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In 2019, the Right to Protection CF began implementation of both complex but in the same time much needed project «Dialogues». Its primary purpose was to create discussion around the most pressing issues that residents of Government and Non-Government Controlled Areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine have faced on a daily basis in the past seven years of violence.

«The peacebuilding project recognizes the idea that dialogue between the parties to the conflict is the most effective way to resolve it. There are three levels of communication: negotiations between political leaders, among experts and less formally, dialogue at the level of ordinary citizens. The latter, in our opinion, helps to focus on the problems of ordinary people, which often disappear from the agenda of political leaders’ negotiations,»

said Natalia Proskurenko, Project Manager at Right to Protection CF.

In order for such meetings to be safe, comfortable and constructive, they are joined by carefully selected facilitators—a number of unbiased moderators who monitor compliance with the rules and who prevent the discussion from sliding towards hostility. The project’s third level dialogues took place in 2019. At this time, the participants discussed acute problems, ways to reach a compromise, a vision for a common future and the possibility of reconciliation.

This year we managed to establish a dialogue of experts—in 2020 there were 10 meetings, which were joined by 8 specialists in the field of ecology. Participants discussed the environmental situation in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and the most pressing issues faced by the region: the flooding of mines, the subsidence of soil and mine gas emissions.

«Environmental problems are not always immediately apparent but do almost always have tangible consequences. For example, the closure and flooding of mines in both government controlled and non-controlled territory has a negative impact on the condition of soil, water, air, and most of all, on human health. Immediate action is a necessity, or else we may all soon face the consequences of such environmental neglect,»

added Ms. Natalia.

The second phase of the dialogue project led to a series of recommendations for the taking of joint action on both sides of the contact line in order to prevent environmental catastrophe. The resolution, jointly developed as part of Right to Protection’s project, will be used in advocacy activities and sent to all state institutions whose scope of work includes work on the state of the environment.