From 31 October to 2 November 2016, the 9th edition of the Black Sea NGO Forum took place in Varna (Bulgaria).
Following the trend and the framework established in the previous editions of the forum, this year the event aims at facilitating and intensifying regional cooperation contributing in this way to strengthen the role of civil society as an important partner in the development process.
Within the 3-days event, the workshop “Engaging local authorities in civic space monitoring, climate change and participatory budgeting” was organized by the co-applicant of LADDER project, ENNA. The workshop had a high focus on the project and, more specifically, on the Thematic Path of Citizens’ Participation. A debate took place, representing a great opportunity to share different points of view regarding several relevant issues such as (1) addressing the contraction of civic space, (2) creating democratic and accountable institutions and (3) developing climate change and sustainable development policies and practices. After the long debate, the conclusions of the participants showed that dialogue and exchange of information are the only way to reach common ground and achieve development, at civic, institutional and environmental levels.
The workshop included also a more practical session in which the participants brainstormed various tools through which local authorities, together with CSOs and citizens, are considered key actors in the global development process.
The Black Sea NGO Forum was launched in 2008 by FOND (Romanian Nongovernmental Organisations for Development Platform), and is the first regional project financed by Romania’s development cooperation programme. The Black Sea NGO Forum aims to facilitate direct contact and the transfer of knowledge and good practices among the civil society organisations in the wider Black Sea region and to raise Romania’s visibility in the region and within the European Union as well as increasing the level of dialogue and cooperation among NGOs in the wider Black Sea Region, strengthening the NGOs capacity to influence regional and national policies and to increase the number and quality of regional partnerships and projects.
Around 130 participants (ranging from CSOs representatives, regional and international organisations, regional and international donors) attended the Forum and got actively involved in the interactive workshops, approaching the following subjects: promoting an enabling environment for the CSOs in the Black Sea Region, interacting with the main donors, identifying the best practices of developing further regional projects and expanding networks in the area. A follow-up Report on Enabling Environment for CSOs was also presented. It gathered updates from all around the year from the region, with additional conclusions and recommendations, in continuation to the last year’s report – „Enabling Environment for Civil Society Development in the Black Sea Region: Towards a Regional Strategy for Cooperation”.