Strasbourg, 6 December 2011
Monday 3 October (3 – 6 pm)
Strasbourg, Palais de l’Europe
Excused: Sophie Dimitroulias, Veyzel Filiz, Harry Rogge, Iamvi Totsi, Yosanne Vella,
Note: This two day meeting was made possible without interpretation thanks to Cyril Ritchie and Christoph Spreng who volunteered to do the interpretatation.
1. The Standing Committee meeting began at 3pm, just after the presentation from 2 to 3 pm of the opinion from the Expert Council on NGO Law on amendments in 2009 to NGO law in Azerbaijan and their implementation [CONF/PLE(2011)REC4]
Decision: As the text of the resolution had been presented and discussed in the previous hour, it has adopted after making some changes in the French translation and the proposal to add an indent acknowledging previous efforts made by Azerbaijan.
2. Elections and organisation of the session in January
It was recalled that the support of at least ten INGOs was necessary for standing for the post of President of the Conference.
On a recommendation by the Verification and Dispute Committee after analysing the elections of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Committees in June 2011, the Standing Committee decided to generalise the method of voting in two rounds, an absolute majority of the votes cast being necessary to be elected in the first round, and a relative majority in the second round.
The votes cast correspond to the number of ballot papers posted in the ballot box, minus spoilt ballot papers (blank votes are therefore counted).
Organisation of the plenary session: 2 sessions 25 and 27 January
- Election of the President and Vice-Presidents: 25 January
- Election of Rapporteurs: 27 January
- Election of the Gender Equality Expert: 27 January
A table would be screened showing the number of voters, the number of votes cast, the number of blank votes and the number of spoilt papers as well as the number of votes obtained by each candidate.
The call for candidates should be sent out at the latest on 25 October. Applicants should send in their application form before 25 November. Candidatures received by fax would be accepted.
A revision of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference was envisaged by the Standing Committee during 2012 so as to adopt them early in 2013.
3. Toolkit for conducting Intercultural Dialogue
The Conference of INGOs, after having noted that human rights were violated, acts of discrimination and that the situation of poverty linked to migration was increasing decided to develop a toolkit for conducting intercultural dialogue. This toolkit was based on the White Book on Intercultural Dialogue (May 2008), on the conclusions of the Forum of Istanbul (March 2011) and would take into account the comments gathered during the Civil Society Forum held in Strasbourg on 13 and 14 November 2011.
The aim was not only to create a dialogue, but also to facilitate it and to ensure a follow up. This toolkit was unanimously welcomed and considered useful especially useful for schools and youth movements. It was proposed to publish it in the two official languages of the Council of Europe and in other languages if INGOs were ready to do a translation. The question of translating some of the concepts was raised.
The Conference of INGOs envisaged adopting an Action Plan for the development of Dialogue which would include, inter alia, the creation of different partnerships and training sessions for dialogue facilitators.
Decision: The document submitted to the Standing Committee was a summary which required a decision in principle. Any comments could be sent in the coming week to the President who was given the mandate to validate the final document.
4. Civil Society Forum: Living Together, Combining diversity and freedom in 21st-century Europe (Strasbourg, 13 and 14 November 2011)
The difficulty in organising the Forum on 13 November was that the only room available had 50 places and there were already 180 applications from 42 countries. A selection would be made for the first day with the thematic workshops preparing the main meeting on Monday 14 November. This meeting would bring together the NGOs having already registered and others as well as representatives from different Council of Europe bodies and other international bodies with the aim of considering the different aspects of living together and the necessary co-operation between the different actors.
Registration for this meeting on Monday 14 November would be possible online.
Forum on the Future of Democracy in Cyprus: The interdependence of democracy and social cohesion (Limassol, Cyprus,13-14 October 2011)
The issue of spontaneous non organised groups in civil society would tackled as well as the impact of increasing poverty.
Lisbon Forum 3 and 4 November on the Arab Spring with countries around the Mediterranean
Intervention of Mr Daniel Zielinski, Honorary President of the Conference of INGOs: 5 points for the future. The Conference should :
- Make known its new way of functioning (web);
- Dispatch its studies and work outside of the Council of Europe;
- Organise events;
- Conduct a study on the present change occurring in states’ support to NGOs which was producing a change in the way NGOs were working at grass root level (increase in mandates as service providers);
- Increase the visibility of the Conference of INGOs.