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CMI provides a high-level platform for Ukrainians to discuss their future

Published on Monday, 18th of August 2014

CMI has supported Ukraine’s peaceful development since 2010.  We currently work to support dialogue among members of political and intellectual spheres of the society with an aim to discuss on the topics relevant for the Ukraine long-term development and to constructively address the existing divisions in the country.

On 19-20 July 2014, CMI organised a high-level dialogue for Ukrainian political actors and independent experts in Austria. The dialogue aimed at providing a platform for high-level actors to jointly discuss the current developments in Ukraine and the crisis’ broader role and impact within the region and to search together for ways out of the crisis.

The Ukrainian dialogue group was composed of Members of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) and independent intellectual leaders, who together represented a broad range of political views on the situation in the country, drawn from different parts of the country, including Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Lessons Learnt from other Peace and Nation Building Processes: Northern Ireland and Finland

During the first day of the dialogue, participants were given the opportunity to hear from high-level experts about the Northern Ireland peace process, with presentations from:

  • Former Prime Minister of Ireland, Mr. Bertie Ahern, who negotiated and co-signed the Good Friday Agreement;
  • the Rt. Hon. Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Member of the UK House of Commons from Northern Ireland (2005-present), Member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Causeway Institute for Peacebuilding & Conflict Resolution, former member of the Ulster Unionist Party’s negotiating team for the Good Friday Agreement and of the Democratic Unionist Party’s negotiating team for the St. Andrews agreement;
  • Dr. Sean Farren, former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly (1982-2007), member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party negotiating team for the Good Friday Agreement, Minister of Education (1999-2001) and Minister of Finance (2001-2002) in the power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive; and
  • Ambassador Erwan Fouéré, former Special Representative for the Transdniestrian settlement process of the Irish Chairmanship of the OSCE (2012), EU Special Representative and Head of Delegation in FYR Macedonia (2005-2011), former EU Head of Delegation in Slovenia, South Africa, Mexico and Cuba.

On the second day of the dialogue, participants had the opportunity to exchange with Mr. Ilkka Kanerva, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Member of Finland’s Parliament and Ambassador Katja Pehrman, Ambassador of Finland to the OSCE and co-chair of the OSCE Helsinki+40 working group on protracted conflicts.  The focal points of this session were the lessons learnt within Finland’s political system in the sphere of foreign policy and nation building, and the role of the OSCE in dealing with the crisis in Ukraine.

Discussion and Internal Dialogue

Presentations were followed by an open discussion on the applicability of lessons drawn from the Northern Ireland and Finland experiences, the current developments in Ukraine, their impact on the region and the role of the OSCE and the broader international community.

Ukrainian dialogue participants focused their internal discussions on potential ways forward out of the current crisis in Ukraine and agreed on the need to continue interactions in such a dialogue format at regular future meetings, with the ongoing aim of searching for ways to stabilise the country based on lessons drawn from international experiences and expertise.

This event was organised with funding support from Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Ireland and the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.