From the beginning of 2014, PAX has been following closely as events unfolded in Ukraine. During two scoping missions (in May and in September), PAX spoke to over 60 interlocutors from civil society, local authorities and administrations, and churches. The network has expanded ever since and as of 2015 PAX has officially started its Eastern Europe & Eurasia programme with a main focus on Ukraine.
PAX found that the main divide in Ukrainian society is one between ideologies and political cultures, and visions for the future and the way the country is governed and organised, including the active role of civil society herein. The dividing lines run through communities and even families, and do not necessarily correspond to ethnic, linguistic, religious or class divides.
On the basis of these findings, PAX identified several priority directions, which have developed into programmes:
1. Dialogue: in a first instance within the country and especially the eastern provinces. Programme: A culture of dialogue and constructive engagement in Ukraine.
2. Social contract: local governance and the relationship between citizens and (local) authorities. Programme: Eastern Ukraine State Building and Accountability (EUSTAB).
3. Youth leadership: investing in future generations and enabling them to engage with (local) authorities and religious and community leaders. Programme: Youth Peace Tour.
4. NGCA: investigating the role of the Ukrainian government and civil society organisations towards the status and inhabitants of the non-governmental controlled areas (NGCA). Programme: Engaging Non-Government Controlled Areas.
While developing its programming in these main directions, PAX is keenly aware of the wider regional context in which this conflict is developing, and actively taking part in the debate on developments in Russia and the wider region and security implications.