20 January 2011
Sustainable Territorial Development Committee
Activity report for 2010
In 2010, the Sustainable Territorial Development Committee addressed subjects relating to world current affairs and to Council of Europe events and activities relating to biodiversity, climate, spatial planning, landscape, democracy and governance.
In each of these fields it worked in close collaboration with:
- the steering committees and the ministerial working group: CDLR, CEMAT and CDPATEP;
- the conventions: the Bern Convention and the European Landscape Convention;
- the committees of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe responsible for local democracy, the environment, the landscape, spatial planning and sustainable development;
- experts from not only NGOs which are members of the INGO Conference but also national and international NGOs that are not members of the Conference;
- academics and scientists.
The Committee set up a Biodiversity Taskforce headed by the European Environmental Bureau, an NGO member of the Committee.
1. European Biodiversity Day
The Committee’s most outstanding contribution was the organisation of European Biodiversity Day in April 2010 and the signature by the Presidents of the Parliamentary Assembly , the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the INGO Conference of a text expressing common commitment to protecting biodiversity and the fight against climate change.
The aim was to give the Council of Europe a role in the preparations for the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit (October 2010) and the Cancun Climate Summit (December 2010).
The event, to which the City of Strasbourg contributed by taking part in round tables and hosting a buffet lunch at the Pavillon Joséphine, was organised in partnership with the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Bern Convention. It brought together some 200 people, including representatives of frontline international organisations.
It received the support of Ms Micheline CALMY-REY, Chair of the Committee of Ministers, and an audiovisual message from Ahmed DJOGHLAF, Executive Secretary of the Biological Diversity Convention.
This was the first time such a joint event had been organised at the Council of Europe. It was welcomed by numerous international bodies including the European Commission, the IUCN and the UN. There were also numerous articles in the international and European press and in the digital media.
The INGO members of the Committee also publicised the event in their own media (written publications and websites).
The signed declaration was forwarded to the Committee of Ministers.
A bilingual exhibition (English and French), entitled “Biodiversity, a vital asset for Europe”, organised by the IFHP, an INGO member of the Committee, was inaugurated on this occasion. It presents the activities of the Council of Europe and the Bern Convention and since April 2010 appears on the website of the UN and various other websites, including the Paris Biodiversity website (Natureparif). Two copies of the exhibition (which was presented to the Commission des Evêques de France (Board of Bishops of France)) are being shown, at popular request, in French towns and universities. It has also been sent in digital form to local education authorities in France for teaching purposes.
A dedicated website was set up to announce the event and facilitate its organisation, and contributions were made available to Internet users in written, audio or video form.
2. Contributions to platforms and working groups of the ministerial sector other than steering committees
These concerned mainly
- participation in the activities of the “Chavez Group”, named after the Spanish minister responsible for follow-up to the 2009 Utrecht Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government.
- participation in the activities of the Stakeholders Platform of the Strategy on Innovation and Good Governance at Local Level, adopted in Valencia on 15 October 2007, which comprises representatives of the Committee of Ministers, the CDLR, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress.
- The working group’s contribution to European Local Democracy Week
3. Committee presence and representation of the INGO Conference
Contribution to the High-level Pan-European Conference on Biodiversity held in Azerbaijan by Edith WENGER, Head of the Biodiversity Taskforce on "Role of the INGOS at the Council of Europe "
Participation in the 15th session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning – CEMAT (8-9 July 2010, Moscow) on the theme “Future Challenges: Sustainable Spatial Development of the European Continent in a Changing World”
- Address by the Committee Chair at the opening ceremony
- Dissemination to state representatives and to the press of the Declaration on Future challenges: sustainable territorial development of the European continent in a changing world, adopted by the Committee
Participation in the 10th Anniversary of the European Landscape Convention in Florence (Italy). Statement at the opening session of the preparatory day on the theme " Quality of landscape – Quality of life: “The role, experience and potential of associations”
Participation in the Landscape Workshops in Cordoba (Spain), statement by the Committee Chair during the round table on "Landscape, infrastructure and society"
- several NGO members of the Committee were present at each of the events organised by the ministerial sector of the Council of Europe (costs covered by the participants)
- their travelling expenses were sometimes covered, in part or in full, by the representatives of the Conference or the Committee
Adoption of declarations
Four declarations were adopted by the Committee over the past year:
- "Working together for biodiversity, protection of natural areas and the fight against climate change " April Session:
- "Future challenges: sustainable territorial development of the European continent in a changing world” June Session
- " Contribution to the 10th Anniversary of the European Landscape Convention" October Session:
- "Climate change and biodiversity: acting together! October Session:
4. Participation in the drafting of reports and texts by other bodies
- Rural Heritage Charter for the CEMAT co-drafted by the INGO “RED”
- Opinion on the parliamentary report on climate and biodiversity, drafted by the European Environment Office
- Contribution to the drafting of the report on noise and light pollution by the IFHP
5. Organisation of a joint meeting with the Civil Society and Democracy Committee on the theme of governance in October 2010
6. Establishment and updating of 4 Internet tools
http://conferenceofingos.weebly.com/ (biodiversity English)
http://conference-des-oing.weebly.com/ (biodiversity French)
http://sustainabledevelopmentcommittee.weebly.com/ (occasional messages)
http://sustainabledevelopment.unblog.fr/ : the Committee’s habitual website, on which can be found reports on events and committee members’ written contributions to the opinions section.
7. Replies by experts of the Sustainable Territorial Development Committee to European Commission consultations
- on the EU Green Paper TEN-T by the NGO “AEC” (Jean-Pierre Estival)
- on the EU Green Paper on “The protection of forests and information in the European Union: Preparing forests for climate change” by the IFHP (Pierre Monge).
The Committee is steadily pursuing the same objective as the two groups that preceded it (“NGO Cities” and “Rural World and Environment”) ie. to consolidate the local and regional dimension of human rights and citizens’ participation in the framing of public policies and in decision-making processes.
The activities conducted over the past year were designed to foster the emergence and application of sustainable development principles and policies that have an impact on environmental, economic and social balances.
Speakers who addressed the Committee (on the occasion of European Biodiversity Day and throughout the year)
BILLAULT-CHAUMARTIN Julien, Météo-France weather forecaster, lecturer at Louis Pasteur University