The South East Europe Programme designed a Thematic Capitalisation Strategy to streamline the process of creating synergies between projects and capitalising on results of previous initiatives, responding in this way to a demand from our beneficiaries. The SEE capitalisation strategy put projects at the heart of the process, considering the wealth of knowledge generated by the 122 SEE transnational partnerships. This knowledge and the trasnational cooperation put in practice in the framework of the SEE Programme has contributed, among other aspects, to meet socio-economic challenges in the Southeast Europe (read the Analysis of this contribution here).
The SEE Thematic Capitalisation Strategy aimed to strengthen the links between projects working on similar topics (Thematic Poles), to enable projects to exploit and consolidate one another's achievements, and create a higher leverage effect. This has enhanced the visibility and impact of both projects and Programme. A reinforced and more structured approach to valorise the SEE knowledge base has allowed, moreover, to derive invaluable inputs and recommendations in view of the upcoming programming period.

A full evaluation of SEE Capitalisation was carried out at the end of 2014. The outcomes are an evaluation report and a pictochart, which are available here.

What were the objectives?

- To valorise and further build upon the knowledge resulting from projects working in a thematic field:

- To fill knowledge-gaps by linking actors with complementary thematic specialization, experiences, methodological approaches or geographical scope;

- To increase the visibility of the projects and the Programme and to ensure their impact on the policy making process at local, regional, national and European levels;

- To strengthen strategic thematic networks in the Programme area;

- To encourage the wider take-up of project outcomes from outside the SEE Programme area;

- To contribute to the design and/or implementation of future transnational cooperation in the area;

Which were the target groups?

- SEE projects working on similar or complementary topics;

- Beneficiaries of SEE project outputs;

- SEE stakeholders;

- SEE Programme bodies;

- Projects and stakeholders outside the Programme area, relevant to the identified thematic poles;

- Programming bodies and stakeholders of new transnational cooperation programmes in the area (Danube and South East Gateway)

What are the outcomes?

SEE Capitalisation empowered involved projects to improve the quality and sustainability of deliverables, strengthen their communication to common stakeholders, and enabled the reinforcement of existing or forming of new cooperation networks and projects. In addition, SEE Capitalisation increased the knowledge of programming bodies about cooperation-gaps, territorial needs and/or potentials in the Programme area.
A leaflet summarising the main outcomes of the SEE Capitalisation Strategy can be downloaded here.

How was it implemented?

SEE projects were at the core of the Thematic Poles, they owned the process of capitalisation and synergy-building. SEE JTS supported this process in terms of communication and coordination, collecting the outcomes of each thematic pole and making sure it reached Programme bodies and stakeholders, other ETC programmes, as well as the programming bodies of the new transnational programmes in this area.

To facilitate thematic exchange among projects, 14 thematic poles were defined by the critical mass of projects addressing each topic. You can find below a factsheet per Thematic Pole containing its main characteristics, the projects involved and their outputs and results.

Each thematic pole nominated a pole leader, responsible for coordinating the pole's activities and facilitating the flow of information within the pole, as well as to the SEE JTS. Projects in each thematic pole participated in the capitalisation process according to their available resources.

At Programme level, the main milestones of the SEE capitalisation initiative were:

- SEE Programme 2013 annual conference on 19 June in Bucharest (Romania). This event explicitly focused on capitalisation and synergy-building.

- 2 thematic seminars (SEE Programme Priority 3 and 4) on 17-18 September 2013 in Split (Croatia) which additionally offered a platform for further deepening the activities of related thematic poles. See the seminars' presentations and outcomes. The conclusions gained during all the four thematic seminars organised by the SEE Programme are available here and they were submitted to the new programmes tasks forces to be taken into account for the future.
- Library of the outputs produced by the SEE projects.
- Analysis of the contribution of transnational cooperation in the framework of SEE Programme to meeting socio-economic challenges in southeast Europe

- SEE Programme 2014 annual conference where the outcomes of the Capitalisation initiative were promoted.

At project level, some of the activities planned within the Thematic Poles were:
- Newsletter and/or website cross-references

- Joint thematic meetings to exchange on projects' content and outputs

- Joint thematic studies and policy recommendations

- Peer review or benchmarking of project outputs

- Exchange visits between projects, if this enables cross-fertilisation and/or take-up of results

- Joint dissemination activities such as joint (final) conferences addressing common stakeholders.