Since the Council of Europe was founded in 1949, its member states have been committed “to the spiritual and moral values which are the common heritage of their peoples and the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy” (Statute of the Council of Europe). All sectors of the Council of Europe are working on the basis of these principles.
The overall mandate of the Directorate General of Democracy is to support the Council of Europe’s work in fields which are critically important for the sustainability of democracy and for ensuring human dignity:
• To ensure respect for the human dignity of all without discrimination and on the basis of human rights standards
• To improve the functioning of democratic institutions and to secure compliance with democracy and human rights standards
• To strengthen citizens’ democratic competencies and their willingness to participate in the democratic process
• To democratically manage the inner diversity of European societies in a spirit of solidarity and tolerance based on the political and legal standards of the Council of Europe.
These political priorities are translated into standards, programmes and projects where the Council of Europe brings to bear its unique pan-European perspective, know-how and outreach.
The Directorate General of Democracy works in areas such as:
• Gender equality; combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity; fighting trafficking in human beings; combating violence against women, children and domestic violence; protecting children’s rights; tackling racism and intolerance; the protection of national minorities and of regional or minority languages; policies supporting social cohesion; promotion of ethics and rule-of-law standards in sport.
• Good governance and administrative reforms; transparency and participation; preparation and conduct of free and fair elections; management of cultural diversity; cultural and heritage policies; landscape and democratic territorial governance, civil society and biodiversity.
• Promotion of quality education; democratic citizenship and human rights education; training of education professionals and youth leaders; language policy.
The Directorate General of Democracy prepares and implements targeted programmes, policies and standard-setting mechanisms. It monitors a number of European
and manages several
, where a selection of Council of Europe member States and often other countries co-operate on a given topic.
The Directorate General is composed of:
In its fields of competence, DGII regularly co-operates with national governments and key outside partners including local and regional authorities, civil society organisations and other international institutions, notably the European Union.
DGII priority action in 2016-2017
DGII topics A-Z
DGII management chart