Democratic governance

We believe in diversity as a force for democracy and encourage dialogue as a means of building peace.


Our vision reflects the values of a democratic, dynamic, integrated and creative European society.


We strive towards a Europe where the diversity of cultures, the arts, and cultural and natural heritage are essential to the development of a genuine openness of mind and basic rights, and where open and interactive processes and practices of culture encompass different elements that combine to help us deal with the complexities of living with ourselves and one another. (more...)


Headline news ... (05/10/2015)


First ever mediation visit under the Bern Convention to find a compromise between energy developments and biodiversity conservation

The first-ever mediation visit organised under the Bern Convention will take place on 6-9 October 2015 to Vilnius and Rudamina (Lazdijai district), Lithuania, following a complaint submitted by a local NGO to the Convention’s governing body. The complaint denounces the construction of an Overhead Power Line (OHL) in an environmentally sensitive area near a Unesco Biosphere Reserve and a EU Natura 2000 site. According to the complainant the project, considered of strategic importance by the country, would have a direct impact on several species and habitats protected under both the Bern Convention and EU nature legislation. The Standing Committee to the Bern Convention decided to address the matter through the Mediation, a new tool that will allow clarifying the conservation issues related to the complaint, help reach a consensus and record the agreements of possible solutions that would satisfy both sides, in the respect of the spirit and letter of the Convention. The visit will be conducted by an independent mediator accompanied by a Council of Europe’s delegation. (more...) [01/10/2015]


Study visit on refugee welcome to integration in the labour market

The Council of Europe is organising on 22 and 23 October a study visit for the cities participating in its Intercultural cities programme, to Berlin Neukölln, also a member, on refugee reception. Berlin Neukölln has leading experience in all key areas of refugee welcome. Its policies focus on creating the best conditions for effective social integration through culture and language courses, engagement with NGOs, competence recognition and facilitating connections with the labour market. Intercultural cities is a Council of Europe programme which supports cities across Europe in developing modern integration policies so that they can minimise the challenges and maximise the benefits of migration and diversity. [05/10/2015]



16th Council of Europe Meeting of the Workshops for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention (Andorra la Vella, 1-2 October 2015)

The 16th Council of Europe Meeting of the Workshops for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention on "Landscape and transfrontier cooperation: Landscape knows no boundary", was organised by the Council of Europe – Democratic Governance, Secretariat of the European Landscape Convention – in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Sustainable development of Andorra, within the context of the Work Programme of the European Landscape Convention of the Council of Europe. The Meeting aimed to analyse experiences on the landscape, achieved or ongoing, of transfrontier co-operation. [05/10/2015]

Special file


Emerald Network evaluation Seminar for Belarus and the Russian Federation

On 28-30 September, the Bern Convention organised the first scientific evaluation of the currently proposed ‪‎Emerald Network in Belarus and the Russian Federation. Independent scientific experts, national authorities and nature conservation NGOs from the two countries met during three days in Petrozavodsk (Russian Federation). They debated how well the currently proposed Emerald site on these countries’ territories will perform in achieving the Network’s main objective: ensuring the long-term survival of the species and habitats of European importance. For more information, please consult the EU/CoE project "Emerald Network of nature protection sites, Phase II" in the frame of which this evaluation takes place. [01/10/2015]


The Republic of Belarus joined the Compendium

The Republic of Belarus joined the Compendium cultural policy information system. A work meeting took place on 24 September, in Minsk, with experts and authorities from Belarus to start preparing their country profile. [25/09/2015]

Compendium website

FOCUS: Cultural Heritage

European Heritage Days 2015 : spotlight on Europe’s Industrial Heritage

Canals, mines, breweries, potteries, forges, railways, cotton mills tell us as much about our heritage as celebrated archaeological sites, cathedrals and castles. This year Europe has come together to examine our shared past through the unique lens of our Industrial Heritage, with more than 30 countries joining this common theme. In September, people across the Continent will visit thousands of sites for free, most of them only open to the public during European Heritage Days. (more...) [09/09/2015]


Video of the month
2nd Council of Europe Platform Exchange on Culture and Digitisation, 4-5 September 2015, Linz, Austria

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