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Friday, January 24, 2014

3rd SEE 2020 Coordination Meeting, Brussels, 16 January 2014



 

On 16 January 2014 the RCC held the 3rd SEE 2020 Coordination Meeting at the RCC Liaison Office in Brussels. The meeting was attended by 13 Dimension Coordinators, two partners (EC DG Enlargement and the OECD) and 15 RCC staff from both RCC Office in Sarajevo and its Liaison Office to the European Commission.

 

The 13 Dimension Coordinators represented the following regional initiatives:

  1. Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA);
  2. Education Reform Initiative of South East Europe (ERISEE);
  3. Electronic South Eastern Europe Initiative (ESEEI);
  4. Inter-governmental Working Group on Social Agenda 2020 (IGWG);
  5. Network of Association of Local Authorities of South East Europe (NALAS);
  6. Regional Anti-corruption Initiative (RAI);
  7. Regional Cooperation Council Task Force on Culture and Society (RCC TFCS);
  8. Regional Rural Development Standing Working Group in SEE (SWG);
  9. Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA);
  10. SEE Health Network;
  11. South East Europe Center for Enterpreneurial Learning (SEECEL);
  12. South East Europe Transport Observatory (SEETO);
  13. Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC).

 The Meeting was conducted in line with the following agenda:       
  1. SEE 2020 Action Plans: - Discussion of the main features of action plans by RCC and dimension coordinators
  2. Monitoring of SEE 2020: - Review of the monitoring grid and presentation of the proposed monitoring indicators OECD, RCC, Eurostat
  3. Implementing SEE 2020 through flagship initiatives: - Overview of proposed flagship initiatives and exchange of views on implementation methods: RCC and dimension coordinators
  4. Governing the implementation:  Review of the governance structures and mechanisms at the strategy, pillar and dimension level, sustainability of institutions involved and budgeting regional action

 The meeting had the form of a brainstorming with extremely lively discussions and exchange of views and ideas. A full report of the discussions and conclusions will be developed by the RCC and shared with all regional initiatives as well as all countries that are falling under the SEE 2020 Strategy. Attached to the report the RCC will present guidance for the work, templates and the timeframe for actions in 2014 to launch the SEE 2020 Strategy implementation and to prepare both the 6 SEE (Western Balkan) countries as well as all regional initiatives for the potential use of the EC IPA 2 financial mechanism from 2015 onwards.

  

The following is a summary of the main issues and discussions at the meeting:

General issues:



The SEE 2020 Strategy´s implementation was the main topic of the discussions; it has to be launched in 2014; The countries that fall under the SEE 2020 Strategy are: ALB, BIH, CRO, KOS, MKD, MNE and SRB; at the moment negotiations are being run with MDA and TUR whose governments have expressed interest and commitment to the SEE 2020; 


The RCC will support the SEE 2020 Strategy implementation through:

  • Providing support to the individual countries to develop their National 2020 Strategies; the Ministries of Economy will be the leading governmental sector at national levels and each country will have its own National 2020 Coordinator (N2020C); to date, the countries are in the process of nomination of these N2020Cs and  when the process is finished the RCC will provide their full list with contact details;
  • Providing support to the regional initiatives through their coordinators (RIC);
  • Establish the system and indicators for monitoring and evaluation of the SEE 2020 Strategy implementation both at national and regional levels; the set of indicators are being developed by OECD;

 Role of EC and the IPA2:

 

The EC DG Enlargement is currently developing a 7 years Strategic paper on IPA 2; the SEE 2020 Strategy implementation will be at the centre of the EC IPA2; the EC is committed to support the SEE 2020 Strategy implementation but is firm that wants to see real progress at the ground and that all targets are met;

 

The EC would like to see that:

  • the Regional Initiatives Coordinators work together with the National 2020 Coordinators;
  • the national and regional priorities are firmly integrated;
  • there are no regional initiatives without a firm participation and follow-up at national level;

 

The new EC IPA2 Strategy will have four dimensions:

  • Horizontal support to drafting sectoral strategies;
  • Support to regional structures and networking;
  • Regional investment;
  • Territorial and trans-national cooperation.

The EC is committed to fund only initiatives in the four above-mention dimensions under the conditions that they are inclusive and effective, e.g. to have real impact on the ground and the expectation is that in 2020 at least 1 mln jobs will be created in the region.

Implementation process


 

As mentioned above each of the WB Governments will have to develop and approve by end of 2014 its own National 2020 Action Plan on implementing the SEE 2020 Strategy;

 

This process will be coupled with sectoral initiatives in 2014 but the priority ones will have to be defined and agreed as the SEE 2020 Strategy has 86 measures/actions under the 5 Pillars and it is impossible to start implementing all at the same time;

 

The role of the RCC in the process will be to secure through effective coordination that the regional initiatives stop working in silos and that an integrative actions are planned horizontally through the various regional initiatives  in a meaningful way; these will be the “Flagship Initiatives”  within which only multisectroal solid proposals for funding and implementation will be accepted.

 

In the next six months there will be intensive work for full clarity with the:

  • National Action Plans;
  • Development of 5-6 Regional Flagship Initiatives;
  • The SEE 2020 baseline report (be June 2014);

The need of solid and daily coordination and work between the N2020Cs and the National IPA Coordinators (NIPAC) was strongly highlighted and the role of the NIPACs when it comes to the future funding and the IPA financial envelopes.

 

In relation to the funding of the regional flagship initiatives and projects under them through IPA2, the issue of the EC requirement for 15-20% co-funding was raised by several of the initiatives; the RCC is in the process of talking to various bilateral donors in that relation;

 

It has been decided that the priority areas for the SEE 2020 Strategy are:

  • TOURISM
  • AGRO/FOOD: Food production and trade including food safety;

 On 1st June 2014 the SEE Regional Cooperation process will have its Meeting in Bucharest, Romania and by that time the SEE 2020 process has not only to be launched but also the SEE 2020 Baseline Report and the flagship initiatives to be developed and presented.

 

The need for mapping of all ongoing projects in the region as well as all donors was highlighted; currently the RCC is revising and upgrading its Website where the RICs requested that such a database is being created and uploaded for all initiatives to be able to use;


Monitoring, evaluation and time-line

The time line for the actions will be:

  • By end of January: RCC will provide the Brussels meeting report with guidance for the process, templates and the timelines;
  • By mid-February:  OECD will provide the draft indicators, both outcome and process quantivative and qualitative ones to the RICs for consideration, critical comments and inputs as well as for the collection of the first round of data on the quantitative indicators by each regional initiative for the SEE 2020 Baseline Report
  • By 01 March: all RICs to provide feedback to OECD through RCC on the indicators;
  • 10th March: Meeting of the RICs in Paris for finalizing the indicators and discussing the first round of collected data;
  • By mid April: draft concepts for the flagship initiatives to be prepared and submitted to RCC
  • End of April: next Coordination Meeting will be organized;
  • By 1st May: the first draft SEE 2020 Baseline Report to be compiled and prepared; and all flagship initiatives to be fully finalized;
  • 1st June: SEE 2020 Baseline Report to be presented to the SEE 2020 Governance Board;
  • Second half of 2014: focus on the qualitative indicators which will involve “Governments´ self-assessment” to be performed through the regional initiatives and validation by independent experts;

The process of monitoring and evaluation will require substantial human and financial resources; each regional initiative will have to have a dedicated person in charge of the monitoring; RCC will assess what are the available capacities and identify the needs in order to seeks for ways how to support the regional initiatives and strengthen their capacities for monitoring;

 
The “Flagship Initiatives”

 

The “Flagship Initiatives” are defined as “joint endeavour by 2-3 and even more regional organizations that address main areas of constraints, the who does what, how will be implemented and why is needed”;

 

Potential criteria for assessing the proposed concepts for “Flagship Initiatives” could be:

  • Correlation to the SEE 2020 targets;
  • Level of integration;
  • Potential impact;
  • Feasibility;
  • Cost-effectiveness;
  • Sustainability.

 

RCC shared some examples for potential “Flagship Initiatives” by identifying cross-cutting topics through the 5 pillars of the SEE 2020 Strategy; they are:

  • Capacity constraints;
  • Investment;
  • Inclusiveness,
  • Innovation;
  • Resource efficiency, and
  • Mobility

 The time-line for developing the “Flagship Initiatives” is as follows:

  • 31 January: guidelines
  • 07 February: agree on the criteria;
  • 31 March: regional initiatives develop  concept notes for their proposed “Flagship Initiatives”;
  • 30 April: joint review of all proposed “Flagship Initiatives” and final agreement on the ones to be presented to the SEE 2020 Governance Board and for further implementation and funding
  • 15  May: integration of the agreed “Flagship Initiatives” into the SEE 2020 Baseline Report;
  • June: SEE 2020 Baseline Report approved by the SEE 2020 Governance Board;
  • Second half  till end of  2014: RCC initiates dialogue with the NIPACs
  • 2015: IPA2 but with some delay later in the year.

 IMPLICATIONS for the SEEHN and the work in 2014:

 

A VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS!

 

If the SEEHN and its Member States are committed  and do not want to lose the chance, serious and immediate decisions and actions have to be taken, as follows:

 
Immediate selection of the permanent staff and set up of the fully operational Secretariat in Skopje;

 
Nomination of the SEEHN Coordinator who will participate on a continuous basis in the overall regional process to secure continuity and represent SEEHN needs and position to the RCC, the rest of the Regional Initiatives and the SEE 2020 Governance Board; To the best of my judgement that should be the future Director of the SEEHN Secretariat once selected; until that I suggest that Dr. Alex B. And I represent the SEEHN in all SEE 2020 Implementation Coordination meetings for keeping consistency and for being able to defend the health interest;

 
Permanent Working Group on Monitoring and Evaluation to be set up with well fixed Terms of Reference; It has to start working immediately after the ExCom Meeting in Belgrade on 30-31 January;

 

Immediate interaction with the other regional initiatives for developing the Flagship Initiatives where health will be one of the sectors; during the meeting in Brussels initial talks were held with several of the other Regional Initiatives for potential cooperation on developing cross-sectoral Flagship Initiatives, namely with CEFTA, ERISEE, IGWG, NALAS, RCC TFCS, SWG; ReSPA and SEECEL.

 
All needed actions will have to be added to the SEEHN Workplan 2014 and Calendar of events in addition to what we have today as the Roadmap of the Romanian Presidency;

 
Similarly, the forthcoming Serbian Presidency will have to develop its Roadmap for July-December 2014 as a continuation of the Romanian one so that a full and well consolidated SEEHN Worplan for 2014 is finalized by mid-February at the latest;

 
The SEEHN ExCom will have to oversee and control strictly the implementation of both the WORKPLAN and the SEEHN participation in the SEE 2020 Strategy implementation process;

 
The National Health Coordinators and the Ministers of Health to liaise with and work continuously and persistently with the National SEE 2020 Coordinators (still to be nominated) at the Ministries of Economy and the NIPACs in the governments so that health is not missed when the National 2020 Action Plans are developed that will reflect on the further funding through the EC IPA2 in 2015 and onwards.

 

Dr. Maria Ruseva

Co-opted Member

Executive Committee

SEE Health Network

 

22 January 2014

Copenhagen