Child-focused coalition leaders from various countries in the wider Black Sea area met at a special panel at the Black Sea NGO Forum in 2011 to discuss challenges of child protection systems in their respective countries and assess the state of advocacy efforts led by national-level networks and coalitions. The panel gathered more than 30 participants and drew inspiration from PABSEC Recommendation 41/1999.
Back in 1999 this Recommendation had urged governments to design appropriate strategies for partnership and cooperation in matters concerning child protection and to encourage common studies and information sharing with a view to improving the legal and institutional framework relating to child protection in the BSEC Member States.
Participants agreed that in spite of these recommendations the level of regional cooperation in child protection continues to be too low. ‘’Stagnation’’ was the word used to describe the current state of child protection reforms in the wider Black Sea area. Reasons for stagnation appeared to be both political and legal, given a lack of political will for policy and legislative implementation. In terms of progress, trends across the region demonstrate that national-level policies are usually made by governments with the assistance or influence of international bodies. Tangible child welfare solutions are usually adopted and operated by government bodies alongside, and after being developed and operated by, NGOs or other civil society entities. This was interpreted as evidencing a situation where governments do not (or will not) progress in child welfare reform alone and where entities external to government could leverage their influence for both increased and sustainable reform.
Participants discussed the need for region-wide collective action and they proposed and decided to create a regional coalition for child protection. The draft of a ‘Regional Coalition Mandate’’ was developed immediately after the forum, based on conversations and decisions held during the forum. Between November 2011 and April 2012 several rounds of consultations were conducted and the document was discussed in board meetings and/or general assemblies of the national coalitions from the region. ChildPact’s ‘’Regional Coalition Mandate’’ is available here. A video on the need for and the people behind ChildPact is available here.