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THE BUCHAREST CIVIC NETWORK - a Reason for Hope

Posted by (econ) on 20.12.2016
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13 civic groups, 112 core members, 27.000 followers, 188 civic actions, 37 successful campaigns that led to concrete changes in Bucharest neighborhoods and 39 local and central public institutions targeted. The numbers describe The Bucharest Civic Network and the groups’ advocacy efforts in the past years.

 

The network is an idea that took shape after several years of investment in building relationships among civic groups in Bucharest - Citizen Fairs, common workshops and gatherings were just a few means CeRe: the Resource Center for Public Participation used to bring civic energy in the same room and let it grow.  

We also took advantage of a snowball effect – inspired by the first citizen groups and their actions, others decided to give it a try and form their own local groups to tackle issues in their neighborhoods. While in 2010 there were no informal citizen groups acting together to solve local issues, there are more than 20 such groups in Bucharest in 2016. Some of them were formed through CeRe’s community organizing program, others came together spontaneously around a common goal or got inspired by the existence of similar citizen groups.

In July 2015, 12 of these groups decided to form the Bucharest Civic Network. Sharing information and know-how and endorsing each other in front of decisions makers were the main goals of the new entity.

 The first common solidarity action of the network - members of 12 civic groups attended and publicly endorsed the protest initiated by Prelungirea Ghencea Initiative against an illegal building in the neighborhood.

Picture 1 – The first common solidarity action of the network - members of 12 civic groups attended and publicly endorsed the protest initiated by Prelungirea Ghencea Initiative against an illegal building in the neighborhood.

 

During the past year, with CeRe’s ongoing assistance, the network made important steps forward – they have established their vision, mission, and main objectives, they have launched the network, attended each other’s street protests and actions, and organized their first big event during the local electoral campaign in Bucharest – a candidates’ forum that brought together more than 200 people and 3 of the top candidates for Mayor of Bucharest.

Many of the issues raised by the network are long term and hard battles - transparency and participatory decision-making, infrastructure, transportation, green space preservation and many more and the network is just at the beginning. Nevertheless, civic energy in Bucharest has a name and an umbrella to run under after years of individualism and scepticism in tackling common matters.

Picture 2  - May 2015 Candidates forum organized by the Bucharest Civic Network with CeRe’s support

 

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