A Green Blue Deal for the Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Jordan (Lab 8)
The Forum brought together 150 speakers who discussed practical initiatives to answer to the question “Can democracy save the environment”.
Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Bjørn Berge
Fruitful discussions during the conference on “The role of foreign policy in advancing gender equality: Addressing the challenges, pushbacks and obstacles faced by women”
The conference on ‘’The role of foreign policy in advancing gender equality: Addressing the challenges, pushbacks and obstacles faced by women” organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus in partnership with the Council of Europe, took place on 26 October 2021 in Nicosia and online. In their opening remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides and the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, Annita Demetriou highlighted the significant efforts made by Cyprus in the promotion of women’s rights and gender equality, while acknowledging significant remaining challenges. This includes the fact that the COVID19 pandemic has unfortunately amplified the backlash against women’s rights and has served to further reveal persisting gender inequalities in all areas. Mr Christodoulides underlined that to “safeguard women`s right’s we need collective action (…), and therefore effective action needs also to be undertaken within the multilateral framework”. Ms Demetriou underlined the remaining low representation of women in decision-making (including in diplomacy), due to persistent stereotypes and bias, which confirms that “the glass ceiling is cracked but not broken”. Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Bjørn Berge, highlighted the achievements of the Council of Europe in advancing gender equality such as its Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) and the Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation on preventing and combating sexism, stating that such tools represented “multilateralism at its best” in the interest of the 840 million European who live in Council of Europe member states.
EDQM - THE EUROPEAN DIRECTORATE FOR THE QUALITY OF MEDICINES & HEALTHCARE
Joint presentation of EDQM and DH-BIO about the CoE principles of voluntary non remunerated blood donation / prohibition of financial gain with respect to donation at Members of the European Parliament (MEP) hosted event
Human plasma is the critical component of numerous therapeutic products used in the treatment of life-threatening diseases, including bleeding or immune system disorders and other severe pathologies. In recent years, the global use of and demand for plasma for fractionation have grown and it is a well-known fact that Europe is not self-sufficient in this regard and relies on imported plasma from third countries such as the United States of America. As such, there is a pressing need to increase plasma collection in Europe.
The Council of Europe was invited on behalf of Plasma Protein Therapeutics Association (PPTA) to participate to a MEP hosted event “The revision of the EU Blood Directives – Considerations for Voluntary Unpaid Donation and plasma donors”. The aim of the event was to gather key stakeholders (including bioethics experts, policymakers, patients, donors, public and private sectors) to discuss Voluntary Unpaid Donation (VUD) and its application to plasma donation, in light of the upcoming revision of the EU Blood Legislation.
A roundtable discussion included the views from the European Commission, European Blood Alliance (EBA), PPTA, International Patient Organisation for Primary Immunodeficiencies (IPOPI) and the International Federation of Blood Donor Organisations (FIODS).
A joint presentation was provided by the Secretariats of the Committee for Bioethics (DH-BIO) and of the European Committee on Blood Transfusion (CD-P-TS). The presentation focused on the DH-BIO Guide for the implementation of the principle of prohibition of financial gain with respect to the human body and its parts, as such, and the activities performed by the CD-P-TS in the safety of plasma donation and donor protection.
In this context, it was recalled, that the DH-BIO guide, adopted by the CD-P-TS, provides clarification of the terms and facilitates the implementation of the principle of the prohibition of financial gain laid down in Article 21 of the Oviedo Convention and that the definition for VNRBD, as referred to in Recommendation No. R (95)14 of the Committee of Ministers on the protection of the health of donors and recipients in the area of blood transfusion, remains most relevant today.
While not preventing compensation (i.e. for loss of earning) or reimbursement of donors (i.e. for expense linked to donation), donation should represent a financial neutrality, including under a fixed rate system, supported by measures to protect against inappropriate competition over donor recruitment.
The CD-P-TS, under the coordination of the EDQM Secretariat, will continue to perform activities to help strengthen the implementation of measures to promote and support safe plasma donation, donor protection and to ensure continued and safe access for patients to plasma-derived medicinal products for life-saving treatments.
Referred to as Voluntary Non Remunerated Blood Donation (VNRBD) in CoE legal instruments and standards
Renewal of EDQM’s ISO 17025:2017 accreditation
Following our news published in September 2021, we are pleased to come up with great news! After the successful transition from the 2005 to the 2017 version of ISO 17025 (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories) in 2020, the BELAC accreditation board granted the renewal for a 5 year-period of the ISO 17025 certificate to the EDQM Laboratory in October 2021, valid until 2026. The EDQM Laboratory therefore continues to be widely recognised for the validity of its results generated for the establishment of the European Pharmacopoeia reference standards as well as the development and verification of European Pharmacopoeia analytical procedures throughout the use of 21 techniques including highly sophisticated analytical methods like qualitative and quantitative NMR.
The renewal of the certificate is based on an audit carried out in two stages, due to the health situation. In a first step, two technical auditors having already performed an on-site inspection of the laboratory carried out a remote audit in February 2021. In a second step, this was complemented by an on-site audit in July conducted by two auditors not having visited the EDQM before. Both of them highly recognised and appreciated the laboratory’s state-of-the-art equipment and facilities.
Exchange and collaboration with the auditors also presented a number of opportunities for continuous improvement of the EDQM’s quality management system and working methods, which supports the validity of the results generated by the laboratory.
DIRECTORATE OF HUMAN DIGNITY, EQUALITY AND GOVERNANCE
GRETA carried out its third evaluation visit to Luxembourg from 25 to 28 October 2021.
During the visit, the GRETA delegation met Ms Sam Tanson, Minister of Justice, as well as representatives of relevant ministries and public agencies. In addition, consultations were held with Ms Fabienne Rossler, Secretary General of the Advisory Committee on Human Rights, Ms Claudia Monti, the Ombudsperson, and Mr Charles Schmit, the Ombudsman for Children and Young People.The delegation also met members of the Chamber of Deputies’ Justice Committee, chaired by Mr Charles Margue, and members of the Delegation of the Chamber of Deputies to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, chaired by Mr Gusty Graas.
During its visit, the GRETA delegation visited a shelter for male victims of trafficking run by the NGO Caritas as well as a shelter for female victims of trafficking run by the NGO Open Door House Foundation (Fondation Maison de la Porte Ouverte - FMPO). The GRETA delegation also visited the detention centre for foreigners in Findel.
GRETA carried out the evaluation visit to Belgium from 25 to 29 October 2021.
During the visit, the GRETA delegation held consultations with Mr Vincent Van Quickenborne, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and the North Sea as well as with officials from relevant ministries and agencies. In addition to holding meeting in Brussels the GRETA delegation travelled to Antwerp, Liège and Bruges where it met representatives of the regional and local authorities, prosecutors, judges and law enforcement officials.
The GRETA delegation held separate meetings with representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), lawyers and victims of human trafficking. In the course of the visit, the GRETA delegation visited the three specialised shelters for victims of human trafficking, in Brussels, Antwerp and Liège. The delegation also visited a shelter for children in Wallonia.
GREVIO Council of Europe’s expert group on violence against women visits Georgia
A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) is carrying out an evaluation visit to Georgia from 8 to 12 November 2021. This visit is one of the steps in the procedure to monitor the implementation by Georgia of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention)
The GREVIO delegation is holding meetings with representatives from different Ministries and public bodies: Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs, Ministry of Education and Science, Inter-Agency Commission on Gender Equality, Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, Prosecutor’s Office and National Statistics Office of Georgia, as well as with judges of the civil and criminal courts. In addition, the GREVIO delegation will meet with representatives of non-governmental organisations and civil society working in the area of violence against women, including those with a specific focus on migrant women.
GREVIO plans to publish its evaluation report during 2022.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE DEVELOPMENT BANK
CEB advocates for social investment at Finance in Common Summit 2021
The CEB was a ‘grand partner’ of the second edition of the Finance in Common Summit, which was held in Rome by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), under the auspices of the 2021 Italian G20 Presidency. The event brought together over 500 Public Development Banks (PDBs) and other stakeholders to promote sustainable agri-food systems, the fight against climate change, biodiversity protection, promotion of gender equality and social inclusion. The discussion focused on the challenges of investing in the social sectors, the link between social and climate/environment-related issues, and the role of PDBs in supporting social investment.
Inauguration of a CEB-financed housing project in Slovenia
The opening ceremony of the Novo Brdo housing complex was held on 26 October in the presence of CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel. The project, financed in cooperation with the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia (HFRS), will provide approximately 500 rental housing units for low- and middle-income families who are increasingly priced out of the market, in particular for young people under the age of 29 and the elderly. The housing complex is the largest project of HFRS, but the CEB loan also co-finances the construction of 210 housing units of the Pod Pekrsko Gorco urban development project in Maribor, as well as 110 student housing units for the University of Ljubljana, which was inaugurated earlier this year.
Launch of the Council of Europe training programme for young women leaders from disadvantaged groups of society
The 3-month online HELP course was a joint effort by the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Police Officers were trained on the key concepts, the international and European legal framework and the European case law governing the prevention and protection of women and girls from violence, focusing in particular on the Istanbul Convention.
On 4 November 2021, a webinar to introduce the new HELP e-learning module on human trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation was organised for relevant professionals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia, as part of the Horizontal Facility anti-trafficking projects implemented in these countries. Two of the authors of the module and a lawyer from the European Court of Human Rights presented the course and the relevant case-law of the Court.
An online training on the use of revised indicators for the identification of potential child victims of human trafficking took place on 26-27 October 2021 in Serbia. The training was co-organised by the Anti-Trafficking Division of the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Serbia and brought together representatives of 18 school boards, police offices, social workers and NGOs.
Bulgaria: how can a community withstand, recover, adapt, and persist in the face of crises?
Strengthening leadership skills, developing effective communication, building effective organisations, and promoting inclusive education were key objectives of the Good Governance Academy organised by the National Association of Municipal Clerks in Bulgaria (NAMCB), with the support of the Council of Europe's Centre of Expertise for Good Governance. Local officials, civil society actors, and schoolteachers from Greece and Bulgaria participated in the Academy, which took place in Bansko, Bulgaria on 9 - 11 October 2021.
Following the first session of the Training of Trainers (ToT) for the Leadership Academy Programme (LAP) held in September, a second session was held on 2 and 3 November at the National Academy for Public Administration in Belgrade. The LAP was developed by the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance and has already been successfully implemented in many European countries. The interactive and innovative training programme can significantly enhance institutional leadership and contribute to improving governance at local level.
The Programme “Human Resource Management in Local Self-Government – Phase 2” is jointly funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Centre of Expertise in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.
On 8 November 2021, the Anti-Trafficking Division of the Council of Europe organised a round-table meeting in Prague to discuss progress made in the implementation of the first report of the Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA) on the Czech Republic and the related Committee of the Parties recommendation to the Czech authorities. The meeting brought together some 30 representatives of relevant ministries, public agencies and civil society. Participants discussed progress and remaining challenges in the fields of prevention, protection of victims, criminal justice response to human trafficking, and co-ordination of anti-trafficking action.
On 26-27 October 2021, two Turkish municipalities organised activities as part of the grant schemes provided under the Horizontal Facility anti-trafficking projects. The Municipality of Arsuz, in collaboration with ECPAT-Turkey, held the opening ceremony of a project focusing on awareness-raising on child trafficking. The Municipality of Keçiören launched a series of training activities targeting police officers aimed at improving the identification of child victims of trafficking.
On 28 October 2021, an online seminar on human trafficking trends related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for adapted anti-trafficking responses was organised in Kosovo*, bringing together members of National Authority against Trafficking in Human Beings and experts from Austria
First meeting of partners of the Council of Europe project in Kosovo* (Phase III)
Frank Power, Head of the Office in Pristina and Nazlie Bala, Legal Adviser to the Deputy Minister of Justice/National Coordinator on Domestic Violence, made opening remarks. Marta Becerra, Head of Co-operation Unit at the Gender Equality Division, presented the results achieved so far and the way forward for phase III of the project.
The Council of Europe underlined the importance of the upcoming assessment of the compliance of Kosovo* with the Istanbul Convention, to be conducted as part of phase III.
The next project Steering Committee meeting will take place in June 2022.
Study visit to the Council of Europe for Bulgarian working group on violence against women
Practical Guide for police officers on effective response to violence against women and domestic violence in Ukraine
The publication "Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence: A Practical Guide for Police officers", produced by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Police of Ukraine, updates a 2017 manual in response to developments in Ukrainian legislation. The Practical Guide provides Ukrainian National Police with comprehensive guidance on how to address cases of violence against women and domestic violence according to international standards and best practices.
The guide also provides suggestions for the staff of other institutions. It can be a useful resource for representatives of public human rights organisations, scientific and academic staff, university students, as well as anyone interested in protecting the rights and interests of victims of violence.
Ukraine: Participatory Public Space planning now in Kyiv city
Participatory urban planning is as an innovative tool for citizen participation in the decision-making process that has already been implemented in 4 municipalities of Ukraine, including its capital.
The Regulation on public consultations during the planning of public spaces in Kyiv, adopted by Kyiv City Council, developed with the support of the project “Strengthening civil participation in democratic decision making in Ukraine”, helps public authorities to increase correlation between their decisions and citizens preferences and to include seldom heard and vulnerable persons in public consultations around urban spaces planning.
As a result of the implementation of the mechanism, the interests of all social groups and stakeholders are included at all stages of the public spaces design.
Post-electoral review conference in the Republic of Moldova
Over 80 policy and lawmakers, representatives of the public institutions, political parties, international community, civil society, media, as well as members of the international and local observation missions took part in the online post-election review conference on 28 October, to analyse the context in which the 11 July 2021 early parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova were held, including from the institutional, legal and gender perspectives. Read more here.
Lithuania: Human Resources Management for the regions
How can citizens participate in important public matters and express their opinion? How can trust in public institutions be enhanced and democratic governance improved? Member States have developed different instruments to enhance civil participation, among others by adopting various forms of public consultations. Ukraine is currently considering the adoption of a law on public consultations to establish a comprehensive system for involvement of all relevant stakeholders. The Parliamentary Committee on State Building, Local Self-Government, Regional and Urban Development asked the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance to prepare a legal opinion on the draft law and a report of the existing legal framework arrangements in Europe. The Report was presented by the Council of Europe experts during the roundtable “Parliament-led Public Consultation: Best International Practices and Prospects for Ukraine”, organised by the Committee on 22 October 2021. The report and legal opinion were drafted in the framework of the Programme “Enhancing decentralisation and public administration reform in Ukraine”.
Hungary: Good Governance Award Ceremony
In cooperation with the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance, TÖOSZ - the Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities- organised one of the final activities of the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers. The event, held on 10 November, included a celebration of good democratic governance at local level with the awards for the best practice and the first awards of the European Label of Governance Excellence in Hungary.
World Forum for Democracy 2021 “Can Democracy Save the Environment?”
Despite all the restraints imposed by the global health crisis the World Forum for Democracy 2021 “Can Democracy Save the Environment?” took place in Strasbourg on 8-10 November, gathering about 300 people from all over the world to discuss weather on a planet in crisis, democracy still has what it takes to save the environment. Check out the programme and the videos of the sessions here: (coe.int).
DIRECTORATE OF DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION
2022: a youth campaign for revitalising democracy!
The Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) approved a proposal to launch, in 2022, a youth campaign for revitalising democracy. Youth for democracy, democracy for youth will be the rallying cry for this new youth campaign which is being organised at a time when the Council of Europe Secretary General has voiced her concerns of “a clear and worrying degree of democratic backsliding.
The Council of Europe Youth sector strategy 2030 recognises young people’s “fundamental role in promoting the Council of Europe’s core values” and aims at enabling young people across Europe to actively uphold, defend, promote and benefit from those values. Revitalising democracy is one of the Strategy’s four priorities.
The focus and themes of the campaign will be revitalising democracy, youth participation and the impact of digitalisation on young people, the aim being to increase young people’s role in the process of revitalising participatory democracy in the Council of Europe and restore mutual trust between young people and democratic institutions and processes.
The campaign will run from March to October 2022, the year that will mark 50 years of the Council of Europe youth sector. Both governmental and non-governmental youth partners will be invited to organise national and local activities and events according to a thematic monthly calendar that could cover the following issues.
Youth Conference ReStart ReNew ReIntegrate - 29 October 2021, Budapest, Hungary
A seminar of the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card took place in the framework of the Youth Conference ReStart ReNew ReIntegrate- Opportunities for young people after coronavirus held under the Hungarian Chairmanship of the Council of Europe.
The seminar discussed such topics as the European Youth Card as a tool to build resilient communities, to assist with youth mental health during Covid-19 pandemic, to complement youth work during and after the pandemic. The seminar was addressed to, first and foremost, policy makers, but also to the national youth card organisations, youth workers and youth service providers.
The Annual EHD Assembly took place online on 4 November enabling national coordinators to discuss the successful festive season of 2021. Tens of thousands of events celebrating shared cultural heritage in 50 European countries took place from mid-August to early November. This year’s theme “Heritage: All Inclusive” empowered all cultural events with a platform to explore and share experiences and ideas of making their events more inclusive and to emphasise the rich diversity of culture in Europe.
Next year’s theme Sustainable Heritage was announced and national coordinators had an opportunity to discuss responsible decisions and choices that can be made in the present for the future.
After launching a call for tenders during the summer, the OHTE Governing Board selected a group of experts for the Regular Report on the State of History Teaching in Europe and the Thematic Report on Pandemics and Natural Disasters as Reflected in History Teaching. The kick-off meeting will take place on 17 November 2021, to begin the work based on the methodology for the reports prepared by the Scientific Advisory Council. These reports will set the foundation for the work of the Observatory, taking a snapshot of how history teaching contributes to the understanding of democratic values in Europe.
The Secretariat is actively preparing the 164th plenary meeting of the Board of Management, which will be held once again online on 7-8 December with interpretation via the KUDO software and digital voting. Co-production projects will be examined by online working groups composed of national delegations from 30 November to 7 December and other thematic Working Groups will meet during the week starting 22 November.
Eurimages also continued to work towards the implementation of its governance reform. A new IT tool is being developed to allow to manage the applications of external film experts. As of January 2022, independent experts will assess co-production applications and make recommendations for support, based on selection criteria and guidelines defined by the Fund’s Board of Management. Experts will also be called upon to assist decision-making in other programmes of the Fund.
On 3 November, a conference on “living together” and the Moroccan-Jewish culture was held at the initiative of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) in cooperation with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of Morocco in Strasbourg.
On this occasion, speeches were given by Mr. Daniel HÖLTGEN, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim hate crimes, and by Mr. Matjaz GRUDEN, Director of Democratic Participation at the Council of Europe, stressing that the citizens of Europe are more than ever called upon to reflect on the common values of living together to prevent ethnic, religious and cultural divisions.
Mr. François MOYSE, President of the European Route of Jewish Heritage, presented the numerous activities of this Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, acting as a channel for intercultural dialogue and promoting a better knowledge and understanding of Jewish and European history.
EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement (Natural and technological hazards)
The Secretariat of the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement continued the logistical and programmatic preparations for the Ministerial Meeting of the Agreement and its participation in the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction which will be held in Matosinhos on 24-26 November.
Furthermore, the Secretariat started preparations for the Editorial Board Meeting of the BeSafeNet Olympiad 2022 (scheduled for 6-7 December) and the contribution to the November webinar of the World Forum for Democracy.
Ambassador Afonso Malheiro is the new Executive Director of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.
At the beginning of November 2021, Ambassador Afonso Henriques Abreu de Azeredo Malheiro took office as Executive Director of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe.
His last assignment was as Portuguese Ambassador in Peru for three years. Having pursued a seasoned diplomatic career in the five continents, he now joins the Council of Europe family at the North-South Centre, in Lisbon, for the defence of democracy, human rights and the rule of law through the lens of global interdependence and solidarity.
The Meta-University 2021: the success of an interactive collaborative experience for youth workers from all over the World!
A community of more than three hundred youth workers and youth policy makers animated an event designed to reduce the side effects that the disintegration of physical connections and the shriking of space for civil society might bring to young people.
Launched in 2020 as an alternative to the traditional “universities”, the Meta-University continue the work of the North-South Centre on youth cooperation and youth participation through digital youth work.
The 2021 edition was built with ten partners organisations representing youth constituencies at different levels: youth-led organisations, governmental bodies, international umbrella networks, and intergovernmental institutions.
Ten workshops, three joint sessions with high level guest speakers and many informal gatherings explored the impact the global pandemic had on women, the use to gamification to boost online intercultural competences, the models of youth participation in the digital sphere, the advancement of the “Youth, Peace and Security” Agenda and many other priority topics for the youth sector.
One of the most successful aspects of the event was its high interactivity which allowed everyone to get in touch with peers, partners and guests and to get engaged according to personal availability and needs. This multi-level experience offered the possibility to practice intercultural dialogue and promote interregional cooperation while sharing concerns and ideas in a comfortable but structured online space.
The Meta-University 2021 hosted also the annual meeting of the international stakeholders active in the field of youth: a special event that gathers the main youth related entities to promote a more coordinated approach to the common challenge of the sector.
Global Education Week
The Global Education Week (GEW) is an annual World Wide awareness raising initiative unfolding during the third week of November – 2021 edition takes place in 15-21 November.
It is a call to rethink our world together, using Global Education as a tool to tackle global issues while promoting solidarity and change for a more sustainable and equitable world, from an individual as well as a collective perspective.
The GEW is orchestrated by the North-South Centre in coordination with the Global Education Network (GEN) national coordinators from 40 Council of Europe member States and from Morocco (NSC member State). The NSC specific GEW webpage offers guidelines, a toolkit and useful resources to implement awareness raising events or actions. In preparation and during the Week practices are shared to rethink our habits and ways of living, spending and consuming but also finding new ways of education and socialisation.
An interactive map displays GEW 2021 activities currently planned, enabling sharing of practices and fostering networking.
So far the map displays activities planned in 26 countries. The registration of activities is on-going resulting in a gradual up-to-date of the map, illustrating activities varying from training of teachers, of youth multipliers or of curriculum specialists, debates and sharing of field experiences, competitions, multistakeholder seminars, panel discussions, workshops, webinars, exhibitions, quiz tournaments, video production, digital gamification and storytelling, or festivals, covering areas such as global education, climate change, SDGs and eco entrepreneurship, green pedagogy, sustainable lifestyle, gender, human rights and refugees, (youth) media & information literacy, volunteering.
Enhancing regional cooperation of civil society in the Southern Mediterranean region to protect women victims of gender-based violence
In the framework of the project, Euro-Mediterranean cooperation for the protection of women and girls against violence (South Programme IV), the North-South Centre organized an online networking meeting with the eight organisations beneficiaries of the regional grant scheme on the 28 October. The meeting was the opportunity for participants to share their good practices and key information related to combating violence against women while implementing the projects funded by the North-South Centre. A reflection session on the common priorities at the regional level have been facilitated around axes such as the victims’ assistance, education and multisectoral cooperation. Among key topics underlined by participants, protection of girls and ending child marriage was discussed as common priority. The conclusions of the meeting will be shared on the North-South Centre website and among the South Programme IV stakeholders.
COMMITTEES, MONITORING, WORKING GROUPS,
The Bureau of the CDCPP met on 3-4 November to prepare the Committee’s forthcoming (online) plenary session. This event has been once more stimulating: It features a thematic session on archaeology and digital technologies with presentations by top-level experts on the latest developments in this area and contributions by member States on their related policies and initiatives. The role and implications of technological developments for the Valletta Convention was also examined. Further key topics of the session include a new draft Recommendation on the role of culture, cultural heritage and landscape in helping to address global challenges; work on policy guidelines for an integrated culture, nature and landscape management, Eurimages’ work to create a new scheme of pan-European public financial support and a legal framework to facilitate international TV series co-productions; and a high-level event to be held in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in April/May 2022.
“I See You as Myself” Youth Reconciliation Camp in Armenia
The Youth Reconciliation Camp “I See You as Myself” was organised from 28 to 31 October 2021 for the young people of Syunik region at Kapan, Armenia. The activity was organised by “Development Initiatives” NGO as part of the Council of Europe’s Local Youth Peace Camps, set up as an addition to the well-established multilateral Youth Peace Camp. The camp involved young people aged 18-35 ready engage in learning about conflict and peace, digital literacy and dealing with the past, as well as participate in interesting discussions and cultural events.
The project aims to endow participants with skills of critical thinking, negotiation, and effective communication in the face of the post-war political polarisation and accumulation of negative sentiment around the upcoming municipal elections in Kapan.
Youth Peace Camp in Ukraine
The Institute of Creative Innovations together with the NGO Association of professional journalists and advertisers of Zhytomyr region, Centre for Applied Psychology “FOR LIFE”, Partnership of NGOs and initiative groups Public Resource of Polissya organised a Youth Peace Camp for young people from the communities of Zhytomyr region from 25 to 28 October 2021.
The Youth Peace Camp allows establishing communication between young people from different sides of the conflict, to perceive each other differently, to form skills of dialogue, critical thinking, and media literacy as conditions to prevent the deepening of the conflict.
Peer activities among young people aim to allow these skills to be disseminated in the communities of the Zhytomyr region where IDPs and families of ATO veterans (including those killed in hostilities) live.
Mental health in digital environments - The role of the European Youth Card in supporting a resilient generation
The seminar, organised on 18 October 2021 by the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility, EYCA and the Slovenian Youth Agency aimed to ensure that mental health is being promoted as a policy priority at national and European level and that youth work adapts and includes services to identify, guide and support young people with mental health challenges.
The seminar was dedicated to policy makers, youth workers/service providers, mental health professionals and researchers, youth NGOs and youth card holders. It offered space to the professionals and young people to have a coordinated approach on this topic and come up with recommendations for policy makers and youth card organisations.
Together have your say! Ukraine
“TOGETHER HAVE YOUR SAY!” the “50/50” training seminar on youth participation standards and processes took place from 25 to 29 October 2021 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The seminar welcomed specialists from national and local authorities working with young people and representatives of youth non-governmental organisations from Ukraine – in a so-called “50-50” model that evokes the spirit of co-management in place in the Council of Europe youth sector, and stresses the necessary cooperation between public authorities and organisations representing young people. The course focuses on youth participation standards and processes, especially relating to the preparations of the ethical framework and regulations for setting up a future National Council on Youth which will be based on co-management.
The aim of the training seminar was to improve participants’ competences to ensure youth participation in youth policy processes are achieved in line with the priorities of the Youth for Democracy programme of the Council of Europe and of the Framework Programme on Co-operation in the field of Youth Policy in 2021-2025, between the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Ukraine.
Democratic and Inclusive School Culture in Operation
As part of the joint EU/CoE project "Building Capacity for Inclusion in Education - INCLUDE", Module 1 “Disability and Inclusive Education” of the capacity building programme for Resource Centres in Kosovo*, aiming at increasing competences to support students with special education needs, has been accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI). The second Module “Planning for individual education” is under preparation. The MESTI has already accredited training programmes on Democratic and inclusive learning community and on Inclusive Education (for teachers) since the beginning of the project in January 2021.
Approximately 1 child in 3 is cyberbullied at some point during their childhood and adolescence, and almost 40% of victims consider that speaking to a parent or teacher about the issue will only make it worse. Being involved in bullying, whether as a victim or propagator, can have a permanent impact on a person's health, wealth and social wellbeing. Download the CoE's anti-bullying leaflet for parents and/or for teachers to see how you can help your children build resilience and develop the socio-emotional skills that every citizen needs to cope with the challenges of the online world.
Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (ADI-ROM), 4th Meeting at the EYC Budapest, Hungary
On 27-29 October 2021, ADI-ROM held its 4th meeting in hybrid format from the European Youth Centre in Budapest, Hungary, hosted by the Hungarian authorities in the framework of the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers. A debate was held on topical and urgent issues, namely the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Roma and Travellers and member states’ responses and good practices. The ADI-ROM also adopted a draft expert study on the causes, prevalence and consequences of antigypsyism, and possible responses, to be submitted to the Steering Committee CDADI for approval and publication. The ADI-ROM discussed preparations of the 8th International Roma Women’s Conference, scheduled to take place on 24-26 November 2021 in hybrid format from Strasbourg, France. On the last day, an optional field visit was carried out to two different municipalities with Roma communities outside Budapest where the Ministry of Interior highlighted its successful work programmes in the field of Roma inclusion.
Block the Hatred. Share the Love!
The “Block the Hatred. Share the Love!” campaign was launched on 28 October in Pristina, with the aim to inform and educate the society and especially youth, about the role that everyone has in the fight against various forms of hate speech targeting specific groups and individuals in our local communities. The event was opened by the Prime Minister Albin Kurti; Tomáš Szunyog, European Union Special Representative; Verena Taylor, Director of the Office of the Directorate General of Programmes of the Council of Europe; Ombudsperson Naim Qelaj.
The campaign will be extended online through the social media dedicated channels, but also in radio-TV appearances, public activities and social initiatives involving prominent public figures, institutions and activists in personal storytelling, testimonies and exchange of good practices related to the promotion of diversity and equality in the region. The No-Hate Speech Ambassadors, prominent public figures such as Rinor Gashi, Bajram Kinolli, Uta Ibrahimi and Amina Kaja, who decided to respond to the call of this campaign and engage actively with counter-narratives and behaviours, will also join and actively take part in this movement.
International seminar on combating sexist advertising
The Council of Europe organised on 28 and 29 October a seminar on “Combating sexist advertising: learning from practice” which provided a platform for participants from the member States of the Council of Europe to share practices on combating sexist advertising and the role of equality bodies in this field. This seminar gathered over 70 representatives of equality bodies, representatives of public institutions with competences to review media and advertising, self-regulatory bodies in the field of advertising, civil society organisations, gender experts, media, Academia, international institutions, development partners, etc.
On 5 November, the SOGI Unit organised a roundtable on Legal gender recognition in Madrid at the Ministry of Equality of Spain to discuss the legal and practical situation of transgender, intersex and gender-diverse persons with regard to legal gender recognition in Spain.
Held under the auspices of the Minister of Equality of Spain, Irene Montero, this event brought together public authorities and civil society representatives who discussed the current state of play on legal gender recognition (LGR) in Spain, the impact of the existing LGR procedures and experience by the persons concerned, the proposed draft bill on LGR, as well as sharing of good practices from Spain and abroad.
Official kick-off conference for the JP ROMACTED2 in Belgrade, Serbia
The official kick-off conference for the European Union/Council of Europe Joint Programme ROMACTED2 in Serbia was held on 2 November 2021 at the MPs’ Club in Belgrade. The event gathered representatives of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-government, the European Union Delegation in Serbia, the Roma National Council, the Foundation BFPE for Responsible Society, as well as officials from 14 municipalities in Serbia. The high-level panel was followed by the signatory ceremony of the Protocol of Co-operation, which was signed between the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, and the representatives of the 14 municipalities.
More information available here. The video statements of the mayors from the 14 partner municipalities are available here.
JP ROMACTED 2 Advisory Group meeting organised in Tirana, Albania
The meeting was organised on 5 November 2021 to launch the EU/CoE JP ROMACTED2 in Albania and take to stock of the Programme`s first phase. Memoranda of Understanding were signed between the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and 10 partner municipalities in Albania. The event gathered representatives of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Public Administration, the European Union Delegation in Albania, local-level representatives and other relevant stakeholders.
5 November - World Day of Romani Language commemorated in Elbasan by the JP ROMACTED2
On 5 November, an event was organised at the “Aleksandër Xhuvani” University in the Municipality of Elbasan by the JP ROMACTED2 on “Promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level” to commemorate the World Day of Romani Language. The event gathered representatives of the Ministry of Education and Sport, the European Union Delegation in Albania, the university and the Roma community. The activity also aimed to promote the implementation of CM Recommendation (2020)2 on the inclusion of the history of Roma and/or Travellers in school curricula and teaching materials.
12th Dialogue meeting between Council of Europe and Roma and Traveller civil society organisations “Teaching the history of Roma and Travellers”
The 12th meeting of the Council of Europe Dialogue with Roma and Traveller civil society (Concept note) took place on 2-3 November 2021 in a hybrid format. The meeting gathered 60 participants, half of whom represented Roma and Traveller civil society and pro-Roma organisations, together with member State representatives and Council of Europe Secretariat.
The meeting served as a forum for participants to improve their knowledge, share experiences and best practices and took stock of recent developments in the teaching of Roma and Traveller history and Holocaust remembrance at school in different member States, in non-formal learning environments such as youth work and training, and Holocaust remembrance memorials and sites. Additional themes raised included appropriate measures and tools to support the inclusion of the history of Roma and Travellers and their tangible and intangible cultural heritage, arts and language in school curricula and teaching materials. Panel discussions provided an overview of relevant Council of Europe recommendations and curriculum development instruments, as well as practices to support curricula and teaching material reforms gradually.
The meeting was extremely useful for planning future co-operation activities and identifying possibilities for promoting future measures, relevant to the processes of curricula reforms and production of teaching materials.
The meeting report will be published in due course here.
On 10 November 2021, a Joint Statement on “Making the circle of trust truly safe for children” was issued by six Council of Europe member States (Andorra, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino and Slovenia) on the occasion of the 7th edition of the European Day on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (18 November 2021), and endorsed by all other Council of Europe member states, as well as Tunisia and the European Union. This statement recalls that child sexual abuse mostly happens in the child’s circle of trust and that the situation is worsening due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when millions of children have remained locked up in their homes. It points to the measures needed to prevent, detect and report sexual violence, as well as to support its victims. The statement calls on non-European countries to follow the example of Tunisia and accede to the Lanzarote Convention.
Protecting children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse must remain high on the agenda as the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how much still needs to be achieved to ensure that no child is sexually abused and exploited.
Progress has been made in the Committee’s reflection on how to further enhance the effectiveness and impact of its monitoring procedure.
More guidance on how to respect human rights and rule of law when using automatic detection tools to protect children against sexual abuse and exploitation online might be required, thus various options will be explored.
Strategic synergies have been developed with key stakeholders both within the Council of Europe (relevant Steering Committees and monitoring bodies) and outside (EC, UN, civil society).
In the framework of the same project, on 8 November an online seminar was organised in cooperation with the National Institute of Justice of the Republic of Moldova. The seminar contributed to enhancing professional capacities of 40 prosecutors and judges in investigating/adjudicating online child sexual abuse cases in line with the Council of Europe standards. In addition, procedural and international co-operation provisions, including the provisions of the Second additional protocol to the Budapest Convention were addressed.
On 4 November 2021, the Council of Europe standards, guidelines and best practices regarding the set up and operation of a Barnahus (Children’s House) were presented at the Montenegrin Children’s Rights Council attended by seven line ministries, the Ombudsperson, as well as UNICEF Montenegro. The discussion took place in the framework of a strong will by the Montenegrin authorities to set up a Barnahus with the support of the Council of Europe and UNICEF Montenegro.
On 4 November 2021, the European Union and Council of Europe joint project Improving the juvenile justice system and strengthening the education and training of penitentiary staff in Slovenia kicked off with a hybrid meeting. The Council of Europe presented the two different components of the project, including a draft inception report. The Minister of Justice expressed his full support to the project. The event was followed by a roundtable bringing together relevant stakeholders, including representatives from the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health, along with various professionals ranging from court to staff of residential centres, who exchanged views on the main shortcomings of the juvenile justice system in Slovenia. This information will be fed into the inception report to be presented at the first Advisory Group meeting on 26 November 2021.
On 10 November 2021, the Council of Europe met with the Andorran authorities to take stock of the progress made in the Youth Action Plan and its Index of contents, and to discuss activities to be carried out by the Council of Europe experts for the rest of 2021 and 2022.
International Forum on Sport Integrity
Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) and Sport Conventions Division
On 9 November, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hosted its 4th International Forum on Sport Integrity (IFSI), a conference bringing together representatives of the Olympic movement, governments and international organisations to discuss sport integrity issues, particularly the manipulation of sports competitions and corruption in sport.
Deputy Secretary General Bjorn Berge made a statement at the opening session, which was chaired by IOC’s President Thomas Bach and also counted Mr Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society of the United Kingdom and high level representatives of UNODC and OECD.
In his address, Mr Berge highlighted the leading role of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in preventing and countering corruption and its current contribution to the fight against corruption in sport through the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS), where the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) is actively coordinating IPACS work on the implementation of good governance principles in sports organisations to mitigate the risk of corruption. He also referred to the Macolin convention as the needed tool to effectively detect, combat and sanction the manipulation of sports competitions.
The participation of the Director General of Democracy, Ms Snezana Samardžić-Marković, in the roundtable on competitions’ manipulation focused on the central role of the Macolin Convention, to which many speakers from different sectors referred. The IOC announced that most International Federations have now transposed the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions into their regulations, which reflects the provisions of the Macolin Convention applicable to sports organisations. The IOC also expressed the wish to cooperate on the occasion of the Olympic Winter Games of Beijing, with the network of national platforms set up by the Council of Europe (the Group of Copenhagen) which is now an advisory Group to the Follow-up Committee of the Macolin Convention.
* All references to Kosovo, whether the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo
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