Legal standards for Non-Governmental Organisations

Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)14 of the Committee of Ministers to member states
on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe.

During their Third Summit (Warsaw, 17 May 2005), the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe member States made specific reference to the role of NGOs as an essential element of civil society’s contribution to the transparency and accountability of democratic government. In so doing, they decided to enhance the participation of NGOs in Council of Europe activities.

A Group of Specialists on the legal status of NGOs (CJ-S-ONG) held two meetings in 2006 and on 10 October the Commitee of Ministers adopted Recommendation (2007)14 on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe. The Conference of INGOs was a member of the Group of Specialists and actively contributed to the drafting of the text.

The Recommendation defines the minimum standards to be respected concerning the creation, management and the general activities of NGOs in member states of the organisation.

CMRec(2007)14 is substantially and consistently promoted by the Conference of INGOs,  notably through the work of the Expert Council on NGO Law,  which uses the Recommendation as a strong point of reference and a bedrock for defending and expanding the multiple roles of civil society in Council of Europe Member States. The Conference encourages all civil society organizations throughout Europe to cite and make use of the Recommendation  in their dealings with governmental authorities at all levels.


European Convention on the Recognition of the Legal Personality of International Non-Governmental Organisations [CETS N° 124]

The Council of Europe recognised, as early as in 1951, the importance of the NGOs, each in its particular field, and of their contribution to the activities of the Organisation.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, being aware of the absence of any international instrument in force aimed at facilitating the activities of NGOs at international level charged a select Committee of experts on international non-governmental organisations (CJ-R-OR) with the task of drawing up an appropriate instrument on NGOs.

The CJ-R-OR held three meetings in 1982 and 1983 and submitted a draft European convention on recognition of the legal personality of international non-governmental organisations to the CDCJ for approval. This draft convention was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 24 October 1985 and the Convention was opened for signature by member States in Strasbourg on 24 April 1986.