SuperHeroes School, Path Of Health, Day of Solidarity - Belarus Civil Society Digest

Belarus and Lithuania connected by bicycle paths. Third Kastryčnicky Economic Forum launches preparations for an event in Minsk. Belarusian authorities launch a principle of a "single window" for all international technical assistance projects.

Communal services reform is coming. A group of expert panellists hold a discussion titled “Does the Belarusian Government Needs NGOs.

Civil Society Initiatives

The Day of Solidarity with civil society and human rights movement in Belarus. 4 August was the day marked by democratic activists around the world as the Day of Solidarity with civil society and human rights movement in Belarus. The campaign was launched three years ago to mark the day when in 2011 Ales Bialiacki, Belarusian human rights activist, was arrested (released in June 2014). This year organisers called to join the action # 4Aug and support the Belarusian civil society.

Belarus and Lithuania connected by bicycle paths and water routes. Thanks to an EU-funded cross-border cooperation project "Ecological Transport Uniting Neighbours", a new bicycle "Path of Health" in the Pyshki Forest Park has been opened in Hrodna, Belarus. In addition, a new facility for active leisure lovers with sheds for cooking meals, campfires, and garbage containers was opened to the public along the coastal line of the river Neman, where one can stop when kayaking.

SuperHeroes school realises a series of new bike projects. New parking places, bikequest and bike meeting at Uruchcha were held by participants of the team of first school of SuperHeroes. In collaboration with help of company Nitur, activists have built a new parking place and hold an informal meeting with bicyclists of the Uruchcha district altogether with Falanster representatives. Seven projects of SuperHeroes Summer School are to be realized till October.

Gender equality in CSR strategies of Belarusian companies. Irina Alkhovka of Gender Perspectives speaks to the Office of Democratic Belarus about the need to use gender equality principles when developing CSR strategies. Irina, who is a member of the Council of Ministers’ National Council for Gender Policy, argues that compliance with gender equality principles will help Belarusian companies at the time of crisis.

Seminars and conferences

Office for European Expertise and Communication and British Embassy announce a series of partnership making meetings. Meetings will take place during 2015-2016 years and are opened for civil society organisations working on regional and rural areas and local communities' activists for further professional development. The deadline for applications is 20 August.​

Third Kastryčnicky Economic Forum launches preparations. The KEF-2015 conference “Economy of Belarus: At a Tipping Point” will take place on 3-4 November in Minsk. Kastryčnicky/October Economic Forum aims at bringing various stakeholders together to discuss the reform plans of the government, and contribute to building consensus and trust towards a structural reform agenda. The conference is organized by IPM Research Centre together with BEROC and CASE Belarus. Partners are USAID, Pact and the Association of European Business.

EuroBelarus invited cultural activists for a seminar. The EuroBelarus Consortium conducted a seminar for leaders and activists or cultural organisations to attend a seminar “Culture as a tool of social transformation: innovation and unused potential”. The seminar took place on 14-16 August outside of Minsk, and offered master classes and expert discussions on such issues as demanded and sensitive issues of Belarusian society, the role of culture in social transformation and others.

Interaction between state and civil society

Belarus launches a principle of a "single window" for all international technical assistance projects (ITA). The Ministry of Economy will carry out the procedure of approval and registration of ITA projects. To coordinate raising and using ITA, Coordinating Council is being establishing with participation of representatives of Belarus, international organisations and foreign countries. By its 21 July decision the Council of Ministers has approved three international technical assistance projects, including Mobility Scheme for Target Interpersonal Contacts (MOST), Institutional Development and Support of Upgrade Policy of Component Producers for the Automobile Sector in the Republic of Belarus, Education Reform Through International Knowledge Exchange.

Communal services reform is coming? Several draft decrees await their review and signature, and the purpose of which is to kick-start the reform in the communal services sphere. If adopted, the new regulations will offer more rights to home-owners and increase their responsibility for the management of housing matters. Civil society experts believe that the new regulations could become a good start to reform the entire communal services sphere.

18th Edition of CSO Sustainability Index for Belarus is presented as a round-table. NGO “ACT” and a group of expert panellists hold the discussion titled “Does the Belarusian Government Needs NGOs?”. The event gathered around 40 guests, including international organizations and representatives of three ministries. The program included presentation of the CSOSI as well as presentations of SOS-Kinderdorf; NGO “Positive Movement” and sectoral analyses by Office for European Expertise and Communications.

Court dismissed the administrative case against Ihar Barysau, editor-in-chief of the Naš Mahilioŭ independent newspaper, due to expiration of the two-month period for the imposition of an administrative penalty. The journalist was charged when visiting the police department on 13 July where he had come to take back the computers seized from him on charges of defaming the manager of the Stužka state-owned enterprise.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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