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Communication by the Congress Secretary General to the Committee of Ministers – 15 April 2015

[16/04/2015 16:00:00] In a communication to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 15 April 2015, Andreas Kiefer, Congress Secretary General, who was elected for a second 5-year mandate during the 28th session of the Congress, presented developments at the Congress over the past five years. In particular, he underlined the Congress’s enhanced role as a political assembly, monitoring and election observation body and provider of operational projects. He stressed the importance of the Committee of Ministers’ political support in these developments. In presenting the recent activities of the Congress, he gave details of the practical results achieved a year and a half after the introduction of the new post-monitoring policy. “We are engaged in a fruitful dialogue with several member states (Ukraine, Portugal, Georgia and Armenia). The preparation of ‘roadmaps’ is an effective element in the implementation of our recommendations,” he said. In this connection, he pointed out that, on 23 March, the Congress Bureau had approved guidelines for the implementation of co-operation activities in Council of Europe member states. The Secretary General also reported on the 28th session of the Congress, which was held from 24 to 26 March 2015 under the general theme of “local responses to human rights challenges”.
Statement Andreas Kiefer
Activity report - CG2015(28)21

World Forum for Democracy 2015 – call for Lab submissions

[15/04/2015 11:30:00] The fourth edition of the World Forum for Democracy, to take place in Strasbourg on 18-20 November 2015, will be dedicated to the theme ‘Freedom vs control: For a democratic response’. For the first time, the Forum will not only showcase already existing initiatives, but also innovative, untested ideas to maintain and develop democracy’s basic principles in times of increasing security threats. Public and private organisations worldwide are invited to express their interest in presenting their initiatives or ideas by answering the questionnaire and sending it to by 15 May 2015.
Call for submissions
Concept paper
World forum for Democracy - website

Jean-Claude Frécon: ''Roma inclusion demands real efforts by towns and regions''

[08/04/2015 15:30:00] ''Roma inclusion demands real efforts on the part of towns and regions: it is on their territories and with their infrastructure that practical responses can be provided'', Jean-Claude Frécon, President of the Congress, said on the occasion of International Roma Day on 8 April 2015. ''These efforts are central to the Alliance for Roma Inclusion initiated by the Congress, which now brings together almost 130 towns and regions throughout Europe'', he said, while highlighting the need for co-ordination between the Alliance and the ROMACT and ROMED programmes. The latter are designed respectively to help local and regional authorities to implement Roma inclusion policies and to step up the participation of the Roma community through mediation. The Alliance is a unique platform whose main purpose is to foster exchanges of best practices on Roma inclusion between the participating towns and regions.
Website 'European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion
Cities and regions participating to the Alliance (pdf)

The fight against terrorism: a local challenge

[27/03/2015 20:30:00] Towns and cities have a key role to play in the fight against terrorism by combating stereotyping and exclusion, fostering integration and encouraging all citizens to participate in the life of the community. They should share their experiences amongst themselves. In an urgent debate on “Cities and towns against terrorism”, held with the participation of the Mayor of Kobane(Syria) Mustapha Abdi on Wednesday 25 March 2015, the Chamber of Local Authorities reviewed the issue and assessed the internal and external threats facing towns and cities.
Bureau declaration on the KOBANE corridor
Full text of the news
Speech by Mustapha ABDI, Mayor of Kobane, Syria

Bureau declaration on the Kobane corridor

[27/03/2015 10:30:00] In a declaration adopted on 26 March 2015, the Bureau of the Congress expressed its solidarity and support with the population and local government administration of Kobane, as well as with the other cities in the region, which have been and continue to be victims of extremism, and stressed the need for support from the international community. It called on the Turkish authorities to keep their border open with a permanent and safe corridor, and to allow free passage of all consignments of medicine and medical supplies, as well as of essential foodstuffs, clothing and tonics for the civilian population, and to make free movement legally possible for the inhabitants of the region. The Declaration follows the speech of the Mayor of Kobané to the Chamber of Local Authorities, which met on 25 March during the Congress 28th session.
Text of the Declaration

Barbara Toce: “Women change the way politics are done”

[30/03/2015 17:30:00] Barbara Toce, Vice-President of the Congress (Italy, SOC) and Mayor of Pedaso, participated in the Women Mayors’ Summit, in Istanbul, on 28 March 2015. She focused on women’s political participation at local level and on the implications this has for the urban environment. “I strongly believe that women’s role in the developing of neighbourhoods and cities is crucial, particularly for creating an urban environment based on social cohesion,” she stated addressing the participants to the session on “Women’s Touch in Cities”. She underlined, in particular, the necessity to encourage women to run for office and to stand for elections, to develop women's networks, and to set quotas. “If we want to increase the participation of women in politics, we need a catalyst, and quotas can play this role,” she explained. “We also need awareness raising campaigns to encourage the election of women. And, to complete women’s presence in decision-making structures, we must promote their participation in organisations outside of government,” she added.
Programme (pdf)
Resolution 303 (2010
Recommendation 288 (2010)

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The agenda in brief
20 April - Meeting between Jean-Claude Frécon and John Mc Gurk in the frame of the ONE in FIVE Campaign / Strasbourg, FRANCE
21 April - Equal Opportunities forum (Assembly of European Regions (AER)) / Strasbourg, FRANCE

Calendar of events
Calendar of local and regional elections in COE member states
Drapeau européenYouth activities
Drapeau européenFocus on Ukraine
VIDEO CLIP - The Congress in brief YouTube

Drapeau européenPolitical dialogue with governments
Belgian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers