Cooperation Between Civil Society and Governments in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia: Challenges and the Way Forward

Having a dynamic civil society is an integral part of every functioning democracy which promotes active citizenship and serves as a check for the government’s work. By communicating their needs and ideas, vibrant civil society can ultimately play a fundamental role in guiding country’s development. Unfortunately, in many EaP countries this vital platform and critical channel of cooperation is often not functioning as well as it could. Moreover it tends to be understudied or underestimated. To give an example, the Council for National Participation was recently established in Moldova as a platform for cooperation to facilitate involvement for all interested stakeholders in designing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and updating of strategic planning documents. Currently, however, the platform does not work and every effort to reanimate it has failed. Such outcome naturally has a negative impact on the development path of Moldova as a liberal democracy and tarnishes public confidence in democratic institutions. In Ukraine, on the other hand, and particularly in Eastern Ukraine, the capacity of civil society to influence local government’s decision makers is highly limited due to a lack of know-how. This has for decades led to slow economic and social progress of the region and sowed seeds for abuses of power.

In order to improve this state of affairs and share invaluable experience, the overall goal of this project is to bring together leading experts from three EaP countries (Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia) to identify current challenges facing these countries with respect to civil society-government communication and cooperation. Secondly, the project seeks to strengthen existing and contribute to building new capacities for the civil society sector in respective regions by providing easily accessible and online education tools. Content will be based on a series of expert discussions as well as experience of EU partners.

On June 07, 2017, Prague Security Studies Institute organized a series of workshops and roundtables in Kharkiv, Ukraine. The goal of the event was to strengthen the capacity of civil society in Eastern Ukraine and EaP countries and to identify main challenges regarding the participation of civil society in the public policy decision-making in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Around 40 participants (activists, local government officials and journalists) have participated at the event.

Among the lecturers and participants were:

  • Anna Bulakh, Expert on Resilience, International Center for Defence and Security, Estonia;
  • Veronika Divisova, Expert on New Technologies as tool of Advocation, Sourcefabric, Czech Republic;
  • Andrius Romanovskis, Expert on Lobbying and Partner in META Advisory, Lithuania;
  • Natasha Kurdiukova, Co-founder of Nakipelo and Kharkiv Crises Infocenter, Ukraine;
  • Danu Marin, Fellow at Foreign Policy Association, Moldova;
  • Ketevan Emukhvari, Fellow at the Goergian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, Georgia.

As part of the project, PSSI will publish a report on the most pressing challenges and possible solution vis-à-vis cooperation between the government and civil society as well as a series of e-learning videos with distinguished experts on related topics.

The project is conducted in cooperation with partners: International Center for Defence and Security (Estonia), Kharkiv Crises Infocenter (Ukraine), Foreign Policy Association (Moldova), The Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (Georgia) and is supported by the by the EaP CSF Re-granting Scheme.