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Directorate General of Democracy
Issue 23 – 22 April 2021
G20 Culture 2021 - Under the Italian G20 Presidency, three webinars are paving the way for the G20 Ministers of Culture Meeting to be held on 29 & 30 July 2021
Culture and Cultural Heritage
Three international webinars were held in April, reflecting on culture’s contribution to building sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies and strengthening a culture-focused response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They introduced Italy’s culture priorities and focus for this year’s G20 Summit, and dealt with: 
  • Protection of cultural heritage and illicit trafficking: The Future will give us back our Past – 9 April 2021.
  • Addressing the climate crisis through culture: Preserving Cultural Heritage, Supporting the Green Transition – 12 April 2021.
  • Building capacity through training and education: Human Capital, The Driver of Culture-led Regeneration - 13 April 2021.
The webinars are available on the YouTube channel of the Italian Ministry of Culture and the Secretariat was involved in running the session on building capacity through training and education.
World Forum for Democracy
The World Forum for Democracy in collaboration with Bern convention is organising a Forum Lab “The Nature of Biodiversity: Involving Local Stakeholders for Global Change” on the Earth Day 2021, Thursday 22 April. The preservation of biodiversity is essential for meeting global climate goals and protecting the wellbeing of people and society as a whole. The effective protection of local biodiversity can be found at the crossroads of community engagement, technical capacity and political will. In April’s Forum Lab we will learn from projects that combined real ambition with strong commitment from local communities for the protection of local biodiversity: from Ireland, India, Switzerland and South Africa.

On the 29th April the WFD and the CDDG invites you to a webinar “ The 15-Minute City: Lockdown Daydreaming or a Model for Sustainable Urban Living?” Faced with climate change threats and the convergence of a hyper-connected world that is revolutionising the way citizens interact with public authorities and each other, policymakers are searching for ways to build safer, more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive cities.
The 15-Minute City: Lockdown Daydreaming or a Model for Sustainable Urban Living?
In the context of the 12M/1Q (12 months to answer one question) campaign of the World Forum for Democracy, the Democratic Governance Division will hold a webinar to explore the topic of environmental action at local level, namely the concept of the “15 Minute City”. On 29 April, Ms Carine Rolland, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Culture and the “15 Minute City”, France; Professor Venla Bernelius, Urban Geographer at the Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies, Finland; and Mr Tamás Dömötör from the Hungarian Secretariat for Architecture and Construction will share their experience and discuss how urban planning can contribute to citizens’ well-being and environmental protection.
Launch of HELP online course on Access to Justice for Women in 11 countries
On 7 April 2021, members of the EEA/Norway Grants SYNERGY Network against Gender-based and Domestic Violence came together for the official launch of the Council of Europe HELP course on Access to Justice for Women. The online course, which will be run through the end of June, involves 27 governmental and non-governmental professionals responsible for combatting violence against women from Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia.
New Leadership Academy Programme
On 13 April 2021, the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance, in the framework of the “Technical Assistance Project on Delivering Good Governance in Greece”, conducted an online Training of Trainers for the Leadership Academy Programme. 16 Greek trainers from the National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Education, the General Secretariat for Coordination, the Central Union of Municipalities and the Hellenic Competition Commission took part in the training. The main topics included inter-municipal cooperation, equal opportunities and participation, and resilience building strategies.  Through a combination of theoretical sessions with practical group exercises, the participants acquired the necessary skills to be able to train local authorities, elected officials and senior civil servants in Greece.
GRETA publishes 10th General report on its activities
GRETA’s 10th General Report, covering the calendar year 2020, was published on 9 April 2021. In addition to providing details on GRETA’s activities, the report contains substantive sections on the impact of COVID-19 on combating human trafficking, and on the identification of trafficked persons amongst asylum seekers and access to international protection by victims of trafficking. GRETA’s report received considerable media coverage and was presented by GRETA’s President at the Ministers’ Deputies meeting on 14 April.
GREVIO publishes 2nd general report on its activities
On 12 April 2021, GREVIO published the second General Report on its activities, covering the period from June 2019 to December 2020. In its thematic section, the report highlights trends in the provision of services for victims and discusses these against the background of the pandemic, which has greatly increased the need for support. The report shows how much the pandemic has brought to light pre-existing gaps concerning specialist services, impacting significantly on women’s and girls’ ability to access specialist support services for the different forms of violence they may experience.

On the occasion of the publication of the report, the President of GREVIO, Marceline Naudi, issued a Statement calling for a wider use of the Istanbul Convention to offer women and girls more protection from violence, not less.

European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG) finalises a study on the impact of digital transformation on democracy and good governance

Digital transformation, democracy and good governance are dynamic processes, constantly evolving and interacting with each other. In the context of its activities on democracy and technology, the CDDG finalised a study on the impact of digital transformation, artificial intelligence and automated decision making, on democracy and good governance at its 13th plenary session on 15-16 April 2020. The study explores  this impact in the light of the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance, highlighting risks and opportunities, mitigating and enabling factors, as well as providing examples drawn from the experience of Council of Europe member States. Embracing digital transformation also means promoting a cultural change in the work of the public sector. Thus, governments should invest in building the relevant skills, competences and infrastructure. As artificial intelligence systems are increasingly being used in the public sector, governments should ensure an appropriate regulatory framework promoting transparency and accountability among others.

19th meeting of the Gender Equality Commission

At its 19th meeting on 14-15 April 2021, the Gender Equality Commission (GEC) reviewed its 2020 draft annual report on the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy, discussed its ongoing activities under the six strategic priorities of the Council of Europe in the field of gender equality, including the preparation of a draft recommendation on migrant women and a mapping study with proposals for future work on the place of men and boys in gender equality policies. The GEC also discussed its activities, working methods and proposals in view of the preparation of its next terms on reference. Presentations and exchanges with the Director for Equality and Union Citizenship of the European Commission (Irena Moozova), the President of GREVIO (Marceline Naudi), and the Chair of the Working Group on Evaluation of Judicial Systems of CEPEJ (Jasa Vrabec) also took place at this meeting. The 20th meeting of the GEC will be held in November 2021.

The Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention to supervise the implementation of its recommendations

At its 10th meeting, held on 13 April 2021, the Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention adopted a framework for the supervision of its recommendations addressed to states parties, pointing the way forward for this Committee in its monitoring of the Istanbul Convention. The Committee decided to use a standardised reporting form, which focuses on a maximum of eight areas of the convention, common to all states parties, and two areas specifically selected for each state. The meeting was opened by an exchange of views with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

Including a gender equality dimension in future Council of Europe instruments

Representatives of the Gender Equality Commission participated in the meetings of subordinate bodies of the Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) and of the Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI), to support the comprehensiveness and inclusiveness of their work through the inclusion of a gender equality perspective in future instruments related to artificial intelligence and to combating hate speech. Several written contributions were also prepared on these topics. The GEC also submitted written comments on GREVIO’s draft General Recommendation on the Digital Dimension of Violence Against Women.

Virtual Visit of 160 members of Soroptimist International

On 12 April 2021, the NGO Soroptimists International carried out a “virtual visit of the CoE”, with over 160 participants, with online presentations by DGII and PACE about CoE’s work to promote gender equality, prevent and combat violence against women, and tackle gender stereotypes and sexism.
Training Serbian law students on trafficking in human beings

After the success of the first online HELP  (Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals) course on combating trafficking in human beings, provided in Serbian language in 2020,  an updated course has been kicked off for a new group of 30 students from the University of Belgrade on Monday 12 April. The law students will explore different topics from a human rights perspective, such as what is human trafficking as defined in international standards, notably the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, how to identify and assist victims of human trafficking, the victims’ rights during the investigation and prosecution phases including the non-punishment principle for committed offenses, the victims’ right to access to justice and remedies including compensation
Training Moroccan authorities on referral and assistance to victims of trafficking

The Council of Europe has organised a two-day training, on 8-9 April 2021, in the field of referral and assistance to victims of trafficking in human beings addressed to the members of the National Commission for Co-ordinating Measures for Combating and Preventing Trafficking in Human Beings of Morocco. The international normative framework, in particular the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as good practices, experiences and existing tools in member states regards referral and assistance to victims were presented to the beneficiaries.
How to better protect women victims of violence in Morocco

A coordination meeting took place on 7 April 2021 between representatives of the Council of Europe and the Commission for the Protection of Women Victims of Violence in Morocco (CNFV). During this meeting, the national report of the CNFV (to be published by May 2021) was discussed along with the priority cooperation areas between the two organisations. A better knowledge of their rights by victims, training and capacity building for members of the Commission and for actors involved in victim protection (regional human rights commissions, NGOs, social workers) or the production of victim-related indicators have been identified as essential to contribute to a better protection of victims in Morocco.
Taking stock of the decentralisation reform

During the 13th plenary meeting of the CDDG, Mr Viacheslav Nehoda, Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories of Ukraine, updated the Committee about the state of play of the decentralisation process in Ukraine.The decentralisation and public administration reform processes are ongoing and have so far produced both democratic and economic benefits, by bringing the administration closer to citizens and their needs and increasing revenues at the local level. Mr Viacheslav Nehoda pointed out that the reform has been very well received both by public officials and the population and has contributed to strengthening the capacity at local level. The next phase will build on the progress made so far and bring the decentralisation reform even closer to Council of Europe standards and best practice.
Decentralisation Project in Ukraine: Enlarged Steering Committee Meeting  
The Steering Committee of the Council of Europe Programme “Enhancing decentralisation and public administration reform in Ukraine" met online on 1 April to discuss the ongoing decentralisation reform in Ukraine and identify the next steps of the programme. Implemented in close partnership between the Government of Ukraine, Parliament, local government associations and civil society, the decentralisation reform is highly appreciated by the national stakeholders, as it offers a platform for co-operation and consolidation of efforts and ideas. The Steering Committee approved the progress reports and the workplan for “Enhancing decentralisation and public administration reform in Ukraine” for 2021.  The Centre of Expertise for Good Governance has been implementing projects to support decentralisation reforms in Ukraine since 2010.

Governing Board approves Report of the Governor 2020
The CEB Governing Board approved the Report of the Governor and the CEB’s financial statements for the year 2020. During the first year of the implementation of the Development Plan 2020-2022, the CEB stepped up to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic through a significant increase in financing operations that resulted in record level of activity. The Bank met and exceeded its objectives, confirming its commitment to inclusive growth and support to the most vulnerable across Europe.  

Tomáš Boček re-appointed as Vice-Governor for Target Group Countries Mr Boček, a Czech national, was re-appointed by the Governing Board for another five-year term. He first joined the CEB’s appointed officials in March 2019, having previously served as Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on Migration and Refugees. He ensures the implementation of CEB’s Development Plan and the expansion of operations in the Bank’s target countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. He also oversees the Bank’s partnership agreements with other multilateral institutions.
The Pharmacopoeial Discussion Group is preparing for the future
In their virtual meeting on 9 April, the Pharmaceutical Discussion Group (PDG), established in 1989 as an informal harmonisation platform by the EDQM/Ph. Eur., the United States Pharmacopeia and the Japanese Pharmacopoeia, continued discussing the way forward to open up and integrate additional pharmacopoeias in their work. As a first step, it had been decided to involve pharmacopoeias of countries that have joined the International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH) since the ICH reform in 2015, i.e. Brazil, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei, for which a respective pilot project was approved by the ICH Assembly during their November 2020 meeting. PDG is now looking into the modalities for the inclusion of additional non-ICH member pharmacopoeias beyond the exchanges with take already place via the International Meeting of World Pharmacopoeias organised under the auspices of the WHO. In their meeting, PDG also discussed proposals for addition of new items to their work program that had been submitted by the International Pharmaceutical Excipients Council and agreed on the way forward.
The EDQM and the European Pharmacopoeia promote a new test method to contribute to the protection of endangered animal species
Endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria are the most common cause of toxic reactions resulting from contamination of pharmaceutical products with pyrogens (fever-inducing substances); their common pyrogenic activity is much higher than that of other known pyrogenic substances. The discussion on a general chapter Bacterial endotoxins to be published in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.) started in 1979. The chapter was first published in the Ph. Eur. as chapter V.2.1.9. Bacterial endotoxins in 1987 and is now referenced as chapter 2.6.14.For the test for bacterial endotoxins (BET) as described in this chapter, the world depends on a single source of lysate (Limulus amoebocyte lysate or LAL), the horseshoe crab family, and more specifically, two species of the crab, Limulus polyphemus and Tachypleus tridentatus, both of which are known to be endangered. The EDQM was regularly approached by users to consider alternative approaches to the BET as described in chapter 2.6.14, by including a recombinant factor C (rFC) reagent as an alternative to the animal-sourced lysate. In 2008, this topic was formally added to the Ph. Eur. work programme but withdrawn in 2013 as only one rFC assay kit was available at that time, a monopoly situation for one supplier, and more data on multi-product applications were needed. In 2016, the Ph. Eur. was one of the first pharmacopoeias to enter this new field by revising its chapter 5.1.10. Guidelines for using the test for bacterial endotoxins to allow the use of the recombinant protein as an alternative to LAL. This revised chapter was published in the Ph. Eur. Supplement 8.8 (July 2016). In the light of new developments in this field (availability of rFC assay kits from several suppliers, increasing number and diversity of products on which validation had been performed as well as various publications in scientific journals), the discussion on the inclusion of rFC as an alternative to the animal-sourced lysate resumed in 2017. This led to the elaboration of general chapter 2.6.32. Test for bacterial endotoxins using recombinant factor C (rFC). This new chapter describes a BET that can be used as an alternative to the classic LAL-based methods for the quantification of endotoxins from gram-negative bacteria. This new chapter was subject to a public enquiry in 2019. It was then adopted at the 165th session of the Ph. Eur. Commission in November 2019 and published in Ph. Eur. Supplement 10.3. It is a stand-alone chapter and therefore not referenced in individual monographs. As a consequence, general chapter 5.1.10. Guidelines for using the test for bacterial endotoxins has been revised to reflect the new status of rFC-based methods and to give prerequisites for their deployment by users of the pharmacopoeia. This revised chapter was adopted at the same session of the Ph. Eur. Commission and also published in Ph. Eur. Supplement 10.3.The publication of chapter 2.6.32. Test for bacterial endotoxins using recombinant factor C (rFC) marked a significant step towards alleviating the need for animal resources (in this case the horseshoe crab family). Since 1 January 2021, when chapter 2.6.32 came into effect, Ph. Eur. users have the possibility of using a standardised method, which became official in the 39-signatory countries to the Ph. Eur. Convention and non-European countries that apply the Ph. Eur. To support users in its implementation, the EDQM organised a live webinar on 8 April 2021 entitled “Using recombinant factor C for bacterial endotoxin testing in the Ph. Eur.: how far have we come, how far have we to go?” The main objective of this webinar, which was free of charge, was to address questions that users might have such as: The conditions which needed to be met to implement the chapter, What needed to be verified, Whether validation was required, What needed to be considered when using rFc instead of the classic LAL-based methods and the concept of Ph. Eur. Alternative methods in this context. 1062 people registered for this webinar. Participants came from 67 different countries (which also demonstrates the great interest of non-European countries in the work of the Ph. Eur.): almost 120 participants came from the US, 100 from Germany or France, about 60 from Spain, Italy or the UK, more than 40 from India or China, for example. During the webinar, 99 questions were asked, most of which were answered by the two EDQM presenters. 327 participants responded to the satisfaction survey conducted by the EDQM following the webinar, of which 89% said they were “Satisfied” or “Very Satisfied” with the webinar.
Conference on 7-9 April 2021
The Roma Youth Conference: “Together for Emancipation and Empowerment, the role of history in the participation and inclusion of Roma young people”, held online from 7-9 April 2021 in the framework of the programme of the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, on the occasion of International Roma Day and the 50th anniversary of the First World Romani Congress, was opened by the Deputy Secretary General and brought together Roma and non-Roma young people, youth leaders and representatives of organisations and networks working with Roma communities from all across Europe sharing their experience. The conference was jointly organised by the Youth Department and the Roma and Travellers Team, in co-operation with the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and TernYpe International Roma Youth Network, the European Roma Grass Roots Organisations Network (ERGO), Phiren Amenca and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma.  During the 3-day online event, the focus was on learning about Roma history, culture and identity, transformative politics through Roma arts and culture, voices of Roma youth and how they see the future, tasks and priorities for Roma rights today, diversity for empowerment and Roma youth participation, and fighting antigypsyism. The conference created a common understanding on the role of Roma culture and history and Roma Holocaust Remembrance. It also supported cooperation among Roma and non-Roma youth leaders by meeting, interacting and learning about the role of Roma history in shaping the identities and perceptions of Roma youth in Europe today.
Flower casting ceremony on the occasion of the International Roma Day - 8 April
On 8 April 2021 at 12 noon a flower casting ceremony was organised on the Passerelle de l’Aubépine in Strasbourg in full compliance with COVID-19 rules restricting the participation to a small Council of Europe delegation, headed by Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy. 50 years ago, on the 8 April 1971, the first World Romani Congress took place near London. The date was later chosen to mark the International Roma Day, in honour of this historical moment when Roma leaders chose symbols such as the Roma flag and anthem (‘Gelem, Gelem’). Flower casting is a ceremony for remembrance and unity organised on the 8 April of each year throughout the world as a message for all Roma: United in Peace, Prosperity and Solidarity! Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy, and Aida Farkas, Junior Project Officer at ECRI, held speeches to address and congratulate Roma on this important day for Roma culture and identity

Statement by the Secretary General
International Roma Day: Remembering history to ensure a brighter future - Newsroom (coe.int)
Overcoming Antigypsyism in Europe - International Roma Day 2021 marked in Serbia
The conference “Overcoming Antigypsyism in Europe” was organised on 7 April, ahead of the International Roma Day, by the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, in co-operation with the Serbian Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, the Embassies of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Portugal, and with the support of the European Union/Council of Europe Joint Programme ROMACTED. Details here.
Combatting Antigypsyism: A Forward-looking Perspective in Albania
On 8 April 2021, International Roma Day, a virtual public debate was organised on “Combatting Antigypsyism: A Forward-looking Perspective in Albania” within the framework of the European Union/Council of Europe Joint Programme ROMACTED, and in co-operation with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Albania and the European Union Delegation to Albania.
A good governance Benchmark for Sports Organisations
The Group set up to draft the implementation guidelines for the 50 recommendations in the IPACS Sports Governance Benchmark held its 4th meeting online on 8 April. The benchmark includes five pillars: Transparency, Integrity, Democracy, Development and Solidarity, and Checks and Balances/Control Mechanisms. Co-ordinated by EPAS, the drafting process is progressing well, with three out of the five pillars covered. The draft guidelines are sent to the IPACS Task Force 3 for comments on a regular basis. They will be submitted to IPACS Steering Committee for adoption in November 2021.
Making football matches and other sports events more welcoming, safe and secure
The Committee monitoring the implementation of the Saint-Denis Convention on safety and security at sport events held its first meeting on 14 and 15 April.  To mark this milestone, the Council of Europe organised a Leadership dialogue on racism and hate speech at sports events. Opened by the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Bjørn Berge, the event allowed for a dynamic exchange of views between five persons with a broad experience and important responsibilities in this field. The key messages from the dialogue will help to shape the Council of Europe’s agenda to address racism, hate speech and other forms of discrimination at football and other sports events. This objective has been included in the Policy Strategy adopted by the Saint-Denis Committee at its first meeting.

On 12-13 April 2021, the Expert Committee on Combating Hate Speech (ADI/MSI-DIS) held its third meeting online to continue the work on the draft CM Recommendation on a comprehensive approach to combating hate speech. The expert committee adopted a first draft of the main text for this CM Recommendation, which will now be submitted to the CDADI and the CDMSI and then be the subject of a public consultation with CoE bodies and external partners, which will take place over the summer.  

Alarmed by the use of inflammatory rhetoric, the wide dissemination of hateful material and reports of atrocities in the context of confrontations and unresolved conflicts, ECRI decided to take an exceptional measure and issue a statement on preventing and combating ultra-nationalistic and racist hate speech and violence in that particular context. In its statement, ECRI calls upon all stakeholders, including at the highest political level, to take action to prevent hate crimes, to refrain from any expression or action amounting to hate speech, to challenge any manifestations of hatred, to ensure accountability, to engage in confidence-building measures and to involve the youth in the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies. The full text, adopted at its 85th plenary meeting (30-31 March 2021) and published on 9 April, can be found here.

FCNM : CM Resolutions on application of FCNM in Malta and Serbia
On 15 April, the Committee of Ministers adopted two resolutions on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) by Malta and Serbia. The resolutions are based on the 5th Opinion on Malta and the 4th Opinion on Serbia by the Advisory Committee on the FCNM.

On 7th April 2021, in the framework of its cooperation with faith-based institutions to combat hate speech targeting among others LGBTI persons, the SOGI Unit held a meeting with national experts in view of developing a working plan for awareness raising and capacity building on the basis of the “Can we be nicer?” manual produced by the SOGI Unit. These activities, which will be mainly carried out in 10 member States (Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Moldova, Romania, Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, North Macedonia) intend to increase the capacity of orthodox religious authorities, priests and theologians to tackle racist discourse and hate speech through experiential learning.

On 12-13 April 2021, the Bureau of the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) reviewed the progress of implementation of the updated CDENF working plan and examined the draft Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (20212-2027) in view of its presentation to the CDENF 3rd plenary meeting in May.  

On 14-15 April 2021, the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Rights and the Best Interests of the Child in Parental Separation and in Care Proceedings (CJ/ENF-ISE) examined at its 3rd meeting draft feasibility studies on the best interest of the child in parental separation situations and care proceedings, including proposals for policy instruments and/or practical tools to be developed. It also held an exchange of views with Mr Benoît Van Keirsbilck, independent expert of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  

On 22-23 April 2021, the Working Group on responses to violence against children (CDENF-GT-VAE) held its 4th online meeting, notably to make progress in the preparation of a draft Recommendation on the Development of effective mechanisms for professionals to report on violence against children, including through an exchange of views with the consultants involved in this process and external speakers.

Sports Conventions

The Committee monitoring the implementation of the Saint-Denis Convention on safety and security at sport events held its first meeting on 14 and 15 April. The Saint-Denis Committee elected its Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, as well as the Chairpersons of its three Advisory Groups (Monitoring; Standard-setting and Legal Issues; and International Cooperation). It also and adopted its Rules of Procedure and its Policy Strategy for 2021-2025. Among other decisions, the Committee further decided to establish an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Safety, Security and Service Preparations for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. 

The Standing Committee of the European Convention on Spectator Violence held its 50th meeting on 15th April, celebrating its 36 years of valuable activity. The T-RV elected its Chairperson and adopted a number of documents, including its revised Rules of Procedure.

The T-RV Ad Hoc Working Group on the Preparations for UEFA EURO 2020 held its 8th and last meeting before the competition. It enabled the exchange between hosting, participating and transit countries, UEFA, EUROPOL, European supporter organisations and other relevant stakeholders, on the final preparations for the tournament. 

The Saint-Denis Convention is due to replace the 1985 Convention. States that ratify the new Convention must also denounce the old one. The Committees of both Conventions will most probably co-exist for a few years and they will meet back to back, twice a year. A Coordination Group was established to ensure that their respective activities mutually reinforce and align. Currently, there are 20 States Parties to the Saint-Denis Convention and 23 States Parties to the Spectator Violence Convention.

Legal Analysis on Operation of Barnahus in Ukraine
Children’s Rights

On 8 April 2021, the Council of Europe Project "Combating violence against children in Ukraine" together with the Interagency Coordination Council on Juvenile Justice presented the Legal Analysis on Operation of Barnahus in Ukraine. The purpose is to provide a review and analysis of Ukrainian legal frameworks, which are relevant and impact the establishment and operation of a Barnahus model in the country. A thorough review of the laws and regulations vis-a-vis the international standards, including Council of Europe standards and the Barnahus Quality Standards, has been carried out to reveal the current state-of-play, map the existing gaps and provide specific recommendations for the Ukrainian context.
A Europe for all Children
Children’s Rights

On 12 April 2021, the Council of Europe Coordinator for the Rights of the Child participated as a keynote speaker in the online conference: “A Europe for all Children” organised by the Delegation of the European Union to the Council of Europe. The event aimed at identifying avenues for the effective implementation of the new EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and enhancing synergies between the two organisations, particularly in the context of the forthcoming Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027) which is currently being prepared.
EU/CoE Joint Programme JUSTROM: Training for trainers on ECtHR standards in Greece
On 16 April 2021, an online training took place for legal professionals on ECtHR standards and jurisprudence related to racism, antigypsyism, police authorities and Roma communities, with the participation of Aikaterini Lazana, Lawyer at the Registry of the European Court for Human Rights. Participants included lawyers from the Bar Association, judges and prosecutors from the Court of First Instance, and officers from the Police headquarters, all from Thessaloniki. The training also addressed racially motivated crimes, with a focus on Roma women. The trained participants will further deliver trainings on the same topic for their peers.
FCNM represented at conference "Working together for Roma rights"
Marie Hagsgård, President of the Advisory Committee on the FCNM, participated in the online conference "Working together for Roma rights" organised in the scope of Portugal’s Presidency of the Council of the EU in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Council on 15 April. The conference took stock of the action of Member States to reinforce integration and participation of Roma and combat hate speech and antigypsyism. Ms Hagsgård was one of the speakers at the panel “Implementing effective Roma integration measures in the Member States” and presented related standards of the FCNM and recommendations by its Advisory Committee.
WE CAN for human rights speech
The “WE CAN for human rights speech” project has launched its online course “WE CAN – understand and counter hate speech” (7 April-5 May). This newly revised version of the Facing Facts counter hate speech course aims to equip the 96 participants with the necessary knowledge for recognising hate speech, and to support them in countering it by presenting a multitude of ways, from counter-speech to alternative campaigns, and importantly, human rights-based narratives. The course has been updated using the online tools and research from the WE CAN for human rights speech project.
Etterbeek, Belgium - Intercultural City
On 13th April 2021, the Intercultural Cities programme announced the membership of Etterbeek (Belgium), which has become the 147th member of the Council of Europe's coalition of inclusive cities. Etterbeek is a perfect example of a municipality open to the world. Almost half of its population has foreign roots, a presence that contributes to the diversity and cultural richness of the city. This multiculturality is a treasure that Etterbeek wishes to enhance by giving its diverse citizens a role to play, in particular through the new Council of European and non-European residents "In'Etterbeek". An opportunity to discuss about local issues, advise the authorities on actions to be taken and propose a real programme of activities to the municipality so to meet the needs of foreign residents. Find out more here.
No Hate speech and Co-operation
In Ukraine, the Project ‘Strengthening the protection of national minorities, including Roma, and minority languages in Ukraine – Phase II’ helped to celebrate the 8th April International Roma Day by co-organising with the Ombudsoffice in Ukraine the ‘Inter-ministerial working group on issues of Protection of the Rights and Freedoms of the Roma in Ukraine’. The event gathered, under the auspices of the Ombudsoffice, the relevant ministries, state services, regional administrations and civil society to discuss their commitment to the protection of the rights of Roma in Ukraine and most importantly to speedily adopt the new Roma Inclusion Strategy in Ukraine, and how to ensure its effective implementation.

The celebrations in Ukraine were also marked by a joint social media campaign organised by several international organisations working in Ukraine and a Joint Statement of the Head of Offices / Embassies present in Kyiv on the occasion of the International Roma Day.On 9 April, the project organised an online launching event of its initiative ‘Promoting good governance and cooperation between national minorities, including Roma, and local authorities in Ukraine’. In 5 pilot communities in Ukraine, the Local Initiative Groups, comprising the local authorities and the national minorities organisations, will be established based on the adapted methodology of the ROMED-2 and ROMACTED programmes. The aim of this pilot initiative is to strengthen the democratic participation of national minorities at the local level through building the capacities of the local stakeholder to assess their needs, to draft local action plans and to jointly implement project relevant for the local communities.
Enrolment open: MOOC on Essentials of Youth Work
 YOUTH - EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership 
What is youth work? Who is it for? Where does it come from? How is it done and by whom? How does one become a youth worker? How is youth work supported? How is it linked to youth policy? Join the Massive Open Online Course on Essentials of Youth Work, developed by the EU-Council of Europe youth partnership, to explore answers to these questions and many more. The course guides you through the “basics” of youth work and gives an overview of youth work practices and policies across Europe, while you can learn about best practices in the field, share your own experience and get to know others’. After the successful first edition of the course, we are welcoming learners from all over the world again with an updated course content. We included the outcomes of the European Youth Work Convention and other recent youth policy developments in the course and you can learn more about the implementation of the European Youth Work Agenda.
Call for youth representatives to sit on the Council of Europe Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) 2022-23 
The Council of Europe youth sector is looking for young committed Europeans to sit on the Advisory Council on Youth. The Council of Europe’s youth sector works on the basis of a partnership between non-governmental youth organisations and governments in what is known as the co-management system. The Advisory Council is the non-governmental partner in this system. The European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) is the governmental partner. Together, these two committees make up the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) which, working on the basis of consensus and in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding, establishes the youth sector's priorities, objectives and budgets.
Presentation on Landscape integration in sectoral policies
According to the Convention, developments in agriculture, forestry, industrial and mineral production techniques, in regional planning, town planning, transport, infrastructure, tourism and recreation and, at a more general level, changes in the world economy, have in many cases led to the degradation, standardisation or transformation of landscapes. The Convention points out that many rural and peri-urban areas in particular have undergone and are continuing to undergo far-reaching changes and deserve great attention, both on the part of the authorities and the public.
The Bureau to the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention held its 2021 annual meeting on 14-15 April online. It assessed progress in the implementation of the Convention’s Programme of Activities for 2021 and the preparedness of the thematic expert group meetings. It reviewed the status of the possible new financial mechanism for the Convention, as well as updates of the Working Group on a Vision and Strategic Plan for the Convention for the next decade. The Bureau assessed a number of case files concerning alleged violations of the Convention. The Bureau was briefed on the ongoing communication campaign related to the environment, human rights and democracy, including involvement with the World Forum for Democracy.

More than one hundred new co-production projects were submitted under the second call of the year. The Secretariat is now assessing this exceptionally high number of projects before those eligible will be submitted to external experts in dramaturgy for second step in the decision-making process. 

On 20 April, the Board of Management adopted, by written procedure, the recommendations of the Gender and Diversity Working Group (GDWG) following a call for sponsorship on gender equality in the audio-visual sector. 

As recently announced by Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival, Leos Carax's highly anticipated film “Annette” will open the 74th Cannes Film Festival on 6 July. This co-production between France, Germany and Belgium, supported by the Eurimages Fund, will be released simultaneously in French cinemas and is the first film selected for the festival's official competition.
The Global Education Network met on 6 and 7 April and gathered 30 network coordinators representing educators, civil society organisation platforms and ministries from CoE member States and Morocco (NSC member State). During its first online meeting, due to the sanitary contingencies, the Network assessed the strategies developed since January 2020 and delineated its actions until November 2021. Plenary sessions presented the Ilegend II advancements in the framework of the pandemic situation, the new campaigning strategy, the new eLearning scheme, and showcased initiatives developed by coordinators from different geographical clusters (Balkan, Baltic, SEE-Med, Visegrad and Western countries) in the field of GDE advocacy and capacity-building. Working sessions tackled outreach, communication and networking strategies, related challenges and learning points, while establishing a roadmap until November 2021.  

On 13 April an induction session was held with the grantees of the project SPIV – European Mediterranean Cooperation for the protection of women and girls against violence. The meeting gathered the eight civil society organisations beneficaries of the projects, partners of the Women Empowerment programme such as the National Commission for Lebanese Women and the Moroccoan National Council of Human Rights. The objectives and activities of the joint programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe: South Programme IV were presented, in particular the HELP programme and all activties funded by the project. The meeting contributed to create further synergies between the different departments invoved in South Programme IV projects, as well as links between peer organisations in the Southern Mediterranean region.

Practices in implementing the  Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC) were discussed during the high-level segment of the Education Policy Advisors Network (EPAN) meeting held on 15 and 16 April under the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers. The Network considered the next steps in the implementation of the RFCDC at the national level, as well as teacher training on the Reference Framework.

The Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG) adopted its work programme for the 2021-24 work period, heard reports from stakeholder organisations on the impact of COVID, and considered the situation of higher education in Belarus. France announced that under its co-chairmanship the BFUG will meet at CoE headquarters in Strasbourg, on 11‑12 April 2022. In this work period, the CoE will participate in working groups on fundamental values and on the social dimension of higher education as well as peer groups on recognition and qualifications frameworks and will continue to coordinate the network of national correspondents for qualifications frameworks.

The Steering Committee of the new “Best Practice Programme in Promoting Academic Integrity reviewed and endorsed the upcoming call for applications for promoting academic integrity during COVID-19 and exchanged views on the programme's visibility and promotion as well as on the selection of experts of the independent panel who will assess applications.

The Bureau of the Committee of Permanent Correspondents of the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement decided on 12 April 2021 to convene the next Committee of Permanent Correspondents meeting on 16 June 2021 (online) and to hold the Ministerial Conference on 24 November 2021, back-to-back with the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In the context of the Swiss-funded project “Education for Democracy in the Republic of Moldova, around 80 civic education teachers, school psychologists and school deputy directors were introduced to tools and methods to develop positive attitudes and abilities in multi-ethnic classrooms with Roma pupils, in line with CoE standards. The training activity, which took place from 12 to 14 April, was organised in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research and the German Embassy in Chișinău, in the framework of the CM German Presidency.

The final module in the first cycle of training on the European Qualifications Passport for Refugees Methodology took place on 12 April. Two credential evaluators from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Romania, the latest countries to join the project, can now participate in the assessment of qualifications. Further cycles of trainings will be offered to additional credential evaluators.

An online ECML Training and Consultancy workshop on “Teacher competences for languages in education” took place in Slovenia. 24 teacher educators and teachers learned how to analyse existing curricula for teacher education programmes and how to develop new curricula with a stronger focus on languages in education.
The Committee of Ministers anticipated that the right to information and counselling is crucial for young people 
Back in 1990, the Committee of Ministers adopted a Recommendation on information and counselling for young people in Europe, underlining such services should be designed for and accessible to all young people without discrimination, and ensuring their quality. This Recommendation, more topical than ever, is now available in 18 European languages, which can be consulted on the Committee of Ministers’ website.
Young children’s language learning pathways

The first interactive flyer has been published for the ECML project “Young children’s language learning pathways”. The flyer allows the reader to explore key aspects of the project with its focus on the development of learner-centred strategies for the documentation and assessment of young children’s language competences.
Right to Remember now published in French
The manual Right to Remember - A Handbook for Education with Young People on the Roma Genocide has been published in French.
Inclusive and Diverse Heritage

The Heritage: All Inclusive brochure has now been published in English (French edition forthcoming). It is an introduction to the theme, offering event organisers practical tips and ideas for accessible EHD events. It includes contributions from EHD National Co-ordinators across Europe and case studies from participating countries. The implementation period for a cross-frontier initiative, inspired by the theme “Our Queer Cultural Heritage”, has also begun. Working with the support of EHD co-ordinators in the UK, Germany and Ukraine, LEAP Sports Scotland will deliver research, workshops and a publication based on their findings related to the heritage of LGBTQIA+ communities in Scotland and partner countries, with the intention of contributing to the autumn EHD programme.
New publication: Youth Knowledge Book #27
 YOUTH - EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership

We have published Youth Knowledge Book #27 on social inclusion, digitalisation and young people! Join the presentation of the book on 11 May 2021 at 11 CET, and find out more about the impact of digitalisation on: 
  • young people's lives;
  • youth policy;
  • young refugees and migrants;
  • young people with disabilities;
  • youth mental health and wellbeing;
  • youth work.
Youth sector strategy 2030-pocket version now available in Dutch 
The Youth sector strategy 2030 and the accompanying document have been compiled in a handy, pocket-sized version. On top of English, French, German and Russian, the booklet is now available in Dutch, courtesy of the Flemish Community of Belgium. The five linguistic versions can be downloaded on the Youth sector strategy 2030 page, or ordered at the Directorate of Communications if you wish a printed version.
All different-All equal Education pack available in Ukrainian
The manual Education Pack All different-All equal- Ideas, resources, methods and activities for informal intercultural education with young people and adults  (revised in 2016) is now available in Ukrainian, and can be ordered on the Council’s on-line Bookshop. The Education Pack aims to provide practical and theoretical materials which can be used by educators, trainers, youth workers and teachers in informal education, to facilitate the learning process and knowledge of young people of their environment.
Two new podcast episodes: COVID-19 and young people’s mental health and Young people's access to rights
YOUTH - EU-Council of Europe Youth Partnership 
What is the impact of the pandemic and the restrictive measures on young people’s mental health and psychological well-being? How can youth work and youth policy support young people whose mental health suffered? Listen to the new episode of our Under 30' podcast exploring this topic and read the study by Stefanos Mastrotheodoros, PhD. Young people across Europe are increasingly experiencing challenges to accessing their rights.  What obstacles do they face in exercising their freedom of association and peaceful assembly? Why is the right to freedom from discrimination or the enjoyment of this right by young people far from reality?Listen to the new episode of our Under 30' podcast exploring this topic, read the mapping study by Maria-Carmen Pantea, PhD and the desk research by Dunja Potočnik, PhD.
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