Key Concepts

The European Union Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) covers candidate or potential candidate countries. These countries include the following: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia, Turkey.

The European Union Member States are the following: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The concept of mainstreaming was first coined at the Third World Conference on Women in 1985 in Nairobi in reference to gender equality. It is now commonly used in reference to other issues such as governance, poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, climate change, democracy and human rights, accessibility, youth inclusion, HIV/AIDs, in addition to gender equality. Mainstreaming an issue is generally understood as a strategy to make that theme an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects/actions. It also implies that relevant analyses and studies are conducted as the basis for integrating that issue(s) into the design of policies and/or projects/actions. The process of mainstreaming involves innovation, flexibility, learning and acceptance of new norms. It suggests deep changes in the established procedures and cultures of organisations so that the issue becomes integrated into its values, mission and management. In the context of the Grow Civic Programme, the following cross-cutting issues are sought to be mainstreamed into actions: accessibility, environmental sustainability, gender equality, a rights-based approach, and youth inclusion.

This section is adapted from Mainstreaming cross-cutting issues 7 Lessons from DAC Peer Reviews, 2014, OECD. The publication is accessible at: https://www.oecd.org/dac/peerreviews/Final%20publication%20version%20of%20the%207%20Lessons%20mainstreaming%20cross%20cutting%20issues.pdf adresinden erişilebilir.  

This concept, in the context of Grow Civic Support Programme, has a similar meaning with a “project”. It is a planned undertaking having at least the following elements: one or more objective(s)/purpose(s), a set of activities and their outputs/deliverables, a timeframe and resources plan/budget.  

The overall goal for accessibility measures is to ensure that persons with disabilities, regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief or age, enjoy their human rights, have equal opportunities, have equal access to participate in society and economy, are able to decide where, how and with whom they live, can move freely regardless of their support needs, no longer experience discrimination.“Accessibility to the built and virtual environments, to information and communication technologies (ICT), goods and services, including transport and infrastructure, is an enabler of rights and a prerequisite for the full participation of persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others”.

For Grow Civic actions, considering and integrating measures to ensure accessibility of persons with different types of disabilities are important. Measures to make logistic and organisational arrangements in a way to take accessibility aspects into consideration are strongly recommended in Grow Civic supported actions. It is also important to improve the accessibility of the action to integrate relevant design standards and principles into consideration while producing the print and online outputs of the action. 

Any project/action consists of a set of activities. In most of the cases, one action should cover more than one activity. Activities are implemented to achieve the aims of the project/action. Activities include meetings, training, conferences, study-visits, workshops, desk-top research, surveys, documentary/video production, interview, screening, media campaign, advocacy visits, gap-analysis, studies and research, etc. Please note that these activity types are just examples and in different projects, other types of activities might be implemented. 

The rights-based approach (RBA) is based on the universality and indivisibility of human rights and the principles of inclusion and participation in decision-making processes; non-discrimination, equality and equity; transparency and accountability. The focus of the RBA is on rights rather than needs. The approach is based on the identification of ‘rights-holders’ and corresponding ‘duty-bearers’ in specific contexts, and the promotion of their capacities to claim their rights and fulfil their duties respectively. The RBA requires raising awareness about human rights implications and subsequently fine-tuning the objective of the action. It seeks to strengthen the duty-bearers capacity to fulfil the rights of the right holders and the preparation of the support should be conducted in a participatory and transparent way that reinforces ownership. The RBA also strengthens the ownership of the rights holders. In doing so, it reinforces mutual accountability and management for results. 

The RBA requires raising awareness about human rights implications and subsequently fine-tuning the objective of the action. It seeks to strengthen the duty-bearers capacity to fulfil the rights of the right holders and the preparation of the support should be conducted in a participatory and transparent way that reinforces ownership. The RBA also strengthens the ownership of the rights holders. In doing so, it reinforces mutual accountability and management for results. 

The implementation of an RBA into day-to-day operations should ensure two principles: (i) Do No Harm (ii) Do Maximum Good. (i) Do No Harm: The logic behind this principle represents the basic concept that actions should not cause unacceptable harm and human rights violations or unintended negative impact in terms of human rights such as disadvantaged certain groups. Hence, actions must safeguard the rights of affected individuals and communities. (ii) Do Maximum Good: This principle defines positive impact in terms of human rights by improving and strengthening actions (e.g., by way of strengthening the rights holders’ capacity, empowerment and education on human rights, fostering participation, supporting duty bearers, strengthening accountability and participation).  

In the context of the Grow Civic Programme, the rights-based approach requires the identification of who the right (and need) owners as well as who the duty bearers are in the given concern/issue. Duty bearers are institutions, groups, persons who have or should have responsibilities regarding the provision and protection of the right(s) that the action aims to enhance. Once the right holders and the duty bearers are identified, relevant activities should be planned in the context of the action to either build/develop the capacities of both or one of these groups, and/or to advocate towards the identified duty bearers in reminding them their responsibilities. Duty bearers can be different in each action, but generally include the local bodies, “municipalities”, universities, the business sector, media institutions, Professional and/or labour unions, other CSOs, etc.  

This section contains information adapted from the “A RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH, ENCOMPASSING ALL HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EU DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION” European Commission, 2014. This toolbox can be downloaded from https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships/system/files/online-170621-eidhr-rba-toolbox-en-a5-lc_en.pdf

An RBA is applied into any action by way of integrating the following five principles into the design and implementation:

  1. Applying all Rights (legality, universality and indivisibility of HR)

This first principle is to consider and apply all rights as an overarching principle. It is about all beneficiaries, not a selection of them. It is about all rights, not about trade-offs between those. Indeed, a rights-based approach draws from international human rights obligations. Moreover, human rights are universal and inalienable. All people everywhere in the world are entitled to them. The human person in whom they inherit cannot voluntarily give them up. Nor can others take them away from him or her. Finally, “Human rights are indivisible and equally important”. Human rights of all kinds – economic, political, civil, cultural and social – are of equal validity and importance. Consequently, they all have equal status as rights, and cannot be ranked, a priori, in a hierarchical order. 

  1. Participation and access to the decision making process

This principle is about the alignment of the relevant ‘legal framework’ with international human rights obligations. It is the responsibility of the local bodies to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, it is, therefore, essential that accessible, transparent, and effective mechanisms of accountability exist. It is also essential that the application of this principle leads to the identification of the lack of capacity of the local bodies to fulfil its obligations. This principle also demands that legal services are accessible to target groups. The ability to hold those who govern to account is crucial for better governance. However, for accountability to be effective it also needs to be demanded. Therefore, it is also important in this context to assess the capacity of the rights-holders. While it is the prime responsibility of the elected to hold local bodies to account, CSOs or activists can also play a role in boosting accountability through a free, clear, accessible flow of information. It is essential to put or support efforts to strengthen accountability systems, promoting the role of the public and the CSOs in oversight of decision and policy making, implementation, rule of law, and fulfilment of human rights obligations.

  1. Non-discrimination and equal access

It is essential that all people have equal access to the services supported or delivered by the project(s)/ action(s). It is even more important that disadvantaged/marginalised groups, who are the most vulnerable to human rights violations and/or specifically to the right(s)/issue(s) tackled by the action, are given priority access. Based on the right that all persons are entitled to equal access without discrimination of any kind on the basis of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, language, religion or other opinion, origin, disability, birth or other status to public services, opportunities, justice and security, this principle requires taking account of all forms of discrimination. The planning and design stage of actions must carefully assess whether specific groups are discriminated against because, for example, they live in remote areas, or because of gender bias. This discrimination might be unintended or indirect but should always be avoided

  1. Accountability and access to the rule of law

This principle is about the alignment of the relevant ‘legal framework’ with international human rights obligations. It is the responsibility of the local bodies to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, it is, therefore, essential that accessible, transparent, and effective mechanisms of accountability exist. It is also essential that the application of this principle leads to the identification of the lack of capacity of the local bodies to fulfil its obligations. This principle also demands that legal services are accessible to target groups. The ability to hold those who govern to account is crucial for better governance. However, for accountability to be effective it also needs to be demanded. Therefore, it is also important in this context to assess the capacity of the rights-holders. While it is the prime responsibility of the elected to hold local bodies to account, CSOs or activists can also play a role in boosting accountability through a free, clear, accessible flow of information. It is essential to put or support efforts to strengthen accountability systems, promoting the role of the public and the CSOs in oversight of decision and policy making, implementation, rule of law, and fulfilment of human rights obligations. 

  1. Transparency and access to information

The local bodies and other duty-bearers can only be held accountable if access to information is ensured for everyone and if everybody enjoys the freedom of expression. It is therefore essential that access to free and independent information, in an accessible format, is guaranteed at all stages of the project/ action for everyone, but more specifically to target groups, including but not limited to the marginalised/ disadvantaged groups.

This section contains information adapted from the “A RIGHTS-BASED APPROACH, ENCOMPASSING ALL HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EU DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION” European Commission, 2014. This toolbox can be downloaded from https://ec.europa.eu/international-partnerships/system/files/online-170621-eidhr-rba-toolbox-en-a5-lc_en.pdf

Target groups are persons, segments of the community/population, groups, or organisations/institutions that a project or action aims to reach out in order to address their rights and needs. They constitute the main groups that are expected to gain from the results of that project or action. Within the context of the Grow Civic Programme, target groups are persons, groups or organisations/institutions who fulfil the following 2 criteria: 

  • will be taking part in the activities implemented as a part of the Grow Civic supported action and, 
  • will somehow be benefiting from the action and/or its results. 

Union of Equality Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030, European Commission, 2021, https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/api/files/document/print/en/ip_21_810/IP_21_810_EN.pdf

Following resources may be useful in that respect: Smithsonian Guidelines for Accessible Publication Design - https://www.si.edu/Content/Accessibility/Publication-Guidelines.pdf - A Practical Handbook on Accessible Graphic Design - https://www. rgd.ca/database/files/library/RGD_AccessAbility_Handbook.pdf- Accessible Graphic Design - http://theaccessiblegraphicdesign.com - W3C Web Accessibility Initiative - https://www.w3.org/standards/webdesign/accessibility

(Social) Inclusion is defined as the process of improving the terms of participation in society, particularly for people who are disadvantaged, through enhancing opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights. In the context of Grow Civic Programme, it means to consider the disadvantaged groups/peoples (e.g. children, elderly, ethnic and/or religious minorities, ‘foreigners’, LGBTI+s, people with disabilities, migrants, women) who might be generally excluded from different aspects of societal and/or political life, and be differently affected from the planned action are considered at the design stage of the action and relevant measures are thought of to ensure their participation/inclusion in one or more activities. 

https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/rwss/2016/chapter1.pdf

Mutual learning or co-learning can be shortly defined as learning together, with all participants involved in the activity/action equally. It involves working together to find answers for common/shared concerns and learning from each other as equals, rather than the traditional mode of learning which involves a one-way transfer of information/knowledge between a static ‘teacher’ to others.  

Cross cutting issues are issues of importance for any project/action that should be integrated at all stages of project/action design and implementation. In the context of the Grow Civic Programme, the cross-cutting issues are accepted as added-value qualities of the action and include the following: 

  • Mutual learning, co-learning and experience sharing
  • Involvement of / support to disadvantaged groups and/or people from rural areas
  • Measures to ensure gender equality
  • Measures to ensure environmental protection/sustainability
  • Measures to ensure youth inclusion 
  • Measures to ensure accessibility (ensuring special measures to ensure access of people with different disabilities).

This acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex and describes a diverse group of persons whose sexual orientation and/or gender identity diverge from the more conventional gender roles of and relationships between men and women. LGBTI people are also sometimes referred to as “sexual, gender and bodily minorities”.

https://ec.europa.eu/newsroom/just/items/605456

As defined by the Council of Europe, “gender refers to the socially constructed set of expectations, behaviours and activities of women and men which are attributed to them on the basis of their sex. Social expectations regarding any given set of gender roles depend on a particular socio-economic, political and cultural context and are affected by other factors including race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation and age. Gender roles are learned and vary widely within and between different human societies and change over time”.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/compass/gender#Some%20key%20concepts

Public benefit civil society organisations (CSOs) are those that are created and operated principally to engage in public good/benefit activities and that does not principally work for the interest or needs of its members, founders, or persons/groups associated with them (e.g. for the latter: chambers, unions, professional organizations). CSOs working and operating principally to promote or protect the rights and interests of socially disadvantaged person groups are also accepted as public good CSOs.

Beneficiaries are usually persons, groups or organisations/institutions in a given project/action that will be directly or indirectly benefiting from the results of the activities to be implemented with target groups. In some cases, the target groups and the beneficiaries might be the same, but their quantities may differ.