|Luxembourg Euro-med Civil Forum : more civil society|
|The year 2005 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Process. At its creation, in 1995, a Euromed Civil Forum took place as well, besides the Euromediterranean states discussions, to reflect and act in favour of a stronger role and place of civil society within the framework of the partnership and beyond.
The Forum remained also and foremost the moment when dialogue and debate with public authorities reach their full realisation through the consideration of civil society expectations and proposals.
The Forum is therefore strongly awaited since it will take place the year of the Anniversary and will be the first Civil Forum that the Euromed Non-Governmental Platform has been able to prepare, organise and manage from the beginning.
Euromed Non-Governmental Platform
Euromed Non-Governmental Platform works in the framework of the Barcelona Process – the partnership created in 1995 to bring together the countries of the Southern shore of the Mediterranean and the EU countries. The Platform was established in February 2003 as an inclusive and open-ended group of active civil society organizations which are independent of public authorities. Its main purposes are to strengthen the role of civil society in the Euro-Med Partnership, to reform the EuroMed civil forum and to establish a permanent interface between actors from EuroMed civil society and the public authorities.
The Barcelona Process has, from its beginning, emphasised the importance of strengthening civil societies and networking between actors dealing with democratisation and development in the North and in the South. The Platform therefore seeks to reinforce the implication of civil society in the Barcelona Process and in all policies and mechanisms of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EMP) and to promote the recognition of civil society as a key interlocutor in the countries of the region, in the framework of the EMP as well as in the new neighbourhood policies.
It gathers regional, sub-regional, national and local organisations from the EuroMed region. They represent a diverse range of civil society interests, including the environment, trade unions, human rights, development, transparency, culture, women and youth. Members of the Platform adhere to a Platform Charter of common values, objectives and working principles.
9 Euro-Mediterranean Civil Forums, have already took place in the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, Barcelona (1995), Malta (1997), Naples (1997), Stuttgart (1999), Marseilles (2000), Bruselles (2001),Valencia (2002), Chania (2003), and Naples (2003) since the establishment of the Euro-med Partnership they have provided EuroMed civil society an opportunity to meet and agree on recommendations to the EMP governments. However, a growing number of key actors were dissatisfied with the methods of organising the Civil Forums and their lack of political impact on decision-makers and civil society.
Therefore, past and present organisers of the Civil Forums met during and after the Valencia Civil Forum in 2002 to discuss how to strengthen the Civil Forum format. Further meetings took place in November, 2002, and January/February 2003, in Brussels, to finally give birth and organise this year’s Forum.
Civil Forum 2005
The Euromed Non-Gouvernemental Platform has committed itself to make this major Euromed Partnership event one of true civil society concern for both nationals from the North and from the South. The programme proposition is thus characterized by participative methods and anticipates only a limited time for plenary sessions. A substantial time is envisaged for thematic workshops and free workshops, which will be prepared and run by the participants themselves.A central element in the Forum will be its Agora, a public place where participants can organise, during many encounters and exchanges on the most diverse subjects, exhibitions and testimonials on non-governmental activities and experiences.
For more infos, Website: http://www.euromedforum.org
Marseille,03 29 2005