Panel 3

Challenges and opportunities of a sustainable economic model

About Panel 3

The current political crisis in Belarus has either unleashed or accelerated various developments whose present form could not have been predicted even just a few years ago. The role of women in Belarusian society is intensifying significantly and talked about in new ways. Strikes and their legitimacy and usefulness have also become an important topic.

The increased desire for civic engagement has also become a major development. Whenever the state uses its power in a way that many people feel does not fulfil its duties, or when it is used even against its citizens, an impressive number of Belarusians appear willing to become involved and act at their own initiative.

This is becoming particularly apparent in the regional areas of Belarus. Whereas earlier one would find a relatively active civil society mainly in Minsk, we now see this emerging across the entire country, from provincial capitals all the way to small towns and villages. The notion of the “decentralised” is becoming a model for a “new” Belarus – and it seems quite likely that this trend will continue to grow, even with the current protests.

This Panel will present and discuss the various forms of civic engagement in the regions, and how the current situation has generated a new understanding of this phenomenon. A very diverse array of situations will be examined: we will talk about ambitious projects for local self-governance, initiatives promoting the development of rural areas, and the new potential for mobilisation by independent unions in Belarus’ regions.

About Panel 3

The current political crisis in Belarus has either unleashed or accelerated various developments whose present form could not have been predicted even just a few years ago. The role of women in Belarusian society is intensifying significantly and talked about in new ways. Strikes and their legitimacy and usefulness have also become an important topic.

The increased desire for civic engagement has also become a major development. Whenever the state uses its power in a way that many people feel does not fulfil its duties, or when it is used even against its citizens, an impressive number of Belarusians appear willing to become involved and act at their own initiative.

This is becoming particularly apparent in the regional areas of Belarus. Whereas earlier one would find a relatively active civil society mainly in Minsk, we now see this emerging across the entire country, from provincial capitals all the way to small towns and villages. The notion of the “decentralised” is becoming a model for a “new” Belarus – and it seems quite likely that this trend will continue to grow, even with the current protests.

This Panel will present and discuss the various forms of civic engagement in the regions, and how the current situation has generated a new understanding of this phenomenon. A very diverse array of situations will be examined: we will talk about ambitious projects for local self-governance, initiatives promoting the development of rural areas, and the new potential for mobilisation by independent unions in Belarus’ regions.

Moderator
Stefan Kaegebein

Stefan Kaegebein

Regional Director Eastern Europe, German Eastern Business Association

Speakers
Manfred Huterer

Manfred Huterer

Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Belarus

Aliaksandr Chubryk

Aliaksandr Chubryk

Director of the IPM Research Center

Robert Kirchner

Robert Kirchner

Deputy Team Leader of the German Economic Team

Kateryna Bornukova

Kateryna Bornukova

Economist, Belarusian Research and Outreach Center

Eugeniy Lobanov

Eugeniy Lobanov

Director of the Center for Environmental Solutions

Jeroen Willems

Jeroen Willems

Deputy Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), European Commission

Aleś Alachnovič

Aleś Alachnovič

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s representative on economic reforms

Stephan Hoffmann

Stephan Hoffmann

CEO of the North IT Group