The Romanian NGDO Platform – FOND organized between the 4th-6th of December 2017, in Chișinău, Republic of Moldova, the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum, with the financial support of the European Commission, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with UNDP Regional Hub for Europe and the CIS, and CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness – CPDE.
The 10th edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum continued its partnership with CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE), aimed at promoting development effectiveness, the Istanbul Principles and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at regional level, while at the same time making the realities, needs and challenges of CSOs in this region known at global level.
The formal opening session of the Forum (4th of December) was attended by the Forum’s partners, CPDE being represented by Justin Kilcullen, CPDE European Representative. Given the discrepancy between the political discourse and the reality on the ground, Mr. Kilcullen highlighted in his speech the importance for civil society to be actively engaged in monitoring the implementation of the SDGs and the Busan commitments. In this sense, civil society should work together at regional and international level to build evidence and produce reports that reflect the real state of affairs, so that their demands cannot be ignored by the governments. Moreover, the CPDE European representative stressed that civil society needs to invest in the capacity to analyze and translate data into simple language so that the wider public can understand, in order to generate support.
In the second half of the first day, Antonița Fonari, Director, Platform for Active Citizenship and Human Rights Partnership (CAP) / Outgoing CPDE Non-EU Sub-regional Representative, organised a thematic workshop on „The Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness”. The aim of the workshop was to start a discussion with the participants on why it is important for CSOs to be transparent and accountable in their relationships with partners and beneficiaries, how they can implement the Istanbul Principles in their daily activity and how an NGO Ethics Code can be elaborated. The discussion was based on several examples of implementing self-regulatory mechanisms for CSOs in the Black Sea Region and European Region.
On the third day of the Forum (6th of December) a special plenary session was organised dedicated to CPDE’s work, updates on the development effectiveness agenda at global level, as well as actions taken at regional and sub-regional level, which was attended by more than 110 participants from the European region (EU, Black Sea and Balkans sub-regions). The session was opened by Justin Kilcullen, CPDE European Representative, with an introduction on CPDE’s mission and advocacy objectives, according to the new CPDE Strategic Plan.
As CPDE is the civil society representative in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, its main mission is to ensure governments uphold the commitments made in the Busan Partnership Agreement to respect the development effectiveness principles (democratic ownership, focus on results, partnerships for sustainable development and transparency & shared responsibility), while at the same time respecting themselves the Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness. With the adoption of the SDGs, CPDE’s priority is to advocate for and monitor that the implementation of the SDGs is done in accordance with the Busan commitments.
The participants were informed on the adoption of a new Strategic Plan at the level of CPDE, with its core advocacy areas focused on: CSO Enabling Environment, CSO Development Effectiveness, South-South Cooperation, Private Sector as a Development Actor, Countries in Situation of Conflict and Fragility. In this sense, the CPDE Working Groups were reorganized to correspond to the above-mentioned core advocacy areas. Participants were encouraged to become more engaged in one or more of these working groups, according to their field of expertise and interests.
Following this intervention, Zuzana Sladkova, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator at CONCORD, highlighted in her speech the upcoming 3rd Monitoring Round of Indicator no. 2, part of GPEDC Monitoring Framework. CSOs from all of 3 sub-regions (EU, Black Sea & Balkans), have the opportunity to be actively engaged in this process together with CPDE’s CSO Enabling Environment and Development Effectiveness Working Groups, in order to make the challenges in this region known at global level.
Going to the regional level, Antonița Fonari, Outgoing Non-EU Sub-regional Representative, shared with the participants her experience in carrying out her mandate, the activities she has done at national level, in the Republic of Moldova (promoting the Istanbul Principles, connecting with the government and parliament to create a platform of dialogue about development effectiveness, monitoring the implementation of the development effectiveness principles and the SDGs at national level) and at regional and international levels (through the participation at the annual Black Sea NGO Forum and CPDE’s assemblies/events).
Moreover, participants were informed on the decision of the CPDE Global Council in October 2017 to approve the division of the Non-EU Sub-region within two separate sub-regions: one for the Black Sea CSOs and one from the Balkans CSOs. As Antonita’s mandate as Non-EU Sub-regional Representative is ending in December 2017, the call for candidacies launched on the 22nd of November for the election of the new Black Sea Sub-regional Representative within CPDE, was further promoted. Participants were encouraged to apply by the 15th of December, following which an online voting process will be organised.
Last but not least, Biljana Spasovska, Policy and Avocacy Officer at Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BSCDN), had an intervention about BCSDN’s work on monitoring the enabling environment for civil society in the Western Balkans, through the Monitoring Matrix – at tool developed by BCSDN and applied regularly since 2013. Moreover, Ms. Spasovska also presented another initiative in which BCSDN is a partner, the Global Standard for CSO Accountability, which proposes a concrete and practical methodology for CSOs to apply the Istanbul Principles. Apart from an internal analysis, the tool proposes an approach which focuses also on the interaction and feedback from stakeholders and beneficiaries in assessing one’s compliance with the Istanbul Principles. The newly established Balkan sub-region (part of the European region) will be represented by the Balkan Civil Society Development Network.
The 10th edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum celebrated the achievement of an important milestone – 10 editions, while at the same time aiming to reassess its strategic positioning in the region to further opportunities for enabling sustainable regional cooperation.
The event was attended by 152 participants, representing a wide range of national, regional and international stakeholders from the Black Sea region – civil society organisations from EU, Black Sea and Balkans sub-regions, governmental representatives, regional and international donors.
The full report of the event will be soon available on the Black Sea NGO Forum website: www.blackseango.org
More information about the 10th edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum – agenda, speaker’s presentations and photos – is available here: https://www.blackseango.org/the-10th-edition-of-the-black-sea-ngo-forum-4th-6th-of-december-2017-chisinau-republic-of-moldova-summary/.