Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) for a stronger and more active civil society

As a crucial actor in strengthening democracy and a significant tool for achieving European Union (EU) standards, civil society has gained prominence in the negotiation process that revolves around the Copenhagen political criteria, alignment with the EU acquis, and fostering dialogue with civil society.

Civil society supports provided to different priority areas and various target audiences until 2014 were gathered under the umbrella of the “Civil Society Sector” in the second period of the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA II), covering the years 2014-2020. Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate for EU Affairs, as the leading organisation of the Civil Society Sector, was responsible for programming, implementation, and monitoring.

In the Country Strategy Document, where the priorities of 2014-2020 EU financial assistance are stated, support to civil society was expanded to include the following four priorities.

  1. Strengthening public-civil society dialogue

It was aimed to strengthen the cooperation between the public sector and CSOs, and to increase the participation of CSOs in the public policy process at local and national levels.

  1. Improving the legal framework for CSOs

Projects aimed at improving legislation related to the establishment, operations, financing, and auditing of CSOs received support. This support contributed to enhancing the regulatory framework, fostering a more transparent and accountable environment for civil society. Furthermore, efforts were made to ensure the financial capacity and sustainability of CSOs, aiming to improve civil society’s financing mechanisms.

  1. Strengthening the capacity of CSOs

The aim was to enhance the administrative, financial, and human resource capacities of CSOs and develop their networking competencies, thereby empowering them to effectively participate in shaping, implementing, and monitoring public policies. Furthermore, support was extended to CSOs to enhance their relationships with the private sector.

  1. Development of civil society dialogue

It was aimed to establish long-term partnerships and cooperation between CSOs in the EU and Türkiye. Activities were carried out to encourage CSOs to take greater ownership of civil society dialogue.