Tangible Results for People:
Envisioning the Eastern Partnership in 2020 and Beyond
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Conference 2017
9th Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Venue: Radisson Blue Olumpia, 
Liivalaia 33, 10118 Tallinn, Estonia

(as of 5 October 2017)

Arrival day

24 October, Tuesday

11:00-18:00 Arrivals and registration of participants
17:00-18:00 Info session for new participants
18:00-20:00 Welcome reception. Presentation of the Civil Society initiative’s “Let’s Do It”. Networking fair.
  • Opening remarks: Tiina Ilsen, Deputy Director, Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership (ECEAP) and Natalia Yerashevich, Director, EaP CSF Secretariat
  • Presentation by Teeme ära! [Let’s Do It!], a global network of local clean-up and leadership initiatives founded in Estonia and selected EaP CSF initiatives of 2017 followed by the networking fair showcasing civil society organisations’ projects
Day 1

25 October, Wednesday

 Day 1 will provide a framework for the whole event by focusing on how to capitalise on what civil society can offer in advancing the reform agenda and promoting good governance in the Eastern Partnership countries. It will start with a broader debate on the state of play in government-civil society cooperation and continue with a more focused discussion on cooperation in such key areas as trade policy, media and disinformation, and digital tools. Participants will offer ideas on how to advance the partnership between the governments and civil society, refining those ideas with concrete examples from the EaP and EU countries. Policy debates and formal “Experience Exchanges” within Working Groups will enable participants to work on specific means of clarifying and implementing the 20 Deliverables for 2020. They will also address recommendations to the Brussels Eastern Partnership Summit, stemming from the Civil Society Declaration, which will be officially adopted on Day 2.

08:00-9:00 Registration
09:00-9:10 Introduction by organisers
  • Jaan Reinhold, ‎Ambassador-at-Large for the Eastern Partnership and Director, Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership
  • Hennadiy Maksak, Ukrainian Prism, Co-Chair, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Ukraine
09:10-09.40 Opening speeches

Kersti Kaljulaid, President of Estonia

Federica Mogherini (video address), High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Ales Bialiatski, Head of Viasna Human Rights Centre, Belarus; Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (2007-2016)

09:40-11:00 Plenary Session Government-Civil Society Relations in the EaP: Progressing towards Partnership?

The panel will explore the status quo of government-civil society relations in the Eastern Partnership countries. It will focus on how the multiple roles of civil society can be better supported by both partner country governments and the EU alike. It will also explore how the reforms to the EaP architecture and the concrete goals set forth in the 20 Deliverables for 2020 can be used more effectively to streamline the role of civil society in the EaP policy as a whole. Moreover, the need for governments to introduce practical cooperation structures with civil society to support the development of inclusive societies and encourage the sustainability of democratic reforms will be addressed. Finally, the panel will suggest criteria for mutually beneficial relations with civil society in order to assess the relative success of the EaP countries to date.


  • Marian Lupu, Co-Chair of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly
  • Jeff Lovitt, Chair, New Diplomacy
  • Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of EU Studies, Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Georgia
  • Diana Yablonska, Deputy Head of Unit, DG NEAR, European Commission

Moderator: Urmo Kübar, Adviser on Civil Society, Office of the President of Estonia; former head of the Estonian Union of Non-Profit organisations; European Citizens’ Prize winner 2013

11:00-11:20 Adoption of the Civil Society Declaration to the EaP Summit

Moderated by Dovilė Šukytė, Acting Director, Eastern Europe Studies Centre, Co-Chair, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Lithuania

11:20-11:40 Coffee break
11:40-13:00 Parallel panels

The parallel panels will focus on the discussion of specific ways in which government-civil society cooperation can bring about synergies in key trade, media, and digital policy areas. Ideas from the Civil Society Declaration to the EaP Summit, to be adopted on Day 2, will be discussed and refined during each of the panels. Concrete examples from the EU and EaP countries will be raised in each of the areas covered by the panels in order to identify means to ensure that the partnership between governments and civil society will not only thrive, but will also promote significant reforms ultimately bringing tangible results to people.

  1.         Prospects of Regional and Economic Integration in the EaP Countries

This panel will focus on economic development and integration of the countries within the EaP region. How do the bilateral agreements of the EaP countries with the EU contribute to regional economic integration? How does the interplay between the DCFTA countries and the Eurasian Economic Union shape the economic development of the region? What is the role of civil society in supporting economic integration and development in the EaP countries, as well as in helping to achieve the relevant goals from the 20 Deliverables for 2020?


  • Tsisnami Sabadze, Head of Economic Policy Department, Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia
  • Iryna Tochitskaya, IPM, Belarus
  • Luc van Looveren, Flemish Chamber of Commerce
  • Richard Giragosian, Founding Director, Regional Studies Center, Armenia

Moderator: Guillaume Van der Loo, CEPS

  1.         Media and Disinformation in the EaP and the EU

This panel will focus on media quality, self-regulation of the media sector, and methods of confronting disinformation in shaping public opinion and fostering deliberative public discussion. It will also cover topics such as media literacy, as well as the role of and support for citizen media.  Which support do the independent media outlets need? What is the role of the public service broadcasters? What can the media communities in the EU and the EaP countries learn from each other in the field of confronting propaganda?


  • Jānis Rungulis, StratCom East Task Force, EEAS
  • Celia Davies, Strategy & Communications Manager, Meydan TV, Germany
  • Raul Rebane, independent media & communications expert
  • Andriy Kulakov, Program Director, Internews Ukraine

Moderator: Boris Navasardian, President, Yerevan Press Club, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Armenia

  1.         Digital Tools for Democratic Governance

This panel will focus on the use of digital tools in involving communities and civil society organisations into decision-making and developing ideas for policy improvements. It will cover the benefits and setbacks countries have faced when using digital participatory tools, including participatory budgeting, citizen engagement portals, and online services. How can governments and civil society organizations best ensure that rural communities and other groups with less access to digital tools are not further marginalized by the increased use of digital participatory tools?

Is there any fundamental tension between respecting the privacy and data rights of citizens using digital tools while also promoting transparency and openness? Have there been any difficulties in establishing the rules of expression on participatory platforms?

Are governments and civil society organizations overly dependent on commercial digital infrastructure, or have they been able to work harmoniously with the private sector in driving innovation forward?


  • David Marghania, EBRD/UNCITRAL Public Procurement Initiative
  • Sahil Mammadli,  ASAN
  • Teele Pehk, CEO, Estonian Cooperation Initiative
  • Liia Hanni, Estonian e-Governance Academy
  • Sinziana Poiana, DG NEAR

Moderator: Hille Hinsberg, Expert, Praxis

  1. Taking Government-Civil Society Relations Forward

The panel will focus on cooperation models and involvement practices that have been successful in the EaP countries. It will identify ways to overcome obstacles to regular and beneficial dialogue between the public sector and civil society while also determining how to build legitimate networks and coalitions for partnering with governments. How can trust be built among CSOs and governments? How can one ensure that civil society’s voice is heard and its expertise taken into account in policymaking? How can the CSO-government partnership be improved? What else can civil society do to deliver results for ordinary people—whether by itself or in partnership with other actors?


  • Julia Ivahina, National Anti-Corruption Bureau, Ukraine
  • Rasul Jafarov, Human Rights Club, Azerbaijan
  • Giorgi Klidiashvili, Open Government Partnership
  • Boris Iarochevitch,  Head of the Division for Eastern Partnership, Regional Cooperation & OSCE, EEAS
  • Beata Jaczewska, Visegrad Fund, Director

Moderator: Maris Jõgeva, Executive Director, Network of Estonian Nonprofit Organisations

13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-15:30 Policy Debates and Experience Exchange within Working Groups (WGs)

The sessions will focus on some of the cross-cutting deliverables (gender equality) and priority areas  (SMEs development, energy efficiency, environment, youth empowerment and labor migration) of the 20 Deliverables for 2020, while continuing to reflect on the recommendations included in the Civil Society Declaration to the upcoming EaP Summit. The sessions will advance policy debate in the relevant areas through briefly discussing the results of relevant EaP CSF regranting projects and Estonian CSOs’ field experience. Together with the speakers and moderators, all participants will develop a set of recommendations on the topics.

1) Mainstreaming gender in the EaP and the EU

How does the lack of gender equality legislation hinder the protection and promotion of human rights? How does the civil society mainstream gender within its own platforms and bodies? How can the civil society contribute to the preparation and implementation of the Gender Action Plans in the EaP countries in the best way?

  • Svetlana Karaleva, Chair, BOWW, Belarus
  • Merle Pajus, Project Manager, Estonian Women’s Studies and Resource Centre (ENUT)

Moderator: Haykuhi Harutyunyan, President, Protection of Rights without Borders, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Armenia

Rapporteur (TBC)

2) SMEs – How to Benefit from Access to the EU Single Market?

How to prepare EaP SMEs for the challenges of the EU Single Market? How can experience-sharing with the EU member states contribute to this process? How can the civil society facilitate and assist the strengthening of the SMEs in the region?

  • Nino Elizbarashvili, President, Association of Women in Business, Georgia
  • Ludmila Stuparu, Program Coordinator, Center for Innovation and Policies, Moldova
  • Raivo Altmets  EVEA (Estonian SME Association)

Moderator: Yurii Vdovenko, Head of the Board, The Center for Cross-Border Cooperation, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Ukraine

Rapporteur: Dovilė Šukytė, Acting Director, Eastern Europe Studies Centre, Co-Chair, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Lithuania

3) Fostering environmental protection and energy security in the EaP region

To what extent the membership/candidate status in the Energy Community, and Association Agreements have contributed to the design and establishment of well-functioning energy regulators in the EaP countries? How can the watchdogging experience of the EU civil society in the field of governance and performance of energy regulators be replicated in the EaP countries? How can the implementation of the new laws on waste management under the Association Agreements reduce negative environmental impact of households?

How the project’s results/experience can be expanded to other EaP countries? How do you secure sustainability of your initiative/results? Any positive case studies in EaP and EU countries to solve the presented problems? What could be possible partnerships in this field between EaP and EU NGOs and EU policies to be promoted in EaP countries and the EU financial instruments to help solve the above-mentioned issues?

  •      Otilia Nuțu, Energy Watchdog Coalition
  •      Estonian Environmental Law Center (EELC) (TBC)

Moderator:  Ruslan Surugiu

  •      Oleksandra Gumeniuk, Good Deeds, Ukraine
  •      Estonian Environmental Law Center (TBC)

Moderator and Rapporteur: Ina Coșeru, National Environmental Center, EaP CSF Steering Committee, Moldova

4) Youth empowerment – encouraging civic activism and youth mobility

How to encourage civic activism among young people in the countries with security risks for the activists? How to ensure that the youth is well informed about the mobility opportunities provided by the EU? How to better engage the disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in the existing and future programmes and initiatives?

  • Grigor Yeritsyan, Armenian Progressive Youth
  • Karl-Andreas Sprenk, Estonian National Youth Council

Moderator: Mariia Symonova, MITLA Agency of Changes (CleanUniversities anti-corruption campaign)

Rapporteur: Nikolai Kvantaliani, Association “New Group”, Belarus

5) How does the social dialogue contribute to optimizing labour migration?

What is the background of the problem of labour migration in the region? How do state authorities both of the EU and EaP countries tackle it? To what extent are the trade unions in the EaP countries included/excluded to/from the dialogue on labour migration?

  • Siarhei Antusevich, Belarusian Congress Of Democratic Trade Unions
  • Dzmitry Babicki, CASE Belarus
  • Peep Peterson, Estonian Trade Union Confederation (TBC)

Moderator: Goda Neverauskaitė, European Trade Union Confederation

Rapporteur: Laura Ernšteina, European Economic and Social Committee, External Relations Secretariat (REX)

15:30-16:00 Coffee Break
16:00-18:00 EaP CSF Working Groups’ meetings (mandatory for EaP CSF members)
16:00-18:00 Side event: The Development of the Estonian Opinion Festival: Mobilizing Civil Society to Participate Actively in Decision-Making (for non-EaP CSF members)

How can one develop a culture of forming and expressing opinions on important matters in society, engaging people in the key debates taking place in their societies? How can citizens be inspired to take responsibility for decision-making in their communities and in their countries? An example of best practices in responding to these questions is one of the biggest civil society initiatives in Estonia – the Opinion Festival (Arvamusfestival). It is a meeting place for the entire community that provides a space for different political views. Its mission is to improve opinion culture and civic education. The festival is open to all active-minded people interested in discussing issues of importance to all of society. Uniting groups from all parts of society, the Opinion Festival is a place to express one’s thoughts on the organisation of society while gaining fresh ideas and new insights.

18:00-18:30 Election of WG Coordinators (EaP CSF members only)

The EaP CSF participants from each Working Group elect two WG Coordinators (one from the EaP and one form the EU) for a one-