Representatives of 24 Ukrainian and 11 international non-governmental organizations met in Kyiv on 13 and 14 November for a series of roundtable discussions and workshops, according to the NATO web site. The aim was to explore how they could contribute to addressing important issues in the areas of national security and monitoring of reforms in Ukraine.

The NATO-Ukraine Civic League and the NATO Liaison Office in Ukraine co-hosted the event. It was organized in the framework of the Partnership Network for Civil Society Expertise Development, which was launched under the auspices of the NATO-Ukraine Joint Working Group on Defence Reform in 2006. Its aim is to promote the sharing of experience on the role of civil society in defence and security affairs among civil society groups and security practitioners in NATO member countries and Ukraine.

Task forces have been set up to look at two key areas. In each area, participants discussed the priority issues, identified ways in which non-governmental organizations could contribute to addressing these issues, and developed a concept for practical work by the Task Force.

Task Force I, meeting on 13 November, addressed issues of national security and defence policy and democratic governance of the security sector. A representative of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretariat provided an initial food-for-thought presentation on current issues and possible contributions from the non-governmental sector. Subsequent discussion focused on how to build relationships within the civic sector and with responsible state institutions in order to improve non-governmental input into Security and Defence Policy and Governance. A Ukrainian think-tank, the Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies (Razumkov Center), chaired the meeting and volunteered to act as Task Force I coordinator.

Task Force II, meeting on 14 November, addressed issues related to monitoring of broad reforms essential to meeting the standards of Euro-Atlantic democracies. A representative of Ukraine’s National Center for Euro-Atlantic Integration provided an initial food-for-thought presentation on challenges facing state institutions in coordinating development, implementation, and assessment of the NATO-Ukraine Annual Target Programs. Subsequent discussion focused on the purpose and possible methods of public monitoring to ensure public accountability and improve planning and implementation of reforms. A Ukrainian think-tank, the Strategic and Security Studies Group, chaired the meeting and volunteered to act as Task Force II coordinator.

The NATO-Ukraine Civic League will work with the Task Force coordinators to report on the outcome of each meeting, provide a virtual forum for ongoing discussion, and facilitate follow-up for implementing practical projects and activities.  Additional NATO-Ukraine Partnership Network meetings are planned for the first quarter of 2008.