IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Finnish Seminar on Civil Society Forum Deemed a Success
The first formal initiative by an EU Government focusing on the Civil Society Forum (CSF) was extended by the Finish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 8th October 2010.
Almost a year after the launch of the CSF, it was a half-day event showcasing the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Civil Society Forum.
The seminar, with over 30 Civil Society Organisations in attendance, had two main aims. Firstly, to gain a better understanding of the Eastern Partnership and it's CSF and secondly, be aware of sources for further information.
Ben Rattenbury, a member of the CSF Steering Committee gave a presentation entitled 'A Beginners Guide to the CSF' to the gathered Finnish audience. It outlined the successes of the CSF aswell as detailing the challenges and issues that they have encountered. Two of the key discussions at the seminar centred around unrealistic expectations and inability to influence at Ministerial level, which are two of the biggest challenges facing the CSF.
Finland has a lot to offer the EaP CSF, as it operates a working and successful model of open and progressive governance. The seminar presented an opportunity for the EaP CSF to discover how civil society organisations and government work together in Finland.
At the end of the meeting, the Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Eastern Europe section invited the CSOs present to provide ideas and suggestions for the Finnish recommendations for the annual EaP Ministerial meeting.
The meeting was deemed a success by both the Finnish MFA and the EaP CSF.
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