47th General Assembly Meeting 2021: Successful focus on intergovernmental cooperation

The 47th General Assembly Meeting (GAM) of the European Centre closed with a great success with over 50 participants.  It was the first GAM 2021 which was open to the public and took place fully virtual for the second time on 19 & 20 October 2021.

The 47th General Assembly Meeting (GAM) of the European Centre closed with a great success with over 50 participants online from various countries, namely Austria, Azerbaijan, Finland, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine etc. It was the first GAM 2021 which was open to the public and took place fully virtual for the second time on 19 & 20 October 2021. The GAM 2021 focused on intergovernmental cooperation in social policy and research and around 60 participants including our Board Members, NLOs, observers, as well as European Centre staff discussed international strategies regarding the UN Agenda 2030 or the WHO Decade on Healthy Ageing. The presentations are accessible with this link.

We look forward to continue our successful collaboration and see you in person next year for the GAM 2022 at  the UN Vienna premises.

15/09/21: Meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy

Meta-evaluation is an “evaluation of evaluations” to improve future evaluation work. As a highly relevant topic for professionals working in social policy, the third module of the virtual Bridge-Building Summer School of Evaluation in Social Policies (August 25-27, 2021) was about meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy.

15/09/21: By Rahel Kahlert, European Centre

Meta-evaluation is an “evaluation of evaluations” to improve future evaluation work. As a highly relevant topic for professionals working in social policy, the third module of the virtual Bridge-Building Summer School of Evaluation in Social Policies (25-27 August 2021) was about meta-evaluation and evaluation standards in social policy. This module was one of eight modules covered by the Summer School, which combined capacity building by enhancing knowledge and information sharing on the state-of the-art research and policy practices, exchanging shared experiences among participants, and developing ideas and proposals for “real-world” projects. “Real world” refers to the idea that evaluations take place under budget, time, data, and political constraints (see Bamberger & Mabry, 2019). One central focus was the interactive, hands-on small-group work with practical exercises to foster peer learning. Eye level interactions were core building blocks. The thirteen participants shared their expertise in either conducting or commissioning evaluations. The participants were social policy professionals from both the public and private sector in the Western Balkan region and Eastern Partnership region (in particular, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Moldova, North Macedonia, and Ukraine).

The module on meta-evaluation and standards started with a short introduction about meta-evaluation by guest speaker Thomas Vogel, head of programmes at Horizon 3000, the largest Austrian non-governmental development cooperation organisation, where evaluation plays a key role for learning and accountability. Mr. Vogel introduced the difference between evaluation synthesis and meta-evaluation. Evaluation synthesis analyses a series of evaluation reports and aggregates findings on a higher level such as programme, country, or sector level. The aim is to find out how programmes or projects can be improved. Meta-evaluation also analyses a series of evaluation reports, but then analyses the quality of each evaluation. The aim is to find out how evaluations can be improved in the future. Meta-evaluation can enhance the quality in evaluation by using and applying evaluation standards for all levels of quality including scope, methodology, independence of evaluators, utility etc.

Rahel Kahlert then provided a brief input on widely used standards in evaluation such as the UNEG Norms and Standards (updated in 2016) to be upheld in the conduct of any evaluation. Professional evaluation associations such as the German Evaluation Society or the Swiss Evaluation Society developed their own standards for evaluators to apply in their daily professional work. Common features include accuracy (methodological and technical standards), propriety (legal and ethical standards), utility (serving information needs of intended users), and feasibility (realistic, cost-effective evaluation). As evaluators, we have to remind ourselves that we are dealing with persons and intervene in a setting. Therefore, it is important to follow ethical guidelines and protect human participants similar to any research setting.

The small-group breakout sessions dealt with the question: “How can standards enhance the quality of an evaluation?” The teams of 4 to 5 persons selected two to three evaluation standards and then applied them to a “real-world” setting. The teams used the online pad tool Google JamBoard (see Figure 1) to make their case by adding post-its. For all three teams, utility stood out as important evaluation standard. Involving stakeholders was regarded as a means of enhancing utility, i.e. improving the uptake of findings. This may sometimes conflict with the standard of independence, when donors or programme staff would like to influence evaluation findings (“interested only in the good stories (positive findings)”). Accuracy can be enhanced through triangulation and cross-referencing data, which ultimately also can improve utility and uptake.

Summarily, the module on meta-evaluation and standards was a lively, interactive experience with all participants engaged, and set the scene for further productive interactions. At the end of the Summer School, participants expressed their intention that they will apply evaluation standards in their evaluation work more strongly and engage in meta-evaluation in the future to ensure evaluation quality.

15/10/21: CfP Eastern Partnership Programme – Expanding cooperation with civil society in the EaP & Russia

The programme, Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia, enables civil-society organisations and the members of the public active in them to implement joint projects, thereby supporting the ongoing transformation processes in the region.

15/10/21: CfP Eastern Partnership Programme – Expanding cooperation with civil society in the EaP & Russia

The programme, Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia, enables civil-society organisations and the members of the public active in them to implement joint projects, thereby supporting the ongoing transformation processes in the region.

Through the programme, the German Government funds measures that provide comprehensive support to the transformation and internal integration processes via collaboration between German civil society and civil societies in the Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine) and Russia.

This includes the entire range of cultural and civic education projects – media, academia, education including vocational training, culture, language and work with young people. Project outlines (in English or German) for the year 2022 can be submitted from 10 September 2021 until 15 October 2021 via this website . Read more

03/10/21 CfP: increasing access to justice for victims of discrimination

The Council of Europe is launching a call for proposals with the aim to co-fund national and local projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine focusing at supporting victims of discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes, particularly from vulnerable groups.

03/10/21 CfP: Grants for support to civil society organisations for increasing access to justice for victims of discrimination in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine

Under the framework of the European Union/Council of Europe joint programme Partnership for Good Governance, and its regional project “Strengthening access to justice through non-judicial redress mechanisms for victims of discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes in the Eastern Partnership countries”, the Council of Europe is launching a call for proposals with the aim to co-fund national and local projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine focusing at supporting victims of discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes, particularly from vulnerable groups.

The deadline for the submission of application is 3 October 2021 (at 17:00 CET). Applications should be sent to the following e-mail address: tenders.antidiscrimination@coe.int. Read more

12/09/21 CfP: EaP CSF Re-granting to members 2021

This Call for Proposals seeks to allocate grant funding to projects which monitor the implementation of EaP targets, deliverables and related reforms (Lot 1), and addressing the EaP CSF’s strategic and advocacy priorities (Lot 2).

12/09/21 CfP: EaP CSF Re-granting to members 2021 – Lot 1 & Lot 2

Following the success of its Re-granting to Working Groups scheme over the past six years, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) Secretariat is launching a Call for Proposals under its new, re-worked Re-granting to Members programme. This scheme aims to support the work of EaP CSF members to develop and deliver on the strategic policy, advocacy and capacity building priorities of the Forum within the regional dimension. Read more

Report: Policies for human capital development: Eastern Partnership

Report: Policies for human capital development: Eastern Partnership: an ETF Torino Process assessment by Deij

The present regional report for the Eastern Partnership is the result of the fifth round of the Torino Process (2018-2020). The report coincides with the planning for the Eastern Partnership post-2020 policy framework and aims to provide a solid basis for regional policy dialogue between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on human capital development issues. It is designed to support medium- to longer-term strategic thinking in VET, looks into the regional aspects of education outcomes, and discusses commonalities while respecting the differences between the countries of the region. The report provides a summary of key policy updates, data and information, including an overview of countries’ progress against key EU benchmarks and donor contributions to human capital in the region. Read more

Book chapter: Perspectives on the Analysis and Development of Social Policies in Azerbaijan

Book chapter: Perspectives on the Analysis and Development of Social Policies in Azerbaijan by Bayramov et al.

In this study, socio-economic processes in Azerbaijan, development trends, the scale of existing social policies and the level of adaptation of international experiences have been studied. There have been times when initiatives were undertaken to develop certain elements of Islamic banking in the Azerbaijani economy, but there are no mechanisms derived from Islam in social policy. In current social policies it is possible to observe elements of the Islamic-social model, such as poverty alleviation, fair distribution of income, overall welfare, and care for vulnerable people. However, Azerbaijan’s social protection system is not considered as an Islamic model. Read more

Bridge building: Continued cooperation with Azerbaijan

The European Centre continues its cooperation with Azerbaijan by signing the Letter of Intent (LoI).

Bridge building: Continued cooperation with Azerbaijan

The European Centre continues its cooperation with Azerbaijan by signing the Letter of Intent (LoI). Elshad Asadov, Chairman of the Board of the National Observatory on Labour Market and Social Protection Issues under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Population of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Kai Leichsenring, Executive Director of the European Centre, prolonged the LoI for the next five years.

Journal Article: The European Union’s ‘Potential We’ between Acceptance and Contestation

Journal Article: The European Union’s ‘Potential We’ between Acceptance and Contestation: Assessing the Positioning of Six Eastern Partnership Countries by Vieira

In this journal article, Vieira analyses the European neighbourhood policy and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) from the perspective of social identity theory.  Drawing on the framing analysis of strategic documents and statements, which identifies eight distinct themes, the contribution ascertains three different patterns of EaP states’ interaction with the EU: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine accepting the ‘EU’s potential we’, Armenia holding to the potential we, and Azerbaijan, as well as Belarus, contesting the potential we. Read more

25/09/20: Webinar: labour rights in EaP

You are cordially invited to the webinar presenting and discussing the findings of this study in 4 Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries.

25/09/20: Webinar: Trade Unions, Professional Associations and NGOs in labour rights in EaP

In 2019, CELSI researchers and local experts collected and analyzed data on trade unions and other organizations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. You are cordially invited to the webinar presenting and discussing the findings of this study in 4 Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries (Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine). The study was funded by the European Union.

Please register here to receive the zoom link for joining the webinar.
Agenda