News & Events

CiSEP now stands for „Civic Initiative for Sound EU Practice“

May we introduce? The „Civic Initiative for Sound EU Practice“ is a network of CiSEP alumni, who in the last five years passed through the EU association training programme for active Ukrainian citizens and under its new name will go on to pool its competencies and use the potentials of cooperation for the further EU integration of the country and their regions.

While the CiSEP project is coming to an end, the participants of the network- and organisational development workshops are continuing to work on the formalisation of their network. The final conference „Shaping It Together: Our Future, Our Community, Our Responsibility“, that took place in June 2020, marks the as of yet highlight of the process. The 4-day event provided the necessary framework to actively and efficiently think about the future of the network. Successfully so, as the statute and the strategic goals were accepted by the participants with one consent. Moreover, they elected the member of an interim initiative group, which in the upcoming months will introduce and delegate the first administrative steps.

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Green economy – a trend or a need? Experts discussed the development of a green economy in Western Ukraine at CiSEP online round-table

By Iryna Shvets, OPORA Lviv

Environmental threats caused by global climate change and environmental degradation have been at the forefront of global development in recent years. It is obvious that they will shape the state’s agenda of the next decade, with an emphasis on the need to gradually restore natural ecosystems to a safe level, adherence to the principles of economic efficiency, social justice and sustainable development. The issue of how to respond to global challenges at the local level was discussed during two CiSEP online events on 13 and 14 of May 2020.

The expert round table “Developing a green economy in Western Ukraine” was held on May 13. More than 20 representatives from the public sector, universities, business and public administration gathered at the Zoom meeting. During the first of two parts, participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with the presentations of invited experts: Oleksandr Sushchenko (Center for Social Value Research), Natalia Andrusevich (Resource and Analytical Center “Society and Environment”), Olga Melnyk (Economic Development Agency “PPV Knowledge Networks”), Victoria Dovzhyk (advisor to the mayor of Lviv, deputy of the Lviv city council). In the second part of the round table event, all participants had the opportunity to exchange views on how “green” the economy in Lviv and Lviv region is today, what are the challenges and opportunities for local business development in response to climate change.

The event “CLIMATE TALKS: about the green economy for a planet under pressure”, which took place on May 14, was a logical continuation of both the expert round table and the thematic vector of the CiSEP Network. The event was organized by the CISEP regional partner, OPORA Lviv in partnership with PLATO NGO. The event in the format of an online discussion at the Zoom platform became a good ground for collecting insights from Oleksandr Sushchenko – Head of the Center for Social Value Research and researcher at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, Oleksiy Karnaushenko – Director of GreenEra Ukraine solid waste operator, Daria Yaremchuk – owner of art vegetarian café “Green”, Iryna Gavrychenko – environmental engineer at the company “Enzyme”. During the talk, representatives and owners of local businesses shared their observations on changes in value approaches to entrepreneurship, experience in implementing the principles of the closed-loop economy, increased producer responsibility and demand from consumers, victory and frustration in trying to reduce environmental and climate impact.

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Both events were part of a series of activities aimed at highlighting regional challenges in the process of implementing the Association Agreement with the EU and the DCFTA with the involvement of the Ukrainian civil society.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change makers from Ukraine. CiSEP creates a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions of the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the aim to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

CiSEP is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

New Impulses for the CiSEP Network after the Online Convention 2020

Due to the developments relating to COVID-19, this year’s CiSEP Convention “Shaping It Together: Our Future, Our Community, Our Responsibility“ took place virtually from 22 to 25 June 2020. The large-scale event equally marked the completion of the, since September 2015 ongoing training programme for active citizens around the implementation of the AA/DCFTA in Ukraine as well as the hour of birth of an independent network, which in the future will accelerate the country’s further EU integration under its new name “ Civic Initiative for Sound EU Practice“.

The 4-day programme for the alumni of the training series started with a public opening, to which ambassadors, representatives of Ukrainian civil society organisations and journalists were invited as well. After a retrospection on the beginnings, the development and previous achievements, that was assembled by IEP project managers and the Ukrainian project partners, three CiSEP fellows got a chance to speak. They each referred to their personal experiences with working in the realm of civil society in Ukraine and spoke about the challenges, but also the opportunities of the EU integration on a regional level as well as their own contributions to positive changes. The local perspective transitioned into a panel discussion, during which the European perspective on Ukraine‘s association process found expression. Anka Feldhusen, the German ambassador in Kyiv, Stefan Schleuning from the EU Delegation for Ukraine and Marina Nelina from the Government Office for the Coordination of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine shared their assessment of the current situation and answered the questions by the audience. The focus was on the country’s dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects on the progress of the association process, the state of reforms and the significance of civil society when it comes to communicating success stories. The discussion was moderated by IEP director Katrin Böttger.

The second day of the convention was entirely dedicated to the development of the network. The alumni exchanged on the current state, the responsibilities and skills but above all on the future of the network. As the result, the statute and the strategic goals were accepted by common consent. Furthermore, the members of an interim initiative group were elected to introduce the first steps towards the successful and collective transfer of the already very specific project ideas. The “Civic Initiative for Sound EU Practice“ considers itself as THE voice of Ukrainian civil society related to the implementation of the association and free trade agreement in the regions.

On the third and fourth day the participants of the convention were able to choose between a total of 22 partially parallel happening workshops. Thematically the online workshops ranged from EU association, network and project development, skill development and exchange of experiences. Workshops were offered on digitization, intellectual property rights in the EaP countries, EU food safety and consumer protection, environmental protection and the revelance of data protection for civil society organisations. In the realm of skill development seminars were given on successful project management, monitoring on a local level, awareness raising, online facilitation and the use of social media. Moreover, there was a project incubator, a round-table for exchanging on the current political situation in Ukraine and a workshop around EU topics for youth.

The ending of the conference was shaped by a “Project Development Speedrun“, during which participants were asked to develop a call for applications and accordingly a project proposal for their own network in a limited amount of time. The result were many exciting ideas! Furthermore, the winners of the photo story challenge, which had been announced on the second day of the convention, were awarded with a prize. The task was to work together in small groups and create a visual expression of a pressing problem in their region as well as an approach to a solution and their vision for the future. During the closing ceremony, the IEP project manager reflected on the eventful convention days, expressed their thanks to everyone involved and made their farewells to the now independent CiSEP network – with the best wishes for the future and a strong Ukrainian civil society!

The CiSEP Convention was very well-received by its participants and some of them contacted the CiSEP team afterwards, expressing their gratitude for putting on the event, like Tetiana Shubenko:

“Thank you very much for an interesting and unusual conference. It was really a significant event and a new experience of conducting it in an online format. This took a little longer, but at the same time showed that force majeure and restrictions imposed are not a hindrance to CiSEP. YOU are great fellows! Thank you and your entire team for your invaluable contribution to the development of civil society in Ukraine and for the fact that throughout this project you have all been close by, painstakingly working. I am very lucky to be in such a great team of like-minded people: participants, coaches, speakers, organizers and facilitators. Thank you for your experience and the knowledge that you shared, for your initiative, creativity and inspiration, for your support and advice!”

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The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers from Ukraine. CiSEP is a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the objective to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

This event was organised in cooperation with our local partners Odessa Regional Agency for Reconstruction and Development (Odessa), Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Tschernihiw), Civil Network Opora (Lviv), and the NGO “Public Chamber of Ukraine“ (Dnipro).

CiSEP is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

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Ukraine: Completion of Interactive Round Tables for Initiating Dialogue

In the framework of our project Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP), four interactive round tables have taken place in Ukraine between December 2019 and May 2020. Each of them covered one topic, which is relevant for the regional EU association: food safety, waste management, green economy and promotion of innovation. The round tables contributed to a dialogue and cooperation between Ukrainian civil society, business and public administration, but also included the interested public. All events encompassed both a seminar and a public panel discussion. The activities in the South and North of Ukraine took place locally whereas the ones in Western and Eastern Ukraine took place online due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first of the four round tables was organised in Odessa and dealt with the introduction of comprehensive food control in Southern Ukraine according to consistent international standards. The centrally discussed question was if the state or businesses should take on the responsibility of food inspections.

The second round table focused on sustainable regional development and waste management in Northern Ukraine. In the morning, the participants of the seminar had the possibility to get a practical insight into waste avoidance and recycling strategies of a local company whereas the afternoon provided space for informal exchanges in small groups on central problems and possible solutions for 2020. It was underlined how important the development of effective regional implementation plans for waste management will be.

The third round table dealt with green economy approaches in Western Ukraine (Lviv) and took place digitally. Representatives of science, politics and local businesses with sustainable concepts for success were invited as technical experts.

In May 2020, the fourth round table on the topic of promotion of innovation and export in Eastern Ukraine (Dnipro) also took place digitally. In addition to academic experts, a local businessman from Kamianske was willing to share his experiences in the areas of export and innovation with the audience. The event contributed to do away with myths concerning export economy and innovation.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change makers from Ukraine. CiSEP creates a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions of the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the aim to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

The interactive round tables were organized in cooperation with our local partners Odessa Regional Agency for Reconstruction and Development (Odessa), Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Chernihiv), Civil Network Opora (Lviv), and the NGO “Public Chamber of Ukraine“ (Dnipro).

CiSEP is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Final workshop of the project incubator on Ukrainian EU association completed – project groups are ready to implement!

In order to ensure and strengthen civil society participation in the Ukrainian EU association process, the Institut für Europäische Politik (IEP) has developed a ‘Civic School for Sound EU Practice’ (CiSEP), a training programme that trains representatives of civil society organizations in EU association issues as multipliers and critical voices within the reform and monitoring process.

In October 2019, the project incubator started as part of the latest CiSEP project phase with the aim of supporting alumni in developing and implementing promising project ideas. For six months, the CiSEP project incubator guided alumni project groups step by step on their way from the first idea to a final concept and action plan. The training series, which took place in October 2019 in Chernihiv and in December 2019 and March 2020 in Odessa, lasting three consecutive days each, thematically linked previous trainings.

Five project groups had been selected for the incubator – all of them working on highly relevant and diverse EU association topics, ranging from food safety, data protection, and intellectual property, to regional and sustainable community development. During the workshops the project groups received expert input on central aspects of project management. This guided them through the whole process of project development – from the first idea to a well-planned project ready for implementation. In addition, they received tailored advice regarding the specificities of their projects at all stages of their work. Most importantly, the workshops also provided the groups with the opportunity to work together in a face-to-face setting, giving their often dispersed living members time and space to concentrate on their projects while at the same time being in a supportive professional environment. Between the workshop phases, the project groups received technical and methodological mentoring with regards to objective setting, activity planning, and budgeting, as well as monitoring and risk assessment.

During the third and final workshop, which took place in Odessa from 9 to 11 March 2020, the participants finalised the conceptual and strategic aspects of their projects by planning the implementation of their project using a detailed work plan matrix. They also prepared their monitoring and contingency plans to make sure they will stay on track, even in the face of adversities and unforeseen circumstances. Being well-equipped to take their projects to the next level, they spent the last day and a half of the workshop drafting their communication strategies to reach out to their target audiences and relevant stakeholders. After six months of intensive preparation, the projects are now ready to be implemented and the groups are eager to get started. To ensure the successful realization of their plans, the groups will now also receive the micro-grants as seed funding for their activities. During the implementation phase, which is starting now until mid-May, the groups will continue to receive on-going support by the CiSEP team and the local partners and experts where needed.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers from Ukraine. CiSEP is a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the objective to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

The CiSEP project incubator series is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and is implemented in cooperation with the local partners Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (PFIRS) and the Odessa Regional Agency for Reconstruction and Development (ORARD).

 

  

20 civil society trainers on EU association process successfully instructed

Well done! At the end of February, 20 committed persons from the Ukrainian civil society received their trainer certificates related to the EU association agreement. In the framework of the Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) they benefitted from a half-year long Train-The-Trainer course on the Ukraine-EU association agreement. This included active attendance in four workshops of three-day length in Chernihiv and Dnipro. These trainings empower them with in-depth knowledge about the EU-Ukraine association process as well as the practical skill-set to operate as multipliers with their own interactive trainings on EU association in the future.

CiSEP puts emphasis on designing the training series as interactively as possible in order to optimise the participants’ learning effect. As regards the content, the workshops focused on deepening their knowledge on the EU association process. Simultaneously, the future trainers learnt how to develop helpful methods, agendas and suitable materials for their trainings. Their skills in visualisation and presentation of training contents was strengthened. During the last workshop, they benefitted from useful insights into debriefing and evaluation of a training.

At the end of February 2020, the 20 participants passed their exams to become trainers on the EU association agreement. This was an important course requirement beside their active workshop participation and regular homework completion. CiSEP and the participants felt honoured to welcome the German Consul General in Donetsk (current residence in Dnipro), Stefan Keil, during the certificate handover ceremony.

In addition to conducting the workshop, CiSEP also provided the participants with individual consultations related to their self-developed trainings. As part of the training series the participants will organise self-designed workshops in the framework of the association agreement. Thematically, some of them will evoke the basics of the association agreement, whereas others will focus on specific chapters of the agreement. Likewise, the target audience of their trainings will be diverse: e.g. youth, students, entrepreneurs and journalists.

Participants are expected to use their acquired knowledge and trainer skills to implement trainings on the EU association agreement in their regions. In this framework, the future trainers will reach many more Ukrainians and sensitise them to diverse topics related to the association agreement. Thereby, they will make an important contribution to inform the Ukrainian population about European integration.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers from Ukraine. CiSEP is a Ukraine-wide network of specialists on questions related to the EU-Ukraine association agreement with the objective to strengthen the European integration of Ukraine.

This training series is organised in cooperation with the local partners Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Chernihiv) and the Public Chamber Ukraine (regional office in Dnipro).

CiSEP is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

   

Successful start of the project incubator on Ukrainian EU association

As a part of the new project round of CiSEP, the project incubator which supports alumni in realising promising project ideas started in October. The project incubator takes up the topics of the already implemented specialisation trainings (intellectual property, consumer protection and food safety, trade and sustainable development) and assists the 21 alumni from all of Ukraine in developing, refining and implementing their project ideas. To do so, the five most promising ideas have been selected before. The projects are funded with micro-grants and the project groups are supported through technical and methodological mentoring. The mentoring encompasses the provision of knowledge on project cycles, objective setting, activity planning, budgeting, finding partners and on all other aspects which are necessary for the implementation of a successful project.

During the first workshop that took place in Chernihiv from 14th to 16th October 2019 the participants learned to convincingly pitch their project to a third party, to differentiate the basic methods and procedures of project management, to define their stakeholders, project objectives and activities and to plan the next steps of their project using a project planning matrix. Furthermore, they had the opportunity to benefit and learn from the experience of the two CiSEP-partners Odessa Regional Agency for Reconstruction and Development and Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies. Moreover, the discussion on the question what makes a project a successful one allowed to reflect on the criteria for a sustainable and impactful project.

The next two workshops are going to take place in Odessa in December 2019 and February 2020 and are going to deal with budget planning and funding. The project matrices are also going to be refined and the project groups are going to receive thematic feedback on their project from experts in the respective area.

CiSEP is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

 

Start of new project round

CiSEP is going into the next round! We are very happy to announce that the new project round of CiSEP is going to start tomorrow and that the first activities are going to take place in September. Stay tuned for more information and the calls for applications that are going to follow soon!

CISEP CONVENTION “ASK • ACT • ASSOCIATE – CIVIC ACTION FOR EU ASSOCIATION”

The CiSEP Convention held in Kyiv (6-7th June, 2019) marked an important milestone of the project: It brought together over 100 CiSEP-alumni with high-ranking officials from Ukraine and EU, as well as national and international AA/DCFTA experts. It was also an opportunity for many to look back on four years of intensive work towards EU association before turning their gaze to the future. The convention enabled CiSEP-fellows and non-fellows to grasp the remarkable size of the CiSEP network and to further strengthen its bonds, thus getting ready for the next stage of the project.

The convention programme was diverse and action-packed – it allowed for intense discussions and constructive work on DCFTA and AA content, as much as it gave room for the alumni to reunite, network and create new project ideas.

 

THURSDAY

The official kick-off to the event was given on Thursday morning when Maksym Koriavets, President of the Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies and the Director of the Institut für Europäische Politik, Dr Katrin Böttger welcomed the convention participants.

The official welcome was followed by accounts of the Berlin-based CiSEP-team summarising the achievements of the four-year project and of three CiSEP-alumni who told inspiring stories of their work as civic activists aiming to bring EU association measures to their regions. These inspirational talks showed very clearly the deep meaning that the European path has for many; and the very personal hopes and ideas connected with it.

Panel discussion – “Moving forward together?!”
How to put these ideas into reality was then topic of the subsequent panel discussion with the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Hugues Mingarelli; the Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine Dr Ernst Reichel; and the Director General for Strategic Planning and European Integration at the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, Iuliia Zaichenko who represented the Ukrainian perspective.

Mingarelli used the opportunity to highlight the importance of CiSEP for the Ukrainian civil society and the value of its educational work on the AA/DCFTA. He also emphasised that the Ukraine had an “exceptional asset” compared to the other association countries: its engaged civil society.

Mingarelli also stressed that the implementation of the AA/DCFTA not solely depended on political will but also needed active support from the Ukrainian citizens, which he saw as crucial to the success, and named two main objectives: to get rid of remaining custom duties and to get rid of all technical barriers to trade. How could this be achieved?  He identified two major tasks: to align the Ukrainian legislation and to implement the changes.

After the discussion the floor was opened for questions from the audience. Many CiSEP-fellows took up the opportunity to discuss their concerns. The morning was completed with a lunch reception, which also concluded the public part of the event.

AA/DCFTA Video Challenge
The afternoon focussed on creating new bonds between the CiSEP-fellows and on highlighting the variety and vastness of skills already present amongst them. To achieve this, they were broken down in groups of 5 and given the “AA/DCFTA VIDEO CHALLENGE”, which asked them to explain a DCFTA chapter in a one-minute video. With this complicated task to solve, the afternoon just flew by until the official closing of the convention day at 6pm.

 

FRIDAY

No video challenge without awards! The day began with honouring the three winning videos in a prize-giving ceremony before the group dispersed into the six morning workshops around many different AA/DCFTA topics, such as the EU copyright reform, EU environmental standards and the coordination with government bodies.

A short lunch break interrupted the hard work before the second round of workshops began – more topics, more AA/DCFTA!

After the afternoon workshops had finished everyone came together once more, to listen to the workshop rapporteurs report the results of their workshops and to conclude the convention together before returning home the same day.

 

SUMMARY

The CiSEP Convention was very well-received by its participants and many contacted the CiSEP-team afterwards, expressing their gratitude for putting on the event,
like Svitlana Olieinikova for example:

“It was great pleasure to be again in our expert community on EU Association and DCFTA implementation, possibilities and to network with those who make changes, to share with you my experience. The most important calls are really mine:
Ask
Act
Associate

Good job of the great team ❤ ❤ ❤ “
(Svitlana Olieinikova, participant at the CiSEP Convention)

 

The CiSEP Convention was a great success, making CiSEP visible as a major player in the EU-association process of Ukraine.

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The Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) is working with active citizens and change-makers in Ukraine in order to create a network of Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (AA/DCFTA) specialists with the common goal of enhancing Ukraine’s European integration.  The CiSEP training programme has been running since September 2015.

This event took place in the framework of the Civic School for Sound EU practice and was organized by the Institut für Europäische Politik (Berlin). The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

In cooperation with: Polissya Foundation for International and Regional Studies (Chernihiv), Civil Network OPORA (Lviv), Odessa regional branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, and Dnipro branch of the Public Chamber of Ukraine.

 

 

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CiSEP Video Challenge

“AA/DCFTA video challenge”– watch the winning videos here

CiSEP fellows attending the two day CiSEP Convention in Kyiv (6-7th June, 2019) were invited to take part in a difficult challenge: to explain a selected AA/DCFTA chapter in a one-minute video!

From the over sixteen videos produced and entered in a single afternoon, three winners were selected and awarded prizes.  Watch the videos here.

Can you guess which AA/DCFTA chapter they are about?

 

  Some impressions from our award ceremony