P
RESENTATION OF THE NORTH-SOUTH CENTRE
 

 
  Introduction
 

The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity or the North-South Centre was set up in Lisbon 1 in May 1990 with the double political role to represent ''the voice of the South'' within the Council of Europe and to advocate, beyond the European continent, the universality of values of democracy and human rights.

Following a reflection regarding the future and the potential of the Centre, the Committee of Ministers decided in May 2013 to entrust the Centre with a mission in the framework of the Council of Europe neighbourhood policy and in agreement and coordination with the activities developed by other sectors of the Organisation.

The objective of the North-South Centre is to contribute to democratic processes, mainly through education to democratic citizenship and intercultural dialogue. The main target is civil society, in particular youth and women. The Centre offers for neighbouring regions and beyond a unique platform for dialogue and structured cooperation between all dimensions of the « quadrilogue »: the governments, the parliaments, the local authorities and the civil society. The Centre acts to promote the principles and standards of the Council of Europe, through comprehensive multilateral actions of regional scope.

In 2014 – 2015 the Centre will continue to develop activities focused on the role of civil society, in particular young people and women, in democratic transitions and its positioning as an actor of governance.

In the framework of the “Joint Management Agreement” signed by the NSC and the European Commission in November 2008 and renewed until 2015, the Centre will continue to implement activities in the fields of education and youth, with the aim to develop a “culture of democratic citizenship” and to build a global citizenship based on human rights and citizens’ responsibilities. An extension of this programme to neighbouring regions could be considered as from 2014.

 

 Key dates in the History of the North-South Centre 

- 29 May 2013 : Adoption of the Report on the new Mission of the Centre in the framework of the Council of Europe neighbourhood policy
- 5 May 2011: Adoption of a new Statutory Resolution for the NSC which entered into force on 1 June 2011.
- 2010 : Accession of Azerbaijan and Cape Verde, the second non-European country to become a member ; Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the North-South Centre.
- 2009 : Accession of Morroco, first non European country to become a member – the NSC has 21 member States and 1st African University on Youth and Development (Praia)

- 2007: 1st Africa-Europe Youth Summit
-  2001 : Accession of Germany – the NSC has 20 member States.
- 2000: Launching of the University on Youth and Development (Mollina)
- 1995: Launching of the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe (Lisbon)

- 1994: 1st meeting of the Lisbon Forum “Human Rights in North-South dialogue” Launching of the “Transmed Programme” (Rome)

- 1993 : Existence of the North-South Centre confirmed by Resolution (93)51 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (21 October) – the NSC has 15 member States.

- 1990 : Set up of the North-South Centre in Lisbon

- 1989 : Adoption on 16 November 1989 of the Resolution (89)14 adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe endorsing the creation of the North-South Centre following a proposition by the government of Portugal, with 10 founding countries (16 November)1

- 1988 : European public campaign on North-South interdependence and solidarity organised by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the European Community. It ended with a European conference of parliamentarians and non-governmental organisations (Madrid, 1-3 June 1988), which issued the Madrid Appeal.

- 1984 : Conference organised in Lisbon held by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the theme, “North-South : Europe’s role” and adoption of the “Lisbon Declaration” (9-11 April).

 

On 5 May, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a new statutory resolution for the North-South Centre. This crucial step positively concluded a process launched in November 2009 by the Parliamentary Assembly, in connection with the 20th Anniversary of the Centre. Through this decision, the member States - and indeed all the stakeholders of the North-South Centre - have confirmed its relevance and importance, at a time when the Arab countries - our neighbours - are facing historical changes.
The main lines of the Centre's new statute, which entered into force on 1 June 2011, are the following :

- the Centre has kept its present legal nature, and continues to function as an enlarged partial agreement of the Council of Europe;
- an invitation is made to all member States of the Council of Europe as well as to the European Union to join the Centre as soon as possible;
- the Centre acts as an interface between the Council of Europe and countries in neighbouring regions which are interested in cooperating with the Organisation, by offering them a platform for structured cooperation at different levels (governments, parliamentarians, local and regional authorities, civil society);
- the two former statutory organs of the Centre merged into a new "Executive Committee", which is the single decision making body of the North-South Centre : through this important structural change, the "quadrilogue" functioning of the Centre has been preserved, while full participation of all member states in the decision making process is ensured;
- the relationship with the European Union has been reinforced, through the introduction of the EU Committee of Regions as a new stake-holder of the North-South Centre;
- the priority areas of the Centre are confirmed (education, youth, intercultural dialogue), with an increased focus on the promotion of Council of Europe principles and values beyond the European continent.

Aims and functions
The aims of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (“the Centre”) are:
- to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law through intercultural dialogue and education, in particular among the youth of Europe and its neighbouring regions;
- to provide a framework for European co-operation for the purpose of increasing public awareness of global interdependence and solidarity issues;
- to promote policies of solidarity in conformity with the aims and principles of the Council of Europe, by fostering dialogue and co-operation between Europe and non-European countries in neighbouring regions.

The Centre pursues its aims in conformity with the values and principles of the Council of Europe.

The Centre thus serves to:
a. improve education and information on human rights, democracy and the rule of law and on the fundamental issues of global interdependence and solidarity, and promote liaison between the competent government departments and services of the member States as regards their public awareness work on the aforementioned issues, both directly and in their support of NGOs;
b. promote intercultural dialogue between Europe and non-European countries or neighbouring regions;
c. offer a platform for structured co-operation with the Council of Europe, mainly for non-European neighbouring countries which may be interested in acceding to the Centre;
d. maintain and further enhance the process of quadripartite communication and co-operation between governments, parliamentarians, local and regional authorities and non-governmental organisations (“NGOs”), in particular:
- by strengthening co-operation and contacts between NGOs from the North and the South, active in promoting a better understanding of global interdependence and in pursuing solidarity on the basis of universal principles and commonly shared values;
- by encouraging similar contacts at parliamentary and local and regional authorities level;
e. develop working relations and synergies with the European Union prior to its accession, the United Nations and other regional and international institutions and organisations active in relation to global interdependence and solidarity and sharing the values of the Council of Europe.

That is why the North-South Centre is often described as the Council of Europe’s window to the world, because its purpose is to assert the validity of the values upheld by the Council beyond the European continent.

The Centre is under the administrative responsibility of the Directorate General for Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport.

This tutelage reinforces the “intercultural dialogue”, “education” and “youth” dimensions in the Centre’s activities.

The North-South Centre’s work is based on three principles: dialogue, partnership and solidarity.

DIALOGUE: this means a mutual learning process based on listening to others and acquiring new knowledge - the approach that makes the North-South Centre a platform for discussion between North and South and between the partners in its quadrilogue. It arranges conferences, debates and workshops, then takes action to get their conclusions and recommendations adopted by national and international institutions.
 

PARTNERSHIP: the North-South Centre brings together players from different countries and walks of life who are concerned with common issues. It encourages them to set up networks so as to increase their impact. It has close working relations with the European Union and international organisations other than the Council of Europe such as OECD, the UN and the OAU.
 

SOLIDARITY: the North-South Centre promotes the idea that only globalisation based on solidarity will ensure universal respect for the Council of Europe’s traditional values.

 

- Its ability to act in different dimensions and mobilization of relevant actors, allow the North-South Centre to bring together the partners of the quadrilogue so that they may compare their ideas, discuss, analyze, and compare their experiences and policies in order to share best practices, build consensus, provide information on topics related to globalization and influence policy.

 

Its expertise is recognized and used by its partners especially in the areas of education, youth and intercultural dialogue.

 


Political Priorities
 

   

The activities of the North-South Centre follow the implementation of the strategic document which will be approved by the Executive committee based on the renewed confidence of the Member States and other recipients of the CNS, and follow the framework documents related to NSC programmes.
 

Calendar of activities 2013

Calendar of activities 2012

Calendar of Activities 2011


Programme of Activities for 2011
The programme of activities for 2011 is the continuation of the work carried out by the North-South Centre since spring 2008. It relies on the strategic document adopted at that time by the statutory bodies of the North-South Centre, and the evaluation of its implementation carried by the same statutory bodies in spring 2010, in the context of the NSC’s 20th Anniversary.
. Statement of Ms Deborah Bergamini, Chair of the Executive Council
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1 Lisbon was chosen following an initiative of the Portuguese government, which had proposed (after the European public campaign on North-South interdependence and solidarity organised in 1988 by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the European Community) that a centre be set up to follow up the proposals generated by the campaign, in the form of an enlarged partial agreement of the Council of Europe.

Key Documents

- GT-CNS Ad hoc Working Party of the Committee of Ministers on the Future of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre)
GT-CNS(2013)4 final

- Calendar of activities 2013

- Calendar of activities 2012

- Calendar of Activities 2011
- 2011-2013 Strategic Document
- Short Presentation of the NSC: the NSC at a glance
- 2012 Youth Co-operation Programme
- 2012 Global Education Programme
- 2012 Promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law through targeted cooperation and intercultural dialogue

- Activity report for 2011

20th Anniversary

Photo Gallery