Non-Governmental Organisations



                      Strasbourg, 6 May 2011



      The Conference of INGOs, meeting in Strasbourg on 27 January 2011 with Jean-Marie Heydt in the chair:

      1. Adopted the agenda [CONF/PLE(2011)OJ2];

      2. Adopted the synopsis of the meeting held on 6 October 2010 [CONF/PLE(2010)SYN3];

      3. Took note of the introductory comments by the President concerning the vital need to devote the meeting to the far-reaching changes that would have to be made quickly;

      4. Activity reports for 2010

        unanimously adopted the activity report for 2010 of the Standing Committee and the Bureau presented by Sophie Dimitroulias;

        unanimously adopted the report of the committees and transversal groups presented by Maritchu Rall;

        The President underlined the importance of the work done by the rapporteurs and the quality of their work.

      5. Reform of the Conference

        The Conference of INGOs:
        validated the broad outline of the reform, as described in the documents “Reform of the Conference of INGOs: The Conference of INGOs, a force of proposals from the civil society” [CONF/REFORM(2011)1] and “Explanatory text to the discussions which will be held by the Standing Committee + the Committees and the Transversal Groups + the Conference of INGOs” [CONF/REFORM(2011)2];
        agreed to transform the existing committees and transversal groups into three thematic committees:
        o Human Rights Committee

          The committee’s priority areas of action were as follows:
          - economic and social rights in relation to the current crisis;
          - human rights defenders;
          - the universality of human rights and the diversity of cultures;
          - the media and human rights.

          The proposal was adopted unanimously (one abstention).

        o Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee

          The committee’s priority areas of action were:
          - sustainable development;
          - North/South dialogue and solidarity;
          - participation in the decision making process; the Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Process;
          - civic democracy through interaction of European NGOs;
          - health and the fight against poverty.

        The proposal was adopted by a large majority.

        o Education and Culture Committee

          The committee’s priority areas of action were:
          - citizenship education;
          - multi-perspective teaching of European history;
          - access to digital media;
          - lifelong learning;
          - the key skills for access to the labour market.

          The proposal was adopted by a large majority.

        agreed to:

        o include in its list of priorities the continuation of dialogue in post-conflict situations;
        o include as a preamble and as the objective of the Conference and its committees gender equality as a universal value and a fundamental right;
        o entrust the Standing Committee with the task of preparing the decisions necessary for the preparation of the elections to be held in June 2011;
        o include European Year of Volunteering in its priorities and set up a working group on the subject to prepare an event in the autumn.

6. Adoption of recommendations and resolutions

      The Conference of INGOs:

        adopted draft Recommendation CONF/PLE(2011)REC2: Reform of the European Court of Human Rights: say no to legal costs for applicants;

        adopted draft Resolution CONF/PLE(2011)RES1 and Recommendation CONF/PLE(2011)REC1: Sectarian Excesses and Violations of Human Rights;

        amended and adopted draft Resolution CONF/PLE(2011)RES2 concerning Civil Society in Belarus; this resolution followed on from those adopted on 6 October 2010 and 10 December 2010 and recent developments;

        amended and adopted draft Declaration CONF/PLE(2011)DEC1: The Conference of INGOs greets the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia;

        adopted draft Recommendation CONF/PLE(2011)REC3: Sanctions and liability in respect of NGOs (based on the third report by the Expert Council on NGO Law);

        agreed unanimously to extend the term of the Chair of the Expert Council for a year so that he could ensure continuity and prepare proposals on the future role and operation of the Expert Council on NGO Law.

      6. INGO Services

        heard the President of INGO-Services present the budgets for the last two years:

        o in 2009, the Conference of INGOs had a budget of 250 000 euros;
        o in 2010, it had had a budget of 108 000 euros.

        and urge the NGOs to pay the annual contribution even though it was not compulsory.

      7. Other business

        One in Five, the Council of Europe campaign to stop sexual violence against children, had been launched and details were available on the web (link to site);
        The first European Youth and Human Rights Fair would be held in Strasbourg on 20 and 21 March 2011. A colloquy on “Human rights Europe: from one generation to the next” would also be held on 20 March;
        Information on the Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly on 24 December 2010 on Global efforts for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action;
        Call to participants in the Conference of INGOs to express interest in the Forum on “New multicultural challenges: how can NGOs play their part?” to be held in Istanbul on 24 and 25 March 2011 (Veysel Filiz) (link to site)