Side Event to HDIM conference: Enhancing civil society’s impact in Donbas, 15 September, 8.15 am, Warsaw |

When? Friday, 15 September from 8.15 to 9.45 AM

Where? Warsaw National Stadium (PGE Narodowy) the meeting Room 1

Organized by CSP (Civic Solidarity Platform) and DRA (German-Russian Exchange). In co-operation with ODIHR and with support of the French and German governments.

Invited speakers:

  • Sasha Romantsova (Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine)
  • Alexandre Pavlichenko (Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine)
  • Valentina Cherevatenko (Women of Don, Russian Federation)
  • Simon Papuashvili (CSP)
  • Stefan Melle (DRA)

In Eastern Ukraine, since the Maidan events and the beginning of the Russian aggression, a vibrant civil society has flourished and civic engagement is increasingly dynamic. NGOs are active in various fields: besides the humanitarian aid, they prove a documentation of war crimes, support IDPs, provide legal assistance to victims of war, engage in human rights advocacy, protection of women’s rights and rights of minorities, carry out projects on environmental, information, education, health and youth issues, etc. Often, civil society activists work in a volatile security environment. Their contribution to the alleviation of living conditions on the ground, focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable, is crucial. Some are involved in conflict resolution, reconciliation and dialogue activities, and are keen to enhance contacts across the line of contact as well as with NGOs from the Russian Federation, helping to defuse tensions. However, the following questions arise under this topic:

What are the main challenges CSOs face whilst carrying out their activities?

How to bridge the gap between different fields of NGO work?

How to help create synergies in their work and enhance their strategic cooperation?

How to maintain and develop contacts to dwellers of the non-government-controlled areas?

How can international community support civil society’s vital engagement in conflict-related work?

How to enhance a structured cooperation between CSOs and official institutions (e.g. of OSCE)?

The report „Enhancing civil society’s impact in Donbas“ will present the main findings and recommendations by NGO-representatives from Ukraine, Russia and other European countries working on Donbas issues, which were carried out at the strategic retreat in Warsaw (26-28 June 2017).

The side event will also address two overlapping challenges which are integral to the civic engagement in Donbas: a need of strategic cooperation: a) between Russian and Ukrainian civil society communities, and b) between human rights advocates and peacebuilders.

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