Empowering civil society to advance reforms in Ukraine

5th Civil Society Development Forum brought together over 1,200 Ukrainian civil society professionals to promote best practices that ensure the development of adequate skills and organizational capacities to ultimately enable civil society to effectively move the reform process forward in Ukraine.

758478976905860890Kyiv, 29-30 November 2016 – The 5th Civil Society Development Forum (CSDF), the largest civil society gathering of the country organized this year on the theme "Changing. Influencing. Uniting", hosted over 1,200 representatives from Ukrainian civil society organizations (CSOs) to discuss the role and competences they need to build national unity; explore models and practices of intersectoral cooperation between government, community, businesses, civil society and media; and examine existing models of national unity based on shared values or common needs, as various ways to strengthen CSOs' influence at national level.

As recent surveys by the GfK and Kyiv International Institute of Sociology show, 44% of Ukrainians do not perceive any progress in the implementation of reforms, while only 8% of citizens believe they have the capacity to influence the country's situation, it clearly appears CSOs have a central role to play in driving change, affecting legislation, restoring dialogue and trust with authorities and help build national unity.

By giving the communities they represent a credible and legitimate say in the policy debate, civil society organisations have demonstrated their capacity to serve as genuine catalysts for effective reform. Further training may allow for even greater proactivity, flexibility, transparency, democracy, accountability, and ultimately impact.

As part of the Forum, UNDP organized a workshop on lessons learned from its organizational development programme, which helped eight regional CSO hubs increase their visibility and credibility, implement 25 successful advocacy campaigns, strengthen their position as regional leaders, and increase their financial independence.

56254675858947656475869UNDP also presented its experience in implementing the National Strategy for Civil Society Development at the sub-national level, a truly participatory process aimed at developing efficient sub-national programmes for civil society development, engaging 1,300 public officials, civic activists, and journalists. It resulted in the establishment of sub-national Coordination Councils for the development and working programmes of civil society in four pilot regions – Kherson, Zakarpattia, Dnipro and Donetsk.
The Fifth Civil Society Development Forum is a unique national platform for discussing key standards and practices in the civil society organizational development sphere, with the objective to promote a capacity development culture among Ukrainian CSOs. Organized by ISAR Ednannya since 2012, it is supported by UNDP through the Democratization, Human Rights and Civil Society Development Project and the Strengthening Small and Medium Enterprises Business Membership Organizations Project.