Non-Governmental Organisations

STANDING COMMITTEE
CONF/SC(2011)SYN7

Strasbourg, 11 May 2011

SYNOPSIS

FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEE

The Standing Committee, meeting on Monday 20 June:

1. Opening of the meeting by the Chair and guidelines for the smooth running of the session. The Chair said that the new Standing Committee of Wednesday 22 June (following the different elections) would consist of three committees, human rights; education and culture; democracy, social cohesion and global challenges.

2. Adopted the meeting agenda.

3. Approved the synopses of the meetings of 13 April 2011 [CONF/SC(2011)SYN5] and 14 April 2011 [CONF/SC(2011)SYN6].

4. Organisation of the session
The Chair gave a reminder of the highlights of the plenary Conference of 20 and 21 June 2011, namely:

1st part of the Conference

    - address by the President of the Conference of INGOs on the implementation of reform;
    - procedure selected for the election of the chairs of the committees;
    - presentation by Alain Mouchoux of the report of the Group of Eminent Personalities of the Council of Europe: “Living together: Combining diversity and freedom in 21st century Europe”, with some lines of action;
    - a review of the Three-year Framework Co-operation Programme on “Strengthening Civil Society and Civic Participation in the Russian Federation" (2008-2011) would be presented by Annelise Oeschger. The programme would be evaluated, with guidelines to be defined for subsequent action;
    - the INGO-Service Association’s Administrative Council chaired by Michel Muller.

2nd part of the Conference

    - election of the vice-chairs of the committees;
    - progress of the work of the Civil Society Forum “Living together in the 21st Century”, to be held in Strasbourg on 13 and 14 November 2011, presented by Veysel Filiz, event co-ordinator;
    - presentation of the toolkit for conducting intercultural dialogue, by Christophe Spreng, prior to its submission for validation in plenary;
    - presentation by Marie-José Schmitt of the event marking the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter, which was to take place on 17 October 2011;
    - General Assembly of the INGO-Service Association chaired by Michel Muller.

A discussion began, centring on the following:

    - the length of committee meetings, which was insufficient for detailed work;
    - the holding of two annual meetings;
    - given the importance of the agenda of the Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee, the principle of a flexible timetable was unanimously adopted;
    - the declaration on women's participation during and after conflicts, presented by Anje Wiersinga, would be considered in committee;
    - the organisation of the event on religious law led by François Becker would be dealt with in committee;
    - the funding of activities was due to be debated in committee in conjunction with INGO-Service.

5. Heard the thoughts of Rémy Berthier, Chair of the Verification and Dispute Committee, about validation of the election procedure, in particular:

    - on 12 May 2011 the committee had met and considered all the candidatures submitted, one of which had been deemed inadmissible (having arrived after the deadline);
    - the minutes of the meeting of 12 May 2011 included proposals for campaign arrangements and relating to the organisation of the ballots for the elections at the June 2011 session (link to the minutes – in French only);
    - the decisions on exemptions from the Rules of Procedure were due to be validated by the June 2011 Conference of INGOs, so that they could be included when the Rules of Procedure were next revised.

6. Validated the content of the agenda of the meetings of the Conference of INGOs, namely:

    - the presentation by Veysel Filiz of the Civil Society Forum “Living together in the 21st Century”, to be held in Strasbourg on 13 and 14 November 2011.

    The two main themes would be:

      o strengthening intercultural societies: preparing a new approach;
      o the interdependence of democracy and social cohesion.

      This Forum should make it possible to highlight the practical work done by organised civil society, thanks to study of a new approach intended "to show that organised society has a role to play in alleviating the effects of social setbacks", to continue work with DG IV and the partnership begun with the NGOs of the South Mediterranean (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia).

      The toolkit for conducting intercultural dialogue should play a key part in this Forum, and participants would be selected by the Conference of INGOs. NGOs were invited to submit relevant activities and experience so that an outline could be studied before being put to the Forum.

    - Yulia Zvereva's succinct presentation of the toolkit for conducting intercultural dialogue pointed out that the Transversal Group set up in Istanbul had prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the plenary conference of 21 June 2011.

    - The report by the Expert Council on NGO Law on the legislation in Azerbaijan governing NGOs: the state of progress of the report led Jean-Marie Heydt to withdraw his presentation to obtain further information. It was proposed that the report be presented to the Standing Committee in October, after which the Chair of the Expert Council would finalise it for publication, in agreement with the Bureau.

7. Other business

    The Chair said that, at the Bureau meeting of 10 April 2011, Gérard Greneron had been asked, irrespective of whether or not he was elected to the Human Rights Committee, to continue as Vice-President of the Conference until January 2012, the date of the next elections.