Invitation to submit expressions of interest to participate in the sixth annual meeting of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (Tbilisi, Georgia, 20-21 November 2014)

Invitation to submit expressions of interest to participate in the sixth annual meeting of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (Tbilisi, Georgia, 20-21 November 2014)

The Steering Committee of the EaP Civil Society Forum is now inviting all interested parties to submit expressions of interest to participate in the sixth annual meeting of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum. This year the meeting will take place on 20-21 November in Tbilisi (Georgia). Submission of expressions of interest is a necessary step in the participants selection process.

The annual meeting of the EaP CSF is the key event conducted on an annual basis since 2009. It serves as a platform for a debate on the achievements of the Forum and the EaP in general and on civil society contribution to the reform process in the region. The event brings together over 200 civil society representatives from the EaP region and the EU and other stakeholders.

The meeting will be made possible thanks to the support of the EU and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.

The online application form can be found here. It should be completed in English or Russian and submitted online before midnight CET, 8 June 2014.

Any questions concerning the call for applications should be sent to applications@eap-csf.eu

PROCEDURE FOR SELECTION OF PARTICIPANTS AND OBSERVERS:
The Civil Society Forum is open to a wide range of CSOs: trade unions, employers’ organisations, professional associations, NGOs, think-tanks, non-profit foundations, chambers of commerce, business associations, national and international CSOs/networks and other relevant civil society actors from EaP region, but also from EU Member States and international organisations/networks. All CSOs fitting within the above description are eligible to apply for participation.

The participants of up to 170 CSOs representatives from EaP countries and the EU will be funded by the European Commission. Up to 15 CSOs from third countries can attend the EaP CSF as observers. It should be noted that the European Commission does not cover the costs of the participation of observers in the Forum’s activities. The participation of endowments/ grantmaking foundations cannot be funded.
Organisations seeking participant or observer status all need to apply using the online application form. Organisations that are able to fund their own participation also need to apply.
The 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 2014. The selection procedure will be twofold:

I. Preparation of three shortlists:
(1) By EaP Country Facilitators elected by the CSF in 2013 and supported by CSF national platforms. In the case of CSOs from EU Member States and international organisations/networks as well as CSOs from third countries, the shortlist is prepared by the three EU coordinators elected by the CSF in 2013.
(2) By the thematic working group coordinators elected by the CSF in 2013.
(3) By EU delegations in the six EaP countries.

Shortlists are prepared on the basis of the following criteria:
• Eligibility: applicants must be non-governmental, non-partisan (not institutionally affiliated to a political party) organisations that respect democratic values. They should also be bona fide, independent organisations in their own right.
• Diversity of spheres of activity (it is crucial to ensure the involvement of all the major components of civil society and at the same time to ensure adequate representation for each of the thematic working groups[1] and subgroups[2]. In the application form the applicants can indicate which WGs and subgroups they would join and participate at least until the next annual assembly).
• Involvement in activities relevant to EaP-related priorities.
• Rotation, whereby eligible, independent CSOs that have not participated in previous Forum annual events are given preference over those that have been represented in previous Forum meetings.
• Involvement in the activities of previous Civil Society Fora, in the work of the national platforms and working groups, as well as intention and capacity to contribute to the work of the CSF in 2014/2015.
II. The final decision is made by the CSF Steering Committee members from the shortlisted organisations on the basis of the following criteria:
• Eligibility: applicants must be non-governmental, non-partisan (not institutionally affiliated to a political party) organisations that respect democratic values. They should also be bona fide, independent organisations in their own right.
• Diversity of spheres of activity (it is crucial to ensure the involvement of all the major components of civil society and at the same time to ensure adequate representation for each of the thematic working groups and subgroups).
• Balance in numbers in each working group between EU participants and EaP participants.
• Involvement in activities relevant to EaP-related priorities.
• Country (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[3] (at least half of them CSOs, that have not participated in the previous 5 Fora) participants and up to a maximum 60% of those who participated in the CSF Assembly in 2013) 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 work of the Civil Society Forum in 2013/2014, the work of the national platforms and working groups (based on the evaluation of National Facilitator/Coordinator and Working Group Coordinators) — for those who participated in previous fora and intention and capacity to contribute to the work of the CSF in 2014/2015 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 final list of CSOs invited to participate to the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum prepared by the CSF Steering Committee will be consulted with the European External Action Service/European Commission.

IMPORTANT NOTICE:

The European Union (EU) will be able to fund the travel and hotel accommodation during the Forum meeting only for the selected CSOs. It will be possible for the EU to cover the travel and accommodation of up to 170 CSO representatives – a maximum of 120 from the EaP countries and a maximum of 50 from EU member states.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE FORUM:

The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), launched in 2009, is a platform for interaction between EaP civil society organisations and those from the EU aimed at facilitating reforms in the EU’s Eastern partners.

The Forum operates as an independent, transparent, and inclusive actor to secure policy changes on key policy areas across the four Eastern Partnership thematic platforms, where the Forum has a permanent participant status. On the national level, the Forum aims to strengthen diversity and plurality of public discourse and policy making in the EaP countries by holding governments accountable and protecting and promoting fundamental freedoms, participatory democracy and human rights.

The Forum works closely with the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS), EU member governments, European Parliament and other EU institutions, and engages with Partner countries’ governments, to:
• facilitate a roadmap for democratic transition in the Partner countries
• monitor developments in EU relations with the Partner countries
• promote the results and activities of civil society projects, and the participation of civil society actors to contribute to effective public policy outcomes
• foster the engagement of independent civil society expertise in the work of the expert panels/thematic platforms

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