Non-Governmental Organisations



                    Strasbourg, 6 July 2011



    Opening of the meeting by Jean-Marie HEYDT, President of the Conference of INGOs and appointment of two Rapporteurs: Iamvi Totsi (CITI) and Maritchu Rall (AIC)

    The Conference of INGOs, meeting in plenary session in Strasbourg on 21 June 2011 with Jean-Marie Heydt in the chair:

    1. Adopted the meeting agenda with an addition under the item “other business”:
    · Information on the seminar on mediation presented by Gabriel Nissim
    · Presentation of a declaration “Leveraging Women’s Equal Participation during and after Conflicts and Revolutions from the outset” by Anje Wiersinga

    2. Heard Rémi Berthier, Chair of the Verification and Dispute Committee, concerning the organisation of the election of Vice-Presidents:

      · two Vice-Presidents per committee would be elected;
      · Loïc Tribot la Spière announced his withdrawal;
      · two teams of tellers were formed.

    3. Heard the presentation of the committees’ candidates for the office of Vice-President.

    Elected as Vice-Presidents:

      · Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee:
      - Vera John-Mikolajewski
      - Israël Mensah
      · Human Rights Committee :
      - Marie-José Schmitt
      - Gérard Greneron
      · Education and Culture Committee:
      - Yosanne Vella
      - Harry Rogge

4. Heard Veysel Filiz’s presentation of the state of progress of the working group on the Civil Society Forum “Living together in the 21st Century” to be held in Strasbourg on 13 and 14 November 2011:

      · the general framework of the Forum would concern “Living Together: Combining diversity and freedom in 21st century in Europe” in connection with the Istanbul Forum in March 2011, the Forum for the Future of Democracy to be held in Cyprus in October 2011 and the Strasbourg International Forum for Democracy to be held in 2012;
      · the call for the INGOs’ participation would be posted on the Conference website.

    The two subject areas proposed for the workshops were:

      · Policy-making / with two sub-themes:
      - new approaches to foster intercultural societies and dialogue as a vector for the inception of intercultural societies;
      - civil society as an agent of change.
      · Implementation of the policies framed: civil society as a “social shock absorber” and regulating agent in the face of social and economic crises.

    Veysel Filiz would make contact with Jean-Pierre Hicheri (CITI) so that the outcomes of the project “Enjoying our diversity” organised by the Council of Europe in the 1990s could be taken into account in the preparation of the Forum in November.

    The information on the Forum – validated by the Conference of INGOs – would be released on the Conference website so that the INGOs might prepare proposals to be considered – prior to the Forum – by the working group.

5. Validated the presentation of the Toolkit for conducting intercultural dialogue presented by Christophe Spreng and prepared during the Istanbul Forum. Mr Spreng had presented a communiqué to appear on the website. The tool would be launched at the Forum in November. It formed a sequel to the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue and to its implementation.

6. Heard Marie-José Schmitt’s presentation of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October, to be placed in the context of the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter. A colloquy was foreseen in partnership with the Social Charter secretariat and the members of the European Committee of Social Rights on the theme: “How can the European Social Charter, in the current economic crisis, help to combat poverty?” The event was in keeping with the Conference’s determination to make itself known outside the Council of Europe in order to give the Conference of INGOs greater visibility.

7. Other business

      · Communication on the seminar held from 17 to 19 May 2011 on mediation, under the aegis of the Human Rights Committee and the Conference of INGOs, by Gabriel Nissim. He recalled the following points: the Conference of INGOs had been associated with the Seminar organised with the participation of 70 students from Lebanon, Morocco and France for a simulation of international negotiation leading to a European definition of mediation. Mediation was defined as an act of ethical communication appertaining to civil society. He had proposed the formation of a transversal group on this theme and indicated that the theme should have its place in the Toolkit for conducting intercultural dialogue.

      · The Declaration “Leveraging Women’s Equal Participation during and after Conflicts and Revolutions from the outset” should be debated in committee.

      · Statement by Kostantin Baranov on the situation in Belarus regarding human rights defenders who were undergoing attacks and unjustified discrimination. Cyril Ritchie, President of the Expert Council on NGO Law, would meet the delegation. The text of the resolution would be discussed in the Human Rights Committee .

      · The European Year of Volunteering should emphasise the commitment of volunteers by way of social bonding indispensable in a crisis-ridden society. Jean-Claude Gonon might gather proposals and draw up a document in the framework of the Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee.