- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
 January 23 , 2004 

Joint Forces: Regional organizations meet for cooperation in civil societies

About 50 organizations were represented to discuss social welfare..

A forum was held in Yerevan last week aimed at strengthening civil society among countries of the former Soviet Union.

Organized by the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) and Mission Armenia non-governmental organizations, the forum attracted about 50 organizations representing members of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

The forum offered civil society organizations of the Black Sea Region an opportunity to gather in one place and join forces in the name of social welfare in the region, said Mission Armenia president Hripsimeh Kirakosyan.

The majority of BSEC member countries are former Soviet republics (Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan), which experience the same socioeconomic conditions.

"Former notions that a country must satisfy its people's needs alone have given way today to clear realization of the fact that ensuring people's development requires active involvement and cooperation of civil society including both individuals and organizations," said president of ICSW Solveig Askjem

Under the motto, "overcoming poverty and creating stable development in the region" participants paid attention to such problems as development, unemployment, problems of refugees and old people.

"All presented social problems must be solved," Kirakosyan said. "There can't be economic development without social development. If there is a consistent economic growth then it means that it is a self-aimed enhancement of the economic growth."

ICSW has members in 70 countries where the organization cooperates with the United Nations, the Council of Europe and BSEC for bringing into life the goals of the council.

"This is our first program in Armenia," Askjem said. "We will make a research to find out what problems require urgent solution in the region and after that we will seek financial resources for that work."

According to Agnes
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