November 6, 2013
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomed the Board of the Civic Chamber and diplomats from member countries AICESIS.
Author: Evgeniy VELIKHOV
On November 6, the Russian Foreign Ministry arranged a reception in honor of the election of the Public Chamber of Russia as chairman AICESIS .
In the hospitable mansion on Spiridonovka Council welcomed the Board of the Civic Chamber of Russia headed by Yevgeny Velikhov and diplomats from member countries AICESIS .
"We believe that this is an important step for Russian civil society " - said , opening the official part , Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov . He stressed that the election of the Civic Chamber as leader of the Association , on the one hand, says " the high evaluation of the Civic Chamber ," and on the other hand, will allow representatives of Russian civil society actively "participate in the formation of a broad agenda " at the international level .
Especially Lavrov stressed that Russia attaches " the growing importance of cooperation with civil society."
"It is in the interest of creating the optimal foreign policy of the Russian Federation , which among other things implies an increase in the role of people's diplomacy" , - said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry .
"This is not a figure of speech and not a fad ," - Lavrov continued , inviting community members to cooperate more closely . "Given the official status of the Foreign Ministry, not always , maybe we perceive new ideas immediately , but it's still a two-way process ," - said the Minister.
Finally, he promised every assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Civic Chamber and AICESIS .
Secretary of the Civic Chamber of Russia, Yevgeny Velikhov AICESIS President for his part said that the election of the Civic Chamber as a leader in addition to the prestige of the International Association entails a huge responsibility.
"Potential Association huge, given the number of participating countries and the possibility of networking ," - said Velikhov . According to him, AICESIS should not limit the range of topics to work . In particular , the new president of the association said the priority topics related to the economy, energy and development of youth cooperation (for details , see the interview with Eugene Velikhova to the press service of the Civic Chamber ) .
Civic Chamber secretary said that under the AICESIS intends to do to establish business contacts between various associations of NGOs.
" I have a dream to try to make a report on the state of global civil society " - among other things shared Yevgeny Velikhov.
Speech by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the reception on the occasion of the election of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation to the Presidency of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions, Moscow, 6 November 2013
Ladies and Gentlemen, friends,
We are pleased to welcome all the guests and congratulate the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation on its election to the Presidency of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions.
The very fact of its election is a big success, which highlights the high assessment of the CCRF as a member of the Association. We consider it an important step, which allows us to extend the possibilities of our civil society not only by participating in the international community movement, but also by contributing to the formation of its agenda. It is sad that the general public is not informed about it, but I expect that today’s event and things set before us by Evgeny Velikhov, including the plans of the Civic Chamber for the next two years in its role in the Presidency of the International association, will allow us to learn more about some very important projects within the ambit of this structure. Unfortunately, the modern media world does not sell good news, but only scandals. However, we need to break this trend. We need to be informed not only about crises, but also that there is a very stable strong movement, which promotes a positive agenda. We will support this in all possible ways.
Some very serious work lies ahead of us to implement the tasks faced by the AICESIS in accordance with the roadmap of the presidency until 2015, which includes a very substantial plan of events. We will have another opportunity not only to learn about it in detail, but also to participate in the implementation of respective intents. I am convinced that the goals set by the Civic Chamber will correspond to the tasks set at the session of the General Assembly of the Association in Algeria this September. One of the tasks is to extend cooperation with international organisations, primarily under the umbrella of the UN, as well as associations of countries, including BRICS, the G8 and the G20. This is quite natural, bearing in mind the closeness of the problems, which are resolved within these institutes and to which the AICESIS movement aspires to contribute.
Russia attaches great importance to cooperation with institutes of civil society. This also corresponds with the interests of formation of an optimum foreign policy course of our country, which, among other things, envisages an increase in the role of popular diplomacy. This is not a figure of speech or a tribute to fashion. I see many representatives of public organisations here, who are active on the foreign policy stage, who participate in the meetings of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with NGOs with my own participation, that of my deputy and other directors of departments. We do not agree on everything, and, bearing in mind the official status of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we do not always perceive new ideas at once. Nevertheless, this is a mutually beneficial process, and our official diplomacy perceives it within the framework of civil society. Therefore, I say thank you to our popular diplomacy. I appeal to you to generate such ideas.
We are convinced that one of important tasks within the ambit of the NGOs is to contribute to the efforts of ensuring intercivilisational and interreligious consent, advancement of projects, which should unite different countries, peoples, traditions, cultures and civilisations and oppose the creation of artificial barriers in international communication. It is not in vain that the movement of economic councils originated from Europe, however, today we cannot imagine this movement without Asia, Latin America, Africa and other parts of our planet. Evgeny Velikhov’s examples about the role of China, the African countries, and Algeria are quite convincing and highlight the fact that nobody has a monopoly in the area of advancement of the ideals of the civil community. We need to search for common denominators, common values reflecting all the variety and richness of our cultures, traditions and history.
Our Ministry aspires to support popular diplomacy. Over these last few years the government of our country approved our propositions, and a number of specific steps were taken. I mean the creation of the Gorchakov’s Public Diplomacy Support Fund and the Russian International Affairs Council. The Fund to Support and Protect the Rights of Compatriots Living Abroad started to work. Efforts are being undertaken to recreate the Union of Russian Societies for Friendship and to renew the activity of the House of friendship with peoples of foreign countries in Moscow. We deal with this in close contact with Rossotrudnichestvo, the head of which, Konstantin Kosachev, is present here – his arrival revived his structure and it has taken on a new lease of life. We expect that our efforts will be successful.
Great attention is dedicated to state support of the NGOs, which implement projects of social importance, participate in the development of institutions of civil society and implement projects in the foreign policy arena. We know about those solutions, which were adopted by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, to increase grants to non-commercial NGOs. 2.3 billion roubles were allocated this year – these are significant resources. The Civic Chamber directly participates in their distribution. This is also evidence that our state and civil society are starting to have more and more cooperation in the implementation of common tasks in the interests of our country and our nationals.
I would like to wish the Civic Chamber success in its Presidency of the Association. I am convinced that the roadmap developed for the next two years will become a guiding light in the strengthening of the uniting agenda in international affairs. We will assist the Civic Chamber in all possible ways.
Mr. Evgeniy VELIKHOV