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The Office of the Directorate General of Programmes (ODGP) coordinates Council of Europe cooperation activities in member states and non-member states in its neighbourhood. These cooperation activities are undertaken to help these countries reach Council of Europe standards in human rights, rule of law and democracy.
ODGP ensures the strategic programming of these activities and mobilises resources for their implementation, while co-ordinating the Council of Europe's action with other organisations and agencies. The ODGP is also responsible for coordinating the Council of Europe Offices and Programme Offices, which play an active part in identifying and implementing projects and in raising funds for their execution.
In 2016 ODGP launched the new Council of Europe Project Management Methodology which comprises a handbook, further guidance on a dedicated website, training (group, e-learning, video tutorials) and a tailor-made IT tool for the management of development cooperation. The aim is to consolidate competencies and the Council of Europe’s position as a significant actor in development cooperation.
Importance of strategic programming
ODGP helps set the priorities of the CoE activity programme and ensures they are translated into coordinated co-operation programmes in the member and non-member countries. In doing so it makes use of another CoE advantage, the multitude of different CoE services involved in cooperation programmes from their respective angles. As a result, the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law, the Directorate General of Democracy, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Directorate of Political Affairs and the Directorate of External Relations, together with the CoE offices in the field, have a distinct role in defining the cooperation.
ODGP ensures strategic programming mainly by country (Country Action Plans). These strategic documents define priority actions with a basis in the monitoring recommendations. They are adopted by the CoE’s governing body, the Committee of Ministers, following consultations between the Organisation and the national authorities concerned.
Added value of cooperation programmes
The interest of the CoE’s technical co-operation lies in the unequalled dynamic triangle of "setting international standards ⇒ monitoring them ⇒ ensuring relevant co-operation activities to address shortcomings".
This triangle links together:
- the standards developed by the CoE since 1949 for human rights, rule of law and democracy;
- the conclusions and recommendations of the CoE's monitoring mechanisms, which single out the areas where improvements are needed, particularly under various international conventions;
- the technical co-operation programmes established largely on the basis of the monitoring conclusions and recommendations in order to assist the beneficiaries in their efforts to apply the standards.
Mobilisation of resources and strong relations with donors
ODGP is responsible for raising funds that complement the Organisation’s ordinary budget while guaranteeing their efficient use. It manages a proactive strategy to mobilise resources by building and coordinating strong partnerships with the donors and fostering synergies with other organisations.
Closer partnership with the European Union
The European Union is a main political and financial partner of the CoE's cooperation activities. A very close partnership has been built up over more than two decades in supporting activities founded on common values and goals which advance democratic governance, human rights, democracy and rule of law in Europe and beyond. The strategic approach to this partnership was recently strengthened by the signature of the “Statement of intent for the cooperation between the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the EU enlargement region and the Eastern Partnership and Southern Mediterranean countries (EU neighbourhood region)” in April 2014.