1. Harmonization of EUSDR priorities, implementation, and evaluation

Embedding the EUSDR objectives in the main EU operational programmes, national and regional programme documents is crucial for the implementation of the EUSDR new Action Plan. Given that the process of harmonization of the EUSDR priorities, which currently remains at the subsequent stage over the course of Slovak presidency, will require further comprehensive coordination in 2022. Ukraine identifies it as one of the political priorities of its presidency to ensure policy coherence within the EUSDR as well as to achieve certain goals.

Harmonizing the priorities of all macro-regional strategies with the EU programmes for 2021-2027 will help to address territorial issues more strategically through coordinated actions and synergy of efforts, which in turn will increase the efficiency of using EU funds and deepen dialogue between participants to this process.

This will allow achieving tangible results and will contribute to the growth of economic, social, and territorial cohesion in the Danube region in the long run.

2. Enhancing the institutional capacity of the EUSDR

The effectiveness of implementation of the priorities and achievement of the EUSDR objectives directly depends on the effective involvement of all participants in management and coordination of the EUSDR, in its implementation and effective work at the operational level.

Encouraging the participation of key stakeholders, including the National Coordinators and members of the Steering Groups of the EUSDR participating countries, and increasing the level of their communication support will facilitate the effective implementation of the EUSDR objectives and improve cross-sectoral cooperation within the framework of each priority area.

Given that the EUSDR establishes a framework for cooperation between EU member states and non-EU countries, it can also be considered as a powerful tool to strengthen integration processes and enhance cooperation with non-EU countries.

3. Strengthening the role of civil society in the implementation of the EUSDR

An advanced civil society is an integral part of all democracies across the globe.

The state of civil society development is an indicator of social and civic activity, motion and needs of the basic unit of democratic society, namely a citizen. Thus, civil society plays the role of an institutional link between the state and the citizen, in which public organizations execute the main functions.

Strengthening the role of civil society in the development of the Danube region and enhancing interaction with all stakeholders are crucial factors for further joint development and promotion of the EUSDR.

In this context, it is also important to focus on matters of more active involvement of young people and youth organizations in the EUSDR. Enhanced cooperation with young people, their involvement in the formation and implementation of development policies will contribute to deepen cooperation between generations, to establish liaisons with local state administrations as well as to ensure experience sharing. All of these will lead, in the medium term, to the increasing competitiveness of the Danube region.

4. Monitoring and evaluating the implementation and impact of the ESDR

In 2021, it is planned to update the Evaluation Plan within the ESDR to reflect the events and processes that have taken place since the adoption of the previous Plan.

Following the approval of the ESDR evaluation plan by the National Coordinators, the Danube Strategic Point with the participation of key stakeholders such as National Coordinators, Priority Coordinators, experts, a Policy / Impact Evaluation is planned within the ESDR.

Given that the process of conducting new monitoring under the ESDR, which will be implemented in 2022, during the Ukrainian presidency, the issue of evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the ESDR was also included in the agenda of the Presidency Program.

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