Interview of experts in Moscow and Kazan 18-19 of may 2006
SUD France, Coordination
We have not enough contacts with Russian NGOs – both federal and regional. That’s why we are trying to use the period of Russian presidency in G8 to establish tighter contacts with Russian non-governmental organizations.
Russian NGOs do a lot to develop their relations with foreign colleagues. For the moment these contacts are not enough but the Russian colleagues actively develop them. It is a very important fact that the representatives of CIS are also attending the activities of Civil G8-2006. One more index of the international nature of the project is that practically all the participants can speak English what makes their communication very comfortable.
The meeting with the Sherpas has been conducted in a very comfortable format. The representatives of NGOs were concrete and constructive. I respect their intelligence and willingness to cooperate.
ACT UP (France)
Fighting infectious diseases, particularly, HIV/AIDS, is one of the most important problems of the mankind today. NGOs can do a lot in this sphere, and what is more, their actions can considerably contribute to the general success.
The civil society must be not only the participant of the process, but its leader, especially, in the sphere of prevention of infectious diseases dissemination. It can do a lot to form a responsible behavior of a person, inform people about a safe sex, a danger of drug use etc. We talked about it recently within the framework of the anti-AIDS conference held in Moscow.
Russian NGOs, I think, could use the rich experience of their French colleagues. For example, in 1993 about 40 percent of infectious diseases in France were transmitted through syringes used by drug addicts. In 2003 this figure has not only changed – it was no one case of infections transmittance through the use of syringe. And we can say without any exaggeration it was a contribution of NGOs, widely informing the youth about the danger of using non single-use syringes.
The civil society has its special responsibility, because it is usually first to act and the government joins later.
Henri Sinvala Malumo
Civil Society for MDG, General Call for Poverty Reduction (Zambia)
I think the G8 leaders will hear the voice of NGOs, their concern about the situation in Africa. This is a good chance for the Russian NGOs to show their activeness and understanding of international problems. The problems of Africa considerably coincide with the priorities of G8-2006 – education, infectious diseases, global energy security.
The success of every civil society activity will depend enormously on the fact, how it is able to tie national and international problems solving together.
What should be made by the civil society for its voice could be heard? We must unit our efforts – the lonely voice cannot be heard at all. And in the future we should to monitor and control how the G8 Group takes its promises, how it implements the recommendations of the civil society.
German NGO Forum for Environment and Development
In 2007 German NGOs will take the baton from Russian colleagues, actively participating in the process of preparing the civil constituent of the G8 summit. German NGOs will adopt some Russian experience and, of course, will involve their own technologies, because every country and every society has its particularities and its specifics.
For example, the private business in Germany has no acute need in contacts with NGOs – the voice of business is heard by the society and the government. But taking into account the importance of the G8 priority items, such as global energy security, for example, the participation of private business representatives in discussing recommendations for G8 leaders seems more than reasonable. That’s why I found it obviously intelligent that Russian NGOs invite the private business to the dialogue.
To go ahead with preparing its civil part of the G8-2007 process, German NGOs need more contacts with Russia, especially with their Russian colleagues. And it is also important to use the presidency of the country in G8, not forgetting about its international nature, i.e. to tie together the country’s problems with the problems of international community.
The Royal Institute of International Affairs (CHATAM HOUSE) United Kingdom
My expectations before the meeting with Sherpas were low. We had to discuss a lot of problems within the framework of the meeting which could prevent us from executing a deep analysis of our problems. But the advantage of the meeting was the fact that all the Sherpas were attending and this is very important simply because it increases the chances of the civil society to be heard by the G8 Group leaders.
The dialogue between the Sherpas and NGOs showed that not all representatives of Russian NGOs have the full understanding of the international nature of G8 activities – the discussed items mostly dealt with Russian problems. I think, that the Russian colleagues have to realize the necessity to discuss and analyze national and international issues as a whole unit.
The same approach the Russian NGOs should elaborate within the monitoring and analysis of G8 promises and their implementation of civil society. This is the prerogative of not only Russian NGOs but also civil organizations of G8 and other countries.
NGO “Social Surveillance” (Uruguay)
I was very pleased that I had possibility to contact my Russian colleagues. They are well-informed, they have critical approach and the willingness to deeply understand the civil society problems.
Many of my colleagues consider it necessary to create a global confederation of non-governmental organizations. I think we have to discuss and analyze this suggestion first, because many factors depend on the particularities of a country. It is very important for NGOs to keep the diversity of opinions. How can the confederation suggest a single position, a single point of view? From this point of view the idea of an umbrella organization involving several NGOs sounds more reasonable to me.
Anyhow, we need basic standards on which such umbrella organizations can be built. But to do this we need mechanisms elaborated and corrected by NGOs themselves, not proposed by the government or who ever it can be.
The meeting of NGOs with the Sherpas was interesting; but unfortunately, we had many issues to discuss and had no possibility to analyze them deeply. One more flaw was that we had only one person representing Africa and no one NGO from Asia.
But generally, I repeat, the meeting with the Sherpas was very interesting and it was a dialogue. It’s a good sign.