The Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) of the Baltic Sea States try to establish regular meetings and improved working conditions.
The BALTIC NGO FORUM St.Petersburg on 19./20th of April 2002 continued the tradition of Baltic NGO Meetings of Kopenhagen in March 2001 and May 2001 in Lübeck. The discussions how to develop existing contacts and activities further lead to considerations of an annual, international meeting, which should be supported by the respective chair of the Council of Baltic Sea States CBSS. The 3.NGO FORUM 2003 in Turku /Finland and the 4.NGO FORUM 2004 in Pärnu / Estonia further improved the networking, offered opportunities for NGOs to exchange experiences, and to establish collaboration. 5.NGO FORUM in Gdynia/Poland strengthened the contacts to different bodies of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and underlines the need for common efforts to stabilize the networking also between the Fora.
Much will be needed to prepare. The NGOs on national level need to develop strategies for participation in the process of international co-operation, and find their solutions how to co-ordinate their work and open access to all kind of information also to other people interested. (further information)
Information needs to be prepared in different languages and offered to possibly interested partners – without having a national financing of such projects in sight.
It seems consequent, that some expect more financing from the side of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) itself, and would welcome such an initiative of the governments. Still the German Foreign Office supported the participation of German NGOs at the NGO FORUM in St.Petersburg in 2002. But since then, and due to a difficult devide of responsibilities between the several Federal States, Germany seems to lack a clear concept for support of the Civil Society in the Baltic Sea Region.
The goverments interest seems to get an NGO-structures easy to handle (and control?): the colourful, various interest groups and projects seem to frighten some such officials, who are used to move in close limits and competences. The advice to use EU-programmes for support seems to be just an easy excuse - as no co-financing from any German region or Federal State were offered.
An equal structure of balanced interests is needed to be found: Those NGOs who are interested in concrete topics and work on special problems will not accept – as often used among bureaucrats – to set up just a secretariat, write a lot of papers and leave the reality of concrete projects without finances and support. The future projects need to keep orientated to practice!
Here are some of the texts and results of the BALTIC NGO FORUMS St. Petersburg 2002:
a) Results of the Workgroup ENVIRONMENT
b) Speech of the CBSS Commissioner on Human Rights and Democratic Development, Ms. Helle Degn: NGOs – committed to Democracy?
c) Comprehensive summary of results of the NGO FORUMS ST. PETERSBURG
d) Appeal of the NGO FORUMS to the Parliament of Finland (regarding use of Atomic Power)
e) BALTIC NGO FORUM St. Petersburg - List of Participants
f) Photogalery and snapshots from the NGO Meeting St. Petersburg
More information about the organisers of the NGO FORUM St. PETERSBURG is available at the following Websites:
Further activities of russian NGOs
Russian NGO activities - some examples
Situation of NGOs in Russia & Russian CBSS-presidency
Russian priorities during CBSS-presidency
German NGO INITIATIVE BALTIC SEA COOPERATION met first time in October 2001 in Wohlde / Schleswig-Holstein, to discuss common aims, method and form of possible cooperation in the Baltic Region. The aims of the initiative were underlined by the NGOs of the Initiative during their meeting in october 2004 in Hamburg.
As most important result the NGO INITIATIVE BALTIC SEA COOPERATION was established, and later the participants agreed to define the principles of their cooperation in form of the BERLIN DECLARATION. This paper will also be the guidelines for further organisations and NGOs interested.
16 people from German NGOs participated at the BALTIC NGO FORUM ST.PETERSBURG.
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