On 28 and 29 May, the Directorate of Political Affairs and External Relations organised a meeting of Directors of Policy Planning of Council of Europe member states and observers under the title ‘Democratic Security and the role, of international organisations’.

This was the first such meeting to be convened since 2018 and also saw the participation of representatives of other international organisations, including the African Union, OSCE, and United Nations.

The discussion was structured around four thematic sessions concerning threats to democratic security drawn from the priorities set in the Reykjavík Declaration: (1)  ‘Freedom of Media and Expression’, (2) ‘Electoral Standards and Integrity of Political Institutions’, (3) ‘Civil Society and Inclusive Political Participation’, and (4)  ‘International Organisations and Multilateralism Responding to Emerging Challenges'. Each panel featured an initial presentation on the topic from representatives of the Council of Europe, international organizations, academia, and civil society to stimulate dialogue and debate among participants.

The meeting opened with a keynote address from the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, and closed with comments from the Deputy Secretary General, Bjørn Berge. Participants engaged actively with a consensus around the importance of multilateralism and international organisations in upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law, including in responding to new and emerging challenges such as new technologies and environmental issues. The discussions provided much food for thought and laid a solid foundation for continued engagement in the future.   0o0