Parliamentary Assembly session : 23 – 27 September 2002 

Council of Europe and NGOs celebrate 50 years of partnership

A ceremony to mark 50 years of consultative status for international NGOs (INGOs) and 25 years of the INGO Liaison Committee took place on Tuesday 24 September in the Palais de l’Europe. Committee of Ministers Chair, Foreign Minister of Luxembourg Lydie Polfer, Parliamentary Assembly President Peter Schieder, the Council of Europe’s Director General of Political Affairs Klaus Schumann and Chair of the INGO Liaison Committee Daniel Zielinski spoke at the ceremony.

Since its inception, the Council of Europe has recognised the essential role played by NGOs in contributing to checks and balances in a pluralist democracy and in promoting responsible democratic citizenship based on citizens’ rights. In 1952, consultative status was introduced for international NGOs, which has helped to develop and strengthen co-operation between the Council of Europe and the voluntary sector.

Today, work is under way on a new status reflecting the active participation of INGOs in the Organisation’s policy and decision-making and work programme. This new status, set out in a Committee of Ministers resolution, will translate into legal terms the changing approach to co-operation between the Council of Europe and INGOs, which has evolved from consultation to participation.

Lydie Polfer
Peter Schieder
Klaus Schumann
Daniel Zielinski

NGOs and CoE