Statement on the situation of the National Platform of the EaP Civil Society Forum in Armenia** This statement of the EaF CSF Steering Committee is done without participation in the decision-making process of Armenian members of the SC to avoid conflict of interests.
4 November 2011
The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, meeting in Brussels on 17-18 October 2011, notes with concern the strong division that has developed between two groups involved in the activities of the EaP Civil Society Forum in Armenia.
The division is not a new development, but the Steering Committee had hoped that a solution could emerge locally. Considering the continuing impasse in attempts to reach a common agreement, and in order to help support the development of the civil society community in Armenia, the Steering Committee has decided the following:
- The Steering Committee recognises the full legitimacy of Mr. Avetik Ishkhanyan as the EaP CSF Country Facilitator elected by the Armenian participants of the Forum in Berlin in 2010 with a mandate that continues until the next EaP Civil Society Forum takes place inPoznan in November 2011;
- The Steering Committee has decided upon the suspension from now of all activities on behalf of the Armenian National Platform until the moment of its valid resumption.
- Resumption of the Armenian National Platform can be considered valid only if the resumption meeting is convened by actual Armenian EaP CSF Country Facilitator, and a quorum is met at that meeting (a quorum is met in the event that the meeting is attended by at least two-thirds of the organisations that participated in the EaP CSF assemblies in Brussels (2009) and Berlin (2010), and have been approved as participants in the forthcoming Civil Society Forum in Poznan (2011)). In the event that an organisation has been/is being represented in more than one of the three annual fora, that organisation is counted only once, and each organisation as set out above will be represented with only one vote at the meeting to re-establish the National Platform. Other organisations will not have voting rights at the meeting. (The names of the selected participating organisations at the three annual fora have already been made public by the Civil Society Forum Steering Committee.)
The resumption meeting should take place on a date approved by the Steering Committee, and with the attendance of at least two SC representatives, whose names will be determined by the Steering Committee. The SC representatives will attend the meeting to observe and guarantee the legitimacy of the meeting.
- The resumed National Platform in Armenia shall identify its own new rules of procedure and decision-making. The Steering Committee representatives at the meeting will endeavour to confirm its validity, democratic and inclusive character and by that provide confirmation of the resumption of the EaP CSF National Platform in Armenia.
- The Steering Committee commits itself to work on a set of shared criteria for CSOs participating in the EaP Civil Society Forum, and a set of guidelines for the work of the national platforms, not only in Armenia, but in all EaP countries.
Conference to discuss local and regional dimension of Eastern Partnership
Two of the four thematic platforms of the Eastern Partnership (EaP), democracy, good governance and stability, as well as contacts between people,will be the focus of a conference Local and regional dimension of the Eastern Partnership, due to be held on 9 November in Brussels. A press release said the conference, co-organized by the EU’s Polish Presidency and the Committee of the Regions, would launch discussion on the expectations from the initiatives that fall under these two thematic platforms.
The idea of holding a conference on the local and regional dimension of the Eastern Partnership under the Polish Presidency has a solid basis, the press release said, as many Polish regions have long-standing relations with the regions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The meeting will bring together representatives of the European Commission, members of the European Parliament, local and regional authorities from the partner countries, diplomats and researchers.
Belarusian National Platform of the EaP CSF elected Interim Coordination Committee
The Belarusian civil society representatives elected the Interim Coordination Committee. It includes 8 leaders of the Belarusian NGOs.
The Interim Coordination Committee of the Belarusian National Platform of the Eastern Partnerships Civil Society Forum was elected at a Conference “Civil society of Belarus: on the eve of the third annual meeting of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum” held in Minsk on October 29. Uladzimir Matskevich, chief of the Council of the International Consortium EUROBELARUS, was elected as the head of the Interim Coordination Committee.
The Committee also includes Ulad Vialicka, co-chair of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and chairperson of the International Consortium EUROBELARUS, Yaroslav Bekish, manager of the Environmental Partnership Green Network, Andrei Yahorau, director of the Centre for European Transformation, Sergey Drozdovsky, coordinator of the Office for Disabled Peoples’ Rights, Siarhei Mackevich, chairperson of the Board Assembly of NGOs, and Vladimir Karyagin, chairperson Union of Republican confederation of entrepreneurship, Human rights activist Ales Bialacki, who is detained in a remand prison now, was elected an honorary member of the Committee.
Uladzimir Matskievich, head of the Interim Coordination Committee suggested that the operations of the new structure should be concentrated around two work streams. The first stream is advocacy and lobbying of the National Platform’s positions, also at the state level. The second one is self-organisation and development of the Belarusian National Platform of the EaP CSF.
Also, the conference adopted a resolution, in which the Belarusian National Platform members stressed that the EU Eastern Partnership initiative could potentially become an important tool for conducting key reforms in the spheres of state administration, economy, environment, culture, and contacts between people in the direction of a further drawing nearer to the modern European standards and rules.
The conference members, likewise, expressed their hope for a further growth of the EaP CSF role and significance within the EU Eastern Partnership initiative.
‘It is with regret that we have to acknowledge the Belarusian state’s unreadiness to deepen its interactions within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, and, in particular, its unwillingness to stand up to the high EU standards in the area of democratic development and human rights guarantees. Although the Belarusian authorities are ignoring their participation in a variety of the Eastern Partnership’s dimensions and structural components (e.g., the discussion of the issues related to the judicial reform within the Council of Europe’s Eastern Partnership Facility et al), we declare the necessity of an obligatory inclusion of Belarus in these processes, as well as the readiness on behalf of the civil society to take part in them as experts and observers,’ states the resolution.
The conference members reiterated their appeal to the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus to revise their policies towards the Eastern Partnership, and to expand and intensify the country’s involvement in all the dimensions declared within its framework.
Source of information – Information service of intenational consortium “EuroBelarus”