Non-Governmental Organisations

AUTUMN SESSION

CONFERENCE OF INGOs
CONF(2009)SYN3

Strasbourg, 26 October 2009

SYNOPSIS

FOR THE ATTENTION OF MEMBERS OF THE CONFERENCE OF INGOS

The Conference of INGOs, meeting in Strasbourg on 1 October 2009 with Jean-Marie Heydt in the chair :

1. Address by Lluís-Maria de Puig, President of the Parliamentary Assembly

    · took note of the address given by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly which particularly concerned the Assembly’s historical recognition of the Conference of INGOs, the means of ensuring greater involvement of civil society in politics and the proposal to set up a Parliamentary Assembly committee responsible for relations with civil society;

    · held an exchange of views, which concerned in particular the possibilities of making the Parliamentary Assembly more aware of the activities of the Conference of INGOs and the means of implementing Resolution 1589 on co-operation with the Conference of INGOs, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly in 2007 (particularly with regard to the participation of NGOS and INGOs in Parliamentary Assembly election observation missions);

2. CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE FOR CIVIL PARTICIPATION IN THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS (link to the code)

    · took note of the presentation by Cyril Ritchie, Rapporteur, of the entire process which had led to the drafting of the Code of Good Practice, which firmly reasserted the political role of the Conference of INGOs within the Council of Europe;

    · also took note of the presentation by the Rapporteur of the strategy for the implementation of the Code of Good Practice, for which the Civil Society and Democracy Committee would henceforth be responsible;

    · held an exchange of views on the fact that the Code of Good Practice ensured that there was a proper balance between the rights and duties of NGOs;

    · adopted the Code of Good Practice for civil participation in the decision-making process with two abstentions and unanimously adopted the strategy for its implementation;

3. “Internal governance of NGOs”: presentation of the second thematic report by the Expert Council on NGO Law

    · took note of the introduction by Cyril Ritchie, President of the Expert Council, of the second thematic report on the internal governance of NGOs, including case studies of several different countries, which would be formally approved by the Conference of INGOs at its meeting in January 2010 ;

    · took note of the detailed presentation by Jeremy McBride, Co-ordinator of the Expert Council, of the second thematic report, based on the replies to the questionnaire sent out. Replies had been received from 34 member states;

    · noted that the impact of the Expert Council’s activities, in particular action taken in response to the recommendations set out in reports produced in 2008 and 2009, would be evaluated in 2010 ;

    · took into consideration the wish expressed by the President and the Co-ordinator that the Conference of INGOs actively promote Recommendation (2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe;

    · noted that the Conference of INGOs would have the opportunity to present the Expert Council’s conclusions on the implementation of Recommendation (2007)14 to the representatives of governments at the meeting of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) in Strasbourg from 6-7 October 2009;

4. Co-operation with the Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF) : address by Moussa Daff, Chair of the Francophone Conference of INGOs and civil society organisations (OSC)

    · took note of the contribution by the Chair of the Francophone Conference of INGOs, representing 63 INGOs working on themes such as culture, peace, democracy and sustainable development, and of his wish to forge partnership links with the Conference of INGOs ;

5. European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (European Union, 2010), in liaison with the Social Charter of the Council of Europe

    · adopted, with four abstentions, a Recommendation on poverty in Europe [CONF/PLE(2009)REC8] asking the Committee of Ministers:

    o to follow up the Conference of INGOs’ proposal to include Article 30 of the revised European Social Charter in its core provisions and urge member states, if they have not already done so, to accept this provision and/or ratify the revised Social Charter;

    o to adopt an action plan for the years 2011 – 2021 to offer guidance to member states, as part of a poverty eradication programme that would take account, inter alia, of the measures proposed above and ensure that the means are available to monitor its implementation;

6. World Appeal to a New Mobilisation for Childhood, on the initiative of the International Catholic Child Bureau (BICE):

    · decided, with two abstentions, to support the appeal (link to the appeal), at the proposal of the Human Rights Committee.

7. Other business

    · took note of the contribution by Michel Muller, Chair of INGO-Service, concerning the worrying situation of the subscriptions for 2009 received to date, the number of which (111) had decreased sharply compared to 2008 (197). At this stage, the 2009 budget had not been covered. As subscriptions were not compulsory, it was important to continue drawing members’ attention to the usefulness of and the use to which the INGO-Service funds were put.

8. Date of the next meeting: to be confirmed.