In order to support the establishment of dialogue between the civil and public sectors, the Belgrade Open School will implement the project Dialogue for Change: Dialogue of Change: Nurturing Participative and Evidence-Based Policy Dialogue in Reform Processes in Serbia in the period from 2021 to 2023. 

The European Commission in its Communication on the EU Enlargement Policy for 2020, recognized civil society as a key component of any democratic system and recommended that state institutions should recognize and treat it as such.

According to the report, in January 2020, the Government adopted guidelines for the inclusion of CSOs in working groups for drafting regulations and public policies. The Office for Cooperation with Civil Society has developed a database on "CSO focal points" in public institutions and local governments. The use of emergency procedures for the adoption of laws has been reduced, potentially allowing more time for consultations in the law-making process. However, several CSOs reported that the time allotted for public consultations was still too short or that their comments on the draft laws had not been sufficiently considered and taken into account. Also, the Report indicates that the National Strategy and Action Plan to help create a positive environment for CSOs has not yet been adopted. The Council for Cooperation with Civil Society has yet to be established.

In order to improve the lives of all citizens and solve problems of importance for the whole society, it is necessary to involve all stakeholders from the civil and public sectors. Consultations with all key actors help to crystallize priorities, as this creates good laws and other regulations through the policy-making process. In this process, the civil sector is a valuable partner in providing thematic expertise in specific social spheres and creating an environment c for structured dialogue.

The Dialogue for Change project will respond to existing challenges in the cooperation between civil society organizations and public authorities in the decision-making and policy-making process to address specific community problems. The project will enhance existing and develop new approaches in the dialogue between different stakeholders. The results of the conducted research will be used for capacity building of civil society organizations to be involved and influence the reform processes in Serbia. The project will also contribute to increasing the visibility, understanding, and overall recognition of dialogue as a key tool for decision-making and solving problems of public concern.

The objectives of the project are to support evidence-based policy dialogue and cooperation between CSOs and public authorities as well as capacity building of civil society organizations to create, implement, monitor, and evaluate policies. Through the implementation of the project,  the wider public will be informed about the need and results of dialogue between civil society organizations and public authorities in the decision-making process and problem-solving.

The project will focus on supporting civil society organizations and their projects aimed at dialogue and positive change in the community, as well as supporting research whose results will be used for capacity building. Besides, active efforts will be made to increase the capacity of civil society organizations to be effectively involved in decision-making processes and policy-making.

The project is supported by the EU Delegation to Serbia and will be implemented in the period from 2021 to 2023. The project will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, the Republic Secretariat for Public Policies, the EU Public Policy Center of the University of Belgrade, the Olof Palme Center, and the Government Office for Cooperation with NGOs of the Government of the Republic of Croatia.