During 24th-25th of October, the Romanian NGDO Platform (FOND), in partnership with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Representation of the European Commission in Romania organized the fifth edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum, entitled “Participation and inclusion for responsible development”. The forum represents an unique opportunity in the region by gathering the most important stakeholders and grassroots organizations, in order to debate common issues and find solutions. Among the guests invited were Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Luminita Odobescu, State Secretary (Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) representatives from the European Commission, Governments, civil society representatives from the region, media. This anniversary edition was attended by Rilli Lappalainen, member of CONCORD Board and Secretary General of Kehys who addressed a mobilizing message to the audience regarding the potential of the region and how important are the networks for empowering civil society in the Black Sea area.
This edition brought together around 160 participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Republic of Moldova, Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, Russia. The discussions of the Forum were structured around 3 main topics: social entrepreneurship and community development in rural areas, transparency and public integrity, youth policies and youth development. The forum combined both plenary sessions and workshops, and encouraged networking throughout the event. The main recommendations were related to a new Black Sea Strategy and the need to prioritize the main issues concerning this region on the agenda of the European Commission. There are two succesful results of the previous editions of this Forum: The regional coalition on child protection in the region (ChildPact) and the Black Sea Youth Network.
The Representation of the European Commission in Romania awarded for the third time, the Black Sea NGO Award for Excellency. The winner is Black Sea NGO Network from Bulgaria, a network dedicated to sustainable development, European politics, environment issues. The aim of this award is to enhance the profile of the Black Sea Synergy and its role in proposing a regional, cooperative approach in the region, as well as the multilateral dimension of EU external policies.