Non-Governmental Organisations


Strasbourg, 3 June 2010



The Social Cohesion and Eradication of Poverty Committee, meeting on 27 April 2010, with Irene Donadio in the chair:

1. Adopted the agenda.

2. Corrected the synopsis of the meeting held on 26 January in relation to the report of the Parliamentary Assembly hearing on the handling of the H1N1 flu.

3. World Day Against Poverty, 17 October 2010

      There was a brief exchange of views on the actions foreseen for the World Day against Poverty, a special event involving youth was planned for the INGO session in October 2010.

4. Work programme of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly – areas of future collaboration

    Areas for future partnership and co-operation were explored with Silvia Arzilli from the Secretariat of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly. Ms Arzilli thanked the members of the INGO Health Prevention Working Group for their input to the PACE report on prevention. She presented the Committee’s work plan and highlighted opportunities to build on the NGOs’ expertise and to make recommendations for a long-term strategy to fight poverty and on the handling of the H1N1 flu (report to be adopted in June). The role of the NGOs would be to assist in identifying key, topical areas and to coordinate work programmes. The secretariat could assist NGOs to voice their concerns and recommendations to parliamentarians and to national governments via PACE.

    Decided to have regular exchanges of views between the Chair of the Social Cohesion and Eradication of Poverty Committee of the Conference of INGOs and the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly Committee; the Chair would transmit relevant adopted INGO positions and co-ordinate co-operation between the INGO Committee and the Parliamentary Assembly Committee 

5. Exchanged views on poverty with PACE Rapporteur Luca Volontè, Member of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly.

6. Outcome of the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS) – 23 and 24 February 2010

    The Chair of the Committee contributed to the feedback on the strategy, illustrated the key points raised during the meeting, stressed the importance of supporting the new strategy and action plan. She encouraged committee members to read the documents which reflected a comprehensive approach and were based on the same vision and values of the INGOs. She raised concern over the means available to implement the strategy. She urged members to read the draft Charter on Shared Social Responsibility which was a very topical issue.

      Decided that the INGOs should develop their views on it. An exchange of views on the Charter and its implications for social cohesion would be held at the June session. The document could be downloaded from the web: [link to the European Social Charter (revised)]

7. New EU 2020 strategy and its implication for the INGO work on social cohesion

    The Chair made a short presentation on the EU 2020 strategy and on the debate about poverty indicators. The presentation was followed by a debate on the challenges faced about establishing indicators that would address the situation of a limited number of people living in poverty in Europe and to make comments on the work of other institutions. It was decided that the Committee was interested in the topic but did not have enough time and resources to take a stand on the work on poverty of the European Union but would focus on the Council of Europe.

8. 1st meeting of the Experts Committee on Child-friendly Health Care (SP-CFH)

      The Chair had an exchange of views with the members of the Expert Committee in the morning. The Expert Committee would like to benefit from the expertise of NGOs active in health and in children’s participation. The project time line was 3 years and there would be a ministerial conference on the topic in Portugal in 2011. She presented the policy areas of the working groups, namely: identifying children’s specific needs in order to promote children’s well being in the health care setting; promoting child participation in decision making in their own health care and in health care setting; examining approaches to increase the coping potential of children; defining strategies to mainstream children’s rights in health policy. The Chair distributed a fact sheet with the project outline produced by the Health Division. The Committee would have the possibility to contribute to the work of the working groups from a distance. The Chair was looking for a volunteer to follow the work of the working groups.

9. Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers [CM/Rec(2009)3] to member States on monitoring the protection of human rights and dignity of persons with mental disorder and the role of the Social Cohesion Committee in the Action Plan

      This Recommendation was part of a series of Recommendations on the necessity to open the still existing big institutions for people with a mental health condition or disability. It should be read in the context of the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities. It underlined that the Council of Europe “Action Plan for the rights and the participation of people with disabilities: improving the quality of life of people with disabilities, 2006-2016” had to consider the rights and needs of people with a mental health condition. In line with this Recommendation, the CAHPAH had invited Mental Health Europe, an INGO member of the Conference, to explain their work and present main issues at the next meeting in September.
      It was too early to have a view of the impact of this Recommendation on member States’ health policy especially in the case of migrants with a mental health condition.

10. February meeting of the ad hoc Committee on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (CAHVIO) and the European Lobby Campaign on the draft Council of Europe Convention on violence against women
The chair gave a very brief update on the state of play.
11. Information on the Panel Discussion on national integrated strategies on violence against children which took place in Geneva on 9 March 2010
This point was not covered.
12. Preparation for the UN Millennium Development Goals’ Review Summit in New York (20-22 September 2010).

    Decided to co-ordinate their efforts in view of the summit.

13. Monitoring report of Article 30 of the Social Charter

      Regis Brillat, Head of Department, Executive Secretary of the European Committee of Social Rights, underlined the very special feature of this Article 30 because, contrary to the other articles, it did not give a list of specific rights, but was requesting “an overall and co-ordinated approach”. This was a new way to tackle the issue of poverty and of social exclusion which aimed at bringing about a new consideration of these issues. Another important change to be mentioned was the description of the population concerned by this article. The first Paragraph read ”persons who live of risk living in a situation of social exclusion or poverty”. This wording opened the way for preventive measures.

      Regis Brillat added that the State reports were not very precise in quoting the measures they had taken in fighting against poverty. The Committee of Social Rights had not yet written comprehensive interpretations of this article. He hoped that the collective complaint mechanism would help to build up a helpful jurisprudence in this matter.

14. Any other business

    Anna Rurka, President of the European Committee for home-based priority action of the child and family (Eurocef), updated the Committee on the work of the Committee of Experts on fostering social mobility. She illustrated the mission of the Committee.

    She explained the definition of social mobility adopted by the Committee, the methodology and the process. The Committee was working on a review of the research and publications on this topic. The experts were consulted on a limited number of qualitative questions about the national and transnational studies. Study tours were currently organised in the member States of the Council of Europe. The final report of the Committee was being drafted and there would be a set of recommendations and/or guidelines adopted at the fourth meeting of the group in Paris in October 2010. A seminar on social mobility among young people would be held in the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe in June.