Thematic Fund Civil Society Participation Romania

Project completed

The Thematic Fund linked to Civil Society Participation in Romania has the purpose to promote the contribution of civil society organizations as important actors in development and participation. This is to be achieved through Swiss-Romanian projects in the environment sector and through an NGO-Block Grant to support a number of smaller projects of Romanian NGOs in environment and social areas.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Promoting economic growth and improving working conditions
Protecting the environment
Strengthening civil society
Non-governmental organisations
01.07.2011 - 30.11.2019
CHF  16’800’000

The NGOs represent 49% of the accredited suppliers of social services (e.g. home care) in Romania. Despite these figures the civil sector continues to be weak, having still limited advocacy capacity. After Romania joined the EU, the traditional international donors as USAID, DFID, SIDA and SDC phased out their support. The recent economic crisis worsened the financial basis of the nongovernmental sector. The access to the structural instruments is still very difficult for them. The EEA (European Economic Area) Financial Mechanism funded an NGO Fund that came at the right moment and had a good impact on the sector but could respond to a limited part of the NGOs sector needs only.


The objective of the Thematic Fund „Civil Society Participation“ is the promotion of the contribution of civil society organizations as important actors in development and participation. Capacity building in project planning, monitoring and implementation is an objective of its own so that:

  • the Swiss supported projects shall be implemented in timely manner and with high qualitative standards
  • capacities built with Swiss support may be used to implement projects financed through other financial sources
Target groups

The civil society of Romania in general, the NGOs and the vulnerable population in particular.

  • A portfolio of pre-defined projects in the field of environment already retained in the Framework Agreement
  • A financial provision which allows to flexibly finance additional projects that will be presented during the implementation of the Thematic Fund “Civil Society”
  • A Block Grant for the financing of small activities of the civil society/NGOs
  • A managing and capacity building body (Swiss Intermediate Body) which guarantees the good use of funds, the link to Swiss partners and the sustainability of the Swiss support activities

Achieved results:  

  • 94 projects aiming at strengthening Romanian NGOs and enabling their active participation in policy processes have been implemented. NGOs were promoted as the voice of civil society and as service provider in the field of environment, social services and strengthening organisational capacities.
  • 5 retained activities (Rural Development, Natura 2000, Carpathian Wilderness, Sustainable Agricultural Models, Sustainable Forest Management).
  • The civil society organisations contributed as important actors in development processes in Romania.
  • More than 260’000 people benefitted directly from activities on Social Component (participation in trainings, information sessions, field activities, awareness raising and information campaigns).
  • More than 2’000’000 people were informed about the project activities and environmental problems and approx. 45’800 persons benefitted directly from the 30 projects on Environmental Component (participation in trainings, field and conservation activities, and environmental education).


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • KEK-CDC Consultants/Zurich

Other partners

Intermediary Body: KEK-CDC Consultants/Zurich in Consortium with 2 local partners; Executing Agency: Various Romanian NGOs

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    16’800’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    16’703’044
Project phases

Phase 1 01.07.2011 - 30.11.2019   (Completed)