Statement by Representatives of Belarusian CSOs on Developments in the Belarusian National Platform of EaP Civil Society Forum

Minsk, 1 November 2011

We, representatives of Belarusian civil society organizations, express our support to the idea of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum as a platform for communication and dialogue among CSOs interested in the European path of development for Belarus.

We share the values and goals stated in the “Memorandum on Cooperation within the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum” that was discussed and adopted by the organizations- participants of the conference of the National Platform on October 29, 2011. We underline that activities of the National Platform of EaP SCF need to be focused on the "Europeanisation" and modernization of the country.
However, we are worried about the tendencies for possible politicization of the National Platform and its transformation into another political actor (in particular, such aim is present in the “Strategy 2012”). We believe that the Belarusian National Platform’s activities should concentrate on the work of the four thematic groups, as it is organized within the Civil Society Forum and the National Platforms of CSF in other countries of the Eastern Partnership. Through activities in the framework of these groups, civil society organizations will be able to increase their expert capacity and propose ways and mechanisms for Belarus to  approximate its standards and norms with those of the EU.
We are convinced, thereof, that leaders of the four working groups, elected by their members, should be part of the Coordinatin Committee of the Platform. Additionally, membership in the Committee should reflect the variety of the Platform's members and ensure participation of organisations from different regions of the country. 

We hope that our opinion will be supported by the member organizations of the National Platform of EaP CSF and taken into consideration when forming the permanent Coordinating Committee during the next conference of the Platform. We believe that the progress and success of the National Platform in Belarus will depend on joint actions and consensus among its all member organizations.

Siarhej Mackievic, Assembly of Pro-Democratic Non-Governmental Organizations of Belarus
Olga Stuzhinskaya, Office for a Democratic Belarus (ODB)
Zhanna Litvina, Belarusian Association of Journalists
Dzianis Melyantsou, Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS)
Aleh Hulak, Belarusian Helsinki Committee
Valiantsin Stefanovich, Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Tatiana Kanopkina, Hrodna branch of the Association of the Belarussian School
Alicia Shybitskaya, “United Way”
Katerina Przybylska, Belarusian Schuman Society
Viachaslau Pazdniak, Wider Europe
Svetlana Zinkevich, “ACT”
Vital Vasilkou,  Foundation for Promotion of Sustainable Development
Alexander Adamiants, Center for European Studies