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.

 

 

 

 

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!

Start of second training edition on “The basics of EU Association and DCFTA”

In March the second edition of our Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) basic training on „The basics of EU Association and DCFTA“ started. CiSEP is a training programme for active citizens and change-makers in Ukraine. It creates a network of Association Agreement specialists with the common goal of enhancing Ukraine’s European integration.

The 22 participants from all over Ukraine are gaining an in-depth look into the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA). In this context they are also getting an overview of relevant EU institutions and decision-making processes, the internal as well as the bilateral EU-coordination in Ukraine. Working with selected chapters of the DCFTA and working on the original documents, the question remains how the Ukrainian civil society can find its role in the association progress.

Within the first workshop, which took place from 18.-20.03 in Dnipro, the participants worked on the basics of the European Union and the Association Agreement to not only get to know the core elements of the political system of the EU, but also to get to know the structure and the status of implementation of the Association Agreement. To further endorse this first approach, myths that still accompany the association process were confronted. Civil society members are asked to mediate the association process and its implications precisely and understandably to be able to correct certain myths that might still be found within the broader society. The undertaken argumentation training and coaching supplied our participants with the necessary tools to face these kinds of myths and to debunk them with facts.

Ukraine’s EU association is not to be understood and handled without internal and bilateral EU-coordination and cooperation. The second workshop, taking place from 15.-17. April in Dnipro, is dedicated to this topic in a practical way: the topics of EU-coordination and bilateral EU-coordination were not only dealt with thematically, but were also made comprehensible by a subsequent simulation. After the basics of the Association Agreement were dealt with thoroughly, the second part of the workshop focused on DCFTA’s chapter 13 “Trade and Sustainable Development”. After an introduction into the concept of sustainability and the EU’s ecological directives, as well as their implementation and monitoring possibilities, the topic social responsibility – better social policies and workers’ rights – within the integration process was emphasized. Topics such as the standing on workers’ rights in Ukraine and how it can be improved by implementing the principles of social dialogue in Ukraine were addressed. Further on, the principle of social responsibility was also highlighted: What are the principles of social responsibility and how can they be implemented successfully? Case studies are a good opportunity to evaluate, what works and what could be improved.

The next two workshops will also take place in Dnipro from 20.-22. May and 24.-26. June. They will concentrate on the implementation experiences of the other associated neighbor countries Georgia and Moldavia, EU’s experiences on integrating the western Balkan as well as campaigning and other selected DCFTA-chapters.

CiSEP is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office (AA).

Study trip to Berlin to explore German consumer protection

How does Germany implement EU-standards in the sector of consumer protection? What does federalism mean when it comes to guaranteeing food safety? Who implements consumer protection rights and which role do alternative dispute settlement proceedings play?

Our study trip gave answers to these and many more questions to Ukrainian consumer advisers, visiting Berlin from 25-30 March 2019. For 18 participants from all over Ukraine this trip was the final highlight of the training series on implementation of EU consumer protection in Ukraine, which took place over the course of six months.

The workshops trained the participants on the basics of EU-consumer protection laws as well as food safety and they were able to work with many practical examples from other EU member or candidate states.

Within the framework of the EU association the Ukrainian consumer protection system is being reformed fundamentally. The legal harmonisation with its constantly growing body of EU consumer protection regulations as well as the institutional and practical arrangement within limited resources puts the Ukraine under enormous pressure. Taking these facts into consideration the Ukrainian consumer advisers are asked to give useful impulses on creating Ukrainian consumer politics and to actively fulfill their role as a connecting element between politics, administration and consumers.

The study trip in Berlin was aimed at showing the interaction between EU and national legislation as well as its implementation in a decentralised state. The participants’ knowledge and competences were strengthened by visiting state institutions, consumer offices, NGOs and other stakeholders. At the same time the study trip gave opportunity to expand the participants’ professional networks. Among other things, the group visited the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, Stiftung Warentest, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the German Conciliation Body for Public Transport and the Humboldt Consumer Law Clinic.

The group was given the chance to discuss topics such as the institutional linkage in the areas of product and food safety and the responsibilities of companies in relation to market surveillance by the state. Especially the practice of dispute settlement appealed to many on the background of the Ukrainian juridical system. Apart from that the importance of consumer research for goal-oriented consumer politics as well as effective consumer protection worked as a common theme throughout the study trip.

The Civic School for Sound EU Practice is supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Training series on DCFTA chapter 13 “Trade and Sustainable Development” completed by study trip to Berlin

For 19 representatives of the Ukrainian civil society our study trip to Berlin from 15-20 October 2018 marked the end of their successful participation in our Civic School for Sound EU Practice (CiSEP) training series on “Trade and Sustainable Development”.

The CiSEP training series focused on the DCFTA chapter 13 “Trade and Sustainable Development”. It not only incorporated the three components of sustainability: “Trade”, “Environment” and “Social Policy” and their state of implementation in Ukraine, but also offered introductions in the monitoring and advocacy work in this sector.

The study trip served as an additional measure to explore topics such as energy and waste management and sustainable forest management, which were only rudimentarily touched during the training sessions. As for the chosen destination, Germany seemed like the ideal pick, as it pursues its way of becoming more sustainable, especially on its transition to non-nuclear energy. Therefore, the main goal was to support the participant’s knowledge of the German approach by visiting state institutions, research facilities, NGOs and other important stakeholders. While doing that, the study trip also enabled the participants to strengthen their professional networks. Different organisations and experts, such as the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the House of Representatives, the German Eastern Business Association, BUND Friends of the Earth Germany and the German Trade Union Confederation welcomed our participants warmly. Apart from those visits, insights on how the concept of sustainability can be practically implemented, which were offered by “Das Baumhaus Berlin”, Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development and the waste-fueled power station Ruhleben can be seen as highlights of this trip. During the discussions, the members of our group had the opportunity to ask numerous questions from a Ukrainian point of view and thus entered into a stimulating exchange with the German experts. After five successful days new ideas for creative projects in Ukraine already came up.

The devil is in the detail. 2nd CiSEP training on EU project cycle management

Our CiSEP Alumni have plenty of project ideas with the aim to bring Ukraine closer to the EU. They deal with participatory governance, health, ICT, and cultural heritage. Yet, a good idea is never enough. After all, every project realization requires sufficient funds and administrative capacity. For this reason,

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