The 12th Annual Assembly – “EaP beyond 2020: renewing commitments to rights, security, and the green agenda“, will be held online on December 7-10, 2020, bringing together more than 300 CSOs and EaP and EU decision-makers to explore the contours of the EaP policy beyond 2020.

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Against the backdrop of the recently finished war in Nagorno-Karabakh, a severe political crisis in Belarus, and a number of important elections that have taken place in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine this event will focus on our shared aspiration for a truly multi-stakeholder engagement with empowered civil society at the core of the EaP policy to deliver meaningful results for people.

The European Green Deal is raising the bar for the EU and EaP countries alike for the new cycle, prompting us to discuss a number of issues: potential obstacles to better environmental protection and climate change mitigation in the EaP, the conditions necessary for the effective participation of civil society in green reform processes and addressing environmental challenges, and the support required in order to implement the green agenda in the EaP.  

At the end of this year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we will look back at how the virus has affected CSOs’ operations and what effects it will have on the reform agenda. The Annual Assembly will explore how civil society responded to current challenges, touching on new developments in citizens’ self-organisation and the bottom up initiatives launched to help others and searching for ways to support and cultivate these newly-emerged enthusiasm and mobilisation to become a sustainable generator of societal changes in 2021 and beyond.  

December 7, 2020

Day 1 – Welcome and our achievements in 2020

Day 1 sessions

14:00 – 14:20
Welcome session
The outgoing Steering Committee Co-chairs will welcome the participants, and get the ball rolling on the week’s discussions by outlining the most important developments for the Forum in 2020 and the ways forward.

14:20 – 14:45
What have we done in this turbulent year
2020 has been a challenging year, with the COVID-19 pandemic interfering in daily routines and drastically changing the Forum’s operations. Yet, despite these changes, the EaP CSF has continued to successfully voice the civil society position on behalf of its members. In this session, we will look back at our main achievements during this difficult year, beginning with the presentation of the new Steering Committee of the Forum for the 2020-2021 cycle, to be followed by the screening of a video of the Forum’s highlights in 2020.

14:45 – 15:15
Why can’t Gender Equality wait?
With the adoption of the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy, the Forum is taking a more structured approach to promoting gender equality across all its structures and operations. The aim of this session is to discuss pathways towards a more gender-fair Forum, starting from the highlights of the gender assessment exercise and continuing with the practical recommendations stemming from the Strategy.

15:15 – 15:25
Break

15:25 – 16:30
e-Reception / Meet & Mingle networking session
Bring your glass and let’s recreate the sense of EaP CSF community virtually! The aim of this session is to provide a networking opportunity for EaP CSF members, allowing them to mingle and get to know one another. To facilitate informal discussions in smaller groups, several virtual “tables” will be available for the attendees of this session.

December 8, 2020

Day 2 – Focusing on new deliverables

Day 2 sessions

09:00 – 09:15
The Day Today
A short introduction to the day.

09:15 – 10:15
Opening

Speakers:        

Josep Borrell,
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and
Security Policy

Michael Roth,
Minister of State for Europe, German Federal Foreign Office

Olivér Várhelyi,
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement

Maia Sandu (tbc),
President-elect of the Republic of Moldova

Andrei Yahorau,
EaP CSF Belarusian National Platform, Chairman of the 
Coordination Council

10:15 – 10:30
Break

10:30 – 11.45
Panel Debate: Towards a truly multi-stakeholder endeavour – civil society and new EaP deliverables for 2021-2025
Learning from the implementation of the 20 Deliverables for 2020, the new set of EaP deliverables for the period 2021-2025 should provide clear language on individual commitments, define the responsibilities of each actor involved, and include good benchmarks for monitoring effective implementation, impact and accountability. It should also incentivise those partner countries who strive for deeper cooperation with the EU, providing for the application of the ‘more for more and less for less’ principle based on clear, pre-defined criteria. Civil society has been advocating for greater empowerment of CSOs and other actors in the formulation and implementation of the new deliverables in order to turn the EaP policy into a truly multi stakeholder endeavour. Such an approach would not only improve the results of the policy and the accountability of governments, but would also facilitate stronger links with EaP citizenry. Over the course of this panel discussion, the guest speakers will address a number of central questions. Where are we at, in the process of drafting the new EaP agenda? What are the upcoming milestones? How can we better enshrine the ‘more for more’ principle? What incentives for deepening cooperation and strengthening the regional approach will be there for the associated partners? What concrete ideas and key recommendations does civil society offer to ensure a bigger role for non-governmental partners in EaP policy implementation? How do the EU institutions and EaP governments plan to further empower civil society?

Speakers:        

Emine Dzaparova (tbc),
First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ukra
ine 

Petra Gombalova Kyslingerova,
Head of Division, Eastern Partnership, regional cooperation and OSCE, EEAS

Vassilis Maragos,
Head of Unit Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and EaP, DG NEAR, European Commission   

Iulian Groza,
Director, Institute for European Policies and Reforms 

Moderator:    

Mikayel Hovhannisyan,
Program Director, Eurasia Partnership Foundation,
EaP CSF Steering Committee Member

11:45 – 12:30
Pavel Sheremet and Civil Society awards ceremony
The EaP CSF Pavel Sheremet Journalism Award and the EaP CSF Civil Society Award will be presented to the award winners. Following the ceremony, the award winners will be interviewed by the moderators.

12:30 – 13:30
Break

13:30 – 14.45
Parallel trilateral country stakeholders meetings (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus)
CSOs from each EaP country and the EU member states will discuss the most pertinent issues for a given EaP country trilaterally with representatives of the national authorities and the EU institutions.

Armenia: Post-conflict situation – response to political and humanitarian crisis

Speakers:        

Yeghishe Kirakosyan (tbc),
Representative of the Government of Armenia in the ECHR

Dorota Dlouchy-Suliga,
Deputy Head of Division, EaP Bilateral relations, EEAS

Vassilis Maragos,
Head of Unit Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and EaP, DG NEAR, European Commission   

Azerbaijan: Intersectoral dialogue perspectives in Azerbaijan in the changed context

Speakers:        

Hikmat Hajiyev (tbc),
Head of Foreign Policy Department at Presidential Administration

Mahmud Mammadguliyev (tbc),
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Azerbaijan

Jeroen Willems,
Deputy Head of Unit Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and EaP, DG NEAR, European Commission

Georgia: Developments in light of the parliamentary elections

Speakers:        

Irakli Kobakhidze (tbc),
Executive Secretary and member of the Political Council of “Georgian Dream—Democratic Georgia”, Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Mathieu Bousquet,
Head of Unit Georgia, Moldova, DG NEAR, European Commission

Ciara O’Brien,
Team Leader for Relations with the Republic of Moldova and Georgia, EEAS

Elene Nizharadze (tbc),
Executive director of International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

14:45 – 15:00
Break

15:00 – 16.00
WG1, WG2 and WG5 parallel sessions
These internal sessions will focus on discussing decentralisation and local government in the EaP, the impact of COVID-19 on freedom of speech and media, SMEs’ digital transformation, and on labour migration, beginning with a presentation of the preliminary findings of the ongoing EaP CSF Policy Papers.

16:00 – 16:15
Break

16:15 – 17.30
WG1, WG2, WG5 parallel sessions
These internal sessions will focus on the potential frameworks for monitoring the post-2020 deliverables. Participants will brainstorm on how civil society can monitor the concrete milestones for the deliverables falling under WG1, 2 and 5, reflecting on difficulties encountered during the monitoring of the 20 Deliverables for 2020, and on strategies to overcome them in the future. These sessions will touch on the following pillars of the post-2020 EaP policy framework.

December 9, 2020

Day 3 – Going Green

Day 3 sessions

09:00 – 09:15
The Day Today
A short introduction to the day, explaining the various agenda blocks to participants by the event moderator.

09:15 – 10.30
Panel Debate: The European Green Deal and civil society’s role in addressing environmental challenges
EaP roadmap obligations and EU assistance have provided solid support to the advancement of environmental protection and energy policy reform in the EaP countries. Looking ahead, the European Green Deal is now raising the bar for the EU and EaP countries alike for the new cycle – a very welcome and necessary development, but one which faces a number of obstacles. Indeed, the road to better environmental and climate change protection is paved with numerous potential roadblocks: delays in the adoption of primary or secondary legislation, faulty implementation, and weak institutions leading to weak enforcement, a lack of transparency, and insufficient consultation with civil society. What steps are necessary for the successful formulation and implementation of the European Green Deal in the EaP region? What obstacles remain to effective environmental and climate change protection and to the effective participation of civil society in the green transition, and how can they be removed? What support would be needed from the EU and the EaP governments?

10:30 – 11:00
Break

11:00 – 12.00
WG3/ WG4 parallel sessions (part 1)
These internal sessions will focus on discussing the impact of COVID-19 on SMEs’ digital transformation, and on labour migration, beginning with a presentation of the preliminary findings of the ongoing EaP CSF Policy Papers.

12:00 – 14:00
Virtual lunch break + potentially networking

14:00 – 15:15

WG3/ WG4 sessions (part 2)
These internal sessions will focus on the potential frameworks for monitoring the post-2020 deliverables. Participants will brainstorm on how civil society can monitor the concrete milestones for the deliverables falling under WG3 and 4, reflecting on difficulties encountered during the monitoring of the 20 Deliverables for 2020, and on strategies to overcome them in the future. These sessions will touch on the following pillars of the post-2020 EaP policy framework.

15:15 – 15:30
Break

15:30 – 16.30
Advocacy session (for delegates only – optional)
The aim of this session is to set the advocacy goals and advocacy change objectives for the Forum for the period 2021-2023 (the first half of the implementation of the new EaP roadmap) in an inclusive and cooperative manner, based on the policy discussions during the AA and beyond. Interested delegates are invited to co-create the advocacy goals that will determine Forum’s advocacy activities for the next three years.

16:30 – 17.30
Make your own session
The aim of this section is to provide EaP CSF members with a space to co-create their own sessions as side events to the Forum’s Annual Assembly.

[17.30-18:30, Kyiv, Chisinau || 18.30-19:30, Minsk || 19:30 – 20:30, Baku, Tbilisi, Yerevan]

December 10, 2020

Day 4 – Building on civil society mobilisation and discussing security

Day 4 sessions

09:00 – 09:15
The Day Today
A short introduction to the day, explaining the various agenda blocks to participants by the event moderator.

09:15 – 10.45
Panel Debate: Trends in civil society sector development and effectively addressing the challenges of 2021 and beyond
2020 has been an eventful year for the EaP region, with civil society stepping up to the plate on many fronts: to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, to save lives, to monitor elections and bravely protest against stolen ones, to call out encroachments on fundamental freedoms and rights, and much more. What changes has the year brought to the civil society landscape, the way it mobilises, the level of trust it enjoys among the broader population and how it engages in the public sphere? What tendencies can we identify regarding citizens’ self-organisation, and how can this mobilisation be effectively supported to lead to organisation and increased public participation? How can complementarities and synergies between old actors and new players be facilitated? And finally, what lessons from 2020 can we take into 2021 to be better equipped for upcoming challenges?

Speakers:

Yulia Mickevich,
Member of Fem Group of the Coordination Council, ABF Belarus

Shahla Ismayil,
Chairperson, Women’s Association for Rational
Development, EaP CSF Steering Committee member

Vano Chkhikvadze,
EU Integration Programme Manager, Open Society Georgia Foundation

Anna Westerholm,
Ambassador for the Eastern Partnership, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Nicolas Bouchet, 
Senior Editor and Fellow, The German Marshall Fund of the United States

Moderator:

Orysia Lutsevych,
Research Fellow and manager of the Ukraine Forum, Chatham House

10:45 – 11:00
Break

11:00 – 12:15
Parallel trilateral country stakeholders meetings (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine)
CSOs from each EaP country and the EU member states will discuss the most pertinent issues for a given EaP country with representatives of the national authorities and the EU institutions.

Belarus: Implications of the protracted political crisis on the civil society and how the external support to Belarus should look like

Speakers:

Iryna Suhiy,
Board member of EcoDom

Aleksandra Kuzmich,
Union of Belarusian Students

Jeroen Willems,
Deputy Head of Unit Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and EaP, DG NEAR, European Commission

Moldova: Civil Society as a building block of democracy in Moldova

Speakers:

Peter Michalko (tbc),
Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova

Mathieu Bousquet,
Head of Unit Georgia, Moldova, DG NEAR, European Commission

Daniela Vidaicu,
Programs’ coordinator, Embassy of Sweden in Chisinau, Moldova

Mihail Cotorobai (tbc),
Ombudsman, Moldova

Lilia Carasciuc,
Executive Director, Transparency International

Veaceslav Tofan,
Executive Director, Amnesty International Moldova

Ukraine: How to make the European Green Deal a success story in Ukraine

Speakers:

Oleksiy Ryabchyn,
Advisor to the Vice Prime Minister of European Integration

Marcus Lippold,
Team Leader Green Deal, Energy, Environment, Agriculture and Transport, Support Group for Ukraine (SGUA), European Commission

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze (tbc),
Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Integration of Ukraine to the EU

Elina Bardram (tbc),
Head of Unit, European Commission’s Directorate General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA)

Lilia Carasciuc,
Executive Director, Transparency International

Olena Pavlenko,
DiXi Group, member of EaP CSF Working Group 3

12:15 – 14:00
Break

14:00 – 15:30
Panel Debate: Security challenges in the EaP region in 2020 and Beyond
2020 has represented a watershed moment for security in the EaP region. The developments in Belarus after the presidential elections and Russia’s overbearing involvement in the country’s affairs have raised its vulnerability and had an impact on neighbouring Ukraine. In the coming months Belarus will face further deep political and economic crises, with the Kremlin likely to exploit the situation to pursue its strategic goals and strengthen its position. Similarly, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the manner in which hostilities ceased redesigned the security map of the Caucasus, with Russian military presence growing. What are the consequences of these developments? What are the major security challenges for the region in the upcoming year? What other external factors have to be considered in situational analyses? How will the new EaP roadmap respond to some of these challenges? How can the EU play a bigger role as the security provider in the region?

Speakers:

Sanita Pavluta Deslandes (tbc),
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to the EU

Katarina Mathernova,
Deputy Director General, DG NEAR, European Commission

Luc Devigne,
Deputy Managing Director, Russia, Eastern Partnership, Regional cooperation and OSCE, EEAS

Hanna Shelest,
Editor-in-Chief, Ukraine Analytica, Ukraine

Leila Alieva,
REES Affiliate, Oxford School for Global and Area Studies

Benyamin Poghosyan,
Chair, Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies

Moderator:

Thomas de Waal
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Europe

15:30 – 16:00
Closing ceremony and next steps

EaP CSF 2020 in numbers

policy papers and statements

recommendations reflected in Joint Communication on EaP

COVID-19 Re-granting projects

zoom meetings held

Re-granting to WGs projects

Impressions from 2019

“I firmly believe that an empowered civil society is key for strenghtening a democracy public accountability, advancement of human rights and resilience. Working with the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum and the organisations it represents will be a key priority during my five year mandate.”

Olivér Várhelyi

European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

We, as guards of democracy in our countries, stand for the basic principles and values together. Promoting and implementing rule of law, good governance and human rights in our countries, we would be able to raise new generation, which would easily implement European values and principles on the whole territory of Eastern Partnership

Ina Coseru

EaP CSF Steering Committee Co-Chair

A great event at those turbulent, uneasy and very worrying times not only for the EaP countries but also for many European countries. There is still so much vibrancy, energy and hope in civil society. I really hope that this energy together with collective wisdom supported by smart use of digital tools will open a new path for democracy and development of democratic societies

Kristina Reinsalu

Programme Director of e-Democracy, e-Governance Academy (Estonia)

It’s a decade of very strong and unanimous commitment of the 28 for the Eastern Partnership policy. We now have a strong and stable framework for cooperation, delivering also for the citizens.

Luc Devigne

Director, Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional cooperation and OSCE, EEAS

Our partners

The 12th Annual Assembly will take place with the financial support of our partners and donors. We would like to express our thank you for their contribution to our event.  The online event strategy was created in cooperation with Antonio Carlos Ruiz Soria and Creativity & Innovation Lab. The content of the event are the sole responsibility of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.

Contact us

Alexandra Sabou

Administrative and Statutory Processes Manager
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +32 2 893 25 86


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