Latest News (Site updated Wednesday, December 7, 2016 | 14:00)
Seoul Human Rights Conference: ''Human rights are relevant if they are implemented for everybody at any time”, says Congress Secretary General
[06/12/2016 16:30:00] Speaking at the opening of the 1st Seoul Human Rights Conference on 5 December 2016, Congress Secretary General Andreas Kiefer said that “while it is state organs that ratify international human rights treaties, it is local authorities to a large extent which translate international obligations into practice''. “Human rights provisions do concern a considerable part of the daily tasks of local and regional authorities be it civil, political, economic, social or cultural rights”. He presented the Congress Human Rights Action Plan based on the preparatory work done by Congress members at the 2015 Graz Human Rights Conference and the work of the Monitoring Committee. The Republic of Korea has ratified four Council of Europe conventions and is a member of the Venice Commission (European Commission for Democracy through Law). Many speakers referred to the strong preventive effect of Council of Europe standards and highlighted the need for local politicians and administrations to contribute to the respect of human rights for the benefit of all.
Video of the speech (start at 25:00') - Opening of the Conference Conference website
“Greek municipalities are on the frontline of the fight for local democracy,” says Congress President
[05/12/2016 11:30:00] Speaking at the annual conference of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) in Thessaloniki on 3 December, Congress President Gudrun Mosler-Törnström welcomed closer co-operation between KEDE and the Congress and stressed the importance of strengthening consultations between local and central authorities, as well as local competences and financing, particularly for island municipalities. She expressed her hope that Greece and the Congress would soon enter into post-monitoring dialogue on these issues. “I appreciate the efforts of Greek local authorities to host and offer assistance to refugees and migrants, despite having minimum funding in this area,” said the President, adding: “You are on the frontline of the fight for the rights of municipalities.”
Meeting of the Congress Bureau in Strasbourg
[05/12/2016 13:30:00] The Congress Bureau met in Strasbourg on 1 and 2 December for its last meeting in 2016. It approved the draft agenda of the 32st Session of the Congress (28-30 March 2017), the terms of reference of committees and the Congress’ contribution to the Cypriot chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers. The Bureau members also appointed the rapporteurs for the Bureau and the thematic spokespersons for the period 2017-2018 and held a broad exchange of views with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, with whom they discussed the situation of local democracy in member states, in particular Turkey, Poland, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. The Bureau also heard a statement by the Chair of the Group of Independent Experts (GIE), Angel Manuel Moreno Molina, and it considered, in particular, the way in which the European Charter of Local Self Government had been received in member states. Finally, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Roma issues, Valeriu Nicolae, presented the 'Dosta! & UEFA Respect' project against racism, anti-gypsyism and violence against women. At the end of the meeting, the Bureau members donned the Dosta! Campaign t-shirt to symbolise their commitment against discrimination towards Roma.
Agenda of the Bureau and access to documents Photos [Flickr]
Liisa Ansala: “The project on citizen participation in Armenia broke the ground for future work on participatory democracy”
[05/12/2016 11:00:00] “The project on consolidating local democracy in Armenia and strengthening local councillors’ leadership, implemented under the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia, has made a critical impact in this country’s local communities,” stressed Congress Vice-President Liisa Ansala at the project’s final conference in Yerevan on 5 December. She welcomed the workshops and seminars that reached almost 400 councillors and young local leaders over the past three years, as well as step-by-step action to engage local residents in decision making and community building in the municipalities of Akhtala, Artik, Urtsadzor and Vardenik. “The space of ‘learning by doing’ created by this project, the good practices of community meetings and peer-to-peer exchanges will live on, spread and repeated in other communities, thus advancing further participatory democracy,” she said.
Post-monitoring dialogue, cooperation programmes, fight against radicalisation and promotion of intercultural dialogue among the main Congress activities in 2016
[01/12/2016 15:00:00] Twice a year the Secretary General of the Congress presents the most significant activities and achievements of the Congress to the Committee of Ministers. On 30 November 2016, Andreas Kiefer underlined in particular the signature of two more roadmaps as a follow-up to Congress monitoring reports (Armenia in June and Republic of Moldova in July), the successful implementation of the local democracy dimension of the Council of Europe Action Plans in Ukraine, Armenia, Albania and in the regional programme for the six countries of the UE neighbourhood policy, the launching of an Alliance of cities and regions to fight radicalisation during a first Summit of Mayors in Aarhus and its consolidation during the second Summit in Rotterdam, the elaboration of a toolkit for intercultural and interreligious activities by municipalities as well as the enhanced participation of young delegates in the work of the Congress. As written support to his communication, the Secretary General has made available a written report of activities between mid April and mid November 2016.
Activity Report - CG31(2016)27
Eunice Campbell-Clark: “We must bring down barriers to youth participation”
[01/12/2016 16:30:00] “The Congress promotes youth participation and empowerment” stated Eunice Campbell-Clark, Vice-President of the Congress, in a video message delivered on the occasion of the European Youth Festival 2016 on the theme “Digital creativity improving society”, in Graz (Austria) on 30 November 2016. Recalling that this fifth jubilee year of the European Youth Award takes place under the patronage of the Congress, she outlined Congress actions in this field. “We must bring down barriers to youth participation. This is why the Congress adopted a resolution in 2015 in which we asked local authorities to create the opportunities for young citizens and elected representatives to enter into dialogue in order to strengthen the links between them and to explore participation modalities such as co-management” Eunice Campbell-Cark explained. “The Congress also promotes youth participation and empowerment within its own body by inviting youth delegates from Council of Europe Member States to attend Congress sessions and by cooperating with them so that they can develop projects together with their local authorities at home” she added. Finally she welcomed the addition, among the 13 outstanding solutions reflecting the Council of Europe’s goals selected by the jury, of a special category on the refugee movement, integration, and migration.
Speech - Eunice Campbell-Clark
Congress Greeting cards 2017
[01/12/2016 10:00:00] The Congress Season's Greetings 2017 e-card is available online. You can add a personal message and send it to your contacts by e-mail.
Download the greeting card 2017
Johan van den Hout: “Local Authorities have a key responsibility in safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare”
[01/12/2016 17:00:00] “Local and regional governments are the first witnesses of crimes of sexual violence against children committed inside their own communities” stated Johan van den Hout, Congress Spokesperson on Children, at the 27th meeting of the Network of Contact Parliamentarians to stop sexual violence against children, in Florence on 1 December 2016. The Congress has been working on raising awareness to prevent sexual violence against children at local and regional levels in the 47 member States of the Council of Europe. Speaking about the Pact of Towns and Regions to Stop Sexual Violence against Children which was launched by the Congress in 2012 and which comprises policies and initiatives to guide local and regional authorities”, he said: “Even if the One in Five Campaign of the Council of Europe officially ended last year, the Congress will pursue its efforts to promote the Campaign and the Pact” He referred to the statement issued by the Congress President, Gudrun Mosler-Törnström on the occasion of the European Day on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse (18 November) which calls on local and regional authorities to fight against these crimes. Since 2015, the Congress has been organising a biannual seminar for national associations of local and regional authorities to explore ways of cooperation and to encourage them to sign the Congress Pact.
Speech - Johan van den Hout
Call for proposals for initiatives on transparency, accountability and integrity in local government
[10/11/2016 17:00:00] The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities promotes local democracy and a culture of ethical and inclusive decision-making, as part of the thematic programme “Strengthening institutional frameworks for local governance” in the Eastern Partnership countries. In this context, the Congress is launching a call for proposals for mayors involved in the “Mayors, leaders for change” activities in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The selected local initiatives will foster transparency, accountability and integrity in local authorities. The deadline for the submission of applications is on 7 December 2016.
Call for proposals Annex I: Application Form Annex II: Estimated Budget Annex III: Template Grant Agreement Website PCF