The Congress of the Council of Europe is convinced that local and regional authorities have the responsibility to promote civil participation by making sure that all citizens can have an active role in the decision-making process. It is also essential for local and regional authorities to establish a constructive dialogue with NGOs, ensuring that their concerns are systematically taken into consideration. The Congress has always recognised the importance of cooperation between local and regional authorities and NGOs, as witnessed by a joint memorandum with the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe published in 2008 in Resolution 260(2008) “Partnership between local and regional authorities and non-governmental organisations in Council of Europe member states”.

The online compendium BePART is a new project developed jointly by the Congress, the Conference of INGOs and the Division of Elections and Participatory Democracy. Launched in June 2022, it offers public authorities and NGOs the opportunity to share best practices on successful implementation of the Code. This compendium complements the online tool bE-Open, launched by the Congress in 2021, to support local and regional governance actors in their efforts to improve the quality of local democracy.
 BePART platform

An Additional Protocol on the right to participate at public life was adopted in 2009 to supplement the text of the European Charter of Local Self-Government. Its purpose is to bring within the scope of the Charter the right of any person to participate in the affairs of a local authority, a principle enshrined in the Preamble to the Charter.

 Additional Protocol on the right to participate in the affairs of a local authority

The revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life, adopted by the Congress in 2003, contains principles, best practices and guidelines to enhance youth participation at local and regional levels. It also sets out the basic requirements for this participation to be meaningful, i.e. young people must have the necessary rights, means, space, opportunity and support. The Charter is not a legally binding instrument but member states have a moral responsibility to implement it.

 Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life (2003)

The Civil Society Portal provides all useful information on  the Council of Europe’s co-operation with civil society in its core areas of human rights protection, building democratic societies and ensuring respect for the rule of law.

The Conference of International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) of the Council of Europe is the representative body of the INGOs enjoying participatory status with the Council of Europe.


The Division of Elections and Participatory Democracy promotes and assists the implementation of standards and mechanisms to engage citizens in political decision-making.


Inge Hannon
Co-secretary of the Current Affairs Committee
Email: [email protected]