The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe visits Member States to meet local NGOs and public authorities to introduce them to the Conference of INGOs, better understand the cooperation between NGOs and decision-makers and to discuss NGO participation in the public decision-making process. Certain legal frameworks are in place in countries in order to consult NGOs and to associate them in decision-making. 

The Conference hears the point of view of both NGOs and authorities to find out what use is made of these participatory tools. Each visit is followed by a report which highlights the important issues for the NGOs at that specific moment and socio-political context. Recommendations are formulated to improve the effectiveness of cooperation between NGOs and the public authorities. The findings of the visits also contribute to advancing the Council of Europe’s work in this field.

The participation of civil society in decision-making is one of the priorities of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and guidelines on civil society’s effective and meaningful participation in the political decision-making process are being developed for possible adoption by the Committee of Ministers.