What we do
The current three-year phase of the programme, COBERM-4, kicked off in May 2019, building on the achievements of the three earlier stages in 2010-2018.
With EUR 5.5 million in EU funding and EUR 50,000 co-funding by UNDP, COBERM-4 operates a flexible grant-making mechanism that supports civil society initiatives in a range of thematic areas, including but not limited to health, culture, environment, peace and security and the empowerment of women and youth. The aim is to build confidence between communities divided by conflict and enhance an enabling environment for promoting inclusive peace, stability and human security. Its immediate objectives are focused on the three major areas:
- Fostering communication between and building trust among people affected by conflict with the focus on women, youth and professional communities (health workers, legal professionals, academics, journalists and media professionals, artists, etc.)
- Providing a flexible tool to address emerging needs, especially in the crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Offering a liaison mechanism to address issues of mutual interest, such as health or environmental concerns.
- COBERM-4 harnesses successful partnerships created since 2010 and encourages civil society organizations to explore new areas of peace- and confidence-building, such as media development, peace journalism and countering misinformation and fake news.
Building on the experience gained at the earlier stages of the programme, the EU and UNDP are putting a special emphasis on introducing innovative approaches to peace- and confidence-building, supporting joint endeavours of civic actors divided by conflict, and facilitating new partnerships. This includes cooperation in the field of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), using modern technologies for promoting peace messages or sharing best practices in building an inclusive environment for people with disabilities.
With a constant view of improvement, the EU and UNDP also assist civil society organizations (CSOs) in building their capacities by providing specialized training and consultation opportunities, tailor-made for their organizational needs.
Results So Far
Over 200 civil society initiatives have been supported by the EU and UNDP since 2010, seeking to introduce new approaches and engage civil society actors in the peace- and confidence-building effort. Thirty-four new initiatives were set in motion by the end of 2020, under the current stage of the programme, COBERM-4.
- Civil society projects supported by the EU and UNDP are covering a range of sectors, including:
- Youth – environmental and ICT education, youth camps, cultural self-expression through folk-music and arts.
- People diplomacy, dialogue & policy research – taking stock of multi-year peace and confidence-building work, creating Peace Wikipedia, publishing analytical articles on peace and confidence-building, etc.
- Improved livelihoods and increased resilience of vulnerable communities – supporting women-run small businesses and community-driven initiatives.
- Cultural cooperation/Cultural heritage – joint publications on traditions and folklore, archaeological studies, digitalization of archives, etc.
- Women, Peace and Security – creating a regional network of women-peacebuilders, supporting young women to engage in civic activism and fight domestic and gender-based violence.
- Healthcare and humanitarian assistance – providing access to quality health services for conflict-affected communities; delivering protective gear and medical supply to support health facilities in fighting the pandemic; facilitating networking and exchange of the medical personnel in response to COVID-19 crisis.
- Dealing with the past – introducing conflict-sensitive education, supporting collaboration of a new generation of historians, digitalising and publishing the archive information.
- Media and conflict reporting – producing joint documentaries, supporting joint training for media professionals, using online platforms for peace messaging and constructive discussion.
- Innovation – supporting quality education in the field of STEM, creating a Chatbot for disseminating peace messages.
Capacity building of civil society
By the end of 2020, over 100 civil society organizations went through the training and consultancy exercises, offered to the COBERM grantees by reputable international experts. Training areas covered:
- Project cycle management
- Conflict-sensitive project design and implementation
- Conflict-sensitive communication
Building on reputation and trust gained by the COBERM programme throughout a decade of its operation, a complementary funding window – the UK Fund for Sustainable Peace was established in 2020 to expand the EU and UNDP contribution to promoting inclusive peace, stability and human security.