Civil society in 2018: new challenges, new tasks

On 6 March, the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiative Foundation held a public discussion entitled “Civil society in 2018: new challenges, new tasks”. The event was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the Foundation.

Iryna Bekeshkina, Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, noted that despite the decrease of the level of trust to the majority of state institutions, the balance of trust to the civil sector remains positive. But the activity of the citizens remains at the level of 2012 and does not grow over the years. 87% of respondents admit that they are not being involved in active social activities today.

The third sector itself evaluated its effectiveness at 2.9 points for the 5-point system. 192 representatives of NGOs participated in the survey.

Among the effective methods of conducting their tasks, public activists note the following: cooperation with the media, foreign partners, and public discussions of socio-political issues.

Yuliia Kurnyshova, Strategic Communications and Research Manager at USAID/Engage, noted that the citizens are actively involved in public initiatives, but mostly those that directly affect their needs and interests.

Yevhen Bystrytsky, Head of Department of Philosophy of Culture, Ethics and Esthetics, Institute of Philosophy, National Academy of Sciences, Executive Director of International Renaissance Foundation (1998-2017), noted that 12-15 Ukrainian think tanks, together with the ministries, have been developing the “reform policies” in key areas for four years. So, reforms were accompanied by the formation of new institutions – the transformation of the ministry from the administrative and command authorities to the bodies of public policy, which will attract stakeholders and take into account the interests of citizens.

According to Taras Shevchenko, director of the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law, Co-Chairman of the RPR Council, the creation of powerful state institutions should be the driving force for positive changes in the country. The expert stressed that the systemic corruption is a result of improperly built institutions. It can’t be resolved by the struggle, it can be resolved by building a new system.

Oleksandr Sushko, Executive Director of the International Renaissance Foundation, noted that under conditions when civil society is strong and the state is weak, there are additional risks of the destruction of the institutions.

According to Andriy Kulakov, Program Director at Internews-Ukraine, more co-operative spirit, more communication between each other and more joint projects, where public organisations will complement each other rather than compete – such is the vector of civil society development.

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