CBIB – Cross Border Institution Building
Cross-border cooperation among Western Balkan countries is taking place for the first time in the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. IPA CBC programmes closely mirror the rules of Structural Funds, thus their implementation provides a learning opportunity for the beneficiary countries, preparing them for the EU Cohesion Policy.
Recognizing the need to aid these efforts on the Regional level, the European Commission launched the CBIB – Cross Border Institution Building project in June 2006. The project is currently in its second phase, envisaged to last until November 2011.
CBIB II operates from five regional offices: Belgrade, Podgorica, Sarajevo, Skopje and Tirana covering: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro as well as Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99.
In launching such a regional initiative, the EC was aiming to:
- provide a coherent and harmonized assistance and guidance at regional level for the programming and implementation of current and future IPA CBC programmes among Western Balkan countries;
- ensure a ‘transmission belt’ between DG Enlargement and the management structures of the IPA CBC programmes in the Region;
- build capacities of national, regional and local authorities, as well as of non state actors, so as to ensure full and effective participation in IPA CBC;
- help joint management structures to overcome difficulties which may arise in the implementation of IPA CBC programmes.
Sharing knowledge, boosting capacities
While providing a regional overview and coordinating the process among the beneficiary countries in such a way so that all reach common benchmarks, CBIB is focusing its assistance on three axes:
- National level, supporting institutions responsible for IPA CBC in each country;
- Programme level, assisting joint management structures (JMCs, JTSs and Antennae) in ensuring effective and efficient programme implementation;
- Project level, raising awareness of Potential Applicants on funding possibilities under IPA CBC and building their capacities for preparing quality project proposals, applying for funds and implementing projects.
Our team of dedicated and skilled professionals assists the national and joint structures through daily hands-on support, as well as in setting up management, implementation and monitoring mechanisms necessary for proper functioning of programmes. Capacity building is further ensured through targeted training, tailor-made in order to take into consideration varying levels of experience and knowledge. Trainings are intense and interactive so as to achieve knowledge generation and transfer that in turn guarantee sustainability.
Our support for potential applicants/future grant beneficiaries is streamlined through parallel information and training activities. In order to involve as wide an audience as possible and ensure equal opportunities and participation of all eligible partners, potential applicants take part in our information seminars/thematic workshops where they obtain information on IPA, IPA CBC and funding opportunities. At the same time, enhancing their capacities for project preparation and implementation through trainings ensures successful cross-border projects, which in turn allow for the development of cross-border economic, social and environmental activities of border areas.
Building a network of productive partnerships
Capacity building efforts alone, however, would not be enough to ensure the success of the process in the Western Balkans. They are complemented with our horizontal, cross-cutting activities on information dissemination through various tools – this website, our regional newsletter, awareness seminars/workshops, a range of publications and promotional tools, all aimed at ensuring that the IPA CBC story is told and the message on the cross-border benefits passed on to as many people as possible.
In addition, our Regional Forums and regular regional meetings provide opportunities for exchange of experience and knowledge, common problem solving and creation of synergies, partnerships and networks across countries, cultures, borders, sectors. Their main goal is to prepare the ground for the establishment of a regional CBC consultative body that would serve as an advisory and research body (e.g. Think Tank) for building upon lessons learnt, providing input to EC for the development of IPA CBC guidelines and mechanisms, identifying a pipe-line of priority projects for future funding.