Civil G8 2006

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Vladimir Putin meets with the leaders of the biggest International NGOs


In his Moscow region residence Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of such well known International organizations as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Transparency International, Greenpeace International, Wild World Fund, International Women Counsel and others.

The leaders were introduced to President by Ella Pamfilova, the chairman of the Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Counsel and the CivilG8-2006 coordinator.

President Putin suggested thinking over the mechanism of the dialogue between G8 leaders and International NGOs.

The atmosphere of the meeting was quite informal.

The opening word of the meeting.

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen!

I am very happy to have an opportunity to continue the discussion we started in the afternoon in the informal atmosphere.

You represent nongovernmental organizations which have a global nature, dealing with the most important issues for humanity: ecology, human rights etc. The activity of your organizations is not limited by a particular nation. I wont take your time by a long monologue, I was speaking a lot this afternoon. I think we will be able to discuss all the problems, we are concerned with, in this informal discourse.

I read the papers that you prepared. I know about your wish to let the G8 leaders about your opinion on different problems, about your readiness to meet and organize those meetings. I already mentioned it in the afternoon that the system is very bureaucratic, unfortunately to organize any meetings one has to have long consultations with protocol services, Ministries of Foreign Affairs. Nonetheless, we are ready to discuss even this question, especially with Sherps. In any case, there is no reason to doubt that, the colleagues will learn about the main ideas. Maybe we will think of some format of more or less stable cooperation, that will attract attention to the problems you are working at and which you want G87 leaders to know about.

This is all I wanted to say. I hope to have an open, detail discussion today.

The discourse of the NGO leaders with journalists after their meeting with President Putin.

Kumi Naidoo, CIVICUS Secretary General:

I will make a short speech about the almost 3 hour meeting we had with Russian President today. The meeting followed the Forum, which President also participated at. It is important fro us that it is the first meeting of that kind, nothing like that had happened before. It is for the first time for the meeting of such a level to take place for twelve of us, for twelve International NGOs representatives. We hope that other countries that will take the G8 presidency will follow this example.

Today we were meeting President Putin as the G8 chairman and we had time to discuss the most important global problems, concerning energy security, climate change, poverty and development, human rights, as well as the role of NGO in the contemporary world and their relationship with the Government.

We would like to point out that the meeting that took 3 hours was held in a very friendly atmosphere. President was open and we managed to discuss a lot and he talked to us in casual way and was making notes. That gives us hope that something of what was discussed today will heard at the G8 and included in the final G8 documents.

So we hope that these meetings will be regular and in future the G8 governments and countries will cooperate with NGOs on everyday basis.

Question: Did the topics you discussed during informal meeting differ from those discussed at the formal meeting?

Naidoo: On the whole the topics were the same, but some were new. As we had more time, we discussed a number of other topics, such as Darfur (Sudan) we did not have time to discuss it in the afternoon, so continued in the evening.

Q: Question: Lately, it was often mentioned that the voice of the public society should be heard and the meetings like that should be regular, that there is a need to have meetings with G8 leaders. Was this topic touched upon? Did you get any results?

Naidoo: I think the first step in the right direction is already done and we will continue to move ahead. Now I would like my colleagues will speak briefly about the sectors they represent, the problems they discussed with President themselves.

Irene Khan (Amnesty International, Secretary General):
I raised the question about the NGOs here, in Russia, especially in regard to the law on the NGOs adopted this January. I expressed my opinion that State regulation of NGOs should be on a certain level, but the law adopted in the RF is very complicated and gives the Government too much power over NGOs. It makes them too dependable, which makes the cooperation too difficult.

We suggested practical examples of how this law complicates the work of NGOs and their cooperation with the Government. President Putin let us know about his readiness and his desire to implement the amendments to the law. We are looking forward to it.

Naidoo: Another topic that weve been discussing, is energy security and climate change.

Gerd Leilold (Greenpeace International, Executive Director):
We are very grateful and glad to hear from the President about his commitment to the Kioto Protocol/ we did not agree with the view point that climate change is not connected with human activity and explained out point. We spoke about nuclear energy and we claimed that it is not the only solution of the problem, regulation of the nuclear energy questions should be more precise.

Kumi Naidoo: The second topic is poverty and development.

Barbara Stocking (OXHAM UK, Director):
We discussed the questions of cooperation and WTO work and we expressed our concern that the work of this organization harms many of the developing countries. President seemed to agree with us. We also discussed the problem of the grants donated by European countries and USA. We hope to have a more serious support on your part for our next talks with the WTO representatives. It seems that we reached agreement with the President on this matter. My colleague will continue.

Ramesh Singh (Action Aid International, Executive Director):
Today we discussed with President the question of the aid, not only its quantity but also its quality. I pointed it out to the President that the G8 leaders promises, given at the last year Summit were not fulfilled 100%. The countries that need it have not received it yet. And President, obviously, is ready to help in this respect. This question will be discussed at the coming Summit, some decision will be taken in the end.

Besides, we made it clear that we do not want another promise, but we want to know the volumes of the aid and most important the quality of this aid. Another question is how they will define the countries that need this aid first. We saw that President is ready to support us and is ready to make decisions.

U..Labelle (Transparency International, Director):
I represent Transparency International. We deal with the corruption control and it is the corruption that I talked to President about. We believe that the G8 leaders should pay more attention to the corruption control. President is ready to discuss this question. Most important we want to hear that G8 leaders will agree at the Summit that they all will be devoted to corruption control 100% in their own countries, otherwise, we will never gain any results in this respect, so we cannot talk about future development.

Carroll Bogart (Human Rights Watch, Associate Director):
I represent Human Rights Watch. Today we discussed the problems of the Human Rights. I have to mention that this topic was the most complicated, problematic. We spoke to President about the ways the Human Rights are supported and what is being done in this respect. And I claimed that no G8 country is clean in this question. Every country has the cases when Human Rights are violated. This afternoon, giving speech at the forum, President said that any leader of any country likes criticizing others for violating Human Rights, but always refuses to see these problems in his own country.

Today we asked about the concrete measures and concrete changes that have taken place in Russia lately. Unfortunately, we never heard the answer on this question. If you are interested I can dwell on that later.


Participants of the Meeting:

Roberto Bissioo (Social Watch, Executive Director)

Carroll Bogart (Human Rights Watch, Associate Director)

Irene Khan (Amnesty International, Secretary General)

Ugett Labelle (Transparency International, Director)

Gerd Leilold (Greenpeace International, Executive Director):

James P. Leape (WWF, General Director)

Richard Lloyd (Consuners International, Director general)

Henru Sinwala Malumo (GCNP, Zambia)

Kumi Naidoo (CIVICUS, Secretary General)

Ramesh Singh (Action Aid International, Executive Director):

Barbara Stocking (OXHAM UK, Director):

Laura Finn-Elonen (International Council of Women, Vice-President)

Lucia Fry (GCE, Global Coordinator)

* * *

Serguei Prikhodko, President Advisor

Igor Shuvalov, President Advisor

Ella Pamfilova, Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation, Chair, All-Russia Union of Public Associations Civil Society for the Children of Russia, Chair, Presidium of the All-Russia Public Movement Civil Worth, Chair

Unofficial translation from Russian

Expert opinion

Halter Marek

02.12.06

Halter Marek
Le College de France
Olivier Giscard dEstaing

02.12.06

Olivier Giscard dEstaing
COPAM, France
Mika Ohbayashi

02.12.06

Mika Ohbayashi
Institute for Sustainable Energy Poliy
Bill Pace

02.12.06

Bill Pace
World Federalist Movement - Institute for Global Policy
Peter I. Hajnal

01.12.06

Peter I. Hajnal
Toronto University, G8 Research Group