PARTNERSHIPS FOR A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
In order to understand the Green movement in Eastern Europe one must look at it from a wider perspective. The democratic systems in the region’s countries have been taking constant turns in the last couple of decades, and their governments have been gradually, but surely reducing public liberties. Continued use of nationalism and hatred are heating up an already turbulent political situation portrayed in corruption and non-transparent governing. Disappearing welfare states, strong patriarchal norms, corrupted political systems and media censorship are common issues affecting these countries. The accumulated effect of all of these makes engagement in Green politics either through the civil society or through a political party very difficult, and sometimes even dangerous.
Although some of the first Green parties in Europe date back to the ’70s, Green ideology in its wide understanding only began to take roots in Eastern Europe much later. Even though the term “Green” came to be used in a political sense, the “old” Green parties in reality did not stand for these values. Therefore the second generation of greens, apart from the fight with the governments and imposed traditional values, have been fighting to reclaim the term in their countries and associate it with its core values – environmental consciousness, democracy, social justice, gender equality, non-violence and solidarity.
However, the Green agenda has been taken up by youth initiatives throughout Eastern Europe – from Georgia to Croatia, from Albania to Belarus. Some of them are growing from scratch, while some are originating from the mother parties. As a regionally established network – CDN has become (with the support of Green Forum and FYEG) the reference point for Green politics in Eastern Europe. It is supporting the structural growth of new generations of Greens, while also aiming to bridge the gap between the regional division of East and West within the Green family.
It is not a surprise that the doors to national stakeholders in Eastern Europe open much easier for an international green organisation than for the local young greens. What this means in practice is that young greens trigger an action in their countries and the Network provides support for them, by establishing connections with green politicians, MEPs, local politicians and journalists from other (Eastern) European countries, therefore working on gaining the support of the entirety of Europe for the issue. A wide range of issues are crucial for these young activists and politicians, starting from climate change and de-growth to freedom of speech and propaganda, from gender equality and online security to sustainable cities and commons. The exchange and cooperation in these fields are crucial for showing to the public, the members and other political actors, that Green politics are far more than just environmental consciousness, by putting emphasis on solidarity and support.
Project coordinator of Cooperation and Development Network of Eastern Europe
For more info about CDN please visit CDN website
*The blog was originally published on Green Forum website on October 20, 2016