Issue 236

csf-logoApplications Now Open for the 8th EaP CSF Annual Assembly

Source: EaP CSF website

The Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) invites all interested parties to submit expressions of interest to participate in the 8th Annual Assembly of the Forum that will take place on 28-30 November 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. The submission of expressions of interest is a necessary step in the selection process to participate in the EaP CSF Annual Assembly.

DSC_0624 webThe Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum is the key event conducted on an annual basis since 2009. It is the highest decision making body of the EaP CSF and serves as a platform for debate on the achievements of the Forum and the EaP in general, and on civil society contribution to the reform process in the region. Every year the event brings together over 200 civil society representatives from the EaP region and the EU, as well as other stakeholders.

WHO CAN APPLY?

The Civil Society Forum is open to a wide range of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs): NGOs, think-tanks, non-profit foundations, trade unions, employers’ organisations, professional associations, chambers of commerce, business associations, national and international CSOs/networks and other relevant civil society actors from EaP region, but also from EU Member States and international organisations.

Only one person per organisation can apply. The travel expenses of the representatives of organisations selected to attend the Annual Assembly as participants will be covered. The organisations that can fund their own participation or willing to attend the Annual Assembly in the capacity of an observer (without voting rights) also need to submit their application.

Civil society organisations dealing with women’s issues/rights are encouraged to apply. The organisations are encouraged to delegate women as their representatives to the Annual Assembly of the Forum.

Participants will be selected on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Eligibility – applicants must be non-governmental, non-partisan (not affiliated institutionally to a political party) organisations that respect democratic values. They should also be bona fide, independent organisations in their own right.
  • Diversity of spheres of activity – to ensure the involvement of all the major components of civil society and adequate representation for each of the thematic working groups[1] and subgroups[2].
  • Involvement in the EaP – applicants should be involved in activities relevant to Eastern Partnership priorities.
  • Involvement in the EaP CSF – we invite applicants who were actively involved in the activities of previous Civil Society Fora, its national platforms and working groups, as well as those who are ready to be actively contributing to the work of the CSF in 2016/2017.
  • Rotation – whereby eligible, independent CSOs that have not participated in previous Annual Assemblies are given priority over those that have already participated.

The CSF Steering Committee in consultation with the European External Action Service/European Commission will carry out the selection of the participants for the 8th Annual Assembly of the EaP CSF. The selection procedure will be twofold. To learn more about the selection procedure, please follow the link.

The organisations taking part in the Annual Assembly of the Forum in the status of a participant will be part of the national delegation of the respective EaP country (limited to 20 slots per country) or a group of CSOs from EU Member States (limited to 40 slots). The travel expenses of only those who are elected to take part in the Forum in the status of participant will be funded. Only participants can vote during the Annual Assemblies to select the Steering Committee of the Forum and on any other matter raised at the annual meeting. Only participants can get elected to the Steering Committee.

Observers fund their own expenses to take part in the Annual Assembly of the Forum and as their status prompts do not participate in any decision-making processes.

Both participants and observers can take part in activities of Working Groups of the Forum, however observers’ participation in the annual Working Group meeting cannot be funded. Both participants and observers will be added to the list of Forum members and will be receiving regular communications from the EaP CSF.

At the end of the selection process all applicants will be informed if they were selected to take part in the Annual Assembly and if so in what status.

Participation rights are not transferrable from a selected participant organisation to an affiliated organisation or its representative office in an EaP country, and vice versa. Each organization is eligible to apply as an EU or EaP participant/observer, depending on its geographical location.

The deadline for the applications is 12:00 (midnight) (CET), 20 April 2016.

No late applications will be considered and no exceptions on late applications will be made. The results of the selection will be available on the EaP CSF website in June 2016 and all the applicants will receive the information on selection or non-selection to the provided email addresses.

To apply for the 8th Annual Assembly, please complete the application form in English or Russian.

If you wish to work on a copy of this form offline, a Word document is available for you in English and Russian. Please note that all answers must still be submitted via the online form.

If you have any questions concerning the call for applications, please send them to support@eap-csf.eu 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

The European Union (EU) is the main donor of the event and will fund the travel and hotel accommodation during the Annual Assembly for the selected CSOs only.

[1]Working Groups: WG1 Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance & Stability, WG2 Economic Integration and Convergence with EU legislation WG3 Environment, Climate Change & Energy Security, WG4 Contacts between People, WG5 Social & Labour Policies and Social Dialogue
[2] WG1 subgroups: 1. Local Government and Public Administration Reform 2. Judiciary Reform and Fight against Corruption 3. Visa Facilitation and Liberalization 4. Media Freedom 5. Human Rights 6. Election Monitoring 7. Gender Equality 8. Security 9. Regional Cooperation and Confidence Building
WG2 subgroups: 1. Agriculture. 2. Harmonization of Digital Markets 3. Regional Policy, Territorial and Cross border Cooperation; 4. Small and Medium Enterprises 5.Trade and Trade Related Regulatory Cooperation;
WG3 subgroups: 1. Environment 2. Climate change 3. Energy security
WG4 subgroups: 1. Youth 2. Culture 3. Education 4. Contacts between seniors 5. Conflict Resolution;
WG5 subgroups: 1. Social dialogue 2. Social policy

41EaP CSF Belarusian National Platform Reacts to the Lifting of EU Sanctions against Belarus

19 February 2016

Lukashenko_Sanctions_BY_Vasily Fedosenko - ReutersThe Belarusian National Platform (BNP) of the EaP CSF reacts to the Council Conclusions on Belarus.

The cancellation of the European Union’s (EU) restrictive measures against Belarusian officials responsible for politically motivated reprisals and the use of violence against citizens who peacefully voiced their political views during the 2010 presidential election campaign sends a contradictory message to Belarusian society as Belarus has seen no real democratic change in the last five years. 

The BNP welcomes the return of the EU and the Republic of Belarus to the Human Rights Dialogue. At the same time, pressure in relation to a number of social groups and the inconsistency of the presidential election in 2015 with international standards indicates the unwillingness of the Belarusian authorities to take consistent steps to establish mutually beneficial relations with the EU.

Improvement of relations between Belarus and the EU and the return of Belarusian society to a process of development is only possible in case of equal inclusion of independent civil society organizations in Belarus into the discussion of social and political issues.

The National Platform of EaP CSF is ready to make a constructive contribution to improving EU-Belarus relations and play a monitoring role in the inclusive and equitable socio-political dialogue.

The BNP considers the forthcoming election campaigns in 2016 an opportunity for the Belarusian authorities to demonstrate readiness for positive change and take into account international standards.

The National Platform emphasizes the importance of international human rights monitoring mechanisms in Belarus (the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation with human rights in Belarus etc.) and considers them as a necessary element of an independent assessment of the situation.

Belarusian National Platform Statement (English)

Belarusian National Platform Statement (Russian)

csf-logoThe Steering Committee Calls for Talks between the Belarusian Government and the EaP CSF National Platform

23 February 2016

The EaP CSF Steering Committee calls on the Belarusian authorities to initiate talks with representatives of the Belarusian National Platform (BNP) on the establishment of a Belarusian Council of National Dialogue which would bring the authorities  together with independent actors of Belarusian society, such as professional and business communities, religious organisations, the national cultural elite and a wide range of independent civil society organisations to discuss ways of accelerating the country’s development.

Such a Council would allow the authorities to develop a plan of reforms ahead of parliamentary elections in the autumn of 2016 working together with independent actors on the basis of consensus and in a spirit of compromise. It would also provide a tangible proof of the political will of both sides to bring about meaningful change and to improve relations between the Republic of Belarus and the EU.

The establishment of such a Council should also be accompanied by the Abolition of Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code which establishes criminal responsibility for activity on behalf of unregistered organisations, the abolition of restrictions on peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression and the simplification of registration of non profit organisations, as well as registration of foreign donations to such organisations.

Among the first tasks of the Council, it is vital to support the initiative and proactive role of civil society organisations in the examination of issues such as the accession of Belarus to the Higher Education Area, the signing by the authorities of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European Charter of Local Self-Government and other subjects raised in the BNP position on opportunites of EU-Belarus cooperation adopted on 29 November 2015.

Steering Committee Statement

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