RCC and Regional Initiatives and Task Forces in South East Europe


Within its activities in BHC area, the RCC cooperates closely with eight regional organizations and initiatives. The RCC will continue to promote regional ownership and cooperation in this field by building on the existing institutional frameworks and expertise. All of below listed regional structures have important role in development and implementation of the SEE 2020 vision, particularly related to the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as in the governance for growth pillar.

Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Task Force on Culture and Society (TFCS) – Cetinje

The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Task Force on Culture and Society (TFCS) was established by the Decision of the Board of the RCC, adopted on 16 September 2010. The aim of the Task Force on Culture and Society is to promote regional cooperation in the sphere of culture by creating a platform for dialogue of relevant stakeholders. The subsequent goal is to maximize the benefits of investment in culture through its contribution to sustainable economic and social development by ensuring the coherency with other actions promoted at regional and national level.

Members of the RCC Task Force on Culture and Society are high-level officials from the respective governmental institutions of the RCC participants from South East Europe, as well as the representatives of the RCC Secretariat, the European Commission and of the Council of Europe. Secretariat of the Task Force, seated in Cetinje, has the responsibility for technical management of the Task Force’s activities and acts as the secretariat of the projects as well as the daily follow-up of activities.

During the implementation of the RCC Strategy and Work Program 2011-2013, RCC Task Force on Culture and Society has been implementing 2 grants on behalf of the RCC: Support to the Ljubljana Process II - Rehabilitating our Common Heritage and Sustaining the Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in the Western Balkans.

Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) - Belgrade

Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe (ERI SEE) is a regional platform for cooperation in the field of education and training. It aims to support national reforms in education and training through regional capacity-building, transfer of know-how and linking these efforts to European frameworks for education development. ERI SEE is based on a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Ministers of Education, Science and Research of South Eastern Europe. Its institutional structure consists of a Governing Board, Consultative Body and Secretariat.

ERI SEE is in the phase of transition of its seat from Zagreb to Belgrade and creation of its permanent Secretariat. As a member of ERI SEE Governing Board, RCC provides advice and supports process of institutionalization of ERI SEE and its Secretariat. After finalization of approval procedures for ratification of the Host Country Agreement on the Establishment of the ERI SEE and its Secretariat, the selecting procedure for the ERI SEE Secretariat’s staff is foreseen. Idea to develop three Regional Clusters of Knowledge under the umbrella of ERI SEE was supported by the RCC, which recognised the possibility for the clusters to become regional activities which would be implemented by ERI SEE, possibly under the umbrella of the EU Western Balkans Platform on Education and Training.

RCC Task Force Fostering and Building Human Capital (TF FBHC) – Vienna

The RCC Task Force Fostering and Building Human Capital (TF FBHC) provides the framework within which to assess the need and importance of BHC in changing societies, stress the need to link education, research and policy making, and promote regional cooperation in the field of human capital development. The subsequent goal is to maximize the benefits of investment in human capital development through its contribution to sustainable economic and social development by ensuring coherence with other actions promoted at regional and national level.     

Membership of the Task Force comprises of participants of the RCC Board, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Signatories of the 2007 Istanbul Memorandum of Understanding, Members of Education Reform Initiative of South Eastern Europe and Members of the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkan countries.

Council of Ministers of Culture of South-East Europe (CoMoCoSEE)

It was created in 2005 and contributes to regional cultural co-operation. It developed, inter alia, the Regional Programme for Culture and Cultural Heritage in South-East Europe (Ljubljana Process), which included a joint action by the Council of Europe and the European Commission on the rehabilitation of cultural sites in SEE. The Programme has been developed through the implementation of several integrated projects managed by specific regional political and professional networks. In that context, the Integrated Rehabilitation Project Plans/Survey of Architectural and Archaeological Heritage – IRPP/SAAH made a significant impact in the region. The RCC took over coordination of the implementation of Ljubljana Process in 2011.

RCC Gender Task Force (GTF

The Gender Task Force (GTF) is a South East European regional initiative taken by the RCC from the Stability Pact for SEE. In all countries in transition women’s political participation is noticeably low. Equal and active role of women in political, social and public life is of significant importance for the region’s stabilization and democratization processes.

Years of systematic work of GTF on the political empowerment of women in SEE countries have brought important new experiences: women cooperating across party lines, and across ethnic and state borders; cooperation among NGO's, parliaments and governments; women monitoring elections from a gender perspective; grass-roots and mass media campaigning, consensus-building, advocacy & social dialogue. One of the most recent projects on strengthening women’s entrepreneurship has been developed and implemented in partnership with the SEECEL and with steering and monitoring support of the RCC.

Regional School of Public Administration (RESPA) – Danilovgrad

The Regional School of Public Administration was opened in November 2010, with the major aim to help improve regional cooperation in the field of public administration, strengthen administrative capacities as required by the European integration process and develop human resources in line with the principles of European Administrative Space. Its structure and premises provide excellent conditions for organization of the short term courses, which will be arranged in cooperation with prominent international organizations and renowned independent experts from the region and the EU. Potential of intensive cooperation between RCC and ReSPA was mutually recognized and first concrete results were seen in organization of joint regional trainings, such as the Training of Education Inspectors.

This initiative is supported by the European Commission. By helping to improve public administration, ReSPA will have an indirect influence on enhancing the rule of law and transparency. Improved communication and exchange of information on the activities of mutual interest would strengthen future cooperation between the two organizations, therefore streamlining regional efforts in strengthening national administrative capacities and avoiding overlaps.

South East European Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (SEECEL) – Zagreb

SEECEL was formed in July 2009 as a national institution of the host country, after the initiative of National Coordinators of the Charter of Small Enterprises from SEE countries to established structured cooperation amongst the SEE countries / pre-accession countries on lifelong entrepreneurial learning.

The mission of SEECEL is to support all participating countries in the alignment of policies and practice in lifelong entrepreneurial learning with those of the European Union (EU) as well as to identify other global models that may enhance the role of entrepreneurial learning in the context of knowledge-driven, small enterprise-dominated and highly competitive economies. SEECEL's 2009-2012 work programme is financially supported by the EU, through the - IPA Multi-beneficiary Programme, and the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship of the Republic of Croatia

As a member of SEECEL Steering Committee, the RCC expressed its firm support to the working programme of SEECEL, re-emphasising the importance of regional cooperation in respective areas. Furthermore, the RCC suggested that establishment of SEECEL in the next phase as a regional organisation (in accordance with the respective international documents and regulations) would be of particular importance for efficient and sustainable work of the Centre.

Novi Sad Initiative

Novi Sad Initiative is devoted to institutional reform and cooperation in higher education, bringing together a range of institutions with responsibility in higher education from the Western Balkans, including universities and higher education authorities, as well as the European organizations and independent experts. It develops cooperation in the field of higher education, in line with the goals and policies of the European Higher Education Area. The RCC has co-chaired the Steering Group for guiding and monitoring progress of higher education structural reform. Actions included sharing experience within the region concerning higher education reform in relation with the best EU practice, strengthening capacity of administrators and policy makers, with direct involvement of all relevant parties in the region in finding feasible joint solutions for current challenges in higher education. Sharing experiences on qualification frameworks and qualification system development; identification of common qualifications; promotion of cooperation with the EU Member States and shared standards in the region were also among the activities. The process aims to improve transparency of qualifications which would allow for better mobility of students and academics within the region.