The Romanian NGDO Platform – FOND organized between the 31st of October and 2nd of November 2016, in Varna, Bulgaria, the IXth edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum, with the financial support of the European Commission, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the UNDP Regional Centre for Europe and Central Asia, and CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness – CPDE, with the support of the local partner Black Sea NGO Network (BSNN).
The IXth edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum continued the partnership began in 2013 with CPDE, promoting development effectiveness and the Istanbul Principles at regional level, while at the same time bringing the realities, needs and challenges of CSOs in this region closer to the global coalition. Mr. Justin Kilcullen attended the opening session of the Forum (31st of October) as Co-Chair of CPDE and underlined the importance of the Black Sea NGO Forum as an initiative that brings CSOs from the region together, encouraging cultural exchange and providing a space for solidarity of civil society in the face of challenges and difficulties. Moreover, Mr. Kilcullen emphasized the crucial role of civil society as a development actor in promoting effectiveness and accountability of governments and the private sector, as well as the importance of an active engagement in CPDE of CSOs from the region.
As part of the Black Sea NGO Forum’s “Strategic Framework for Civil Society Cooperation in the Black Sea Region”, the Forum continued its efforts in monitoring enabling environment for CSOs in the region. Therefore, a Follow-up Report on Enabling Environment for CSOs (http://www.blackseango.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Presentation_Angela-Gramada_Enabling-Environment-for-CSOs.pdf) was presented by Ms. Angela Grămadă, FOND Research Associate. The report gathers updates from all around the year from the region, with additional conclusions and recommendations, in continuation to the last year’s report – „Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in the Black Sea Region: Towards a Regional Strategy for Cooperation” (http://www.blackseango.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Report-Enabling-Environment-for-CSOs-in-the-Black-Sea-Region_final.pdf).
The third day of the Forum (2nd of November) began with a plenary session dedicated to the international & regional trends on development effectiveness and sustainable development. Ms. Izabella Toth, CPDE European Representative introduced updates regarding CPDE’s activity in the upcoming Second High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC). Moreover, Ms. Zuzana Sladkova, Policy Coordinator, CONCORD explained how CPDE is organised at global and regional levels, as well as highlighted the opportunities for CSOs to get more involved in the work of the CPDE European Region. Last but not least, Ms. Antonita Fonari, CPDE Non-EU Sub-regional Representative, provided a concrete example of how the Moldovan CSOs are engaged in monitoring the global processes on sustainable development.
In the second half of the third day, a smaller meeting was organised for CSOs from the Black Sea Region and the Balkans interested in finding out more about CPDE, how the European Region is structured and how they can contribute to CPDE activities. The meeting provided a great opportunity to gather input from the participants on ways to communicate effectively and raise awareness on CPDE’s activity at regional level, while at the same time make the challenges and needs of CSOs in the Black Sea Region & the Balkans visible at global level.
During the meeting, two participants Ms. Haykuhi Harutyunyan (“Protection of rights without borders” Human Rights NGO) and Mr. Hovsep Khurshudyan (“Free Citizen” Civic Initiatives Support Center) initiated a Resolution concerning the situation of the civil society in the Black Sea Region. The Resolution was sent to all Black Sea NGO Forum participants for endorsement, the next step being sending it to the CPDE for dissemination within the wider membership for awareness raising and support.
In the end, the participants were informed of the upcoming call for nominations and elections for the European Representative and the EU Sub-Regional Representative whose mandates expire in December 2016.
The IXth edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum was dedicated to the implementation of the “Strategic Framework for Civil Society Cooperation in the Black Sea Region” by promoting an enabling environment for civil society organisations as a prerequisite for regional cooperation and supporting the Black Sea NGO Forum’s Working Groups actively engaged in the thematic cooperation areas identified by participants during the 2015 edition.
Approximately 130 participants attended the event, representing a wide range of national, regional and international stakeholders from the Black Sea region – CSOs, regional and international organisations, regional and international donors, local authorities and academia.
The full report of the event will be soon available on the Black Sea NGO Forum website: www.blackseango.org.
More information about the IXth edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum – agenda, speaker’s presentations and photos – is available here: http://www.blackseango.org/the-ixth-edition-of-the-black-sea-ngo-forum-31-october-2-november-2016-varna-bulgaria-summary/