The Knowledge Hub, a training center operated by the European Union Advisory Mission Ukraine and the first of its kind in the country, has opened in Odesa. The center will host joint events for EUAM’s partners in the public security sector, including the National Police, prosecution and judicial authorities, Security Service and Interior Ministry, a Radio Liberty correspondent reports.
The Center has officially opened with an environmental crimes workshop for National Police officers.
According to Fredrik Wesslau, Deputy Head of Mission, the main purpose of this hub is to establish and strengthen a dialogue between the society and security agencies. Odesa’s public activists Vitali Ustymenko, Vladyslav Balinskyi, Hryhori Kozma, Yuri Nikitin and Artem Kartashov were invited to the environmental crimes workshop as representatives of the public.
Raimonds Deičmanis, Head of EUAM Field Office Odesa, stressed that this is the first event of its kind and its first goal is to talk about the problem of environmental crimes.
“When we were sending invitations to the workshop, we proposed every organization and every participant to bring their own vision of how to solve this problem and their own statistics. Environmental protection is a problem the whole world is concerned about, and that surely includes environmental crimes. A vivid illustration is the ship which still sits on a beach in Odesa. At first, the interest in it was high, but now, only tourists pay attention to it,” Mr. Deičmanis said.
He meant MV Delfi, which ran aground on a beach back in November 2019. The vessel’s owner is not in a hurry to remove it from there, and in February, the regional council gave him a sort of an ultimatum to take the vessel away by 31 March. If the ship owner does not do that, the vessel will be removed by the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority.
“It wasn’t an accident that we opened the first hub of this kind in Odesa. It’s not just because Odesa is a beautiful place everyone likes to visit. It was because we see an opportunity in Odesa to promote reforms. And this promotion will be accompanied by a dialogue with civil society,” Mr. Wesslau said.
The hub already hosted 18 events even before the official opening, and another 20 events are already in plans for the nearest future. According to Mr. Wesslau, the Mission constantly reminds senior officials of the law enforcement and security agencies that their activity must be transparent and that they must maintain contact with the public and mass media. Civil society organizations may also hold their events at the hub, if their activity coincides with the Mission’s and promotes dialogue between government agencies and the public.
EUAM Field Office Odesa was opened in early 2018. It established the Dialogue Platform to coordinate the planning of public security measures on the eve of mass events. During the last year, EUAM actively worked with the police, other law enforcement agencies, CSOs and regional authorities on developing a security strategy for the Odesa Oblast.
Source: Radio Liberty