Ukraine has the greatest soft power in the world thanks to civil society! – Olena Pavlenko’s performance at URC 2022 in Lugano
The International Conference on Reconstruction of Ukraine (URC 2022) was held in Lugano (Switzerland) on July 4-5. The meeting was attended by representatives of 40 states and 20 international organizations, all major potential donors of the Fund for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, and representatives of the highest levels of the Ukrainian government and the public sector.
Opening the event, Olena Pavlenko, a member of the Ukraine-EU Civil Society Platform and president of DiXi Group, noted: “Civil Society Platform, which unites around 200 Ukrainian organizations – CSOs, trade unions and employers. With many other coalitions, networks, and associations represented today, we are the voice of millions of Ukrainians, who already help Ukraine – as volunteers and civic activists, who donate to the army, advise to government, advocate the Ukrainian position abroad and fight with Russia on the information battlefront”.
With such a unique place, CSOs should have both rights and responsibilities, she believes. Civil society must have a right to participate in the development of national and regional strategies and plans, together with government and European partners.
“I can provide an example of EITI implementation when there is a Multi-Stakeholder Group, which consists of government, business, and CSOs, and we work together. Thanks to such cooperation, Ukraine is now one of the best EITI countries in the world”, she noted.
CSOs should participate in the rebuilding process not only as invited guests, but as a full-fledged party to the dialogue.
“Because we have something, where the government is more weak – possibility to learn fast and provide creative decisions. CSOs’ involvement in the development of the National Reconstruction Plan is extremely important. Civil society organizations should work on the Plan at all stages of its’ development and finalization, said O. Pavlenko. As for the responsibilities, we must ensure, that our work is professional. Being professional means, that we must have sufficient knowledge to provide high-quality analysis, innovative approaches, and recommendations to the government”.
CSOs should apply to themselves the same standards, they demand from the government.
“Someone said that Ukraine has the greatest soft power in the world, thanks to the civil society. We are a society of networks, where horizontal communication among people is essential. It helps us to create effective volunteer movements, to organize maidans; this is part of the answer why Ukraine remains so resilient despite 400 years of war with Russia. Today our network has to set up the ground, which will help Ukraine to stay resilient and strong for centuries. I am sure that we can do this”, believes Olena Pavlenko.