IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) is a unique multi-layered regional civil society platform aimed at promoting European integration, facilitating reforms and democratic transformations in the six Eastern Partnership countries - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.
Launched in 2009 at the Prague Summit of the Eastern Partnership, the EaP CSF serves as a civil society and people-to-people dimension of this initiative aiming to bring European integration closer to citizens of the Eastern Neighbourhood.
The mission of the EaP CSF is to strengthen civil society in the region and to foster cooperation and the exchange of experiences between organisations of the Eastern Partnership countries as well as the EU. The EaP CSF strives to boost pluralism in public discourse and policy making by holding governments accountable and by promoting fundamental freedoms, participatory democracy and human rights.
More than 700 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs) have taken part in the work of the EaP CSF since its first Assembly, which took place in Brussels, Belgium on 16-17 November 2009.
The Annual Forum is the highest decision-making body of the organisation at which all 19 members of the Steering Committee are elected for a one-year term. The Forum brings together about 200 representatives of civil society organisations from the EaP region and the EU. It is a leading civil society event and provides networking as well as experience-sharing opportunities. The meeting serves as a platform for debate on the achievements of the EaP and how civil society can further contribute to the success of the programme. The Annual Forum approves the by-laws and statutes of the Forum. Between annual Forum events, the delegates of the previous Forum act as the highest decision-making body and can make decisions by majority vote through email voting.
The subsequent General Assemblies took place in Berlin, Germany on 18-19 November 2010, Poznan, Poland on 28-30 November 2011, Stockholm, Sweden on 29-30 November 2012, Chisinau, Moldova on 4-5 October 2013, Georgia, Batumi on 20-21 November 2014, and Ukraine, Kyiv on 19-21 November. The eight Annual Assembly is to take place in Belgium, Brussels on 28-30 November.
One of the mandates of the EaP CSF is to influence EU institutions and national governments by presenting recommendations and statements of the EaP CSF during intergovernmental decision-making processes. Advocacy and influencing policy making is a priority for the Steering Committee (SC), which is selected at each Assembly and consists of six national coordinators, ten working group coordinators and four EU coordinators.
EaP CSF carries out its work through a participatory governance structure which includes: