Western Balkans Guidelines
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) has been engaged in grantmaking in the Western Balkans since 2001. At that time, in light of the region’s long history of instability and the recent conclusion of the Balkan wars of the 1990s, the prospect of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Europe hinged, in part, on the Balkans’ successful transition to a post-Communist and post-conflict era. During its first years in the Western Balkans, the Fund’s grantmaking aimed to nurture healthy democratic processes, support regional initiatives to debunk persistent myths and prejudices, and encourage development of a vibrant civil society. The Fund’s work in the Western Balkans, and especially in Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, builds on its 20-year past experience in Central and Eastern Europe, supporting transition processes and helping to create conditions for their accession to the European Union.
The countries of the Western Balkans are focused on realizing their European integration aspirations, as accession brings with it the promise of stability and rule of law—necessary prerequisites for long-term peace, prosperity, and democracy. To support that vision, the Fund will help create the enabling legal, fiscal, and political environment for EU membership, giving special attention to strengthening democratic practice, enabling sustainable development, and documenting and facing the consequences of past conflicts. Engagement and leadership of youth in building a sustainable future for the region and creating a new narrative based on the region’s diversity and European values are central to the RBF’s support in the region.
The Fund focuses on Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina to help them complete the process of integration into the EU. The interdependence among the countries, common challenges they face, and the potential they possess together as a subregion of the European Union present a unique opportunity for successful integration. The Fund supports civil society initiatives that advance collaboration and enhance the capacity for sustainable development and enduring peace in the region.
The RBF is pursuing the following goal and strategies across the Western Balkans region:
Goal: Support the successful integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union
- Supporting civil society efforts to improve practices, performance, transparency, and accountability in governance.
- Advancing sustainable development, focusing on an efficient regional energy sector based on renewable energy resources.
- Strengthening constituencies for reconciliation and enduring peace.
- Encouraging the development of indigenous philanthropy and corporate social responsibility to support participatory democracy and models of sustainable development.
The RBF works closely with civil society groups, governmental institutions, and other funding organizations to highlight the richness of the region’s ethnic, gender, age, cultural, and racial diversity and to promote the values of a pluralistic and inclusive society.