Fourth Civil Society Development Forum kicks off with over a thousand of civic activists

Kyiv, 20 November 2015 – The country's biggest civil society forum welcomes more than 1,300 civic leaders, business people, and public officials to share and discuss innovative ideas and good practices of building capacities of civil society organizations (CSOs).

20151120-sliderGetting its start in 2012, the Forum became the largest national civil society platform, a traditional meeting place for intensive experience-sharing, peer-learning, and networking. Every year, it attracts social activists, philanthropists, volunteers, representatives of business companies and international organisations, governmental officials and local authorities to discuss the topical issues of civil society and the whole country.

Held this year under the title "Change yourself to change the country," the Forum offered everyone to think together what we need to change in our approaches and values to live in the country of our dreams. Organized by ISAR Ednannia in partnership with the Presidential Administration of Ukraine, the 2-day Forum provided the enabling environment for the change to start growing from the inside. The agenda of the Forum may be found here.
201511202-sliderThis was a third year of UNDP Ukraine being one of the core supporters of this annual Forum, which brought together participants from all over Ukraine, as well as Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Canada, and the United States.
UNDP has been working with civil society organizations, helping them become advocates for reforms at the national and regional levels. It has been UNDP's mission to help organizations grow internally through institutional development and, in parallel, to become the change that they would like to see in their communities.

201511201-sliderThe Forum was opened by Rostyslav Pavlenko, Deputy Head of Presidential Administration, who underlined the importance of the newly adopted National Human Rights Strategy that promotes civil society and government cooperation.
Following the opening ceremony, special guests Orysia Lutsevych, Mykola Deichakivskyi, Oleh Rybachuk delivered their inspirational TEDTalk-style speeches motivating civil society to change Ukraine. They took the crowd through the different aspects of Ukrainian civil society development.
Over two days, the Forum was held in the "many locations + many events" format, offering participants to engage in roundtable discussions, take part in workshops, watch movies, drink coffee in a "world café," visit exhibitions, read books, enjoy crafts, and even become a real researcher in the laboratory. This year, the main activity of the Forum was various "success stories" –successful start-ups, interesting initiatives, and prominent speakers.
A popular component of the Forum was the session devoted to donors' presentations of their priorities to CSOs. Along with other international organisations, UNDP showed off its initiatives for the CSO crowd in an informal café format, when participants moved between tables where they could take projects' materials and talk to UNDP representatives.

20151119-sliderUNDP also shared its experience of nurturing local anti-corruption initiatives during the session on building zero tolerance to corruption. Practical experiences and some of the very tangible quick wins were shared with the audience, including a case where a local organization stopped just under UAH 30 million in dubious public procurement contracts that could have unduly benefitted corruption scheme instigators.
The UNDP-led Open Government Partnership session was aimed at raising awareness of active citizens, CSOs members, and other civil society initiatives about the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative and the National Action Plan for its implementation in Ukraine. Participants were encouraged to participate actively in monitoring the implementation of the 2014-2015 OGP National Action Plan and to prepare a new Action Plan for 2016-2017.
The Forum's closing ceremony was spectacular – awards for the winners of competitions and impressive drawing on reflective fabrics in the dark.