Georgian Civil Society National Platform for the Eastern Partnership established
In May 2009, the European Commission launched the Eastern Partnership. An important element of this initiative is the Civil Society Forum (CSF), which brings together representatives of CSOs from the EU, the six partner countries and international organizations. The four main goals the CSF aretargets at:
Civil society involvement in the EaP;
Cooperation among CSOs of six EaP countries;
Civil society dialogue with government;
Cooperation among CSOs of the EU and the six partner countries.
To better achieve these goals at the country level, CSOs in each partner country are recommended to create National Platforms for the Eastern Partnership.
The head of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Ms. Tamar Khidasheli, was elected as the National Facilitator for Georgia at the first CSF in Brussels in November 2009.
Preparatory Activities- In the first half of 2010 GYLA engaged in preparatory consultations with Georgian CSOs and got acquainted with the developing experience of other EaP countries related to the creation of National Platforms. The closest contacts have been established with the Belarusian and Armenian National Facilitators.
In the summer of 2010, GYLA drafted selection criteria for CSOs interested in participating in the Georgian Civil Society National Platform for the Eastern Partnership (Georgian NP), based on the best practices of partner countries. At the same time, GYLA elaborated a draft concept paper for the Georgian NP.
Working Group- In order to make the process more inclusive, all Georgian participants of the first CSF were invited to plan the preparatory work for the Georgian NP. A working group, consisting of all Georgian CSF participants and the National Facilitator was formed.
The Working Group carried out the following activities: invited Georgian CSOs with an interest in European Integration to participate in the Georgian NP; adopted selection criteria; adopted a draft Concept Paper for the Georgian NP; elaborated draft rules of procedure of the Georgian NP, drafted recommendations for the second CSF and; elaborated a draft appeal to the Government of Georgia, the European Union Delegation in Georgian and the European Commission.
Alongside with the active civil society engagement, Georgian NP will seek to foster regional integration among the six partner countries, improve cooperation with the Georgian public authorities, establish strong networks with EU-based CSOs and facilitate communication with EU institutions and the EU Delegation. The recommendations elaborated regarding the implementation of the EaP will become a significant aspect of the NP’s work.
Call for Expression of Interest– To date, more than 70 applications have been received in response to the Call for Expression of Interest. The organizations range from watchdog NGOs, think tanks and International Foundations registered in Georgia to Trade Unions and grass root organizations.
In order to make the process inclusive and participatory, the Working Group decided to invite all CSOs that expressed the interest to be involved in the process to the launching of the Georgian NP. Moreover, it was agreed that the National Platform will work according to the open door principle. Accordingly, its membership will not be limited to the organizations that managed to express the interest before launching of the Georgian NP.
Launching of the Georgian National Platform - The National platform was launched on 13 November 2010, on the eve of the second CSF meeting in Berlin. The National Platform adopted the Concept of the NP [32 KB] ; agreed on the rules of procedure for the future operation of the National Platform, including election of the Steering Committee; adopted the recommendations for the CSF in Berlin; prepared an appealed to the Government of Georgia, EU Delegation in Georgia and the EC, and agreed on its future strategy.
The technical side of launching of the National Platform was financially supported by the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the Heinrich Boell Foundation.