On the 19th of April members of ChildPact from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania and Serbia met in Bucharest for the General Assembly of 2019. This year, the General Assembly took place after 3 days of intensive work and exchanges during the conference “Rights and Protection of Children Left Behind by Parents Migrating for Work”, an initiative supported by the Central European Initiative Fund and Oak Foundation.
The annual assembly of ChildPact has become a landmark event of our network of networks, bringing together representatives from the 10 countries united in ChildPact and from our collaborators in the region. Following its change of statutes and leadership two years ago, this year ChildPact members have approved a Child Safeguarding Policy.
George Bogdanov was elected as ChildPact President for a second mandate. The General Assembly also elected two new members of the ChildPact Steering Committee: Ana Abashidze (Coalition for Children and Youth, Georgia) and Berina Ceribasic (Stronger Voice for Children, Bosnia and Herzegovina).
The General Assembly of this year had two invited new guests, Mr Orhan Derman from The NGOs Network Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Turkey and Katerina Koneska from First Children’s Embassy in the World Megjashi in North Macedonia.
We have warmly welcomed The NGOs Network Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Turkey who has gained associated member status in ChildPact as of 2019, increasing our reachout to 11 countries.
The agenda of the General Assembly included approval of the activity and financial reports for 2018, the planned activities for 2019 and our future advocacy initiatives. This year ChildPact is implementing two regional projects with complementing initiatives focusing on INSPIRE Strategies to reduce violence against children, funded by Oak Foundation and INSPIRE Fund. As part of these initiatives ChildPact is currently in the first phase of implementation working to gather data and to map the current efforts in the ChildPact countries on actions related to INSPIRE undertaken by NGOs and other actors.
The issue of shrinking space for civil society in the region was highlighted by George Bogdanov, ChildPact President, as this remains an important burning issue in many of our contexts. ChildPact members agreed to pursue further joint actions in this regard together with other organizations whose mission is focused around the issue of CSO capacity and enabling environment for civil society. The General Assembly meeting has been an excellent opportunity for ChildPact’s network to share updates and exchange ideas on various topics, but also to further build the team spirit with both the old and the new representatives of our members.