On April 16-17, the Lithuanian NGO Information and Support Centre organized the IX. NGO Forum in Vilnius. The event took place under the auspices of the Lithuanian Presidency at the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
The Forum hosted around 300 representatives of civil society organisations from the Baltic Sea countries, in particular Germany, Russia, Finland, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark, Belarus and Lithuania. The event was attended by Ms Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, Ms Ingrid Shulerud, Deputy Director General for Central Europe and EEA-financing in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Audronius Azubalis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania as well as other high ranking officials and international experts.
The main issues addressed at the Forum were the strengthening of civil society and democracy in the region, empowerment of civil society actors to participate in decision making, cooperation with state institutions and representation of the interests of society. These core issues were considered through the topics of participation of NGOs in development cooperation and neighborhood policies, regional NGO cooperation, innovations, public benefit, protection of public interest, etc.
Lithuania is presiding at the Council of the Baltic Sea States from July 2009 to June 2010. During its Presidency Lithuania is focusing on three main areas, which are innovations, cross-border cooperation and clean and safe Baltic Sea. The forums are organised annually by the focal points of the presiding country. Lithuanian NGO Information and Support Center has been invited by CBSS NGO Forum team and Lithuania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise the Forum in Lithuania.
The NGO Centre is the main institution in the country, seeking to ensure a balanced co-operation between non-governmental organisations and institutions of public administration as well as the representation of NGO interests. It seeks to unite the non-governmental organisations of the country for the sake of their own interests’ representation and strengthening of the NGO sector at all levels.
More information about NGO Forums at http://www.bsngoforum.org