Civil G8-2006: what, how, when
The consultations with NGOs have become a tradition of the preparatory stage of G8 summits. The main aim of such consultations is to clarify the civil society position on priority issues determined by the presiding country.
During the Russia's presidency Global Energy Security, Infection Diseases and Education are such priorities for the G8 2006 summit. Among the other vital for the international community the fight against international terrorism, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, international trade and financing etc. are named.
At the NGO initiative there was created National Working Group of the Civil G8 project in Russia with Ella Pamfilova as its coordinator. The main aim of the nongovernmental organizations who launched this "Civil G8-2006" project is to preserve the most positive, achieved during the previous years in the sphere of interaction with the Group of Eight (G8) and to try to put this interaction to a new level. The "Civil G8-2006" is meant for discussion of the issues on the agenda of the G8 Summit by the civil society organizations' representatives from various countries as well as by those interested from business and governmental spheres. The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin has expressed his readiness to develop the dialogue with the Russian and international civil society during the Russian presidency.
Open Discussion Field for Partner Dialogue
During the period of the Russia presidency in G8 the Russian NGOs invite the wide range of civil society Russian, foreign and international institutions to participate in the consultative process. Its results - ideas, approaches, opinions and recommendations - will be brought to the G8 officials and leaders' knowledge.
The initiators of such consultations hope that the coordination of the world NGOs efforts will contribute considerably to the development of the dialogue on most important issues, to the ascertainment of efficient cooperation between various social sectors in Russia and abroad.
What does the "Civil G8" intend to do:
- to initiate reports on NGOs' positions on the G8 official agenda in July, 2006 in St Petersburg;
- to organize and conduct national and international discussions, round table discussions, which could strictly determine the priorities and approaches of civil society institutions, national and international NGOs concerning G8 - 2006 official agenda;
- to fulfill civil expertise, evaluation of projects, ideas, recommendations proposed for the discussion at the 2006 G8 summit and having a huge social interest (if needed international experts can be involved);
- to collect and fulfill primary analysis of ideas, recommendations for next G8 summits.
All the collected materials - recommendations, ideas, expert evaluations - will be transmitted to G8 representatives. (For example, the final documents of the Conference of NGOs in March, 2006 will be passed to G8 representatives for the further analysis).
Final documents of public events held within the framework of the "Civil G8-2006" as well as the conclusions, proposals, recommendations of the round tables, conclusions of the civil expertise and other documents, created during the consultative process will be handed to the representatives of the G8 as materials for consideration during the work of this mechanism. (For example, it is supposed that the final documents of the March conference of nongovernmental organizations will be handed over as supplementary materials to consider during the subsequent ministerial meetings). Another aim of such consultations is to form civil structures of monitoring G8 decision implementation. It is especially important for the actions having sharp social interest or being vital for the majority of people.
Note. The participation of civil society institutions in the Project doesn't restrict their right to contact directly the official structures of G8 countries using traditional means and mechanisms.
The Advisory Council
The main task of the consultative process organized by the "Civil G8-2006" is to provide it with quality content. The representatives of the prominent Russian and international nongovernmental organizations actively participating in the consultative process have the right to present not only the position of their institutions but also their personal opinions.
The structure of the Advisory Council allows the distribution of its main functions and efforts among four permanent Thematic Forums patronized by the Council. The nature, main directions and main accents of civil discussions will be specified during the consultations. The Advisory Council is also responsible for forming groups of NGOs experts to prepare documents destined for the discussion by wide range of civil representatives.
All the initiatives of the NGOs to create new groups are also welcome: they may approach any member of the Advisory Council with their proposals.
National Working Group of the "Civil G8" project
The TechSupport of the Consultative Process, the informational activities and forums is vested with the National Working Group of The Advisory Council (see the website of "Civil G8" http://www.civilg8.ru).
The Informational Providing
The mail source of information for all the participants of the project, the discussion field, accumulator of ideas, recommendations, dedicated for Project participants as well as for the experts is the Project bilingual (Russian and English) website WWW.CIVILG8.RU
The Consultative Process
The process of NGOs consultations as seen during the period of Russia presidency in the G8 is divided into three stages.
Primary Stage (January-March)
Main task of the "Civil G8" is to prepare and to introduce NGO recommendations to the G8 St Petersburg Summit agenda. During this stage the "Civil G8 - 2006" intends to organize and conduct a series of conferences, seminars, round table discussions with the participation of the representatives of the civil society and leading NGOs. The discussions on the priorities of the Russia presidency in G8 will be held simultaneously with the official preparatory activities within the framework of G8 (meetings of ministers, sous-sherpas etc.). The materials prepared within the civil discussion will be passed to the officials to get acquainted with the position of civil society institutions and, as we hope, to use it while elaborating decisions. The NGOs Conference "The Contribution of Civil Society Institutions to the G8 Agenda" (March 2006) would be a final activity at this stage of the project. Within this Conference the representatives of the civil society will have possibility to discuss and to present their recommendations for the coming Summit. Following the March Conference we plan to organize the meeting of the Advisory Council members with Sherpas in Moscow. Such practice was successfully in place for the past couple of years.
The Preparatory Stage (April-July)
Main tasks of the "Civil G8 - 2006" are as follows: the preparation of the civil component of G8 summit in St Petersburg, assistance in the process of cooperation between the civil society and the official bodies, lobbying the promotion of the proposals offered within the March conference and the meeting with Sherpas. Right before the summit (April-June) the civil institutions involved in the process will conduct the second series of conferences, seminars and round table discussion, which are also connected as during the previous stage with the events of the official G8.
Such format will allow the NGOs to influence at most the G8 agenda, to recommend issues important for the civil society, to verify their own ideas, decisions recommendations for G8 leaders.
It is supposed that on the eve of the summit in St Petersburg the international NGOs Forum should take place. This event can publicly show the result of the consultative process with the participation of NGOs, to articulate ideas and approaches of civil society institutions formulated at the first half of 2006 on the conferences, seminars, round table discussions. The final document of the Forum should be handed over to the G8 leaders and spread among the wide array of nongovernmental and other organizations concerned. One of the serious practical goals of the "Civil G8 - 2006" is the guarantee of a wide access of experts and civil institutions representatives to the accreditation at the G8 summit.
The Final Stage (August - November)
The main tasks of the "Civil G8 - 2006" in this period is to implement a civil monitoring of the G8 summit decisions (along with the previously agreed to decisions of the G8), to summarize the results of the consultative process, to elaborate recommendations for the representatives of a country presiding within the G8 summit in 2007. It is supposed, that during the final stage of the Project the civil institutions involved in the process should organized and seminars and round table discussions alongside with the activities of G8 official process.
After every Forum the civil institutions are to present resulting documents to the relevant official meetings. In these documents the civil society institutions should evaluate the process of execution of the decisions taken within the summit, give recommendations how to intensify or proofread the steps taken in this direction. Such format of the cooperation will allow to draw attention to the ideas, that had no relevant reflection in the summit resulting documents.
The result of the stage and the whole process of the consultations with NGOs during the period of Russian presidency in the G8 should be summarized at the conference of Russian NGOs "The realization of the G8 summit agenda in 2006" (November) with the possible participation of the Sherpas of Russia and Germany and other officials.