Rooted in the European Cultural Convention, the mission of Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation is to develop democracy, human rights and the rule of law through education and youth policy and practice.
The programmes focus on the emerging generation, enabling children and young people to become engaged and responsible European citizens who advocate human rights and participate fully in democratic life.

Organisation chart of Democratic Citizenship and Participation

Education department

  • Develops education policies based on the core values and standards of the Council of Europe
  • Develops standards to ensure common and coherent quality teaching contents for citizenship and democracy
  • Promotes policies which strengthen linguistic diversity and language rights, deepen mutual understanding through intercultural education
  • Develops new policy approaches to eliminate prejudices in history textbooks, to modernise teaching programmes and curricula
  • Promotes remembrance of the Holocaust and contributes to the prevention of crimes against humanity
  • Develops and implements standards related to the recognition of qualifications (Lisbon Recognition Convention; ETS 165), public responsibility for higher education and research, higher education governance and other fields relevant for the establishment of the European Higher Education Area
  • Develops specific actions in cooperation with relevant conventional mechanisms with regard to the effective implementation of the right to education for all and the promotion of appropriate measures in favour of vulnerable groups
  • Develops policies based on ethics, transparency and integrity in the field of education
  • Assists member states through capacity building programmes and training for education professionals
  • Provides advice for policy makers and education professionals in implementing education policies in line with the programme of activities
  • Supports projects for equipping students to play an active part in democratic life and exercise their rights and responsibilities
  • Helps, through its European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML – Partial Agreement), its member states implement effective language teaching policies by focusing on the practice of the learning and teaching of languages

 More about the Education Department activities

Culture, Nature and Heritage Department


  • Promoting diversity and cultural innovation and reinforcing the link between culture and democracy
  • Protecting and enhancing the value of European landscapes whilst ensuring access to these landscapes to as many citizens as possible
  • Developing a European approach to the protection of cultural heritage based on the Council of Europe’s acquis and in close partnership with other cultural and civil society actors
  • The Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes is charged with the evaluation and certification of the Council of Europe cultural routes which aims to reinforce cultural co-operation, sustainable territorial development, social cohesion and enhancement of shared cultural heritage. This programme is run in close cooperation with the European Institute for Cultural Routes based in Luxembourg
  • Defending and promoting biodiversity through the implementation of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) and the European Diploma on Protected Areas
  • The Partial Agreement on Major Risks (EUR-OPA) carries out activities aimed to improve citizens’ protection from major natural and technological risks. It coordinates a network of Specialised Centres running specific technical activities, prepares guidelines and policy papers on risk governance and risk education, thus contributing to the reduction of risk in Europe

Youth department

  • Implements the Council of Europe’s objectives in the fields of youth policy and youth work and organises the mainstreaming of youth policy matters throughout the Council of Europe
  • Develops standards for youth policy at European level and provides assistance and advice to governments in this respect
  • Supports youth policy and youth work aiming at facilitating access to social rights for young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods
  • Empowers youth NGOs and activists to combat and prevent all forms of discrimination, including hate speech online and offline
  • Through the European Youth Centres (Strasbourg and Budapest), develops standards and tools for non-formal education and intercultural learning and provides youth NGOs and youth activists with training and educational support in the field of human rights, youth participation and democratic citizenship
  • Implements projects aiming at supporting Roma youth participation and promoting equal opportunities
  • Supports the development of youth centres in Europe which apply the quality standards of Council of Europe youth centres
  • Promotes youth mobility through the Youth Card (Partial Agreement)
  • Develops and implements partnership with the European Union  in the process of evidence-based youth policy-making, and the promotion and recognition of youth work and non-formal learning
  • Through the European Youth Foundation, supports non-governmental youth organisations and networks, and provides financial and pedagogical support to youth activities promoting the Council of Europe values
  • Fosters co-operation with neighbouring regions in the areas of intercultural dialogue, human rights education and youth participation, and promotes the role of young people in peace-building and conflict transformation

 More about the Youth Department activities

Partial Agreement - EURIMAGES

Eurimages is the European Film Fund of the Council of Europe which supports international cinematographic co-productions. This Partial Agreement with 36 member countries has an annual budget of €25M. It contributes to the promotion of values such as democracy, freedom of expression and pluralism throughout Europe and beyond.

Partial Agreement - North-South Centre

The North-South Centre promotes dialogue and cooperation between Europe, the South of the Mediterranean and builds a global citizenship based on human rights and citizens' responsibilities. Activities include the Lisbon Forum, the North-South Prize and online and residential training courses on structured participation, global education and intercultural dialogue.