The Council of Europe’s very structure (consisting of the Committee of Ministers and other intergovernmental bodies, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Conference of International NGOs, as well as the European Court of Human Rights) facilitates partnerships with and between national, regional and local authorities and civil society in member States and beyond to promote sustainable development. In addition, our inter-institutional agreements and contacts with other international organisations (in particular, the European Union, the United Nations and the OSCE) facilitate co-operation for SDG implementation.


The World Conference on Constitutional Justice, for which the Venice Commission acts as the Secretariat, unites 121 Constitutional Courts and equivalent bodies in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia/Oceania and Europe. Its main purpose is to facilitate judicial dialogue between constitutional court judges on a global scale. The exchange of information that takes in the World Conference furthers reflection on arguments that promote the basic goals inherent to national constitutions. Even if these texts often differ substantially, discussion on the underlying constitutional concepts unites constitutional court judges from various parts of the world committed to promoting constitutional justice in their own country.

In 2022, the Constitutional Court of Indonesia hosted the World Conference’s 5th Congress in Bali (4-7 October 2022). The topic of this event was “Constitutional Justice and Peace,” and discussed the role of constitutional courts in preventing conflict, maintaining peace within the state and settling disputes that otherwise result in internal conflict, as well as reconciliation following internal armed conflicts.

The 6th Congress of the WCCJ will be hosted by the Constitutional Court of Spain in 2025.

The Venice Commission's secretariat also participates in the annual events of different linguistic and regional groups of the WCCJ. In 2023, the Secretary of the Venice Commission and the Special Representative took part in the Conference and annual general meeting of the South and Eastern African Chief Justices' Forum held in Arusha, Tanzania.

In 2021, the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons called on national parliaments to mobilise for the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Global Compacts for Migrants and Refugees by all Council of Europe member states. The Committee had stressed "that by joining forces, parliaments can change the course of things at the national, regional and global levels". These international instruments of the United Nations, non-binding and optional, constitute according to the Commission "an unprecedented push forward for the protection of the human rights of refugees and migrants". They create a better defined framework for international cooperation and development and set clear guidelines for targeted actions and support programs. In the Resolution 2379 (2021) on the Role of parliaments in implementing the United Nations global compacts for migrants and refugees, the Assembly lists a number of parliamentary action measures based on their functions of representation, legislation, control and international parliamentary diplomacy .

This was further supported by the Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 2408 (2021) on the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention: the Council of Europe and the international protection of refugees . The Assembly welcomed initiatives to consolidate and make more effective the international protection of refugees and asylum seekers. Having expressed its concern about the increasing frequency of expulsions and pushbacks of refugees and asylum-seekers at Europe’s borders, the Assembly recalled that the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights required States to protect the rights of people to seek asylum and ensure protection from refoulement, even if they enter a country irregularly. The Assembly aligned itself with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in recognising that the efficient and expeditious return of persons found not to be in need of international protection was key to maintaining the integrity of asylum systems in Europe and of the international protection system as a whole. National parliaments should play their role in putting in place efficient asylum procedures and systems that maintain fairness safeguards and adhere to international law. To uphold fundamental rights of those who flee persecution for reasons specified in the 1951 Refugee Convention, States were called upon to ensure full support to UN-led priority initiatives for the protection of refugees and asylum seekers and the relevant Council of Europe actions. The support and political will of State parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention, and their commitment and generosity, are crucial and should not be taken for granted. Finally, national parliaments were called upon to act resolutely at the political level to ensure positive attitudes to refugees and asylum seekers in Europe and beyond.

The Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) Programme of the Council of Europe and its courses on human rights, many of which focus on CoE Convention(s) standards are increasingly available in more European language and Arabic. They are more and more used beyond the European continent, including in the neighbouring regions (South Mediterranean and Central Asia) or third countries interested or party to CoE Conventions open for their ratification. This is particularly the case of some Latin-American countries. The online courses are accessible in the HELP e-learning platform

The Saint-Denis Convention promotes a multiagency integrated approach as the key for successful safe, secure and welcoming sports events, emphasising the need to reinforce partnerships between public and private stakeholders in the field of sport – Governments, law enforcement, local authorities, sports authorities, supporter organisations and local communities -, from local to international levels, to effectively meet these goals.

The Anti-Doping Convention provides a cooperation network between governmental institutions, international anti-doping and sport organisations for the harmonization and mutual support in implementation of programmes aimed at promoting clean sport and protecting athletes. This network consists of 52 States parties, 3 Observer states and 13 organisations, among which are the UNESCO, EU, International Olympic Committee, World Athletics, as well as organizations that have concluded Memoranda of Understanding with the Council of Europe – FIFA, UEFA, WADA.

The Macolin Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions provides for both a national and international framework of cooperation between all interested stakeholders, in the form of national platforms and their international network (the Group of Copenhagen).

See also:

Promotion of human rights in sport

Through its co-operation activities, the CoE works towards strengthening and promoting civil participation in decision making, particularly, in partnership with other NGOs and local authorities, an example being The “Kyiv Public platform” composed of over 40 NGOs that was established and became a sustainable structure and which is regularly consulted in policymaking and to facilitate the communication between the civil society and the Kyiv City State administration and Kyiv City Council.

The North-South Centre - an Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe - was established as the organisation’s window to the world and to appeal for greater international solidarity, to promote North-South dialogue and to raise awareness on global interdependence. In pursuing this task, under the principles of dialogue, partnership and solidarity, through a quadrilogue bottom-up approach, it brings together representatives from national governments, national parliaments, local and regional authorities and civil society.

The North-South Centre’s Network of Universities on Youth and Global Citizenship also contributes to this goal. It encourages the definition of a common agenda, through the quadrilogue approach, and the implementation of common actions to foster democratic participation and global citizenship among young people, contributing to this goal of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

From 2016 to 2020 the North-South Centre’s Network on Youth and Global Citizenship has been focusing on SGD16. The umbrella theme of the Universities represent the thread that connects all the activities, advocacy efforts and awareness raising initiatives taking place in the framework of the universities, ensuring coherence and greater impact in the medium term. Every year, the umbrella theme is broken down into specific annual focuses. In 2018 “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies”, in 2019 “Youth and justice” and in 2020 the theme is “Institutions”.

Take an insight into the latest editions of the University on Youth and Development and Mediterranean University on Youth and Global Citizenship.

During the biennium 2018-2019 the North-South Centre’s contribution to the “Youth, Peace and Security” (YPS) agenda was recognised by its main stakeholders. Funded through a transversal scheme of projects and programmes - South Programme III funded by the European Union, the Euro-Mediterranean youth cooperation project and in synergy with the Network on Youth and Global Citizenship - the North-South Centre explored the complementary relationship between democratic participation, human rights and peacebuilding. To that end, the North-South Centre has been promoting and participating in a series of initiatives, following a path that goes form uplifting youth engagement in peace and democratic processes in the 2018 Lisbon Forum, to enhancing the interregional and multilevel cooperation to support such youth engagement in peace processes in the 2019 follow-up seminar organised in Jordan.

The 2019 Lisbon Forum addressed the relation between Development and Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy: achieving together the Sustainable Development Goals. It not only promoted a Council of Europe coordinated approach but also prompted widespread support for the notion that the implementation of the UN SDGs could greatly benefit from a stronger regional (continental) effort of SDG governance and coordination.

For 2020-2023, the North-South Centre will implement a project which aims at ensuring youth partnership for development and global citizenship through interregional cooperation between Europe, the Southern Mediterranean and beyond. The project is a follow-up action of the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Cooperation Project (2018-2019), which incorporates in an integral manner the work of the North-South Centre's Network on Youth and Global Citizenship and its universities for the period 2020-2023.

The European Heritage Strategy for the 21st century aims to promote a unifying approach to cultural heritage as a resource for democracy. The ST21 MooC (Massive Open Online Course) helps to address some of the challenges related to social cohesion, economic and territorial development, as well as education and knowledge. It provides heritage managers at local, regional and national levels with the knowledge and skills to implement the Strategy’s recommendations. The MooC also guides participants in the analysis of their heritage related projects and activities to become part of the Strategy 21 good practices and network. The objective of the (10 module) course is for each activity/initiative to become a good practice model - for setting Strategy 21 standards - and to be included on the ST21 website collection. This will help the spread of good practices in and among the member States of the Council of Europe, further enable exchange of project information and increase networking possibilities with other stakeholders.

The Parliamentary Assembly plays an active part in mobilising partnerships at local, national and international levels towards implementation of SDGs. In Resolution 2271 (2019) on Strengthening co-operation with the United Nations in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Resolution 2272 (2019) on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: synergy needed on the part of all stakeholders, from parliaments to local authorities, the Assembly called for enhancing the Council of Europe contribution to, and the role of Parliaments and local authorities in, implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Moreover, Implementing the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals: contribution by Parliaments was one of the main topics of the European Conference of Presidents of Parliament organised by the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on 24-25 October 2019.


The approach of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is based on three key principles: achieving SDGs is the shared responsibility of all levels of government; local and regional authorities must have the necessary competences and financial autonomy to achieve the goals in their respective areas; citizens must always remain at the heart of the action.

The Congress plays an active role in the field by promoting cooperation at all levels. In this context, the Congress is working towards the implementation of Objective 17, as demonstrated by its willingness to intercede among different NGOs and elected officials in different discussion forums. The Congress also cooperates closely with national associations of local and regional authorities. This partnership allows to establish a truly inclusive dialogue. That is why the Congress is redoubling its efforts to strengthen these associations and develop their efficiency and autonomy.

In order to implement successfully the SDGs, the Congress cooperates a wide range of actors:

  • its institutional partners within the Council of Europe, in particular, the Parliamentary Assembly which adopted, in 2019, a resolution calling for greater synergies between the two institutions in the implementation of the SDGs and the Directorate of Programme Co-ordination.
  • international organisations representing local and regional authorities, such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG),
  • European institutions, as the Committee of the Regions, the CALRE and the AER.

The Congress adopted the following texts in relation to SDG 17:

  • RES452 (2019) - Revised Code of Good Practice for Civil Participation in the Decision-making Process

The Council of Europe is implementing a comprehensive co-operation programme to help its member states to integrate human rights standards in their penitentiary, probation and law-enforcement institutions with the aim, among other, to promote partnerships between the public and civil society sectors in relation to oversight of police activity, independent monitoring of places of detention, rehabilitation of prisoners and their reintegration into society.