Black Sea Caspian Sea International Fund participated at the Black Sea NGO Forum, in Constanta, Romania, during 21st-23rd October
The Forum was organized by the Romanian NGDO Platform with the support of the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Representation of the European Commission to Romania and the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation. This third edition of the forum, held under the name “Investing in our Common Future”, reunited participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, as well as other European Union member countries and major stakeholders from the Civil Society Sector in the Black Sea region.
The aim of the forum is to increase the level of dialogue and cooperation among the NGOs in the region, to strengthen their advocacy capacity so they can influence regional development strategies and to facilitate the creation of a communication platform between the participants and the NGOs they represent.
The event started with the opening remarks of Anton Niculescu, Secretary of State at the Romanian Foreign Affairs Ministry and Niculae Idu, Head of Representation, Representation of the European Commission in Romania.
The activities were afterwards organized into panels of discussion. The thematic of the cross-sector panels concerned:
- Review of major political and economical developments in the region
- Country developments – including state of civil society, main issues on the public agenda, economic reforms, policies to mitigate crisis
- Democracy and Citizen Participation
- Sustainable Economic Development
- Youth Policies
- Bridging Divided Communities
- Environment and Climate Change
- Capacity Building for NGOs
- Challenges for the independence of the civil society
- Networking and solidarity among NGOs in the region
- New Media/PR and Communication. Public Campaigns
The panel on Donors and international actors’ perspectives on civil society developments in the region was hosted by representatives of the Black Sea Joint Operational Programme, the Black Sea Trust, National Endowment for Democracy, and the MATRA Program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands. It aim was to provide the participants with information on sources of financing for their projects and means to facilitate their access to public and private financial sources.
The organizers also hosted a presentation of a multimedia project called“Around the Black Sea”. Two Romanian journalists – Petrut Calinescu and Stefan Candea, from the Romanian Centre for Investigations’ Journalism – have crossed Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. Their aim was to illustrate the differences and similarities between the communities around the Black Sea, as they fail to appear in daily press. In addition, they wanted to set the basis of a journalists’ network in the region.
Furthermore, the attending NGOs took part in an NGO Fair – the participants were provided with a framework where they could interact and learn more about the NGOs, the projects they are involved in and their regular activity, as well as set the foundation of future collaborations.
This year’s edition – the third one – focused on examples of good practices and on regional cooperation initiatives. Therefore, it dedicated time for debates among the participants, so that they can identify common solutions to local and regional issues, forge future partnerships, and share evaluations and regional experiences.
BSCSIF was an active participant of the forum, its representatives being involved in a number of cross-sector panels, presenting the activities and projects of the Fund and establishing contacts with stakeholders / NGOs in the region. The forum was an opportunity for the participants, and therefore including our organization, to learn more about the active involvement and opportunities in the region and to learn examples about good practices of their peers, for a stronger cooperation in the future.