COBERM is a joint EU-UNDP initiative that promotes involvement of local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in a wide range of areas and activities, including support to immediate and concrete initiatives, seeking to have a demonstrable impact on building confidence among communities affected by conflict. COBERM is an apolitical, impartial and flexible mechanism, which is currently in its third phase (2016-2018). Since creation of COBERM in May 2010, over 185 sub-projects have been implemented successfully.
The main aims of COBERM are the following:
1) Support innovative people-to-people confidence-building opportunities;
2) Help create an environment conducive to fostering peace, stability and human security.
Since its commencement, COBERM gave a tangible impetus to local peace building initiatives. By using the umbrella of confidence building, it was able to deliver on social, economic and humanitarian needs identified locally that provided direct benefits in improving the lives of the communities affected by conflict. Flexibility of thematic approaches used by the COBERM III grantees, as well as emphasis of the programme on innovative actions ensured the achievement of this result.
The sub-projects funded by COBERM addressed all key sectors relevant for confidence building, namely:
· Youth education;
· People’s diplomacy, dialogue and policy research;
· Improved livelihoods and increased resilience of vulnerable communities;
· Cultural cooperation;
· Ethnic minorities;
· Environmental challenges;
· Human rights;
· Women’s empowerment;
· Domestic and Gender-based Violence;
· Humanitarian assistance and health care;
· Community Mobilization / Capacity Building;
The development challenge that COBERM III is currently addressing is enhancing human security for people living in conflict affected communities, with special inclusive focus on vulnerable groups, ethnic minorities, women and youth. COBERM aims to tackle the conflict triggers that appear at local level due to various social, economic, cultural and political challenges that affect people and communities.
To address these development challenges, COBERM has made a significant investment in capacity development of a wide range of CSOs, to allow for wider engagement at the grassroots level and adopted an enhanced strategic approach to its programming. An additional benefit of bringing CSOs together via trainings was increased networking, cooperation, and exchange of best practices, as well as information sharing and better coordination.
COBERM III’s enhanced strategic approach is reflected in 4 main directions of programming:
• Scaling up initiatives that consistently demonstrated high confidence building (evidence based, relevant);
• Identification of new pragmatic areas that require cooperation among conflict affected communities (new approaches, innovation);
• Supporting capacities of CSOs to enhance the confidence building impact and sustainability of their initiatives (quality, inclusiveness);
• Boosting models of grassroots cooperation in the area of conflict prevention and transformation (public awareness, networking, etc).