This year’s Black Sea NGO Forum, at its 9th edition, took place in Varna, Bulgaria, between October 31st and November 2nd.

The Forum aims at facilitating and intensifying regional cooperation according to the strategic framework established at the previous editions, which will contribute to strengthening the role of the civil society as an important partner in the development process.

Thus, ENNA’s participation in the Forum came as a natural consequence of our mission to promote the cross-sectoral interests of the civil society sector in Europe and beyond.

Within the Forum, ENNA held the workshop “Engaging local authorities in civic space monitoring, climate change and participatory budgeting”. The workshop aimed at promoting our activities in general, with a focus on the LADDER project and, more specifically, the Working Group on citizens’ participation. Together with 25 participants, we debated our takes on (1) addressing the contraction of civic space, (2) creating democratic and accountable institutions and (3) developing climate change and sustainable development policies and practices. While participants debated the different ways we conceptualize these concepts in EU and Eastern partnership countries, the final results and conclusions showed that dialogue and exchange of information is the only way to reach common ground and achieve development, at civic, institutional and environmental levels.

In the group exercise part, the participants brainstormed various tools through which local authorities, together with CSOs and citizens, are key actors in the global development process.

See presentation here.

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”.