The two-day seminar of ASTRA, held in the capital of Croatia - Zagreb, ended. The Gender Alternatives Foundation is a member of the network of NGOs ASTRA, which includes 39 organizations from 21 countries in the Central and Eastern European region. In Zagreb, Stewart Halford and Sandeep Prasad of the SRI (Sexual Rights Initiatives) outlined in detail the capabilities of mechanisms for NGO participation in country reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The accent was on the insufficient knowledge and use of UN-accepted mechanisms for NGO participation in official reports or the creation of alternative ones if the government refused to work together.


     To help NGOs, organizations around the world, SRI, have created a splendid portal containing the complete database of all previous mandatory reports from all over the world - http://www.uprdatabase.org/. The tools in the portal provide an opportunity to track the forthcoming reports and opportunities of the NGO sector to be involved in the presentation and evaluation of each country on human rights issues and specifically on the protection of victims of sexual or domestic violence. The portal can also see all 152 recommendations on human rights issues Bulgaria has received so far, as well as the current state of play regarding the state's work on resolving them.

     In the framework of the meeting, Rachel Jacobson of the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) recalled the 17 sustainable goals that the UN set for 2030 and how the NGO sector supports and demands the efforts of local governments to work with them. In Bulgaria, these "sustainable goals" of the United Nations are often summed up by expressions such as "the 2030 program", "the 2030 objectives" and others. However, politicians rarely specify that there are 17 specific areas of public affairs, and Health, Good Education and Gender Equality are some of them. Sustainable UN targets by 2030 are also the subject of permanent reports from all governments, and the NGO sector also has the opportunity to monitor and report directly to the UN on the state of play with the work of countries on each of the 17 sustainable development goals.

August 17, 2019