Agneta Björklund chaired the Expert group during the Swedish chairmanship 2008-2009.
Prior to this chairmanship, the Expert Group was referred to as the Working Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk, otherwise known as the WGCC. From 1 May 2009 the group changed its name to be the Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk, or EGCC for short. The decision was taken following a reform of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
New priority paper adopted
The Expert Group agreed that for the years 2009 – 2011 the focus would be on:
- The protection of children from all forms of sexual exploitation including:
- Unaccompanied and trafficked children
- Children abused by being offered money or other forms of remuneration in exchange for sex;
- Children and online sexual exploitation;
- The protection of children from all forms of sexual abuse and sexual violence;
- The rights of children in institutions and in other forms of out of home care.
The rights of children in institutions
A sub-group consisting of the representatives from Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania has additionally worked together with the Secretariat to detail the actions taken regarding the rights of children in institutions.
Discussions were underway with SOS Children’s Villages about co-organising a conference on children leaving care, planned to be held in Vilnius during the Lithuanian presidency of the CBSS.
In preparation for this meeting, a mapping entitled Keeping the door open: Resources for children and youth leaving institutional care in the
Baltic Sea region was prepared and published, fully funded by SIDA’s Baltic Sea Unit.
Monitoring children’s institutions
Two Norwegian experts from the County Governor of Hordaland developed and conducted a four-day pilot training of a system based auditing method for staff supervising and auditing children’s institutions. 17 experts from Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark and Latvia took part. Based on a Norwegian good practice, this was the first time that the training was conducted with experts from different countries. The training was fully funded by The Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality.
Children and online Sexual Violence
A conference on Children and online Sexual Violence was held in Stockholm on February 12 – 13 2009, organised by Linköping University with support from the Expert Group to invite CBSS member state representatives with funding from SIDA’s Baltic Sea Unit. The conference was funded by The World Childhood Foundation and Telia Sonera, through the Online project at Linköping University, with an additional contribution from the Swedish Children’s Welfare Foundation.
Expert group meetings
The Expert Group met in Oslo on 30 September and 1 October 2008 at the invitation of the Norwegian Ministry of Health, and also in Tallinn on 12-13 March 2009 at the invitation of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs.
5th Meeting of National Contact Points on Unaccompanied and Trafficked Children
The 5th such meeting of this group took place with financing from The Danish National Board of Social Services. At the meeting, The National Contact Points, the National Coordinators of the Child Centre, Expert Group members, and alumni of the Comprehensive Assistance to Children Victims of Trafficking trainings met to discuss information sharing and hands-on assistance to unaccompanied and trafficked children.
3rd World Congress against Sexual Exploitation of Children
The Secretariat co-authored a background paper “Child Pornography and online Sexual Exploitation of Children” in cooperation with ECPAT. The Secretariat led and contributed to workshops at the Congress in Rio on: the CBSS Programme on Unaccompanied Children, child abuse on the internet, child-friendly forensic investigations, the Baltic Sea Region study on adolescent sexuality. The Secretariat’s participation was fully funded by ECPAT.