Civil society representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union will meet on May 20, 2014 in Berlin at a “round table” to advice on possible contribution by independent non-governmental organisations to conflict resolution in Ukraine and improvement of relations between respective countries. Besides, the foundation of a trilateral “Civil Society Contact Group” will be discussed. The meeting will be the first direct cooperation between the EU-Russia and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Civil Society Forums. It will be supported by Dr Gernot Erler, German Government Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Countries of the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia.
The event, which will be held at the Representation of the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Berlin, will unite around 25 representatives from non-governmental organisations and foundations from Ukraine, Russia, and the EU. Along with the Russian human rights activist Andrey Yurov, who has been acting in Ukraine in the name of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Oleksandra Matviychuk, Chairwoman of the Board at the Centre of Civil Liberties (Kyiv), Viktor Voronkov, Director at the Centre of Independent Sociological Research (St. Petersburg), Rostislav Valvoda, Coordinator of Programs in Eastern Europe at “People in Need” (Prague) as well as NGO representatives from Moscow, Luhansk, Berlin, and Warsaw will attend the meeting.
After occurred changes in societies and contrary perceptions since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, the challenges and potential of civil society actors to work together at the de-escalation and conflict resolution in the circle of related parties – Ukraine, Russia, and the EU – are highlighted. As first working fields, the construction of a common information and monitoring network as well as development of a platform for sensible information and de-escalated communication should be discussed.
The round table participants are open for interviews. The media briefing will take place at the end of the event at 6 p.m.
To download the Programme of the round table please go here.
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum was established in 2009 and aims to support Eastern European countries’ sustainable reform process with a view to accelerating their political association and economic integration with the European Union, strengthening civil society in the Eastern Partnership countries and fostering cooperation and the exchange of experiences between civil society organisations from partner countries and the EU. The Forum focuses on promoting fundamental freedoms, participatory democracy and human rights and strives to boost pluralism by strengthening the diversity and plurality of public discourse and policymaking by holding governments and public authorities accountable to the commitments made in the joint declaration of the Prague Eastern Partnership summit, signed by the EU and the governments of the six Partner countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.
The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum was established in 2011 as a permanent common platform of non-governmental organisations. It aims at cooperation and coordination of at the moment around 125 member organisations from Russia and the European Union as well as greater participation of NGOs in the EU-Russia dialogue. It has been actively involved inter alia in the questions of visa regulation, development of social and human rights standards, dealing with history, and civic participation.