G8 summit: a civil society-driven agenda – Russia please take note

Filed under - Civil society

Opinion by Elena Panfilova, Executive Director, Transparency International Russia in The Huffington Post (United States) – 14 June 2013
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Last week in preparation for the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland, German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited a group of civil society organizations to Berlin to brief her on their concerns, signalling how important our views are in shaping the world leaders' agenda. In fact, the top-line items on the G8 agenda are those that have been promoted by civil society for years: transparency in the global financial system and how to achieve sustainable growth.

I represented Transparency International Russia in the meeting with Mrs. Merkel. Among other issues, we talked about how Germany and Russia might find a common platform around the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which promotes transparency in the exploitation of natural resources. It is something my organization actively promotes and which neither Russia nor Germany has joined. Mrs. Merkel may well consider discussing this with President Putin in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

Given the difficult situation in Russia with civil society, where since last summer there has been a government crackdown on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), it is not surprising that I did not received a similar invitation from President Putin. That is too bad because there is much to discuss.

Civil society in Russia is currently facing a very real dilemma that could threaten its future existence, something that could also impact the G8 agenda, given that Russia takes over the presidency next year. It will be hypocritical for Russia, for example, to take forward the transparency in policy and practice agenda that the United Kingdom has promoted, without a strong civil society to hold the government to account.

Read the full article at the Huffington Post

Country / Territory - Russia   |   United Kingdom   
Region - Global   |   Europe and Central Asia   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Civil society   |   Human rights   |   Intergovernmental bodies   |   Politics and government   |   Transparency International   

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