International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) met in Strasbourg from
27 to 29 January 2004 to mark the recent upgrading of their status
at the Council of Europe from consultative to participatory and elect
the new Chairperson of their Liaison Committee.
On Tuesday 27 January, Secretary General Walter Schwimmer, Chairman
of the Ministers' Deputies Johannes Landman and Congress Vice-President
Yazuz Mildon addressed the Conference.
At 10h00, at the opening of
the sitting in the Hemicycle, Parliamentary Assembly President Peter
Schieder also addressed the conference participants.
On 19 November 2003, the Ministers' Deputies adopted two Resolutions recognising the work done up until now by non-governmental organisations at the Council of Europe.
The NGOs represent a firm link between the Council of Europe and 800 million Europeans. Whether national or international, they draw the Council of Europe's attention to the effects of changes in European societies and the problems facing them. Moreover, they play a multiplying role as regards the results of activities led by the Council.
The two texts adopted outline a more important role for the NGOs as actors within the Council of Europe, in relation to their former statute. The Resolution on participatory status for international NGOs enhances their active participation in the Council's policies and programme of activities, alongside the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. It updates the consultative statute of international NGOs which has existed since 1952.
The Resolution on the partnership between the Council of Europe and national NGOs recognises their role in implementing the Council of Europe's co-operation programmes, above all in the new member states.