Strasbourg, 6 December 2011
1. Validation of the Working Groups: with the aim to avoid overlaps
1.1. Education and Culture Committee
Coordinateur in the Bureau : Alain Mouchoux
Proposed Working Groups :
- Teachers’ profession in 21st the century (group headed by Heleen Jansen on the basis of a questionnaire)
- Education through media (social media and others)
- Think Tank within the framework of the Pestalozzi programme : debate on the challenges in education scheduled for November 2012
- Teaching History to XXI century citizens
- Culture and living together the cultural diversity.
The first steps to be taken by the Commission would be to publish a note describing these working groups.
Decision : these Working Groups were approved
1.2. Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee
Coordinator in the Bureau: Iamvi Totsi
Proposed Working Groups
- Migrations: European Assocation of Teachers, Jean Claude Gonon et Sylvano Marseglia
- Health risks and mobility (global challenge of resistant germs): Association for Research in Hospital Hygiene, Dr Thierry Mathieu, Dr Henri de Monclos, Dr AM Saire Mauffrey
- Climate Change and Human Rights: European Bureau for Environment, Edith Wenger
- Charter for a declaration of democracy rooted in human rights and rule of law, Giuseppe Guarneri
- Landscape as a tool for social cohesion (agriculture and CO² reduction) Civilscape, Gerhard Ermisher
- Democracy. How will civil society recover its ownership of the European democratic space: Centre for Study and Strategic Prospective (CEPS), Hélène Duquin
- The relationship with the European Union, especially between the organised civil society of the Council of Europe and that of the EU: (International Confederation of Intellectual Workers (CITI) Claude Laurent Genty
- The Arab revolutions and their consequences: the key role of European countries: European Association of Railwaymen, Jean-Pierre Estival
- The issue of water in the world: European Association of Railwaymen, Jean-Pierre Estival
- Women’s role in conflicts: Anje Wiersinga
- Difficult social situations and their health consequences. A proposal for preventative measures: International Professional Union of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, Guy Schaedler
Reminder of the rules for the functioning of Working Groups ( Anne-Marie Chavanon)
- One INGO in charge
- A date fixed for the final report or the mid-term report
- No contact inside or outside the Council of Europe without a link with the Chair of the Committee
- Task forces may be established for a short period of time and with a specific mandate.
A discussion was held about the Working Group on « the relationship with the European Union »
- It was decided by a majority vote that these working groups would function for 9 months (until June 2012)
- The last working group on “difficult social situations“ was not approved.
1.3. Human Rights Committee
Proposed Working Groups
- European Social Charter : reaction on state reports (February 2012), Collective complaints (January 2012), report of the Governmental Committee (May 2012) Marie-José Schmitt
- Human Rights Defenders : Human Rights House and Youth Human Rights Movement ; Gérard Greneron
- Ill-treatment of elderly people : Human Rights Convention Article 2: International Federation of Associations of the Elderly (FIAPA)
- Human Rights and extreme poverty: ATD (linked with UN) working with Mr Volontè (Parliamentary Assembly) ; report in March 2012 and September 2012
Decision: these working groups are approved
Former Working groups that are finishing
- Media: symposium in November
- Religions: report expected
- Sectarian drifts: PACE report on child protection
The Human Rights Committee would also follow some working groups of the PACE especially on the protection of children against sexual violence.
Anna Rurka (European Committee for Home-based Priority Action for the Child and the Family, EUROCEF) was working on the highly specialised issue of minors placed in probation with a view to preparing a written note for the Permanent Representation of Russia.
2. Intergovernmental Committees
The Reform was about to be finished. 17 Steering Committees were maintained and if necessary would create sub-committees. These 17 Committees do not include Committees that monitor the implementation of conventions.
3. Preparation of the statutory reports
- Report on the Standing Committee: Maritchu Rall
- Report of each Commission: Chairs and Vice-chairs of the Committees
4. INGO Service
The President of INGO Service gave an overview of the accounts
Incomes 14 600 € membership fees
3 000 € participation of the Council of Europe
Foreseen expenses : 10 000 € for the Civil Society Forum in November
A discussion took place on possible incomes; it was difficult to increase the fees as each INGO already had to cover the travel and accommodation costs for their representatives at the Conference and at the Standing Committee. Support from third parties should be possible for specific actions.
5. The future of the Expert Council on NGO Law
Reminder: the work of this Council is based on 20 to 25 years of experience and 3 years of functioning which have resulted in giving importance to the Conference of INGOs in matters regarding the rule of law, especially with the Venice Commission. An internal evaluation was carried out in 2010 followed by an external evaluation that underlined some negative aspects that were already known and concern the lack of financial means making it impossible to give adequate follow up to the work achieved, to attend meetings organised elsewhere on the same subject. 2011 was devoted to a precise study on Azerbaïjan which showed the importance of working on one or several States where the evolution of NGOs is limited, and which is contrary to Recommendation (2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers.
A vast area of work was open to this Expert Council whose success was based on the quality of the experts and the follow up undertaken, as for example in Baku, where meetings with the local authorities responsible for the implementation of the law were planned.
It was unanimously decided to keep this very special body of the Conference.
6. Resolution concerning civil society in Belarus [CONF/PLE(2011)RES4]
Decision : The Resolution was unanimously adopted.
End of the working session.