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"Local responses to human rights challenges – migration, discrimination, social inclusion" will be the overarching theme of the two annual sessions of the Council of Europe's Congress in March and October 2015.
The 28th Session, to be held from 24 to 26 March, will include several events relating to this central theme, in particular a debate on the response of local and regional authorities to migration flows on the first day, the award ceremony for the first prize in the Diversity Advantage Challenge, and a presentation of the Council of Europe's No Hate Speech Campaign.
The overarching theme of this Session was "Empowering youth: a shared responsibility for cities and regions". This was the common thread running through the Congress's activities in 2014 and the aim is to provide a forum for exchanges between European local and regional elected representatives on the participation of young people as stakeholders of local and regional democracy. In this context, young delegates, aged 16 to 30 years, from 34 different countries took part for the first time in the Congress's activities and debates.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe has decided to devote a large part of its two annual sessions in 2014 (March and October) to the theme "Empowering youth: a shared responsibility for cities and regions". The aim is to generate exchanges between European local and regional elected representatives on the participation of young people, as actors of local and regional democracy.
On the agenda: debates on "Integration through self-employment: promoting local entrepreneurship of migrants", "Migrants' access to regional labour markets" and "Regionalisation and devolution in Europe in a context of economic crisis" | monitoring reports concerning Ireland, Hungary, Ukraine, Albania and Denmark, and a report on the election of the members of the Avagani (Assembly) of the city of Yerevan and another on the local elections in "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia".
Under the theme ''Europe in crisis – the challenges for local and regional democracy'', a number of debates were held during the 24th session: on 19 March, on fostering active citizenship, on 20 March, on combating social exclusion, and on 21 March, on how ethical conduct can be promoted and corruption combated at local and regional level. The Congress examined the state of local and regional democracy in Spain, Italy and Georgia, and the local elections in Armenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The 23rd Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, taking place from 16 to 18 October 2012 in Strasbourg (France), will bring together more than 300 local and regional elected representatives from 47 Council of Europe member states, to discuss the current challenges for grassroots democracy, in particular in those Arab countries which are undertaking major institutional transformations.
The 22nd Congress Session brought together more than 300 local and regional elected representatives from 47 Council of Europe member states, to discuss the current challenges for grassroots democracy, in particular the financial crisis and its impact on local and regional authorities.
"Living together in dignity" will be the theme running through three debates at the 21st Session of the Congress. They will focus on the situation of Roma and the role of local and regional authorities in promoting their integration, the report by the Group of Eminent Persons on Living together in 21st-century Europe, and efforts to combat child sex abuse through the Council of Europe's ONE in FIVE campaign.
At the top of the agenda of the 20th Session are debates on human rights issues at local level, in particular the situation of Roma in Europe. An urgent debate will be dedicated to the role of the Congress in the context of the current reform process of the Council of Europe.
The 19th Session of the Congress approved the credentials of new national delegations and elected Presidents of the Congress and its two Chambers, as well as Congress Vice-Presidents. The Session also adopted political priorities for 2011-2012 and proposals for the Congress' reform, including changes in its structures and working methods, and set up three new committees.
Among the highlights were, notably, related to
climate change, local authorities and human
rights, North-South co-operation, gender
equality in politics, intra-regional transport,
minority languages, as well as local democracy
in Portugal and Iceland, and regional democracy
in Switzerland nad the observation of elections
in Azerbaidjan from 23 December 2009
File of the session
The Congress of local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe held its 17th Plenary session in Strasbourg from 13 to 15 October 2009. In preparation for the UN Conference in Copenhagen in December, the Congress held a debate on the important contribution of local and regional policy makers to the global challenge of climate change.
During the 16th plenary Session of the Congress several debates were held in plenary sittings, in particular on the Euro-mediterranean co-operation and the role of local and regional authorities, public water and sewer services, combating domestic violence, the situation of local and regional democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the international financial crisis and its consequences for European territorial authorities as well as transborder cooperation.
Among the highlights were local consequences of the Georgian-Russian conflict, non-appointment of three mayors in Belgium, the situation of non-Latvian speaking minorities in Latvia and local democracy in Armenia.
The 15th Plenary Session of the Congress was one of the Congress’ membership renewal. The President of the three Chambers were elected, as well as the Secretary General. The main debates focused on social cohesion, e-democracy, transfrontier cooperation, regional democracy and interreligious dialogue
Local and regional policies on adaptation to climate change, sustainable consumption, urban biodiversity policies, and services of general interest in rural areas were the main items on the agenda of the Congress' Spring Session in Malaga, Spain.
The Congress members discussed a report on local democracy in Turkey, following a fact-finding mission to South-East Anatolia lead by Anders Knape (Sweden, EPP/CD) and Hans-Ulrich Stöckling (Switzerland, ILDG) in August this year. A round table on regional democracy in Europe was organised by the Chamber of Regions focusing in particular on the proposal for a European Charter of Regional Democracy
Co-operation on local democracy beyond Europe's borders, in particular with Morocco, Japan and Mexico, was one of the items on the agenda. Delegations from these three countries addressed the Chamber of Local Authorities and the Chamber of Regions of the Congress.
The Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is holding its autumn session from 13 to 15 November 2006 in Moscow , in the framework of the Russian Federation 's Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers.