The Directorate of Human Dignity, Equality and Governance monitors and supports member states in implementing ground-breaking conventions designed to safeguard human dignity, integrity and equality. In order to promote good governance at all levels, we work with national and local governments and NGOs across Europe to ensure full compliance with democratic and human rights standards, building citizens’ trust in institutions.

The Directorate of Human Dignity, Equality and Governance implements the activities under its responsibility in the Programme and Budget.

Organisation chart of the Directorate of Human Dignity, Equality and Governance

Equality and Human Dignity Department

  • Because gender equality is a prerequisite for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, it is promoted in all areas of the Council of Europe’s work. Priorities include: combating violence against women, promoting their access to justice and participation in political and public life, tackling sexism, sexist hate speech and gender stereotypes.
  • Our ‘Istanbul Convention’ is the first and only European, legally-binding instrument to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence, explicitly criminalising nine forms of violence. Compliance is monitored by independent experts (GREVIO). It is recognised as the international ‘gold standard’ in this field.
  • Our comprehensive Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings covers prevention and protection of victims and prosecution and cooperation; compliance is monitored by independent experts (GRETA).
  • We promote equality, dignity and equal opportunities for people with disabilities in every sphere of life.


Partial Agreement on the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)

  • Contributing to sustainable and equitable growth in Europe. Responding to emergency situations and helping finance social projects

Democratic Institutions and Governance Department

  • Our Centre of Expertise for Good Governance provides assistance on effective management, public ethics, local finances, territorial and administrative reform and leadership development.
  • We support free and fair elections by helping professionalise election observation, promoting the balanced participation of women and men and encouraging first-time voters, the elderly and minorities to participate.
  • 400 international non-governmental organisations work with the Council of Europe through the Conference of International Non-governmental Organisations.
  • Our annual World Forum for Democracy brings together activists and political leaders to find innovative solutions to major challenges facing democratic societies.