Pre-history

Логотип Конгресса в ВаршавеThe first regional NGO congress took place in March 2006 in Warsaw and was attended by 150 civil society representatives from Central and Eastern Europe (http://www.warsawcongress.pl).

The idea of the Congress belonged to a group of Polish NGOs actively working in the region. Issues of regional cooperation, problems of civil society in Belarus and Russia, situation with the freedom of association and freedom of assembly have been discussed at the Congress.

The delegates adopted the resolution underlining the role of non-governmental organizations in the sphere of international cooperation and political activity, as well as the resolution condemning the dictatorship in Belarus and offensive to the freedom of peaceful assembly.

Regional NGO Congress has become a successful example of creating a platform for cooperation between non-governmental organizations in the region.

Логотип Конгресса в КиевеThe Second Regional NGO Congress took place on 25-27 November 2007 in Kyiv (Ukraine) (http://ngocongress.kiev.ua) and gathered 200 participants from 15 countries.

The Congress aimed at providing a platform for the leading NGO representatives to discuss the role of their organisations in the development and consolidation of democracy, as well as to look into the possibilities and prospects of regional cooperation and to prepare recommendations for the activities of NGOs in their region.

Plenary sessions of the Congress have been devoted to the role of NGOs in the development and consolidation of democracy, democratic standards in NGO legislation, public monitoring of elections and voter education, and issues of regional cooperation.

At the thematic sessions such issues as ensuring freedom of association and peaceful assembly, problems of civil participation in making political decisions, interaction of NGOs with European institutions and challenges for civil society in Belarus have been discussed.

Логотип запланированного в Пензе КонгрессаThe Third Regional NGO Congress was planned to take place in Russia.

The INGO Conference of the Council of Europe has selected as a Russian partner the Council of the Federation Commission on Civil Society Development Institutes Affairs, and as a venue – the city of Penza (www.ngocongress.ru).

For the first time, a governmental body acts as a co-organiser of the Congress, whereas independent NGOs from the countries of the region are in fact excluded from the process of irs organization.

After their suggestions, that were repeatedly put forward, had been ignored by the official organizing committee, a number of Russian and international NGOs, supported by their colleagues from Poland, Belarus, Ukraine and other countries, refused to recognize the Penza event as a Third Regional NGO Congress. They declared their readiness to start preparation to a genuine NGO Congress according to the principles worked out by independent organizations taking into account the previous experience and aiming at promotion of the fundamental values of the Council of Europe.

You can read about the suggestions and actions of independent NGOs around the Regional NGO Congress in the other sections of this website.