Strengthened Civic Engagement for Enhanced Democratic Local Governance in Turkiye

What is the project about?

The Strengthening Civic Engagement for Enhancing Democratic Local Governance in Türkiye Project (Civic Engagement Project), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and financed by the European Union, with the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye (UMT) as the main beneficiary and the Ministry of Interior Directorate General for Relations with Civil Society (DGRSC) as the co-beneficiary, will be implemented between January 2023 and September 2025.

The project aims to support civil society-public partnership and the creation of an enabling and sustainable environment for volunteering in Türkiye.

Accordingly, activities to be undertaken include the development of local civic engagement strategies and action plans; capacity building of local governments and civil society organisations through training programmes and small grants; development of legislative proposals on volunteering in Türkiye; and strengthening the capacity of public stakeholders at local and central levels.

 

What is our mission?

Despite the increase in the number of civil society organisations in Türkiye and efforts to strengthen civil society, considering the current situation of civil society organisations and their participation in decision-making mechanisms, there are still various needs in terms of developing cooperation between civil society organisations and decision-makers at local and central levels and making the necessary arrangements to ensure an enabling environment.

Volunteering is one of the important components of civic engagement and is a process that supports the active participation of individuals. However, in Türkiye, there is an inadequate framework in terms of rights and responsibilities in the field of volunteering. Therefore, one of the intervention areas of the Civic Engagement project is to provide technical support for strengthening the legislation in the field of volunteering.

 

How are we doing this?

In the first component of the project, Civil Engagement Strategies and 2-year Action Plans will be developed in seven pilot provinces by conducting needs analyses on the participation of civil society in decision-making mechanisms and other existing mechanisms, and " Civic Engagement Task Forces" consisting of public, civil society and university representatives will be established. In this process, overseas technical study visits will be carried out and studies will be carried out for the implementation of the Council of Europe Guidelines on Civil Engagement in Political Decision Making Processes, which will provide technical guidance for the formation of Civic Engagement Strategies and Action Plans.

The second component of the project aims to build capacity in the field of civic engagement and support civil society-municipality cooperation across Türkiye through the grant programme.

In the third component of the project, it will support a comprehensive consultation process by starting from the needs in the field of volunteering and taking into account the good practices in the European Union member states and revealing the knowledge in this field. It is also aimed to conduct a regulatory impact analysis on the Draft Legislation on Volunteering to be prepared at the end of the process.

The fourth component of the project aims to increase the capacities of the main beneficiary Union of Municipalities of Türkiye, the co-beneficiary Ministry of Interior Directorate General for Relations with Civil Society and other relevant stakeholders (ministries, local administrations and Provincial Directorates for Relations with Civil Society, etc.) to support close cooperation and consultations with civil society organisations in policy making and implementation processes.

 

How will Türkiye benefit?

The involvement of CSOs in local government processes is of key importance for the realisation of civic engagement in Türkiye. Therefore, the project aims to raise the awareness of local governments and their representatives on civic engagement and to support CSOs to contribute to the decision-making processes of local governments by increasing their capacities in order to facilitate their participation in the decision-making processes of local governments.

Although the recent natural disasters in our country and the experiences gained afterwards show that CSO - local government cooperation has an aspect that develops the society, mobilises individuals and supports participatory governance, it has been determined that CSOs need capacity building activities in terms of financial, volunteer management, resource development tools and their participation in local decision-making processes. However, there are various uncertainties and inadequate definitions of volunteer rights, volunteer management and definition of volunteers in Türkiye.

During the project period, various capacity building activities will be carried out in 81 provinces, especially in 7 pilot provinces, to strengthen the relations between CSOs and public organisations. In addition, it is aimed to support various improvements and developments in the definition of volunteers and volunteering activities in Türkiye through the draft law to be developed with the contributions of CSOs and public institutions/organisations in the field of volunteering and volunteer rights. In the grant programme established to increase the cooperation of CSOs with local governments, to improve and strengthen their relations with public institutions and organisations, it is planned to achieve gains in the short term by developing various projects on priority areas determined within the scope of the grant programme with the municipality with which the applicant CSO will establish a partnership.

Fundamentally, strengthening civic engagement means moving towards the ideal of just, peaceful and inclusive societies envisaged in the 2030 vision.

Impact

START DATE

January 2023

END DATE

September 2025

STATUS

Ongoing

PROJECT OFFICE

Turkey

IMPLEMENTING PARTNER

GOVT as Executing and Implemen

DONORS

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

TOTAL CONTRIBUTIONS

$669,160

DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS

2023$430,603

Full Project information