Civil society’s role and place in the system of donor assistance to Belarus (2006-2014)

Alena Zuikova, Andrei Yahorau

The Centre for European Transformation has prepared a working paper on civil society’s role and place in the system of external assistance to Belarus in 2006-2014.

There is a need to monitor external development aid to Belarus in order to make this process more open and to broaden the possibilities of public control over the distribution of donor assistance. In order to be able to form a well-founded judgement, it is necessary to lean on concrete facts and real data, and this research is carried out to present such information.

This research presents an overall picture of external assistance to Belarus from 2006 to 2014 and underlines the questions of financial support to civil society’s activity, as well as the place of the EU and its Member States in the general system of donor assistance. This work is a continuation of the researches carried out by the Center for European Transformation in 2013 and 2014.

The data on development assistance to Belarus is taken from open sources (OECD statistics, public documents of the EU and other structures — foreign affairs ministries, national development agencies, and foundations).

Main findings:

  • Europe is the region most actively providing development assistance to Belarus. Donors from the EU (Member States and Institutions) provide more than half of the entire development aid Belarus receives, while share of the biggest non-European donor, USA, is only 15%;
  • Civil society development (assistance to the democratic participation, human rights and media and free flow of information areas) is one of main development assistance priorities in Belarus;
  • Aid to civil society development is implemented not only by the civil society organisations (both Belarusan and foreign), but as well by external, non-civil society, stakeholders (donor governments, multilateral organisations etc.);
  • The donor community lacks common vision and cohesion in providing assistance to civil society development in Belarus, which results in varying donors’ priorities in supporting different areas and diverse donors’ strategies for CSOs engagement.

For more detailed analysis please consult the full report (available in Russian).

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About authors:

Alena Zuikova is an analyst of the Center for European Transformation, master of political science. She graduated from European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania) with her bachelor’s degree in political science and European studies. She also graduated from the Institut d'Études Politiques de Lille (Institute of Political Science, Lille, France) with her master’s degree in European affairs. Her research interests include the European neighborhood policy, the Eastern Partnership, the European policy concerning Belarus, the European policy of development; civil society, CSOs’ role in Belarus democratization processes, and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Andrei Yahorau is the director of the Center for European Transformation, master of political science. He graduated from the Politology Department of Belarusan State University and received his master’s degree in political science at the same university. Since 2001, he has been working in the field of political research. His research interests include post-Soviet territory transformation, civil society, political transformations in Belarus and the Eastern Partnership region, and European studies.