FY 2010 Foreign Assistance Goals
While the investments that the United States, the European Union and other donors have made in Southeastern Europe in the last two decades have yielded important gains, the transformation of the region is far from complete. For example, the charged political climate in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continues to impede progress on consolidating state institutions, advancing inter-ethnic reconciliation, and ensuring the country’s ultimate integration in Europe. While Kosovo’s emergence as an independent state has set the stage for strengthening its democratic institutions and building a tolerant, multi-ethnic society, Serbia’s non-recognition of Kosovo’s independence still poses a challenge to Kosovo’s timely integration into regional and international structures. Simultaneously, the impact of the global financial crisis lingers as countries try to balance budgets and respond to limited access to credit and slowing investment and remittances.
Continued modest levels of assistance through multilateral mechanisms have helped to solidify progress to date as well as prevent significant backsliding in the face of recent challenges. Through regional funding, the U.S. Government (USG) supports programs that supplement bilateral activities in areas such as law enforcement, trade, energy and regional security, which by nature have an important multilateral aspect. Regional studies, assessments and workshops in the democracy and health areas provide resources for comparative evaluation of progress and promote USG understanding of key issues facing the region.
Total FY 2010 Foreign Operations Appropriated Assistance: $36.34m*
(*Foreign Operations funding appropriated for FY 2010, not including centrally managed, multi-regional Foreign Operations funding that benefits, but is not specifically budgeted for the European region.)
Highlights of FY 2010 Performance by Area of Focus
Peace and Security
-- USG funding for the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Budapest supported more than 215 students from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia Montenegro, Romania and Serbia. U.S. embassies which sponsored trainees reported improved cooperation with those officials upon their return. In terms of target indicators, the ILEA is successfully increasing the number of mid- and senior-level law enforcement personnel trained. Alumni report that they have been promoted to new levels of responsibility within their home units and that their promotions would not have been possible without the knowledge they acquired at ILEA Budapest.
Governing Justly and Democratically
-- FY 2010, USG resources continued to support a regional network of investigative journalists in Southeast Europe (SEE) that published three major investigative reports. The first of these, “Document Dilemma,” focused on how easy it can be to obtain forged identification documents in six countries and how wealthy individuals purchase positions as "consular officials" to secure diplomatic passports. The second report, “Security Chaos,” profiled the links between organized crime, private security firms and illicit business interests in Southeast Europe. One firm’s links to a known crime figure resulted in local authorities seizing firearms and rescinding the firm’s permit to carry weapons. The third report, “Persons of Interest,” is a searchable database of alleged organized crime figures and their economic interests. When this report was initially published, the project’s website was nearly overwhelmed with more than 12,400 visitors. As a result, associates of one of the individuals profiled were recently imprisoned and a known international narcotics trafficker was denied safe haven in Montenegro. While libel suits and physical attacks on journalists are a relatively common occurrence in the region, no lawsuit has been filed against any journalist in conjunction with these reports nor has anyone suffered serious physical harm.
-- Over 400 websites including blogs and social networks have linked to the website of the regional network of investigative journalists. Local, regional and international media continue to re-publish and follow up on the reports, greatly expanding the impact of the original web-based reporting. Local partner organizations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia are also producing far more of their own country-specific, high-impact reporting based on the project’s operating model. In a testament to the professional skills of journalists affiliated with this project, international media outlets as well as global investigative journalism groups continue to hire them to assist with their own investigative reporting projects. The project has garnered support from other donors to augment USG funding.
-- Grants to independent media organizations increased access to diverse and objective information, promoted government accountability and transparency, and bolstered interethnic dialogue. For example, one grantee held 39 consultations with civil society to build public support for the establishment of a truth-telling body on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. The consultations, attended by close to 1,700 people, took place in cities and towns in Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.
-- In FY 2010, USG support resulted in three research reports. The first is a comprehensive, annual progress report on the status of democracy and governance reforms in 28 Europe and Eurasia countries. It provides in-depth analysis and a quantitative ranking of progress in democratization, which helps donors and governments to assess priorities, measure results of programs, and make funding decisions and is used to assess countries’ performance on certain benchmarks for the purposes of phase-out decisions and to focus resources for future programming. The second report is a qualitative research report that assesses and ranks five objectives in developing media environments in 21 countries in the region. It is used by U.S. missions and other USG agencies, external development and donor organizations, and indigenous media professionals for program planning, assessment, and adjustment to achieve greater program impact. The last is a comprehensive, research tool that examines the overall enabling environment of the civil society sector in 29 countries in Europe and Eurasia. Its longitudinal nature (capturing comparable data across the region over more than 13 years) makes it an important source and is used by a broad audience that includes local NGOs, governments, other donors, academics, and embassies.
Investing in People
-- In FY 2010, USG-funding produced the 6th edition of the Europe and Eurasia Health Vulnerability Analysis. The analysis identifies where the transition to democracy and free market economies may be most vulnerable because of health factors. It has become a standard reference in Washington and the field.
-- The USG continued working to complete a toolkit designed to help advocates and policy makers address the barriers that hinder the delivery of drug addiction treatment services. The first instrument was piloted in Albania in 2009. The toolkit was completed in September of 2010, and will be disseminated in the region and to interested parties in FY 2011. The toolkit was presented as a poster at the International Conference on Harm Reduction in Liverpool in April 2010 and at the International AIDS Society conference in Vienna in July 2010.
-- In FY 2010, the USG helped revise TB infection control policies and aligned them with international standards. The project trained 60 people in infection control strategies and 123 people in the Directly Observed Therapy (DOTS) strategy.
-- In conjunction with the Center for Decease Control, the USG supported three surveys on multi-drug resistance to TB in Albania. These surveys are critical for understanding the extent of drug-resistance and devising an appropriate response. In addition, USG-funded activities strengthened laboratory networks and their capacity to accurately diagnose TB and multi-drug resistant TB through the provision of training.
-- In FY 2010, USG-funded programs continued to support the Athens Energy Community and its efforts to create regional electricity and gas markets integrated with the Western European internal energy market. In electricity, a USG project produced the first ever regional electricity models extending five to ten years (2010, 2015 and 2020). The Transmission System Operators are now using these models to evaluate the impact and reliability of proposed network upgrades and 400kV interconnections with Albania and Kosovo being financed by KfW of Germany, among others.
-- In gas, the USG worked with the Albanian Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy and the newly expanded Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERE) to develop and implement new regulations under the country’s Natural Gas Law. Assistance was provided to develop a natural gas sector “Market Model” for Albania, new natural gas licensing rules and procedures, and regulations governing access to natural gas systems. Albania continued to work with prospective investors to build gas pipeline connections with the Greek transmission system.
-- The USG also worked with the Athens Energy Community, Energy Efficiency Task Force and energy planning network to improve the clean energy regulatory environment in Eastern Europe. In Albania, Macedonia, and Serbia, USG funding helped develop National Energy Efficiency Action Plans and amendments to existing energy laws aimed at promoting clean energy and a template for municipal energy efficiency planning.
-- In the area of improving private sector competitiveness, in FY 2010, USG-funded activities led to 1,281 firms receiving assistance in order to improve their management practices and 277 firms to invest in improved technologies. These activities also supported eight public-private dialogues including regional competitiveness roundtables, conferences, and information-sharing networks where firms participated in training in internationally recognized productivity and process improvement methodologies. These activities contributed to increased firm efficiency and profitability. For example, companies in Europe and Eurasia that completed the 18-month authoritative Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) IT certification process, a key part of USG-funded IT sector activities, realized a nearly 60 percent increase in productivity. Nearly 37 percent of companies reported sales increases of 20-50 percent, and 58 percent reported a decreased “time to market.”