policy arenas including but not limited to: EU integration; public administration reform; economic and social development, foreign affairs, education, and others.
- Problem communication: communicating with public and other stakeholders on policy issues affecting them.
Second phase of activities were:
- Undertake thorough research on policy issues that the public is most concerned about and support for.
- Establish awareness of issues of public interest among likely actors or participants in policy making.
- Develop thematic expertise for policy research in order to responsibly inform public and stakeholders.
- Develop in house expertise through strengthening the library resources of Analytica.
Third phase of activities:
- Producing policy relevant information of thematic areas.
- Disseminating information to governmental decision makers and other stakeholders.
- Making the information easily available to wider audience, particularly in the area of various reforms, for better disseminating policy knowledge at both central and local level.
Fourth phase of activities:
- Organizing open policy forums with selected stakeholders.
- Publishing findings including stakeholders recommendations.
- Organizing events which will bring experts from the field together discussing policy options in related to reports published.
- Assessing of related reports published by local and international institutions.
- Training old and new staff in the policy analysis and research, including in project cycle management and logical framework;
- Conducting research and subsequently produce reports and other publications in order to raise awareness on various EU integration issues, develop strong links with decision-making institutions on the issues researched and promulgated and act as an expertise support to the beneficiary institutions;
- Strengthening the Rapid Reaction Forces network already established, which consists of a group of policy makers, regional specialists, NGO representatives, and business leaders in Macedonia and wider in the region of Balkans in order to establish a durable network of individuals and organizations committed to assisting Macedonia in its way to EU;
- Alerting the policy community of the country, both executive and legislative, the NGO sector, and business leaders to specific problems and obstacles as well as the opportunities facing Macedonia during the ongoing path toward EU;
- Promulgating concrete and practical recommendations to policy makers and to political leaders for resolving problems.
Out of these activities, as deliverables, the following were achieved: Fellowships/Internships; continuous update of Website; planning and programming documents of Analytica; RRF – expert groups; research reports, papers, briefs, newsletters, journal; Studies and analyses; Networking; Events such as Seminars; Conferences; Workshops.
The Think Tank Fund of OSI's Human Rights and Governance Grants Program - Summary of Final Report 2007-2009