The Conference of INGOS of the Council of Europe

Statement by the President of the Council of Europe Conference of INGOs,
Jean-Marie Heydt, before the Ministers' Deputies, Strasbourg, 10 June 2009

Madam Chair,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to be speaking to you here today, first of all because this is my first opportunity to address you since my election in January, and secondly because I am delighted to be giving what has now become the traditional annual address by the President of the INGO Conference to the Ministers' Deputies. I think I can say that this occasion is completely consistent, for instance, with your recent Madrid Declaration of 12 May 2009, in paragraph 9 of which the Committee of Ministers stressed that “developing – with the help of the Conference of the International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGO) – interaction with civil society, whose action on the ground (it) applaud(s), will also remain one of (its) priorities”.

I will of course adhere to my allotted speaking time, confining myself to presenting a number of salient examples to illustrate the increasingly important role of the Conference of INGOs, one which it will continue to play in the future, in implementing the Council of Europe’s fundamental aims. My statement will centre on three points:

1. Safeguarding and promoting fundamental values: these are not mere words, as the Conference of INGOs takes practical action which focuses on:

2. Implementing our policies and promoting public well-being

3. Reinforcing our institutional presence: placing our action at the heart of the Council of Europe’s main work also meant revising our own mode of operation in order to streamline it with the rest of the Organisation and improve our co-operation with the other pillars:

Madam Chair, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your attention.