NP agenda:poor CSF development dynamics and call for the greater role in defining politics
05.11.2013 |Politics| Mikalai Khadasevich, EuroBelarus Information Service,
photo by EuroBelarus Information Service
On November 4 National Platform suggested to introduce the regulation providing for bigger role of the Civil Society Forum in making political decisions in the draft EaP SCF Strategy for 2014-2016.
On November 4, 2013, in Minsk civil society leaders met at the Conference of the National Platform of the EaP CSF to discuss the “Future of the Civil Society Forum in the focus of the III EaP Summit” on the eve of the EaP Summit in Vilnius in November, 2013.
However, the discussion of the future started with the analysis of the results of the 5th annual Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum that took place in Chisinau earlier. After outlining the positive and negative sides of the Chisinau Forum, Jaraslau Bekish, the former National Coordinator of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, suggested reinstating the EaP CSF in its strategic and political role within the Eastern Partnership to be the major task for 2014.
Andrei Yahorau, Belarusan National Coordinator of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, emphasized that the general dynamics of the Civil Society Forum is decreasing, which is, to a great extent, a human factor. “The decrease in dynamics at the level of the EaP CSF is a result of the respective processes at the level of the national platforms”, - believes the expert.
“The tendency of changes in the mission is alarming, as the role of the experts at the Forum increases, and the role of the civil society in political decision-making processes is decreasing”, - noted Andrei Yahorau, when analyzing the draft EaP SCF Strategy.
There are differences between the draft Strategy and the general provisions of the Concept of the EaP SCF, adopted in Poznan on November 2011. National Platform asks for explanations from the Steering Committee of the EaP SCF.
The general and abstract character in defining tasks and goals, “weird droppings in CSF” were mentioned among the flaws of the submitted Strategy.
The Strategy states “decrease in interest and support of countries-members of the EU towards the Eastern Partnership”; however, the representatives of the National Platform haven’t understood this point, taking into account that the funding of the SCF is 18 times bigger, ad Europe is going to create a European Platform of the SCF.
SCF is characterized as an “organization”, although it is a platform, or parliament for civil society organizations. National Platform assumes that the Forum should work on a regular basis, not an annual event.
- I have personal attitudes towards the new document. I participated in the development of the Concept; and it came as a surprise that the Steering Committee decided to start the discussion of the EaP SCF Strategy for 2014-2016 now, - noted Ulad Vialichka, the chairperson of the Coordination Committee of the National Platform of the EaP CSF. – I cannot understand why the new document is called a Strategy, though the previous one was called a Concept. We are very responsible towards the word “strategy”; that is why personally I oppose towards calling this document a “Strategy”. It seems that the new document merely repeats the previous one, which means that for its discussions there are reasons other than its actuality.
Ulad Vialichka suggested making the Forum of the civil society a biennial event: “Management structures could be elected for 2 years, not for a year, which would provide us with a possibility to organize the Forums in a different way, i.e. concentrate on content, not on the procedures”, -the expert explained.
At the Conference the website of the National Platform was presented.