IN THE SPOTLIGHT
2012: A year when the Forum mapped the future, and laid a sustainable basis for further development
The Steering Committee of the Forum, continuing the transparency concerning its decision-making introduced in 2012, is publishing the decisions of the last two steering committee meetings (17-18 July 2012, and 30-31 October 2012), and a round-up of the decisions and developments in 2012.
During 2012, the Civil Society Forum has built on the foundations successfully laid since its launch in 2009, and set in place strong forward planning for 2013. After Poznan, the new Steering Committee had to work to confirm and secure funding for the 2012 Forum event in Stockholm. As we now prepare to meet in Stockholm, the 2013 Forum already has a host, for the fist time a Partner country – the government of the Republic of Moldova - ready to share the funding for the event with the European Commission, and in 2013 the Secretariat of the Steering Committee of the Forum will have funding from the European Commission – and, following an open call for the position, a Director for the Secretariat, Natalia Yerashevich, who will be introduced to the Forum in Stockholm, ready to support the new Steering Committee and the work of the Forum as a whole.
On 15 November 2012, the permanent participant status was renewed for a second year, an important signal that the Forum’s engagement is valued by the participating governments, and during 2012 the Steering Committee has led fundraising efforts bringing in ca EUR 1.3 million to the activities of the Forum, primarily for the work of the national platforms, but also for the launch of a Secretariat, and for working group participants’ projects. Relations have been strengthened with the European Parliament, specifically Euronest (Steering Committee representatives Krzysztof Bobiński and Gubad Ibadoglu addressed the Euronest Plenary meeting in Baku in April 2012), and the co-Chairs (Ihor Kohut, country facilitator, Ukraine, and Jeff Lovitt, EU co-ordinator) were invited to address a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the EU member states and the Partner countries in July 2012. The continuing support for civil society provided by the European Commission and Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle has been particularly welcome.
In addition, flagship initiatives have been launched in the areas of election monitoring, independent media, and anti-corruption. New initiatives from the Forum include as well as the European integration index an economic integration index, a visa liberalisation index, and an energy security index.
With funding in 2013 for the Secretariat, the incoming Steering Committee elected in Stockholm will be the first to have a dedicated full-time Secretariat supporting its work. Agreements have been struck with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Moldova to host the 2013 Forum annual event in a Partner country for the first time. The Forum, to be held in Chisinau in October 2013, will be followed in November 2013 by Forum participation in a side-event, agreed with the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to accompany the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius during Lithuania’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The challenge in 2013 will be for the Forum to build on this work to ensure that added value input from civil society, including analysis and monitoring, feeds into the Eastern Partnership roadmap interim assessment that is planned to be prepared for the May 2013 Euronest plenary meeting in Brussels, and the comprehensive assessment planned for the November 2013 Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.