Strasbourg, 3 February 2010


The Social Cohesion and Eradication of Poverty Committee, meeting on 26 January 2010, with Irene Donadio in the chair:
1. Adopted the agenda.

2. Adopted the synopsis
of the meeting held on 29 September 2009 [CONF/SOC(2009)SYN4]

3. Presentation of the general recommendations on health prevention transmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Social, Health and Family Affairs

Guy Schlaeder informed the committee about the presentation to the Parliamentary Assembly Committee of the recommendations of its working party on health prevention;
4. Health Determinants - socio-economic factors, social protection: preliminary discussion on health determinants with a view to drafting a future report and recommendations to the Parliamentary Assembly
Guy Schlaeder informed the committee about the working party's consideration of the social aspects of health problems;
It was agreed that the working party should continue its work on this subject.
5. The handling of the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic in the hot seat at the Council of Europe
A public hearing was held at the initiative of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Social, Health and Family Affairs on 26 January 2010. Several speakers called into question the World Health Organisation's assertion of a swine flu (H1N1) pandemic. A detailed report is available on the Council of Europe's internet site (link to the webpage)
6. Debriefing on the European Health Committee (CDSP)meeting
André Rhebergen (Representative of the Conference of INGOs to CDSP), informed the committee and noted in particular that a more active contribution by INGOs would be welcomed by the CDSP. For example, by publicising Committee of Ministers Recommendations in the health field and helping to monitor their implementation;
It was noted that there were grounds for concern about the future of the Organisation's intergovernmental activities in the social and health fields.
7. Negotiations on a new Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence
A progress report was presented by Johanna Nelles (Co-Secretary of the Ad Hoc Committee on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence) about the preparation of the draft convention;
It was agreed that members of the Committee would send in their comments
on the existing draft (see the website of the Ad Hoc Committee
8. Presentation of the Work Programme of the Committee on Social, Health and Family Affairs of the Parliamentary Assembly - areas of future co-operation
Consideration of this item was postponed to the next meeting.
9. Follow up of the INGO Recommendations on Combating Poverty [CONF/PLE(2009)REC8] adopted by the INGO conference in October 2009
The Chair informed the committee about various possibilities for using the Recommendation in connection with events during the European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion (2010).
10. Report on the Council of Europe Conference on Interacting in Diversity for Social Cohesion Strasbourg (7-8 December 2009)
Antonina Dashkina (Vice-Chair) and others who had attended informed the committee about the conference. .It was noted that the Conference was the follow-up to the White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue; there had been much interest in the concept of "reasonable accommodation" as developed in Quebec.
The committee noted that the contribution of the INGO's would be much more effective if they were involved in the preparatory process of such events from an early stage.
11. Preparation of the next meeting of the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS) – Strasbourg 24-25 February 2010
The Chair informed members that the main items on the agenda of the next meeting, at which she would represent the INGO Conference, would be the revision of the Social Cohesion Strategy, the preparation of a Plan of Action on Social Cohesion, the results of the work on exclusion and growing disparities, and possible new activities on a) social cohesion in the context of the global economic crisis and b) social services and the rights of the child;
The members agreed to let the Chair have their views on these matters;
They expressed particular interest in the social aspects of the economic crisis and agreed to consider undertaking some work on this topic in the future.
12. Planning of the contributions of the Committee to Council of Europe Expert groups
The committee was informed about the last meeting of the CDCS Sub-Committee of Experts on social mobility, which was preparing guidelines on social mobility of vulnerable groups.
Marie-José Schmitt informed the committee about the work on the Council of Europe Plan of Action for people with disabilities. She had a very positive impression of the commitment and efficiency of the committee; in particular, the INGO proposal to ensure that the Plan of Action explicitly covered people suffering from mental illnesses had been very well received by the Secretariat.
It was noted that it might be helpful if the Committee discussed the question of people with mental illnesses at its next meeting so as to help Marie-José prepare for the next meeting on the Plan of Action in September.
Concerning the general question of making INGO participation in intergovernmental committees more effective, it was agreed to, a) have a regular agenda item on reporting back on INGO participation in committees and conferences, b) keep the Chair informed about such participation.
13. Report of the second meeting of the ad hoc advisory group on Shared Social Responsibilities (Strasbourg 12-13 October 2009)
Maritchu Rall informed the committee about the work of the ad hoc group, which, focusing especially on the empowerment of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, hoped to draw up a charter and maybe to organise a conference.
A working party led by was Marichu Rall was formed and asked to present ideas at the next meeting of the committee with a view to helping Maritchu prepare her contribution to the June meeting of the ad hoc group.
14. Rape and sexual violence against women: Statement made by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg
Following an introduction by the Chair, the Committee warmly welcomed the Commissioner's strong statement on this extremely grave abuse of human rights, particularly his denunciation of the widespread impunity of perpetrators.
It was agreed that the Chair should write to the Commissioner to express the committee's support and that members should post their reactions on the website.
15. Council of Europe Consultation with Experts on the Prevention of Sexual Violence against Children, 10-11 December 2009, Strasbourg
Guy Schlaeder informed the committee about the consultation in which he had taken part on behalf of his NGO. He Invited the Chair to write to the responsible body expressing their support.
16. Any other business There was no other business.
"This is an unadopted draft document. Under no circumstances shall it be considered binding on the persons referred to therein".