The new rules adopted by the Conference of INGOs in December to facilitate the participation of civil society with the Council of Europe have been implemented with the elections of the Presidents, Vice-Presidents and members of the Standing Committee which coordinates the work of INGOs. The conference serves as a platform to interact with the Council of Europe to achieve its objectives. It also promotes participatory democracy, active citizenship and freedom of association.
Gerhard ERMISCHER, already very involved in the conference, was elected as President, Geneviève LALOY and Christophe SPRENG as Vice-Presidents and 8 new members of the Standing Committee.
7 committees have been set up to provide a forum for discussion and research on a particular issue relevant to the work of the Council of Europe bodies and to prepare reports on their findings and, where appropriate, draft declarations, recommendations and resolutions. The committees established will work in the following areas – inter-religious and inter-faith dialogue, – action for social rights, – environment, climate change, heritage, health, – environmental and health crisis, – human rights and artificial intelligence, – children’s rights, – rights of migrants.
The General Assembly also set up the Audit and Disputes Committee and the Appeals Committee to rule on appeals against the conclusions and recommendations relating to the conference code of conduct, to which Jean-Jacques Kuster was appointed.
A recommendation was adopted by the conference on access for all to social and medico-social services: a springboard out of poverty.
Many INGOs have reported on the deterioration of the human rights situation in several countries such as Turkey, Russia and Poland, and the undermining of the rule of law. This is a point of vigilance for the INGO conference which will not remain without reacting.
The Director of Democracy at the Council of Europe, Ms. Snezana Samardzic-Markovic, invited the INGOs to join the priorities of the Council of Europe’s action plan.
Jean-Jacques KUSTER represented the EUR.