Western Balkans European Social Survey Regional Network Conference for Data-Driven Advocacy

Although there is a general push from international donors and the EU to enhance evidence-informed policymaking and participatory decision-making, major challenges persist across the region. Various studies have confirmed that the space for civil society contribution has been gradually shrinking across the Western Balkans, making it harder for civil society organizations to actively take part in the policymaking process in their home countries. The evidence-based input provided by think tanks and other policy-oriented civil society organizations (CSOs) significantly contributes to the policymaking process, especially during the policy formulation and monitoring and evaluation phases. However, there is also a lack of trust from policymakers on the quality of research outputs, evidence, and data produced in the region. Participation of think tanks and policy-oriented CSOs in policy development is paramount to developing sound, evidence-based, and well-analyzed public policies. To strengthen their role, it is crucial to improve the quality of evidence, research, and data they produce that can inform policymaking. This regional conference is organized by the Western Balkans European Social Survey Network with the aim to share ideas and experiences about data-driven advocacy for policy development. This is in line with the aim of the call to improve civic dialogue and the cooperation between civil society and public institutions. In addition, it aligns with the primary aim of the call support to increase the space for action and support for participation in decision making. This event is a commemoration of the regional exchange of experiences on best practices and introducing innovative methods for applied advocacy based on data collected through the European Social Survey.

In this framework with the support of the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN), SCiDEV will organize a regional conference for exchanging practices and models for data-driven advocacy and participation in policymaking in the region based on the European Social Survey. This event is financed by the Project “Protecting Civic Space – Regional Civil Society Development Hub” of the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN), funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

The regional conference on data-driven advocacy will bring together think tanks, policy oriented civil society organizations, activists, researchers, and policymakers. The action is designed by the Western Balkans European Social Survey Network. Upon the finalization of the conference, a brief policy paper introducing the data-driven approach to advocacy and concrete innovative instruments for think tanks, CSOs, and research centers will be published accompanied with knowledge sharing and dissemination of the model and instruments to the regional civic space and stakeholders.

Regional Conference on Data-Driven Advocacy Agenda