Strategic proposals on the activity of CSOs within Civil Society Forum in 2010

Humanitarian Techniques Agency, International Consortium EUROBELARUS

The document is based on proposals developed by Humanitarian Techniques Agency (Minsk) and International Consortium EUROBELARUS and adopted by Belarusan participants of CSF in Brussels via e-mail consultations.

Problem Zone

Civil Society Forum in Brussels on November 16-17, 2009 has become important which provides involving CSOs in the Eastern Partnership initiative. CSOs have succeeded to raise and solve at the Forum some key questions related to forming regular CSF bodies, CSF mission and role in EaP. As a result of the Forum the initiative group has been formed from SCO representatives that share idea of active involvement of Civil Society at political decision-making level. It could be foreseen that the next phase of holding and developing initiative and potential of CSF will require changes in focus of attention from procedure and self-organization issues to solving content objectives of thematic platforms.

Strategic aims of activity of SCO within the frames of EaP CSF:

  • Assistance to wide and full participation of EaP countries in All-European processes, in private in the EaP initiative.
  • Adoption of national context of EaP countries to European norms, mechanisms and institutions.
  • Putting Civil Society in the position of institutional partner in the dialogue with national governments and The European Commission.
  • Development of expert capacity of CSOs, which is recognized by all institutional partners as valuable for EaP processes.
  • Development of regional cooperation of EaP countries at all levels as complimentary component of sustainability of the process of europeisation.

Principles of activity within EaP SCF:

  • Openness, transparency, publicity and multilateral communication both between CSOs and in their dialogue with representatives of national governments, The European Commission, international organizations and expert communities related to EaP.
  • Involving into CSF work new players for providing full and efficient participation at all thematic platforms and other forms of activity within CSF.
  • Orientation at working out and implementation by CSO joint vision of role and place of CSF in over-all format of EaP.

Strategic proposals:

  1. Generally all strategic proposals could be structured in 6 groups according to the following required types of activities:
  2. Organizing and starting work of CSF structures.
  3. Preparation to the 2nd Civil Society Forum.
  4. Information policy.
  5. Organizing interaction with EaP thematic platforms.
  6. National process.
  7. Regional process.

The following ideas could be proposed to achieve strategic goals and plan and implement corresponding activities:

1. Organizing and starting work of CSF structures:

a. Organizing regular meetings of CSF Steering Committee.

b. Starting work of multilateral thematic working groups (participants — SCF participants; objective — promotion of content proposals of CSOs at national level, CSF level and EaP level).

c. Starting work of thematic expert groups on working out proposals and concepts for EaP thematic platforms (participants — experts; objectives:

- development of detailed thematic proposals and concepts (including mechanisms of implementation) for thematic platforms, CSF and EaP;

- holding (if necessary) specific researches and surveys).

d. Forming and starting work of Coordination working group (participants — experts, Steering Committee members, objectives:

- development of methodology for producing content proposals;

- monitoring and control of bilateral cooperation via participation in thematic platforms and activities at national level;

- development of methodology of monitoring and evaluation of projects of bilateral cooperation as well as format of proposals and corresponding criteria;

- coordination and “editing” work of expert thematic groups.

e. Fundraising for sustainable functioning of CSF working structures out of EC resources.

f. Development of the “EaP Road Map” at All-European and national level.

2. Preparation to the 2nd Civil Society Forum:

a. Re-designing system of selection\nomination of CSF participants. There is a need of more open and transparent process. If possible — this selection should be based on the work of national CSF “platforms”. To keep continuity between Forums it makes sense to establish rotation system for national delegations (1/3 part each Forum). At the same time during selection of the 2nd Forum participants some “insurance mechanism” is also necessary to guarantee prevention from manipulations and speculations from the side of national governments, EC or any other influent actors. Principal decision should be taken by all countries together with moderation from Steering Committee side.

b. Preparation and starting CSF “national platforms” in EaP countries.

c. Working out and publishing concrete information-analytical “product/products” (for example in the format of almanac etc.) as a result of joint work of the first CSF participants.

3. Information policy:

a. Development of EaP CSF website. Website should include both own CSF pages and websites with similar mission and content developed at national level (for example, Editing and coordination work with the website should be discussed by Steering Committee.

b. Establishing mass media products about Europe and EaP issues as complimentary additions to some newspapers or media.

c. Information round tables for Civil Society (both thematic and regional).

d. Implementation of enlightening programs about EaP for interested categories of organizations, first of all for CSOs.

e. Providing regular information about EaP CSF work to Civil Society, national governments and The European Commission (possibly in CSF bulletin format).

4. Organizing interaction with EaP thematic platforms:

a. Development and testing methodology and scheme of monitoring and control of discussion and implementation of intergovernmental projects within EaP.

b. Formulating and lobbying proposals on establishing “tender commissions” and organizing independent tenders on the thematic platforms projects and flagship initiatives with participation of CSO representatives.

5. National process:

a. Development of mechanism of wide consultations of all interested organizations and experts on EaP issues.

b. Establishing system of coordinators on thematic platforms work as well as cross-platform groups at national level.

c. Initiating dialogue arenas for communication between government representatives and CSOs on the issues of EaP.

d. Development and expanding public and open dialogue inside Civil Society.

e. Holding national Civil Society Forums to finalize the process of building EaP CSF infrastructure at national level.

6. Regional process:

a. Establishing regular working relations both between national CSF platforms and between country facilitators in all EaP and EU countries.

b. Starting mechanism of interaction of national experts and experts from other EaP and EU countries aimed at working out common ‘’products’ on behalf of / for EaP CSF.

c. Initiating regional projects with participation of actors from different EaP countries.

d. Participation of CSF participants from other EaP countries in some EaP activities at national level with the aim to widen context, solidarity and influence of these activities as a part of CSF agenda.