The Forum Advocacy Task Force aims impact policies and decisions of public officials in the EU institutions, EU member states and Russia in order to promote principles enshrined in the Forum mission statement and strategy and address concrete problems and issues, which the Forum members are concerned with.
The first ideas for a continuous advocacy group emerged in 2015. In 2017, the Advocacy Group was officially formed, and a move from ad-hoc to duly planned activities happened. The “Organisational Principles and Strategy” and a work plan were adopted in 2018. These documents introduced a rotation mechanism and enabled an appointment of permanent and external experts for specific causes.
Priorities of the Forum advocacy work are:
Expanding and protecting space for civil society work
Facilitating and expanding exchange of people, information and opinions between Russia and the EU
Supporting efforts to strengthen European values in the EU member states and Russia (rule of law, democratic institutions, fundamental rights and freedoms, independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, independent and free media, etc.)
Addressing public interest issues relevant to both EU and Russia, as well as involving Forum member organisations
Strengthening common European legal frameworks and pan-European institutions
In the second half of 2018 – 2019, the Council of Europe advocacy was made a top priority of the Task Force. This decision was also endorsed by the Forum Board.
The activities of the Advocacy Group until the end of 2020 include:
Civil society conference on the reform of the Council of Europe
Revival of the EU-Russia dialogue on the visa facilitation and liberalisation
Promotion of common values and principles in EU member states and Russia
Advocacy using the annual Forum State of Civil Society Report in the EU and Russia and Partnership Projects of Forum member organisations
Reinforcing Working and Expert Groups’ activities within the Forum advocacy priorities
The Advocacy Task Force is currently represented by:
Olga Gulina, RUSMPI UG – Institute on Migration Policy (Berlin)
Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee (The Hague)
Veronika Lapina, Sphere Foundation (St. Petersburg)
Ralph du Long, Dialogue in Progress (Assen) – Task Force Coordinator
Nikola Mokrović, Dokumenta (Zagreb)
Olga Sadovskaya, Committee against Torture (Nizhny Novgorod)
Anastasia Sergeeva, For Free Russia Association (Warsaw)
To contact the Advocacy Task Force, please write to Sergei Tereshenkov, Group’s Coordinator at the Forum Secretariat, at firstname.lastname@example.org.