PASOS supports the development and strengthens the outreach and impact of its 56 members. PASOS builds upon the work undertaken by the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI) of the Open Society Institute (OSI)
since 1999 to upgrade the institutional capacities of the OSI-related policy centres which operated until 2004 within a collaborative and supportive network known as the Related Centres Network (RCN).
In December 2003 members of the RCN decided to formally establish the PASOS association as a means to increase their collaborative effectiveness at regional information sharing, joint project formulation and implementation and internal capacity building. The founding meeting of PASOS took place on June 18, 2004 in Chisinau, Moldova. PASOS was registered under Czech law on September 16, 2004 as a Citizens Association. The headquarters is based in Prague, where the PASOS Executive Director, Jeff Lovitt, set up an office in March 2005.
PASOS members provide policy advice to the region’s decision-makers and international organisations on issues as diverse as human rights, economic development, legal reform, management of governmental reforms, social policy, education, health, religion, international co-operation, small enterprise development, public participation and public sector management.
The international donor community has recognised this expertise and the network has provided input to projects sponsored by the EU, UNDP, DFID, OSI and a host of international foundations and national governments.
The first General Assembly of PASOS was held in Prague on 16-19 December 2004.
Today, PASOS as an initiative to strengthen independent think-tanks to ensure the lessons of transition are understood, shared, and applied, set out its values, short-term and medium-term objectives, and strategic approach.
In Strategic Directions
, 2010-2014, drafted by the PASOS Board in conjunction with the PASOS Secretariat, the PASOS mission to promote and protect democracy, human rights and open society values is reaffirmed. The text, duly amended and approved by the PASOS members on 8 April 2010, outlines four key priority areas for the association’s projects and activities, namely:
Democracy and Human Rights
Development of effective strategies to promote and improve good governance, human rights (including minority rights), democracy and the rule of law
Human security, including internal and external migration, the impact of migration, and related challenges at national and international levels
Coping with the challenges of transition, ethno-cultural diversity, and conflicts
Visa liberalisation and facilitating free movement of people.
Good Governance and Open Economy
Transition to an open, free-market economy based on the rule of law
Governance and anti-corruption strategies
Ethics in government and political parties, accountable and participatory policy-making, and freedom of information.
Sustainable development, poverty reduction, and social welfare
Effective economic policy and political stability in the face of the economic crisis
Climate change and energy security.
International and regional co-operation and diplomacy in the areas of economic development, democracy assistance, effective governance, security, and conflict resolution
Reform of international and regional governance and co-operation mechanisms
Euro-Atlantic integration and EU external relations, in particular EU relations with the eastern neighbourhood, Russia and Central Asia, and the European integration of South-East Europe and Turkey
The perspective of new EU member-states in EU policymaking.
The following objectives are set out for the period 2010-2011:
Introducing and Implementing Policy Research and Advocacy Standards
Developing the PASOS Brand
Furthering Institutional Development and Sustainability
Assessing and Addressing the Needs of PASOS Members
Increasing Professional Advocacy Capacity
Publishing Policy Research and Expert Analysis
Engaging in International Projects with Targeted Policy Impact
Two interlinked streams will run through the main activities of PASOS co-ordinated by the Secretariat, namely Services to Members, and Advocacy and Publishing, including forming a concerted “voice” of independent think-tanks on policy challenges and developments crucial to the PASOS region.
PASOS aims to promote and protect democracy, human rights and open society values – including the rule of law, good governance, and economic and social development – by supporting civil society organisations that individually and jointly foster public participation in public policy issues at the European Union level, in other European and global structures, and in the wider neighbourhood of Europe and Central Asia.