Recommendations following the International Conference “Factors for the civil society cooperation and dialogue in Transnistrian conflict settlement”, which took place in Kyiv on 22-23 November, 2013

Aiming to find new approaches to the Transnistrian conflict settlement, to enhance trans-border cooperation and to develop confidence-building measures in the region; to increase contacts between experts and representatives of the civil society of Ukraine, Moldova and Transnistria, the representatives of the experts community and non-governmental organizations from three sides propose recommendations elaborated by the experts for consideration of the participants of the negotiating format “5+2”. These recommendations have been prepared following the International Conference “Factors for the civil society cooperation and dialogue in Transnistrian conflict settlement”, which was organized by the Ukrainian Institute for International Politics, Odessa Branch of the National Institute for Strategic Studies, under the initiative of the Ukrainian OSCE Chairmanship, and with the support of the Embassy of Germany in Ukraine and International Renaissance Foundation.

  1. Enhancing dialogue on the economic dimension of cooperation.

Taken as a basis the necessity of modernization and sustainable development for both sides to the conflict, recommend:

  • to strengthen protection of the intellectual rights at the legislative level;
  • to initiate experts discussions with the participation of the civil society of both sides on possibility to implement international standards in accounting, food quality, legislative regulation of the entrepreneurship, small and medium business;
  • to review the specific of double taxation basing on unification and international experience of the similar issues settlement.
  • to initiate with the participation of the experts community elaboration and implementation of some joint economic specific projects, which are mutually benefit.
  • to enhance dialogue on possibilities for reforming the Transnistrian railways transportation and railway rolling stock. The whole system of the railways is out of date, as a result of what Transnistrian potential in such transportations is not used fully.

Steps towards modernization are important for both sides and will not be perceived as an imposition of the legislative and economic initiatives by one side.

  1. Enhancing the role of the transborder cooperation and facilitation the border crossing.

As a practice of the transborder cooperation has demonstrated the environmental dimension is one of the main priority and it demonstrates positive dynamics, emphasizing the possibility of the constructive dialogue and implementation of the important for the region tasks.

From another side, the issues of transportation (cargo and human) are not resolved, the difficulties with border crossing can be witnessed, including those living in the border regions. Also the dynamic of the euroregion “Dnister” work is absent. Taking into account mentioned above, recommend:

  • In the environmental sphere to continue and to develop initiatives for local mini-projects for local communities of Moldova and Transnistria.
  • To consider existed difficulties in the work of the euroregion “Dnister”, to propose to Transnistria to review conditions of its participation in this project and additionally to attract yet one region from the Ukrainian side.
  • In the sphere of the cultural cooperation and tourism development, consider as important to develop a joint touristic route for the towns of Moldova, Ukraine and Transnistria. This can be architectural monuments and historical places, which in a perspective will significantly improve a touristic attraction of the region and can become a new sphere for transborder cooperation improvement. As an example, there are joint projects between Ukraine and Poland, which are included into UNESCO list. Moreover, such initiatives can include different ethnic festival and fairs.
  • To boost the negotiation process aiming to find a possibility to implement a smooth border crossing between Ukraine and Transnistria for the inhabitants of the border regions.
  • To consider the difficultness and duration of the border crossing procedure between Transnistria and Ukraine for the citizens of Moldova and Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian side to define the issue of the status of Ukrainians in Transnistria, which prevent citizens of Ukraine, who live at the territory of Transnistria from use of the privileges to study in the Ukrainian universities.
  1. Third sector development and civil society involvement in a dialogue with the authorities.

As practice shows, cooperation between the authorities and civil society is an integral part of democratization and complex resolution of the problems existing in the society. However within the years it has been a process of separate development of the civil society in Transnistria, Ukraine and Moldova, despite the fact that in practice all sides have best practices and solutions for difficult issues faced in their work. Experience and best-practices sharing will give a possibility for more effective development in our region. Taking into account his recommend:

–       To involve non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to the work of the “5+2” working groups. This can be introduced as parallel sessions in a separate working groups, which as a result will propose recommendations before every round of negotiations. Also it is important that the representatives of the “5+2” working groups to participate at such sessions. In this case, the initiative of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Moldova, which has started the similar project, looks positive and has a perspective.

–       Promoting improving contacts between the NGOs and local authorities and political elites. Such steps will give better understanding of the role and work of every side, that can enhance trust to the authorities and will enable the NGOs to elaborate their own agenda considering democracy development possibilities, and will make authorities more transparent for the civil society. As a pilot initiative it can be started regular meetings between the authorities and representatives of the non-governmental organizations for joint resolution of the local problems in different spheres.

–       As for many years the community in Transnistria has developed in a separate environment, so one can feel the loose of the joint identity and decrease in contacts in a daily life. Having this in mind, we consider as an important to increase contacts between the representatives of the NGOs and local elites from the both sides of the Dnister River. For this goal joint festivals can be organized, as well as exhibitions, cultural events, educational and business visits. For this dialogue not only representatives of the non-governmental organizations should be involved, but also other civil society actors: associations, trade unions. As an example, the annual NGOs forum can be initiated, where they can present their projects and best-practices. Ukrainian organizations are ready to join and to assist to organize such events. As a first step for the civil society development, the internet site for the local initiatives and cooperation of the NGOs from Transnistria, Moldova and Ukraine can be developed. Thus it will be possible to share experience, best-practices and to initiate joint projects.

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