Given the lack of bold ideas and apparent absence of any sustained strategic vision to resume the official normalization process, the RSC plans to expand its effort in support of the “policy process,” through the formulation and presentation of formal and informal policy ideas, initiatives and recommendations.
This activity follows our past work in two main areas: efforts to engage prominent retired diplomats and officials, and other high-profile figures to solicit a range of new policy ideas and suggestions, and the focus on utilizing “alternative venues” where both countries have “unofficial” diplomatic relations, based on their interaction within international organizations (NATO, OSCE, Council of Europe, UN, etc.) and other third-party institutional forums (BSEC, or the Black Sea Economic organization, most notably). Such informal contacts and diplomatic interaction between Armenia and Turkey government officials need to be better leveraged in order to encourage and better prepare for the subsequent return to more official diplomatic engagement.
The specific objectives of this initiative centers on the formulation and presentation of formal and informal policy ideas, initiatives and recommendations, aimed at both targeting decision-makers and helping shape public opinion through a process designed to facilitate a sharing and exchange of ideas and views. This process is conducted through a series of closed meetings and seminars, as well as some public events, utilizing a select group of retired politicians and policy makers from Armenia and Turkey, as well as other interested third parties. These eminent figures contribute new ideas and policy recommendations based on their personal and professional experience, including a broader strategic vision for the future relations between both countries. The participants have helped us to formulate a set of policy recommendations that have been presented to Armenian and Turkish government officials.
The concrete outputs of these activities consist of the formulation and presentation of formal and informal policy ideas, initiatives and recommendations, including a set of policy recommendations that have been presented to Armenian and Turkish government officials in February-March and June 2015. These were also supplemented by a high-level working session in September 2015 (for this event, organized with our Istanbul-based strategic partner Kadir Has University, the RSC secured its own independent funding). Future output, therefore, will center on the results from these “brainstorming” sessions, and the subsequent release, dissemination and publication of the sets of new proposals and policy recommendations.
The overall outcome from this effort is to formulate and present formal and informal policy ideas, initiatives and recommendations, with the added benefits of increasing civil society support and providing more “political cover” for the governments to re-engage in the normalization process.
On September 13, 2018, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development (UFSD) hosted a workshop on “Exchange of Best Practices in Plastic Waste Management between Armenia- and Turkey-based CSOs and Practitioners.” The workshop is part of a project that contributes to the development of cooperation between environmentalists, waste management practitioners, businesses and local authorities of Armenia and Turkey through sharing best practices in plastic waste management. The grantee, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development in partnership with the Union of Diyarbakir Young Businessmen organized a 1-day workshop in Diyarbakir with participation of 20 representatives of local authorities, plastic waste management practitioners, environmental CSOs, businesses in the field of plastic waste separation and recycling from Armenia and Turkey. The workshop was followed by a study visit to Plastic Waste Recycling Plant in Diyarbakir, as well as a follow-up exchange workshop in Yerevan. Based on the results of the study visit and workshops UFSD will produce a booklet on the best practices of plastic waste management in Armenia and Turkey. The project will result in an increased awareness of stakeholders of the plastic waste management practiced on the other side of the border, as well as will provide an opportunity for networking between practitioners and businesses focusing on plastic waste management. Representatives of local authorities may consider replicating the best practices in plastic waste management in their own communities.
This activity took place within the framework of the Sub-grants Scheme implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation as part of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process” programme, funded by the European Union and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.