Fostering cooperation in the Black Sea Region: Setting up a transnational civic situation room

Period: July 2020 – July 2021

The Black Sea region has witnessed in recent years extensive protests or civic manifestations supporting rule of law and pro European values. These developments in the region are however happening in conjunction with two critical democratic threats: on the one hand, at internal level, a degradation of the democratic institutions and a continuous process of undermining the rule of law and, on the other, an external threat as the Black Sea region has become the playground of the Russian Federation.

As the region has been subject to increasing pressure and uncertainty in the last decade, foreign national actors and private networks of interests have managed to infiltrate the media landscape and offer continuous support for the dissemination of pro-Russian and anti-Western propaganda. Media propaganda, cyber warfare and disinformation campaigns have become the weapons of choice in the region.

The threats in the region are largely similar, although they are not countered by a common response, while the direct impact of disinformation campaigns, fake news or hybrid threats is substantial.

The project will set up and manage a civic situation room which will put together 18-20 experts
–  human rights lawyers, representatives of the NGOs, and civic activists – from Romania, Ukraine, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria and Azerbaijan with the aim of addressing potential threats to democracy and rule of law. The project entails creating a secured virtual space for discussions, encrypted communication, and capacity building for experts on cyber-security, creating a knowledge repository, facilitating discussions and setting up a rapid response mechanism.

The project is funded by the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation – A Project of the German Marshall