Brussels, 17 December 2019

20th Meeting of Platform 1

Sofia Strive (Forum Syd, Sweden) and Gubad Ibadoghlu (Public Initiatives Center, Azerbaijan) have advocated for more effective measures to achieve access to information for civil society in the EaP region, and urged for a speedy ratification of the Istanbul Convention in Armenia and Belarus at the 20th Platform 1 meeting on Strengthening Institutions and Good Governance.

The meeting focused on the future of the Eastern Partnership in the areas of Strengthening Institutions and Good Governance, in view of the post-2020 agenda to be adopted at the Eastern Partnership Summit next year.

Sofia Strive and Gubad Ibadoghlu took the opportunity to present and promote the Forum’s input to the Structured Consultation on EaP in the areas Strengthening Institutions and Good Governance. Our representatives brought to attention that, unfortunately, the trend of enabling a civil-society environment is not positive in many EaP countries. In order to encounter this trend resolutely, civil society’s role in policy formulation should be mainstreamed across the Rule of Law policy area. Raising ownership for sustainable reforms is crucial in this regard.

The Forum representatives emphasised that access to information is key to effective monitoring of commitments and benchmarks in the areas of Strengthening Institutions and Good Governance. In order to deliver on its role, civil society needs wide access to information through, for example, registers of final beneficiaries, institutionally strengthened ombudspersons, or comprehensive business registries. However, many of these measurs are still too weak or even need to be established yet.

As a key issue of Strengthening Institutions, the Forum representatives raised the topic of the protection and prevention of gender-based violence in EaP countries. As Georgia has already ratified the Istanbul Convention, the EU should support an exchange of experience with countries like Armenia and Belarus, where the ratification process is currently stalling.

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