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Think & Link 2013 Capacity-Building Seminar was held in Budva, May 10-May 12, 2013

The Capacity Building Seminar “Strengthening the Role of Evidence-Based Policy in the Western Balkans” for the selected organisations of the Think and Link – Regional Policy Programme 2013 was held in Becici, Budva-Montenegro in the period between 10-12 May, 2013.

The seminar is part of the Think and Link – Regional Policy Programme and is designed to foster different debates on the challenges, costs and opportunities of EU member-state building of the Western Balkans countries, by supporting and promoting inclusive and evidence-based policy making.

The capacity-building seminar addressed the needs of the 14 selected organisations within the Call for Applications of the Think and Link Programme. It aim was to improve their skills through training, networking, exchange of information, as well as presenting the work of relevant EU-based think tanks.

The seminar was split into two levels: First the participants had a day filled with thematic panels focusing on EU enlargement, the financial crisis, the democratization process, and other contextual issues.

The main focus was on the panel discussions like “The Western Balkans and the EU – Perspectives and Obstacles” and “Making Public Policy Works – Dialogue between the Governments and the Think Tanks in the region of Western Balkans” and “Economic Crisis in the EU and Its Consequences on the Western Balkans”.

The seminar proceeded with the two days of workshop trainings named as “Policy research design – Starting well & delivering the foundation for policy influence” with the groups focusing on the role of policy research in the decision making process, the key elements of designing focused and feasible policy research, foundation for influence and the icy research that feeds advocacy.

The workshop aimed to advance the participants’ critical insight into real world issues of policy research design and practice and thereby, help them to develop and focus the research proposals submitted for the Think & Link programme .

Though the discussions over the 2 workshop days, the trainers from the The International Centre for Policy Advocacy challenged and pushed forward the participant’s understanding of the policy research design process. For closing the workshop, the participants were given an opportunity to reflect on the policy research proposal that they have put forward for the Think and Link programme and consider how they might make it more focused and feasible.

The representatives of EU-based think tanks assisted the wider debate on societies of the Western Balkans on their European path by offering peer-to-peer learning opportunities to their colleagues from the Western Balkans region, providing insight into relevant work experiences with a focus on how independent policy making is designed in EU countries. The Balkan participants heard the experiences from their European colleagues (members of think tank and civil society organisations) and the way these organisations bridge the gap between research and policy and how they manage to influence the mainstream decision-making process in their countries and in the wider EU.

“THINK AND LINK” is a region-wide policy programme under the aegis of the European Fund for the Balkans whose purpose is to encourage debate on the challenges, costs and opportunities of building a genuine EU member state. It is directed towards emerging think tanks, policy-oriented NGOs, independent policy institutes, and policy-relevant research groups from the Western Balkans whose activity is focused on political and social issues and whose interest is in the process of EU integration.

The programme seeks to foster inclusive and evidence-based policy making in the Western Balkans by initiating research projects relevant from the perspective of the Copenhagen criteria, embedded in a regional capacity building and networking programme cycle.

For more information about the programme please visit THINK & LINK – Regional Policy Programme.

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