The Annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) is the key event conducted on an annual basis since 2009. It is the highest decision making body in the EaP CSF and serves as a platform for debate on the achievements of the Forum and the EaP in general, as well as on civil society contribution to the reform process in the region. Every year the event brings together over 200 civil society representatives from the EaP region and the EU, as well as other stakeholders.
The submission of expression of interest to attend the Annual Assembly is a necessary step in the selection process to participate in the EaP CSF activities for a period of one year (starting from the date of the Annual Assembly, until the one in the following year).
EaP CSF functions as a platform of regional solidarity and advocacy actor that reacts to major developments in the EaP region by voicing its position and provides crucial, often alternative information for the decision-makers in the EU institutions, EU member states, regional and international organisations, and EaP governments. Being the institutionalised part of the society, the EaP CSF articulates the needs, expectations and perceptions of societies vis-à-vis the EaP national authorities and EU decision-makers.
In line with the new EaP CSF strategy 2018-2020, the revised architecture of the EaP Platforms and Panels, the Forum’s intention to use these fora more effectively and expectations from the EU institutions in this regard, the EaP CSF will be paying more attention to the expertise of the members that they can provide to the EaP Platforms and panels at the stage of the application process.
WHO CAN APPLY?
The Civil Society Forum is open to a wide range of civil society organisations (CSOs): NGOs, think tanks, non-profit foundations, trade unions, employers’ organisations, professional associations, chambers of commerce, business associations, national and international CSOs/networks and other relevant civil society actors from the EaP region, but also from the EU Member States and international organisation.
One applicant organisation can be represented by only one person at the Annual Assembly. One person can represent only one CSO respectively.
Gender-focused CSOs and CSOs covering the themes of the EaP Platforms and panels are encouraged to apply. Organisations are encouraged to delegate women as their representatives to the Annual Assembly of the Forum.
Participants will be selected based on the following criteria:
- Eligibility– applicants must be non-governmental, non-partisan (not affiliated institutionally to a political party) organisations that respect democratic values. They should be bona fide, independent organisations in their own right.
- Diversity of spheres of activity– to ensure the involvement of all the major components of civil society and adequate representation for each of the thematic Working Groups.
- Expertise relevant for one of the thematic areas of the new EaP architecture as described in “20 Deliverables for 2020”, as well as the work programmes of the EaP Platforms and Panels.
- Demonstrated experience in advancing the role of civil society in accountability, reforms and dialogue in one of the EaP countries.
- Involvement in the EaP CSF –we invite applicants who were actively involved in the activities of previous Civil Society Fora, its National Platforms and Working Groups, as well as those who are ready to be actively contributing to the work of the CSF in 2018/2019.
- Rotation– whereby eligible, independent CSOs that have not participated in previous Annual Assemblies are given priority over those that have already participated.
The EaP CSF Steering Committee in consultation with the European External Action Service/European Commission will carry out the selection of the participants to the EaP CSF 2018. The selection procedure will be twofold:
I. Preparation of shortlists:
For applicants from the EaP countries
(1) By EaP Country Facilitators elected by the Annual Assembly in 2017 and supported by national platforms.
(2) By the respective thematic Working Group Coordinators elected by the EaP CSF in 2017.
(3) By the EU delegations in the six EaP countries.
For applicants from the EU countries
- By the respective Working Group Coordinators elected by the EaP CSF in 2017.
- By the EU Coordinators elected by the EaP CSF in 2017.
II. The final decision is made by the EaP CSF Steering Committee from the shortlisted organisations
The decision is made based on the above-mentioned criteria while bearing in mind the following:
- Balance in numbers in each Working Group between EU participants and EaP participants, and as much as possible between the Working Groups.
- Involvement in activities relevant to EaP priorities as described in “20 Deliverables for 2020”, as well as the work programmes of Platforms and Panels under the new EaP architecture.
- Country representation (a minimum of 10% participants from each EaP country and a minimum of 25% from the EU as a whole).
- Participation in the previous Forum (with a minimum 40% of new(at least half of them CSOs that have never participated in EaP CSF Annual Assemblies) participants and up to a maximum 60% of those who did participate in the CSF Assembly in 2017) insofar as the number of new applications is high enough to make this formula possible. The formula applies primarily to each country list and to the EU participants, but will also be applied as far as possible in the respective working group allocations.
- Contribution to the activities of the Civil Society Forum, the work of the National Platforms and Working Groups, in previous years (based on the evaluation of National Facilitators/Coordinators and Working Group Coordinators) – for those who participated in previous fora and intention and capacity to contribute to the work of the CSF in 2018/2019 and relevance of activities of the applicant’s organisation to EaP CSF based on the information provided in the application form – for the new applicants.
- The EaP CSF will select 160 attendees in accordance with its internal procedures. The EU, if it considers necessary, will fill in up to 20 observer slots with CSOs whose participation and expertise is considered crucial.
 Those that did not participate in the previous EaP CSF Annual Assembly