International Civil Society Week participation reportadmin
During the period April 8-12, 2019 in Belgrade, Serbia, took place the International Civil Society Week. The Platform for Active Citizenship and Human Rights Partnership (CAP) participated at the event as a part of the CSOs Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) delegation.
CPDE positions forwarded in the forum
- Implementation of public policies to recognise, promote and strengthen CSOs as one of the most important development actor;
- Promoting multi-stakeholder dialogue and partnerships at the national and international level to build trust, solidarity and social cohesion;
- Creation of a civil society enabling environment to ensure accountability to communities;
- Increase people’s participation to “leave no one behind” in realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
- Reduce unequal access to all levels of governance and to opportunities for sustainable development.
Emerging policy trends after the forum
- Face situations of continuing repression of open civic space and take urgent action to reverse the trend of deteriorating civil society conditions and attacks against human rights;
- Build stronger and different movements and kinds of organizations, and bond them together to defend the values of human rights and equitable access to resources and essential services to the population;
- Continue to advocate for an enabling environment for CSOs.
Key players in the negotiation/discussion
- International and regional organizations (UN system, G7, G20 etc.);
- Governments and other public authorities;
- Social (new)media;
- CSOs networks and coalitions;
- CSOs in general, especially representing youth, women, vulnerable groups, minorities, indigenous people and other marginalised sectors;
- Communities at the base;
- Social leaders, human rights defenders, change agents etc.
Outreach made with CSOs and other stakeholders
- To recognise the role of CSOs in country development;
- To defend all fundamental rights and freedoms, the values of social justice and solidarity that are now under attack;
- To promote the right to initiative of citizens to mobilize communities to make the governments more accountable;
- To stop anti-CSO rhetoric to target or attack CSOs, and the criminalisation of civil society leaders;
- To guarantee meaningful CSO participation regarding national development priorities, in decision-making and creation of public policies;
- Demand positive change and empower the governments by cultivating transparency and fight against corruption;
- Engaging with governments to exchange theoretical knowledge on public policy, work at multiple levels to ensure greater accountability, and address other governance challenges;
- To work together, share experiences and strategies to obtain a real and transformative progress.
Challenges and Lessons Learned
- An open and free civic space is essential for CSOs;
- It is better to use the content of the dream speech (about to do something really important, what to do, and how to feel after);
- The sustainability and resilience are both very important;
- The technology is not only connectivity, it is political, to control people;
- The need to frame the debate about the problems of the CSOs sector and on communication with public authorities;
- It is vital to form alliances, to make good use of social media aware of the dangers;
- It is very important to understand the situation and prepare for crises in advances, and to show solidarity;
- We need a strategy, a proper communication, more responsibility, good influence, conviction, passion, credibility, honesty and compassion etc.
CPDE’s next steps
- Plan-out a long term strong statement activity given the line-up of important international events;
- Defending the rights of vulnerable groups and advocating on behalf of those whose voices are overshadowed by more powerful actors;
- Conduct international campaigns.
We must accept the idea that among CSOs many of them were created not for public benefit but to promote political interests or group interests. There are also CSOs involved in politics and have been used in geopolitical conflicts. There must be a separation between these two categories of CSOs by accepting of Codes of ethics and values not through restrictive and repressive laws that include the terms such as “foreign agent” for CSOs. If this is not possible, the meaning of these criminalization terms should be broadened to include other categories than CSOs. For example, a “foreign agent” is also a public of private person who support multinational companies in promoting products that destroy health or the environment or cause other damage. But this requires a redefinition by the CSOs of the different sensitive terms. We must not allow to be created a distorted image of real CSOs.
CAP was represented at the event by Nicolae Procopie, CAP Volunteer / Project Coordionator, Association „Youth for the right to live” (TDV). Also, fom Republic of Moldova, at the event was present Sorina Macrinici, Program Director, Legal Resource Centre from Moldova.
Photo source: Civicus Facebook page