EU-RUSSIA CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM SUCCESSFULLY ESTABLISHED IN PRAGUE

On 28-29 March 2011, 57 representatives of the civil societies of Russia and 16 EU member states and a number of observers came together in the Czech Foreign Ministry for the Founding Meeting of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum.

The first plenary session was opened with a short presentation of the background of the CSF and the accomplishments of the preparatory group. The Organisational Committee presented the founding documents of the CSF: Charter, Mission Statement and the Membership Criteria. All participants of the Founding Meeting

were invited to participate in the discussion of the founding documents during the plenary session and also by sending an email or submitting proposals in a written form. Plenary sessions and discussions of the founding documents were transmitted via live streaming on the website of the CSF.

After the formal founding of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum via voting, all participants had the chance to discuss the future common engagement in four thematic Working Groups. There are plans, in particular, to prepare position papers about importance of including human rights and other concerns of civil society in the partnership and cooperation agreements between Russia and EU, about key forms of public participation in policy decisions and investment agreements as well as about climate protection and preservation of biodiversity in Europe.

On the second day of the conference adopted founding documents were presented to the participants (inter alia the description of the membership criteria became part of the Charter of the CSF). In a further discussion last modifications were made and subsequently the final versions of the founding documents were adopted via voting. In the closing session members of the first Steering Committee were elected.

ORGANISING COMMITTEE

ROSTISLAV VALVODA | People in Need, Prague
SABINA DVORAKOVA | DEMAS, Prague
YURI DZHIBLADZE | CDDHR, Moscow
FRASER CAMERON | EU-Russia Centre, Brussels
NATALIA KAMINARSKAYA | Donors’ Forum Russia, Moscow
STEFAN MELLE | German-Russian Exchange, Berlin
NATALIA TAUBINA | Public Verdict Foundation, Moscow