DEMOCRACY, SOCIAL COHESION AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES COMMITTEE
Strasbourg, 6 July 2011
FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE DEMOCRACY, SOCIAL COHESION AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES COMMITTEE
The Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee of the Conference of INGOs, met in Strasbourg on 21 June 2011, with Yulia ZVEREVA, “Russian Peace Foundation (FRP), member of the Bureau of the Conference of INGOs and then Anne-Marie Chavanon, International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) in the chair, assisted by the two vice-chairs Israël MENSAH, Catholic International Education Office (CIEO) and Dr Vera JOHN MIKOLAJEWSKY, University Women of Europe (UWE). The chairs and vice-chairs were elected on 20 and 21 June 2011 for a period of three years.
Adopted the meeting agenda as it stood.
2. Synopsis of previous meetings
adopted the synopses of the three previous committees which had now been merged (democracy and civil society, sustainable territorial development, health and eradication of poverty) without modification.
3. Statements by the outgoing chairs
took note of the activities conducted by two of the aforementioned committees and by the “Europe and Global Challenges” Transversal Group”, which were presented by Veyzel FILIZ, outgoing Vice-Chair of the Democracy and Civil Society Committee, Anne-Marie CHAVANON, outgoing Chair of the Sustainable Territorial Development Committee and Michel JULIEN, outgoing Chair of the “Europe and Global Challenges” Transversal Group.
decided to follow up activities still in progress and ensure that the various Council of Europe bodies continued to benefit from their expert knowledge.
4. Exchange of views on the joint agenda of the members of the quadrilogue
was informed by Michael REMMERT, Project Manager, of the content of the next Forum for the Future of Democracy, to be held in Limassol (Cyprus) on 13 and 14 October 2011 on the subject of "The interdependence of democracy and social cohesion".
took note of Mr REMMERT’s invitation to disseminate the call for candidatures to take part in the Forum to NGOs that were members of the Committee and those which were not via the website (http://www.coe.int/t/dgap/forum-democracy/default_fr.asp ) before 8 July 2011
took note of the wishes expressed by Jutta GUTZKOW, Head of the Division of NGOs and Civil Society, with regard to the follow-up to be given to the “Code of good practice for civil participation in the decision-making process” – which could be accessed in 17 languages on the website of the Conference of INGOs (http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/code_good_prac_FR.asp?) - and to continue promoting its implementation
held an exchange of views with Jean HUSS, member of the Luxemburg Parliament and member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, on the role of the Conference of INGOs, the joint activities of the two bodies, the themes that should be taken further and the organisation of the work. Mr HUSS urged the new committee to fulfil its fundamental mission of safeguarding human rights, not only the traditional rights linked to the rules of democracy but also social rights on which North/South and East/West relations depended, and second-generation rights, which were decisive for mankind’s survival and health, for example the right to a healthy environment. On behalf of the Committee, the Chair thanked Mr HUSS, who was addressing the NGOs in his capacity as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly for the last time, for his collaboration and his unswerving support for the work of the former Sustainable Territorial Development Committee.
5. Statement by the newly elected Chair and Vice-Chairs
approved the new avenues for work proposed by the Chair and the Vice-Chairs of the new committee elected by the Conference of INGOs on 20 and 21 June, in particular the absolute need:
- for a transversal and pluridisciplinary approach, given the large number of subjects for which the Committee was now responsible but also the wide range of expert knowledge and skills available in the Conference of INGOs
- for an ongoing partnership with all members of the quadrilogue
- to call for expert assistance and co-operation from outside the organisation
6. The work and commitment of the Committee’s INGOs
heard a presentation by Sibylle RICHARD (IFHP) on the benefits the Conference of INGOs brings to the European continent;
was informed by the INGO health prevention working group, co-ordinated by Professor SCHLAEDER, of the activities being carried out in co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly sub-committee on health, in the context of the activities of the former “Health and Eradication of Poverty" committee;
took note of the initial working proposals put forward by its members in response to the core objectives of the internal reform of the Council of Europe and its renewed focus on democracy, human rights and the rule of law:
o Preparation of a draft Council of Europe declaration on democracy, its principles and conditions, providing guidance on how to evaluate and apply democracy in member states but also to serve as an educational tool and a reference for countries fighting against dictatorships - Giuseppe GUARNERI – Institut interdisciplinaire d’éthique et de droits de l’homme (IIEDH).
o Tools for participation: preparation of “Act II” of the Code of Good Practice for civil participation in the decision-making process, based on a number of practical examples - Remi BERTHIER (UIGSE).
o Migration and democracy, situation, problems and examples of solutions – Silvano MARSEGLIA, Chair of the European Association of Teachers (EAT) and Jean-Claude GONON, Secretary General of the NGO and delegate to the Council of Europe;
o Climate change and human rights, in preparation for the conference to be held by the Council of Europe on this subject in October 2012. This initiative would bring together all directorates in the ministerial sector, the Parliamentary Assembly, the European Court of Human Rights, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the NGO members of the Conference of INGOs - Edith WENGER – European Environmental Office Bureau European Environmental Bureau (EEB).
o A European and global health problem: the spread of antimicrobial-resistant pathogens
- Evaluation of the health risks linked to the development and transmission of resistant pathogens in and between Council of Europe member states as a result of not only the growing mobility of populations but also the current economic and epidemiological situation.
- Proposals for training adapted to the situations encountered in the countries most concerned - Dr Thierry MATHIEU, Secretary General of the International Association for Research in Hospital Hygiene (IARHH).
o Monitoring and application of Council of Europe conventions and partial agreements relevant to the Committee’s work, inter alia
1. The Bern Convention (Edith WENGER - EEB).
2. The European Landscape Convention - Gerhardt ERMISCHER, Secretary General of Civilscape.
3. The EUR-OPA partial agreement and the prevention of major natural and industrial hazards, study of the constraints, survey of prevention tools, mobilisation of decision-makers and civil society via the NGO members of the Conference, elected representatives and representatives of the governmental sector (Philippe GROLLEAU (Pax Romana) and Anne-Marie CHAVANON (IFHP).
7. Organisation of activities and validation of working groups
agreed that all proposals would be sent, together with a calendar to the Committee Chair and Vice-Chairs, which would forward them to the Bureau of the Conference of INGOs. The proposals should be made exclusively by NGOs which were prepared to lead a working group. The head of the group would be responsible for the composition of the working group.
8. Declaration of support for women involved in fostering democracy
adopted, after debate, the amended resolution “Leveraging Women’s Equal Participation during and after Conflicts and Revolutions from the onset” http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/Articles/CONF_PLE_2011_DEC2_en.asp
The resolution would be submitted to the Standing Committee of the Conference of INGOs on 22 June 2011 for approval.
9. Date of the Committee’s next plenary meeting: during the session of the Conference of INGOs in January 2012