Towards a great new era in the dialogue of organised civil society

photo JMH

On the strength of our attainments and our experiences, and the recent developments in our working arrangements within the Council of Europe, the Conference, comprising almost 400 INGOs enjoying participatory status, aspires to work towards a great new era in the dialogue of European civil society with the public authorities and institutions.

To help bring about this new era, my heartfelt concern is to enhance “better living together” and the indispensable social bond, with respect for the dignity of all people, by consolidating representative democracy and its humanist values including promotion of human rights which must remain a burning priority.

Our INGOs must be reinforced and recognised in their actions and expertise as genuine, respected partners in all the actions and missions of the Council of Europe, and essential promoters of democracy and citizenship in Europe and in the neighbourhood countries. Our road map has developed three main priorities for “Building an active and socially committed European civil society”:

• Promoting the Council of Europe's values: democracy, human rights, rule of law, social cohesion, education and culture, sustainable development and solidarity;
• Strengthening participatory democracy in Eastern Europe, with means of action at the level of co-operation, the committees and transversal groups of the Conference of INGOs, the Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-Making Process, and contribution to the development of the voluntary sector;
• Developing the political role of the Conference of INGOs: strengthening co-operation with the Council of Europe bodies, strengthening co-operation with member states by looking after the fundamental civil rights, consolidating the partnerships with the European Union, the UN, UNESCO and with European and international civil society networks.

We thereby help to increase and enhance the involvement of the Council of Europe INGOs in the Organisation’s new policy directions, participating in the construction a more humane and more inclusive Europe and thus becoming a keystone of our democracies!

Video interview with Jean-Marie Heydt on the role and place of the Conference of INGOs at the Council of Europe and the importance of citizen participation (French only):
camera mms://coenews.coe.int/vod/091210_w01_w.wmv