Black Sea NGO Forum 2012 – Together for Child Protection in the BSEC Member States

Members of national parliaments throughout the wider Black Sea Region came together at the annual Black Sea NGO Forum (Bucharest, October 24-25) to support the creation of a Black Sea Fund for Children.  The panel of parliamentarians, hosted by the region’s child protection coalition ChildPact, issued a call to all countries within the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) to build a Fund for Children that stimulates collaboration and innovation on child protection in a region that shares much of the same history and current trends of child vulnerability. The trust would include all BSEC countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Earlier this year the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (PABSEC) issued Recommendation 127/2012 on Child Protection in the BSEC Member States, but the recommendation still needs to be put in practice. Zhalya Aliyeva, member of Azerbaijan’s parliament, stated that “all things said and all decisions taken should not remain only on paper. They shouldn’t become just archive material to be forgotten.”

Ambassador Traian Chebeleu stated that child protection could become a new field of engagement for BSEC and suggested that “it will be possible to include child protection as an area of cooperation at governmental level in the BSEC members”.

Participants also stressed the importance of the creation of ChildPact, a regional coalition for child protection that unites more than 500 NGOs from Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldavia, Romania and Serbia.

Serbian MP Elvira Kovacs stated that “it is quite impressive that only in one year time you managed to gather so many NGO’s”.

Mira Antonyan, ChildPact Vice-President, stressed the importance of having such an initiative: “Why waste so much time doing the same mistakes and start from zero, when you can just ask others ‘how did you do the same process in your country, was it successful or not?’”

Mirela Oprea, ChildPact Secretary General, stated that the event in Bucharest “was an historical meeting. It was the first time when representatives of parliaments and representatives of civil society organizations came together at a regional level under the BSEC banner to discuss these issues. The meeting was successful, participants agreed that next steps to implement the recommendation must become tangible tasks, and this conversation started a new level of engagement toward collective impact for children throughout the region.”

Please watch the comments of Serbian MP Elvira Kovacs, Armenian MP Aram Manukyan and Albanian MP Namik Dokle.

Please watch the final comment of ChildPact Secretary General Mirela Oprea, released after the end of the meeting.

Please read a more detailed report of the outcomes of the event.