Between the 4th-6th of December, ChildPact participated at the 10th edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum that took place in Chișinău, Republic of Moldova. The event gathered 152 participants from 13 countries, the majority from the Black Sea Region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey), and a few from the Balkans (Albania, Serbia and FRY Macedonia).
This year’s anniversary edition aimed at reassessing the strategic positioning of the Black Sea NGO Forum in the region and how it can adapt and further develop the opportunities it provides for the CSOs in the Black Sea Region, in order to enable sustainable regional cooperation.
In the first day of the event, APSCF (the ChildPact member in the Republic of Moldova) organised a thematic workshop moderated by Ms Cristina Rigman, ChildPact Secretary General, to discuss the role of networks in monitoring the Child Rights Convention. The workshop featured the experiences of 4 national coalitions members of ChildPact from Moldova, Bulgaria, Albania and Azerbaijan.
Ms Mariana Ianachevici from APSCF talked about the importance of regional cooperation for child protection, mentioning that all ChildPact countries are in the process of reforming the child protection field. Ms Ianachevici also talked about the experience of APSCF in leading the process of monitoring the implementation of child rights in Moldova and elaborating the alternative report for the Republic of Moldova, with the valuable direct participation of children.
Mr George Bogdanov, ChildPact President and Executive Director of the National Network for Children talked about the experience of the Bulgarian coalition in monitoring children’s rights and the importance of choosing the rights instruments to influence not only the national agenda, but also the regional one.
Mr Zini Kore from United for Child Care and Protection (BKTF) from Albania talked about how regional networks have contributed to change the lives of children in Albania, through the process of monitoring children rights that translated into recommendations for policy change and other indicators for the well being of children, like the development of new services for children.
Mr Nabil Szeidov from the NGO Alliance for Children Rights in Azerbaijan commented on the role the national networks play in bringing together organziations active in the same field.
In the second day of the event, Ms. Cristina Rigman delivered a presentation on the good governance for networks and what are few of the most important ingredients for successful networks, from the experience of ChildPact.
Ms. Rigman focused her presentation on four main points: (1) networks are needed by their member NGOs to be stronger, (2) networks are wanted by their members to learn from each other and work together for the benefit of the children; (2) networks are used by their members to make their voice heard, by governments and decision makers to facilitate consultation and legitimate decisions and processes, and by donors to increase their reach out and advance their agenda; (4) networks are also seduced by the fact that they are judged by so many standards by each of the stakeholders they interact with, they are treated like regular NGOs while their dynamics and challenges are very different, they depend on very many factors and have, in fact, very little control over the success of their actions which depend either on the performance of their members or mostly by the reaction and performance of the decision makers they are trying to influence. The only strength the networks can have to successfully tackle these challenges is their good governance.
Ms Cristina Rigman also facilitated the interactive sessions dedicated to the working groups established by the Forum, together with Ms. Olivia Baciu (Partners Global). The thematic priorities of the working groups are: youth, culture & education, civic engagement, anti-corruption, knowledge for development, youth banks, human rights & freedoms, sustainable development, media & communications and networking, trust & confidence building and local & rural development.
The Black Sea NGo Forum was organised by the Romanian NGDO Platform – FOND, with the financial support of the European Commission, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme – Regional Hub for Europe and the CIS and CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness – CPDE.