Non-Governmental Organisations

WINTER SESSION

CONFERENCE OF INGOs
CONF/PLE(2012)SYN1 Strasbourg, 28 February 2012

DRAFT SYNOPSIS

FOR THE ATTENTION OF DES MEMBERS OF THE CONFERENCE OF INGOs

1. The Conference of INGOs, meeting in plenary on 25 January 2011 in Strasbourg with Jean-Marie Heydt - and during the elections of the President and the Bureau and the counting of the votes Gérard Greneron, outgoing member of the Bureau - in the chair

2. unanimously adopted the agenda [CONF/PLE(2012)OJ1]. Two rapporteurs were appointed: Michel Julien and Odile Moreau

3. unanimously adopted the synopsis of meeting on 21 and 22 June 2011 [CONF/PLE(2011)SYN4]

4. listened to Maritchu Rall present the activity report for 2011. She underlined three major aspects:

    a) the reform of the Council of Europe and the restructuring of the operational bodies of the Conference of INGOs had led the Conference to decide to hold only two sessions during the year, in January and June, instead of four and to reduce the number of committees to three - Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges, Human Rights and Education and Culture;

    b) the INGO Conference’s involvement in the Council of Europe‘s new policy approaches, with in particular the work carried out by the Expert Council on NGO Law, which was chaired by Cyril Ritchie, the Conference of INGOs’ involvement in the activities of the Lisbon North-South Centre and the three-year Framework Co-operation Programme on “Strengthening Civil Society and Civic Participation in the Russian Federation” (2008-2011);

      c) the activities of the Conference of INGOs: the Civil Society Forum held in Istanbul in March 2011 “New multicultural challenges: how can NGOs play their part?”, which launched the preparation of the “toolkit for the practice of intercultural dialogue”, which was presented in November at the Forum held in Strasbourg on the theme of “Living together – Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe”;  its participation in the Forum for the Future of Democracy on “The Interdependence of Democracy and Social Cohesion”; the organisation of two conferences on human rights, one in the context of the 1st European Fair on “Youth and Human Rights” in March 2011 and the other at the ENA (French National School of Administration) on 17 October to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter.

Unanimously adopted the 2011 activity report with 1 abstention.

    Alfonso Zardi, the Head of Democratic Governance, Culture and Diversity Department presented the changes in the structure of the Council of Europe Secretariat. The general directorates had been modified and re-organised as follows:

    - Directorate General of Human Rights and the Rule of Law
    - Directorate General of Democracy,
    - the Office of the Director General of Programmes in charge of the reinforcement of the Council of Europe’s operational capacity. It was responsible for managing, co-ordinating and providing guidance to the two other directorates.

5. elected its President. Jean-Marie Heydt, President, the sole candidate, was re-elected by a large majority.

6. elected its vice-presidents

      The eight candidates for this position introduced themselves. The results of the first round were:
      Alain Mouchoux, 109 votes; Antonina Dashkina, 48 votes; Sophie Dimitroulias, 38 votes; Karin Nordmeyer, 35 votes; Veysel Filiz, 32 votes; Iamvi Totsi, 28 votes; Taras Poljanec, 24 votes; Francis Rosenstiel, 17 votes.

      Alain Mouchoux was therefore elected in the first round

    Taras Poljanec withdrew his candidature and the following persons were elected as a result of the second round of voting: Antonina Dashkina with 52 votes and Sophie Dimitroulias with 34 votes.

7. Progress report of the Expert Council on NGO Law

    The main focus of the Expert Council continued to be on achieving an enabling environment for NGOs in Europe by scrutinising recent or impending legislation and monitoring administrative or judicial practices in the implementation of NGO legislation. The situation was far from positive in some countries.

8. Comparing the recent experience of INGOs in countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean. Sophie Dimitroulias drew members’ attention to the rapid rise of Islamism and religious fundamentalism in these countries. Human rights were in decline and women needed to be helped in their struggle.

9. A World Forum for Democracy would be held in Strasbourg from 5 to 11 October 2012. This Forum, which would be organised by the Council of Europe in partnership with the City of Strasbourg and the French authorities, would be held in various places. 2 000 participants were expected, including political and opinion leaders and people active in the field. It would concern the problems facing democracy in the world.

10. No other business.