Conference "Good Governance in the Balkans: Status and Perspectives?" 07 - 08 November 2013, Zagreb, Croatia

Trajnime » Conference "Good Governance in the Balkans: Status and Perspectives?" 07 - 08 November 2013, Zagreb, Croatia

Postuar me: 15/08/2013 11:27am

Call for Contributions

The conference shall serve as an exchange platform, which for the first time shall bring together some 60 participants from the region and beyond, actors from public administration, politics and academia concerned with the issues of good governance in the Western Balkans. Given the EU-accession of Croatia in July 2013, Zagreb as a symbolic venue where also lessons learned and regional perspectives can be shared seems to be most convenient.

Main Objectives

The main objectives of the conference are:
  1. Gaining an overview of the most important good governance research and policy projects in the region (peer exchange);
  2. Discussing the “good” and the “bad “of good governance concepts, including indicators, standards, practices and regional variances;
  3. Bringing together researchers and policy-makers to discuss how to build bridges between research and policy-making and how future agendas in this field could look like.

Eligibility and Structure of Participants

The call for contributions is open to:
  • Individual researchers, public administration officials, research institutions, think-tanks, independent policy-making institutes and other institutions dealing with the conference topics;
Form of contributions:
  • Academic and policy research papers;
  • Relevant reform projects able to demonstrate substantial results and best practices – success stories;
  • Case-studies, regionally relevant projects and initiatives
  • Elaborated concepts for conference panels (including aims, the names of the panelists including their CV’s and the structure of the panel)

Eligible Topics

Topics to be addressed by contributions are:

A) Assessing the „Good“ of „Good Governance“
  • Indicators, meanings and regional variants of good governance in the Western Balkans
B) Management, Efficiency and Accountability of Public Services
  • Public service reforms, including resistance to reforms
  • Improving quality of public services – specific policy fields, case-studies
  • Public-private partnerships, risks and potentials
  • Effects and examples of informal governance
  • Effects and examples of bad governance
  • New forms of governance in the Western Balkans
  • Budgeting
  • Nepotism and petty-corruption
C) Intervention, Integration and Good Governance
  • Role of the EU-integration process in promoting good governance in the Balkans
  • Role of the international community in promoting good governance and lessons learned in the Balkans
D) Management, Efficiency, accessibility and Independence of the Judicial System
  • Rule of law
  • Judicial reforms
  • Fighting corruptions: assessing anti-corruption initiatives
E) Good governance, civil society and democracy:
  • Citizens’ participation
  • Civic networks and cooperation of NGO’s with the state
  • Role of the parliaments in promoting and ensuring good governance
Geographic area: Contributions have to focus empirically and/or theoretically on countries of the Western Balkans or the Western Balkans as a region. Comparative contributions may include additional countries or regions as well.

Selection-Process Timeline

Deadline for submissions: 20 August, 2013
Selection by Committee, September 20, 2013
Conference: 7-8 November, 2013

The selected participants will be informed about the programme, the specific conference panels and the format of the paper to submit, as well as organisational details, in due time.

Submission Instructions

All interested participants and institutions are requested to submit an abstract of the paper or a proposal for their contribution with no more than 300 words, including a one-page CV of the person(s) who would attend the conference.

Submissions must be sent no later than 20 August 2013 to with the following email subject: Good Governance Conference 2013. All documents have to be in English and need to be merged into a single PDF file. The result of the selection process will be announced by the end of September 2013.

Venue, Accommodation and Transport

The conference will take place at the Hotel International, Zagreb. The organizers will cover travel and accommodation expenses for all selected participants. Opportunities for co-financing will arise should the travel costs in individual cases exceed the average expenses per participant attending the conference.

Additional Inquiries

For additional inquiries write to:
Igor Bandovic, European Fund for the Balkans:
and Jan Kreuels, RRPP Western Balkans:


Good governance has been a prominent topic during the last decade in the Western Balkans, a region still going through transition and aiming to join the European Union. The “good governance” concept is more or less familiar to both the research community and policy makers dealing with political and socio-economic changes in the region. This is especially due to the Europeanization process and the generally high level of international involvement in the region.

Good governance is imperative to democratic consolidation and economic development including, inter alia, respect for human rights and participation of citizens in decision-making, promotion of rule of law, poverty-reduction, fight against corruption, transparency of state-affairs. So far it has been strongly promoted and supported by the European Union with the enlargement process but also by a number of bilateral donors and agencies through their development strategies in the region.
Even though great efforts have been invested into change-processes, Western Balkans countries are still marked by high levels of bureaucracy, informal practices, corruption and lack of accountability and transparency of public institutions that are responsible for reforms running simultaneously on different levels. All this leads to a general lack of public trust.

Тhe Enlargement strategy of the European Commission 2012 identifies “good governance, the rule of law, administrative capacity, unemployment, economic reform and social inclusion” as major challenges in most countries of the Western Balkans.
Partial monitoring of governance on national, regional and local level in WB has been and is done or supported by many international actors like World Bank Institute’s Governance Matters, The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, UNDP Global Programme on Democratic Governance Assessments, and European Fund for the Balkans (Balkan Monitor) etc. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) also promoted and supports this on the municipal level through its pillar: «Rule of Law and Democracy», which is one of the key areas covered by the SDC in the region .

Regular European Commission progress reports, within analyses in terms of relation between state and Union, political and economic criteria for membership, and capacity to assume the obligations of membership, is the most comprehensive set of recommendations toward good governance in the WB. Nevertheless, EU membership stresses need for locally-generated governance data. Regular EU progress reports can be perceived as external and may not necessarily be accepted by national stakeholders. Additionally, national, regional and local governments, sometimes, lack capacities to transfuse progress report recommendations into concrete improvement actions. The EU accession process can, however, both support and benefit from an endogenous self-assessment.