“Bucharest Statement” on Regional Cooperation for Child Protection Adopted at the Black Sea NGO Forum

ChildPact, the Regional Coalition for Child Protection in the Wider Black Sea Area, hosted a special panel at the Black Sea NGO Forum (Bucharest, 4-6 September 2013).

Government officials from six ChildPact countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Serbia) and civil society representatives discussed ChildPact’s proposal to build a Regional Cooperation Mechanism for Child Protection in our region and agreed that regional cooperation is an important factor in achieving the next level of progress in child protection reforms.

Codrin Scutaru, Secretary of State in the Romanian Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and Elderly opened the panel, providing an overview of some recent developments in the Romanian system of child protection. He acknowledged the partnership between government and NGOs: “I am very concerned about child poverty, the most dangerous kind of poverty. NGO’s have given us models for child protection. The state has a duty to find adequate answers to our lessons in child protection”.

Turid Heiberg, Head of Children’s Unit at the Council of Baltic Sea States, presented cooperation mechanisms for child protection from other regions of the world (South Asian Initiative to End Violence against Children and the Children’s Unit at the Council of Baltic Sea States), based on her direct experience in creating and managing these mechanisms.

Vladimir Pesic, Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy of Serbia stated that exchanging experience and sharing the best practices is of key importance for our region: “We should establish bi and multilateral cooperation for child protection in our countries.”

Davit Hakobyan, Advisor to the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues from Armenia stated: “Our current reforms are based on experiences we receive from other countries. These meetings allow us to make use of instruments to fight for child protection. All these problems have the same roots in our countries. Only if we cooperate in the region will we be able to address them properly.”

Petya Dimitrova, State expert, State Child Policy Directorate, State Agency for Child Protection in Bulgaria stated: “Child poverty remains a critic issue. When we talk about regional cooperation, we would like to see child poverty as a focus. Bulgaria is ready to discuss the mechanism for cooperation.”

At the end of the event, the “Bucharest Statement” to express the commitment and determination of involved stakeholders in taking some co-ordinated actions towards the strengthening of regional cooperation for child protection was adopted.

You can read the Bucharest Statement here.

Sign ChildPact’s petition addressed to BSEC member states and to the European Union aimed at gathering support for the creation of a regional cooperation mechanism for child protection in the wider Black Sea Area.