Ministers' Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2000)92 Addendum Revised (Unclassified) 20 July 2000

717 Meeting, 13 July 2000
6 Social Cohesion

6.1 European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS)

Strategy for Social Cohesion


The political context

1.    Several elements have come together in recent years leading to the decision by the Council of Europe to commit itself to a new strategy for social cohesion. The Council of Europe, which sees social rights as part of its fundamental commitment to human rights, has always based its work on the dignity of the individual and has seen that this implies a special concern for the more vulnerable members of society who often need both protection and assistance with social integration.

2. As a vehicle for international cooperation on social cohesion, the Council of Europe offers its unique situation as a pan-European forum bringing together forty-one States united by their commitment to a Europe based on pluralist democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Through fifty years of intergovernmental cooperation, the Council of Europe has established European norms for social rights and built up a wealth of accumulated experience through the supervisory mechanisms of its legal instruments as well as in the form of Recommendations and reports. Its various committees and working parties make it a forum for exchange of ideas and experience across the whole European continent. Increasingly, moreover, through its cooperation programmes, the Council of Europe assists its member States in putting the Organisation's standards into practice in their specific national situations. Although it is not as a general rule in a position to finance operational programmes, except by means of loans from the Council of Europe Development Bank, its many and varied means of action give it the potential to exert a considerable influence on social development across the European continent.

3. Recent years have brought a growing realisation that social cohesion is an essential condition for democratic security. Divided and unequal societies are not only unjust but also cannot guarantee stability in the long term. Many people are excluded in practice from the benefits of that social and economic progress to which the Council of Europe is committed. It is increasingly recognised that governments need to aim not only at making the economy work but also at making society work; economic development without accompanying social development will result in serious problems sooner or later. The strengthening of social cohesion can therefore be seen as a preventive strategy designed to reduce the risk of future social and political disruption. All European countries without exception are faced with the challenge of building up and maintaining a sustainable society, which is conducive to the fulfilment of all its members.

4. This is why the Heads of State and Government of the member States of the Council of Europe, meeting in October 1997 for the Organisation's Second Summit, identified social cohesion as "one of the foremost needs of the wider Europe and … an essential complement to the promotion of human rights and dignity" (Final Declaration). They went on to instruct the Committee of Ministers "to define a social strategy to respond to the challenges in society and to carry out the appropriate structural reforms within the Council of Europe".

5. The first step taken by the Committee of Ministers was to set up a new intergovernmental steering committee, the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS), bringing together several formerly separate areas of work. The Committee's terms of reference state that "the first task of the Committee will be to prepare a strategy for the development of social cohesion activities within the Council of Europe for consideration by the Committee of Ministers"; it is further indicated that this strategy should contain "a programme of work for the medium term".

6. Already at its first meeting, held in November 1998, the CDCS drew up a document entitled "preliminary proposals for a social cohesion strategy" (CDCS (98) 8, Appendix VI), which was forwarded to the Committee of Ministers. Now that the CDCS has made enough progress with its work to be able to define its intentions more clearly, it has drawn up a more fully worked out strategy for social cohesion, contained in the present document which is submitted to the Committee of Ministers.

7. This document should be regarded as a statement of intent by the new Committee summing up how, at this stage, it sees its work developing. The content of the strategy will naturally evolve as time goes on and as more experience is gained in this new approach to the Council of Europe's work in the field of social affairs. As proposed by the CDCS, the Committee of Ministers has declassified this text for use as a public information document presenting the Council of Europe's strategy for social cohesion.

Elements of social cohesion

8. Cohesion is an ideal towards which societies have to strive continually. It is a goal to which they aspire, but never fully achieve. This makes precise definition elusive. Nonetheless, in devising a strategy for social cohesion, it is essential to try and clarify what we are talking about.

9. In its literal sense, social cohesion is about what binds societies together. All societies are the result of an interplay between centripetal and centrifugal forces; the things that bring people together and the things that drive them apart; the forces of unity and the forces of division; the interests of the individual and the interests of the community. All societies have to try to arrive at a workable accommodation between these forces. Conflict is a necessary and permanent feature of life in society; it is not, therefore a matter of creating a permanent balance of forces, but more a question of managing a dynamic equilibrium. The challenge, in other words, is to create societies that can manage conflict and change constructively and creatively. The risks attendants upon failure are high, potentially including even armed conflict; contemporary experience in Europe shows that this risk is not just a theoretical one.

10. A strategy for social cohesion must first identify the factors of division within society and then design or facilitate mechanisms, processes and institutions that prevent them from becoming so acute as to endanger social peace. Diversity is not in itself divisive. European societies have been learning, albeit rather hesitantly, to see ethnic, religious, cultural and ideological pluralism not as an obstacle to social cohesion but as a source of wealth, dynamism, adaptability and strength. To manage diversity in a way which releases its potential for good is, however, a challenge. It involves fighting racial, ethnic, religious, gender and other forms of discrimination; and it requires active policies to integrate migrants and all kinds of minorities and groups with particular needs into mainstream society on the basis of respect for their difference and full recognition of their rights.

11. Another important factor of division within society is an excessive gap between the rich and the poor. Economies based on the free market, like any other economic system, produce differences of wealth and social status. Such differences will be tolerated as long as people feel that they have equality of opportunity to improve their situation. If, however, the differences become too flagrant, and above all if the less privileged feel that they have little real hope of bettering themselves, that they are trapped in a situation of poverty and social exclusion, and that this handicap is passed on from generation to generation - in short, that they have no stake in society because society has nothing to offer them - then socio-economic divisions start to put social cohesion seriously at risk.

12. Decent and adequately remunerated employment is one of the main ways of promoting social cohesion. The promotion of employment should be at the heart of a social cohesion strategy involving appropriate economic policies that are integrated with social protection and employment support measures. Particular attention should be paid to education, training, job search and placement and to the promotion of entrepreneurship.

13. A social cohesion strategy involves action to combat poverty and social exclusion, particularly in areas such as housing, health, education and training, employment and income distribution, education and social services. But it must go beyond treating the symptoms of exclusion and also seek, more positively, to strengthen those forces that help to create social solidarity and a sense of belonging. Some of these forces are clearly within the legitimate ambit of government policy; others come more within the private sphere, where governments must tread more cautiously.

14. Social security systems are one of the most powerful institutional expressions of social solidarity. Any social cohesion strategy must therefore have as a main aim the strengthening of social security systems, especially at a time when many questions are posed about their future development and financing.

15. The family is a fundamental factor of social cohesion in the private domain; it can be described as the place where social cohesion is experienced and built. This is another institution, which is facing strong challenges and undergoing far-reaching changes; policies for families will also, therefore, take their place naturally in a strategy for social cohesion. Particular attention has to be given to the needs of the more vulnerable members of families, namely children and the elderly, and to the reconciliation of work and family life.

16. A variety of civil society bodies, including churches, political parties and trades unions, are also important factors of social cohesion, although in most countries each of these has seen some loss in membership and influence, a reflection perhaps of a society that gives more importance to individual freedom than to collective belonging. On the other hand, non-governmental organisations and voluntary bodies of all kinds are flourishing and everywhere becoming indispensable partners of government in building social cohesion.

17. Social cohesion, therefore, combines the political determination of governments to bring in social development policies, and make a success of them, with their citizens’ aspirations towards greater solidarity. This means that social cohesion cannot rest content with ad hoc policies designed to deal with crises or emergencies, but must be the focus of a new commitment by member States in the social field.

18. Sound economic policies, while crucial in establishing stable conditions for growth, cannot be directed solely by market mechanisms without risking damaging social consequences. The Committee therefore considers it important that, both on a national and international level, attention should be focused on the relationship between social protection and economic policies.

19. Good governance is recognised increasingly as one of the pre-conditions for social and economic progress. The fight against corruption is of particular importance in this context.

20. Societies in transition are facing particularly acute challenges, but the Council of Europe's social cohesion strategy is relevant to all the member states because all over Europe many people are experiencing the persistence of poverty, indeed extreme poverty, and social exclusion. A social cohesion strategy will make it easier to cope with these problems by genuinely involving all the individuals and bodies concerned.

21. It is worth noting that the Council of Europe has decided to develop a strategy for social cohesion rather than a strategy for combating social exclusion. There is more to this choice of terminology than a desire to present a more positive image of the Organisation’s work in the social field. It is in fact necessary for the member States not only to find ways of dealing with the problems of those who find themselves excluded from society, but also, more ambitiously, to see how to build more cohesive societies in which the risks of social exclusion will be minimised. Social cohesion therefore concerns society as a whole and all its members, and not only those who find themselves marginalized.

22. As far as the individual is concerned, social cohesion would seem to be primarily a matter of developing a renewed understanding of citizenship. It aims to promote active participation in decision-making, to restore civic and social ties and to develop sound relationships between the State, the market and civil society. An important part of social cohesion is to find an adequate balance between the responsibility of the individual and the solidarity of society. Without solidarity the individual will not be ready to adapt to the structural changes brought about by a more and more rapidly changing economy and social structure. The challenge is to develop a greater sense of interdependence, of mutual responsibility and belonging, between the diverse individuals and groups who make up modern European societies. 

23. To sum up, policies which contribute to social cohesion must:

- help to revitalise the economy and capitalise on the contribution made by the social partners and other interested bodies, particularly in creating employment, stimulating enterprise and ensuring employment opportunities for all;

- meet people's basic needs and promote access to social rights within the universal spirit of the Council of Europe’s many conventions and recommendations, particularly in the fields of employment, education, health, social protection and housing;

- recognise human dignity, making the individual person the centre of policies and guaranteeing human rights in Europe;

- establish and organise forums and procedures which allow the underprivileged, and those whose rights are insufficiently respected, to make themselves heard;

- develop an integrated approach bringing together all the relevant policy areas.

24. The Council of Europe will seek, therefore, through its strategy for social cohesion, to help member States tackle the following challenges:

- how to make economic and social rights more effective and enable people to claim their rights through appropriate procedures;

- how to prevent the emergence of a "two-speed society" where some enjoy prosperity while others are confined to a marginal existence;

- how to take effective action to eradicate poverty and combat social exclusion, including new forms of exclusion from access to information technology and new means of communication;

- how to reduce unacceptably high levels of unemployment in a globalising economic system and to promote access to employment with appropriate economic policies and measures to support employment;

- how to improve the standard of services to the public and ensure that all members of society have effective access to them;

- how to achieve and maintain a high level of social protection at a time when many pressures make it necessary to look afresh at traditional concepts;

- how to respond to the needs of an ageing population, including the need to finance pension systems and to establish inter-generational solidarity;

- how to create a new sense of social solidarity and mutual responsibility in a society characterised by the pursuit of individual fulfilment;

- how to respond to changing patterns of family life and their effects on children, for example the need to reconcile family and working life;

- how to develop policies for the protection and participation of children and youth in society;

-  how to integrate migrants into society and combat effectively all forms of racism and discrimination;

- how to make growing ethnic and cultural diversity a source of strength in a globalising world.


New working methods

25. In launching a social cohesion strategy, the Council of Europe has decided to integrate its work in a number of fields which were formerly separate, namely social security, social policy and employment. Work on social cohesion is therefore based on a multidisciplinary approach. Just as governments have in many cases found it necessary to set up special taskforces to bring together the contributions of several different departments whose work has a bearing on social problems, so now at the level of the Council of Europe it is for the European Committee on Social Cohesion and the Directorate-General for Social Cohesion to integrate the work across a broad field.

26. Although it is the particular responsibility of the CDCS to carry forward the social cohesion strategy, it must be underlined that the strategy for social cohesion is a strategy of the Council of Europe as a whole. The CDCS will therefore work in partnership with many other Council of Europe bodies. Several of these take part regularly in its meetings. Thus for example, representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly and of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe bring the national political perspective and the local perspective into the Committee's work. It is clear that texts adopted by these organs will provide constant stimulus for the development of new activities within the social cohesion strategy. The CDCS warmly welcomes the fact that many Council of Europe bodies are taking up themes related to social cohesion. This should help to bring about "mainstreaming" of social cohesion issues into Council of Europe programmes as a whole. The CDCS will draw inspiration from the related work carried out by these other bodies and will seek to develop increasingly close working relationships with them over time. It will be important to devise new forms of active cooperation so that real synergies can be developed.

27. Further details of relevant work by other Council of Europe bodies are given in
Appendix 2.

28. The Committee's work will also benefit from the contributions of several non-member States. Moreover, as provided for in its terms of reference, the Committee will involve in its activities a range of non-governmental partners. It counts especially on the contributions of the social partners and non-governmental organisations with which the Council has been working for a long time. It notes that they wish to be involved as partners in the strategy and not simply consulted on an ad hoc basis. They play an essential role in representing civil society and serving as an interface between individuals and the authorities; moreover, they support the work of States and campaign for fundamental rights.

29. The role of enterprises - and, more generally of the social partners - in both the public and the private sectors should be recognised and encouraged. Action can be taken in the workplace to promote gender equality, the reconciliation of family and working life, the integration of people with disabilities, action against racism and the right of all to employment, taking into account always the need for a sound macro-economic context.

30. In the terms of reference of several of the subordinate bodies of the CDCS, provision has been made for a considerably more active role for non-governmental experts than has been customary in the past.

31. Moreover, the CDCS is aware that in considering questions of social exclusion it is important to find ways of hearing the voice of those affected who are, after all, the true experts in the subject. NGO's have shown how the voice of the powerless can contribute ideas of real value to the policy-making process, and it can indeed be argued that policies, which are not based on a serious attempt to hear the views of those directly concerned, are likely to fail. The CDCS will therefore seek ways of bringing this about in the context of its own work.

32. Representatives of the European Commission and of intergovernmental organisations active in the area of social cohesion also take part in the work of the Committee or its subordinate bodies. It is hoped that this will bring to light possibilities for active co-operation in areas where the work of other intergovernmental organisations complements that of the Council of Europe. A special effort will be made to find ways of relating the social cohesion strategy to the work, which will be undertaken by the European Union in this field.

33. Conferences of specialised ministers can play an important role in relation to the social cohesion strategy. In line with the policy of the Committee of Ministers, the CDCS will seek to associate conferences of specialised ministers closely with the activities carried out as part of the social cohesion strategy. The CDCS is in favour of holding conferences of family ministers and of social security ministers when the need arises. Other conferences of ministers might be held occasionally on an ad hoc basis at particularly important moments in the development of the social cohesion strategy.

34. In the hope of increasing the resources available for strengthening its work, the Committee will look for possibilities of co-operation with external financial partners. This may be in the form of voluntary contributions by member States particularly interested in certain parts of the programme of activities on social cohesion, as is already the case with the Programme for Children. Alternatively, it may take the form of co-operation agreements with funding bodies. Thus, the Joint Programme for social cohesion in co-operation with the Council of Europe Development Bank has already entered into force. It is also hoped that it will be possible to develop joint programmes with the European Commission in a number of areas. Finally, as was the case with the project "Human Dignity and Social Exclusion", the possibility of financial contributions by other funding bodies such as private foundations should also be explored.

35. The most substantial innovation in working methods has been the setting up, as decided by the Summit Conference, of a "Specialised Unit for monitoring, comparing and handling issues linked to social cohesion". The Social Cohesion Development Unit, as it is known, has been described as the "operational arm" of the European Committee for Social Cohesion. In other words, the Unit assists member States with putting into practice the standards and recommendations of the Council of Europe in the area of social cohesion. Under the supervision of the Committee, to which it reports regularly, the Unit will be responsible for research and analytical work, for co-operation programmes and pilot projects in the member States, and for disseminating information about the Council of Europe’s work on social cohesion.


Types of work undertaken by the European Committee for Social Cohesion

36. The CDCS will seek to act as a forum for strategic reflection on key problems of social policy. It will reserve a part of each meeting for a substantial debate or debates aimed at opening up new topics for future work, reviewing progress of activities under way or for exchanges of views on national initiatives and reforms, especially those which seek to address social cohesion in an integrated manner. The Committee will limit the time it needs to spend on administrative and supervisory work by entrusting various tasks to its Bureau.

37. The activities within the social cohesion strategy are of four types:

(a) Standard-setting and monitoring of the application of legal instruments:

38. Social rights are the starting-point for the Council of Europe's social cohesion strategy. The Summit Conference called for the "widest possible adherence" to the European Social Charter and other standard-setting instruments in the social field.

i. The European Social Charter and the revised European Social Charter are essential points of reference for the activities of the CDCS. This is why special provision is made in the terms of reference of the CDCS for regular exchanges of views with the supervisory organs of the Charter. It will be important to work out effective arrangements for these exchanges of views so that they can have a real impact on the development of the social cohesion strategy and become a source of inspiration for the CDCS in planning its future work.

ii. The standard-setting instruments in the social security field are the European Code of Social Security and the Revised Code. The CDCS is required by its terms of reference to oversee the monitoring of the their application by Contracting Parties. It has set up a specialist body, the Committee of Experts on Standard-Setting Instruments in the Social Security Field (CS-CO), to carry out this work on its behalf.

iii. The CDCS is responsible for overseeing the application of the legal instruments for the coordination of national social security and social assistance systems, a task which is likely to become more important with growing mobility across the wider Europe. The Committee of Experts on Coordination in the Social Security Field (CS-CR) is the body, which carries out this work.

iv. The CDCS is undertaking a programme of activities aimed at promoting ratification of the instruments in the field of social security.

v. The CDCS has responsibility for the European Convention on Au Pair Placement.


(b) Policy development:

39. It is one thing to legislate for social rights, but it is quite another to guarantee that all members of the population, including those most in need of protection, effectively benefit from their rights. This calls for varied and imaginative policies and programmes. For this reason, the larger part of the work carried out under the responsibility of the CDCS aims at allowing governments to exchange and compare experience on the design and implementation of social policies with a view to identifying best practice. Such work, carried out through committees of experts and seminars, typically results in the adoption of reports, handbooks and guidelines. From time to time, draft recommendations will be prepared as a way of giving enhanced political weight to the results of this work.

40. Policy development activities are in progress in the following fields:

- access to social protection;

- access to housing;

- access to employment;

- social policies in the city;

- the rights and protection of children;

- dependent elderly persons.


(c) Projects in the member States:

41. The CDCS will seek to test out the results of its policy development work by mounting pilot projects at local level in the member States. The results of such work will feed back into the policy development process.

42. The Committee is also keen to see the further development of co-operation activities with the governments of member States aimed at helping them to apply the Council of Europe’s legal standards and policy recommendations in the social field. It sees the ADACS activities, which are co-ordinated by the Development Unit, as an extension of its intergovernmental work and as a way of responding to urgent needs in particular member States.

43. In this connection, the CDCS warmly welcomes the current moves towards closer co-operation between the Council of Europe and its Development Bank, particularly through the new Joint Programme, which will be coordinated by the Development Unit. The aim here is to assist the development of specific local projects in the member States which are in line with the social cohesion strategy of the Council of Europe and potentially suitable for loan applications to the Bank.


(d) Research and analysis:

44. The Development Unit will provide research back up to the work in progress under the CDCS. By means of a documentation centre, through use of the Internet and by developing contacts with networks of researchers in social affairs, the staff of the Unit will supply briefings and other data to the committees on request. It will commission reflection papers on basic concepts of social cohesion. The Unit will review work in progress on social and demographic indicators and help the CDCS to devise tools for measuring progress in social cohesion in the member States. Research projects involving teams of outside experts will be organised by the Unit on topics selected by the CDCS. The Unit will set up cooperative links with national and international research institutes as well as with the research activities of other international organisations.

45. Further information about the content of current and future possible activities is given in Appendix 1.

46. Finally, mention will be made of work, which covers the field of social cohesion as a whole. The CDCS organised in Dublin in January 2000 a European Conference on Social Development. The Conference prepared a pan-European contribution to the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development (Geneva, 26-30 June 2000). The Dublin Conference demonstrated that the Council of Europe, through its strategy on social cohesion, is in a position to help articulate a pan-European point of view in global discussions on social affairs. The CDCS will look for other opportunities to make a European contribution to the world social development agenda.

47. In the slightly longer term, it would be a worthwhile objective to bring together the results of the first few years work on the social cohesion strategy in the form of a major report reviewing the whole field of social cohesion and containing ideas and options for governments. A comprehensive report of this kind could be prepared about five years after the start of the social cohesion strategy and given wide publicity.



Activities under the direct responsibility of the

European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS)


i. Social protection

1. The supervisory body of the European Code of Social Security is the Committee of Experts on standard-setting instruments in the field of social security (CS-CO). Responsibility for the legal instruments concerned with co-ordination of national security systems is vested in the Committee for co-ordination in the social security field (CS-CR). These bodies also act as fora for exchanges of views on new trends and problems in the social security field and advise on activities designed to promote ratification of the Council of Europe’s social security instruments.

2. This work is a permanent responsibility of the CDCS. It is worth mentioning that, when the European Code of Social Security (revised) comes into force, a considerable increase in resources for the supervisory mechanism will be required.

3. The CDCS also, through its Development Unit, monitors developments in social security systems, in particular by compiling comparative tables of social security schemes (in co-operation with the European Commission) and annual reports on developments in national legislation.

4. Social security is an area where there is active co-operation with the member States through the ADACS programme. Countries of Central and Eastern Europe are receiving advice on developing social security systems and legislation, which are compatible with the Council of Europe's legal instruments. It is expected that this process will help the countries concerned to overcome the obstacles to establishing sustainable social security systems in these countries and lead to much more widespread ratification of the instruments.

ii. Access to social rights

5. The project on Human Dignity and Social Exclusion underlined the need for action to ensure that all members of society, including particularly the most vulnerable, have effective access to their social rights. This being so, the CDCS has launched a series of related activities on:

a. access to social protection;

b. access to housing;

c. access to employment.

6. Closely associated with these is an activity on improving the quality of life of dependent elderly persons.

7. These activities are planned for completion by the end of 2001. Given that they are closely connected to one another, the CDCS is considering the possibility of preparing a major report bringing together their results and, possibly, a conference on access to social rights as a whole. Furthermore, as it becomes clearer what will be the conclusions of the activities in progress, the Committee will form a view as to the longer-term follow-up to this work after 2001.

8. The progress of the work on access to social protection, access to housing and access to employment, and on dependent elderly persons, can be expected to lead to an increasing number of requests from the countries concerned for co-operation activities in the framework of the ADACS programme. In the work on access to employment, particular stress is laid on the development of pilot projects and integrated local employment strategies.

iii. Social policies and the city

9. Although a national policy framework is essential, it is in some ways easier to develop an integrated approach to social policy, bringing in all the relevant actors, at the local level. In any case, national policies for social cohesion have to be delivered in large part in individual localities. The CDCS is therefore continuing to work on innovatory social policies in the city in close co-operation with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe. The current activity is scheduled to end in 2000. The CDCS will consider how this local, or area-based, approach might be developed further after this date.

iv. Programme for Children

10. In accordance with the proposals contained in the Action Plan adopted at the Second Summit, the Committee of Ministers adopted the Council of Europe Programme for Children, which now comes under the responsibility of the CDCS. The Programme, devised with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in mind, is based on the concepts of the promotion, participation and protection of children and provision of services for them. The four main topics being examined are:

a. children and their environment;

b. children and child day care;

c. social support for children at risk of, or who have been victim of, abuse, violence and exploitation;

d. vagrant children.

11. The Programme is directed by the Forum for Children, which brings together representatives of the bodies principally concerned, both within and outside the Council of Europe. It should also be mentioned that the XXVIth Session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for family affairs, which was held in Sweden in June 1999 on the theme "Towards a child-friendly society", has made a significant contribution to the Programme.

12. This is an area of work where numerous activities are being carried out in the member States under the ADACS Programme. These concern in particular the care of children in residential institutions, training of staff of such institutions, re-thinking policies on child care and developing measures for integration of vulnerable children into society. Moreover, a substantial programme to assist traumatised Kosovar children is being implemented jointly with UNICEF.

13. The current Programme for Children is due to be completed in 2000. The CDCS intends to build on the established reputation of Council of Europe in this field and has decided to set up a new body to continue the work on policies for families and children in the longer term. Discussions are continuing to see how the necessary resources can be made available.


v. Possible future activities

14. During recent meetings of the CDCS and at the Dublin Conference, a number of ideas have been put forward for future work within the social cohesion strategy. The following list is not exclusive, but indicates the ideas which have attracted the most support:

a) A conference bringing together different world regions to consider the European and other approaches to the protection of social rights;

b) Devising indicators to monitor progress in achieving the goals of social cohesion policies;

c) Assistance with the development of national strategies to combat poverty and social exclusion;

d) Reform and development of social services, especially in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe;

e) Integrated social development policies in rural areas undergoing economic transformation;

f) Several topics on families and children which were specified by the Committee of Ministers for possible inclusion within the Programme for Children, but which have not been addressed so far because of lack of resources (e.g. alternatives to residential care of children, children affected by armed conflict, social prevention of juvenile delinquency, domestic violence).

15. The CDCS will consider how far it can develop activities along these lines, given current budgetary constraints.



Related work by other Council of Europe bodies


1. This Appendix is a brief guide to some of the most important work under way in other Council of Europe bodies, which has direct relevance to the social cohesion strategy. It does not pretend to be an exhaustive account; further details are given in document DS/Conf (2000) 3 final.

2. A wide range of fundamental social rights are safeguarded by the European Social Charter and the Revised European Social Charter. Reports by Contracting Parties on the implementation of the Charter are first examined by an independent body, the European Committee for Social Rights. On the basis of proposals from the Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter, the Committee of Ministers then makes recommendations to States, which fail to comply fully with the requirements of the Charter.

3. The supervisory machinery of the Charter generates a wealth of information about the protection of social rights in Europe. The CDCS intends to make full use of this information as an inspiration for its work. This is why it is provided in the Committee's terms of reference that it should organise regular exchanges of views with the two supervisory organs of the Charter.

4. Many of the activities of the Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) have implications for social cohesion. Moreover, all steering committees have been instructed by the Committee of Ministers to be alert to the gender aspects of their work. The CDCS will ensure that gender equality questions are dealt with wherever relevant in the activities for which it is responsible.

5. Another concern, which cuts across many areas of work including social cohesion, is that of community relations between migrants or minorities and majority society. Social cohesion policies cannot ignore the factor of ethnicity. For this reason, the CDCS considers that the work of the European Committee on Migration (CDMG) will make an important contribution to the social cohesion strategy. In particular, the CDCS looks forward with great interest to the imminent completion by the CDMG of a major report on diversity and cohesion in Europe. The work of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) also deals with this important dimension of social cohesion.

6. The work of the Committee on the Rehabilitation and Integration of People with Disabilities (CD-P-RR), carried out in the framework of the Partial Agreement in the Social and Public Health Field, also makes an important contribution to the Council of Europe's social cohesion strategy.

7. The work on social cohesion will also draw on the relevant activities of the Cooperation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs (Pompidou Group).

8. In addition to social protection, housing and employment, the Project on Human Dignity and Social Exclusion laid particular stress on the need to address social exclusion in the fields of health and education. This is why the CDCS welcomes the contributions of the European Health Committee (CDSP) and the Council for Cultural Co-operation (CDCC) in dealing with these topics. The work in progress under the CDSP on the adaptation of health care services to the demands for health care of marginalized groups forms a valuable complement to the CDCS activities on access to social rights. In the field of education, the CDCS is encouraged that the theme proposed for the 20th Session of the Standing Conference of European Ministers of Education, to be held in October 2000, is "Education policies, social cohesion and citizenship: implications and strategies for Europe".

9. As a contribution to the Council of Europe's work on social exclusion, the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) prepared a draft Recommendation on the right to the satisfaction of basic material needs of persons in situations of extreme hardship. This text, which has now been adopted by the Committee of Ministers, is a significant contribution to the strategy for social cohesion.

10. The CDCS is pleased to have been asked to take part in the work of the Committee for the Development of Sport (CDDS) on sport and social cohesion. Following on from a Recommendation on this subject adopted by the Committee of Ministers, this work is intended to prepare for the adoption of a Resolution at the forthcoming session of the Conference of European Ministers of Sport (May 2000).

11. The work of the European Population Committee (CDPO) provides essential background data and analysis for the social cohesion strategy. In particular the study of the demographic implications of social exclusion in Europe is expected to provide valuable information on the characteristics of the populations, which are at risk of social exclusion. The CDPO's studies on the demographic situation of immigrant populations, on differential mortality, on demography and the labour market situation and on the demographic consequences of economic transition in Central and Eastern Europe are also highly relevant to the work of the CDCS. Reforms under consideration will bring about a closer association between the CDCS and the activities of the population sector.

12. Although the social cohesion strategy is addressed primarily to the member States of the Council of Europe, it is impossible to ignore Europe's relationship with the wider world. The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, a Council of Europe body better known as the North-South Centre, has many activities relevant to social cohesion. The Campaign on "Global Interdependence and Solidarity: Europe against Poverty and Social Exclusion", which is coming to an end during 2000, is a prime example.