Sports Ministers adopt resolutions to shape a better sports environment
The 16th Conference of Ministers responsible for Sport of the Council of Europe has, at its closing session on 11 February, adopted two resolutions:
1.A European approach to sport policies: the revision of the European Sports Charter
The Resolution reflects the Ministers’ wish to use the future version of the European Sports Charter as a single standard of reference pursuing an integrated approach to a values-based sport and sport for all. They were also interested in stimulating the use of the Charter to further develop co-operation between governments and the sports movement and stressed the common features of the organisation of sport in Europe as being: sport for all, values-based sport, solidarity and multi-stakeholder co-operation with a key role played by a non-profit sports movement.
2. Human rights in sport
Concerned by the violation of human rights in sports, the Ministers encouraged member states to promote the implementation by all sport stakeholders of the standards contained in its various conventions, in particular in areas such as children’s rights, access to justice and the right to fair trial, the promotion and protection of athletes’ economic and social rights; the prevention, fight and response to violence, discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse and hate speech; gender equality; protection of whistle-blowers, right to health and athletes’ right to liberty and safety. The Ministers called for the strengthening of dialogue and co-operation with international organisations in charge of the protection of fundamental rights to ensure that they pay attention to sport activities as well as for the development of partnerships with non-State actors to embed human rights considerations in their policies and operations. The protection of human rights should become a pillar of the revised European Sports Charter. The session was chaired by Lefteris Avgenakis, Deputy Minister of Culture and Sport, Greece. Closing speeches were delivered by Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Niels Nygaard, Acting President of the European Olympic Committees and Mr Avgenakis himself. Almost 250 people followed the session live online as it was also open to the public and the press. A press briefing took place after the closing session, with questions from the media addressed to the three speakers on the themes of the two resolutions.
A new task force, set up by the Joint Council on Youth last October, met for the first time on 19 February to examine ways of greening the youth sector and including young people’s right to a healthy environment in the work. At a time when the Council of Europe is underlining the intrinsic link between a healthy environment and the very enjoyment by every human being of their rights and liberties under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, the Joint Council on Youth organised a debate on “Climate crisis and global governance” in June 2020. This task force is one of the tangible outcomes of that debate.
Governor Wenzel, addressing the Ministers’ Deputies at their 1396th meeting, presented the targeted action that the Bank took in 2020 to tackle the challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis, with special emphasis on health and job creation. He also outlined the challenges lying ahead, resulting from the ongoing pandemic and its consequences, and the Bank’s prospective activities in 2021, which also marks the CEB’s 65th anniversary. The Bank will pursue its financing activity in accordance with its 2020-2022 Development Plan, focusing on inclusive growth, sustainability, and support for vulnerable population groups.
The European Pharmacopoeia Commission addresses the increased need for medical oxygen
TOxygen shortages have recently been reported in various parts of the world. At the 8th “COVID-19 Pharmacopoeial Alert” meeting held at the end of January 2021, several participants stressed the urgent need to boost supplies of oxygen and to explore other qualities of the gas in order to meet the demands associated with the rising number of COVID-19-related hospitalisations. This sub-group of the International Meeting of World Pharmacopoeias was established in early 2020 to facilitate a co-ordinated response of the pharmacopoeias to the current pandemic.
The global call for oxygen also prompted the World Health Organization to publish a revised version of its monograph on oxygen. The EDQM/European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.) is very much involved in this field at the European level. For almost a year now, the group of experts in charge of the elaboration and revision of monographs on medicinal gases has been closely monitoring the situation. The Ph. Eur. currently includes two monographs on oxygen, Oxygen and Oxygen (93 per cent). The first of these was drafted over 50 years ago and covers oxygen produced by cryogenic distillation, with an oxygen content specification of minimum 99.5 per cent. The second, Oxygen (93 per cent), was first published in the Ph. Eur. in 2010 and covers oxygen produced by a pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen generator plant that removes the nitrogen from ambient air. At the time of publication, the plants available on the market utilised a single-stage adsorption process that did not remove any argon from the air being processed. Advances have since been made in the design of these generators and two-stage PSA plants capable of producing oxygen with a nominal content of 98.0 per cent are now available. The decision was therefore taken to elaborate a new monograph, Oxygen (98 per cent), in response to the COVID-19-related increase (potentially 10-fold) in the demand for oxygen worldwide. In view of the situation, the Ph. Eur. Commission launched an extraordinary public consultation on how best to include Oxygen(98 per cent) obtained via two-stage generators in the Ph. Eur. About 40 different interested parties, including gas producers and industry associations, National Pharmacopoeia Authorities (NPAs), hospitals, consultants, dispensing pharmacists, healthcare establishments and manufacturers of oxygen generators provided comments on this proposal. This ground-level feedback was an essential first step when deciding how best to proceed with the monograph on Oxygen (98 per cent). It was clear from the comments that co-operation between the national authorities, hospitals and gas producers was excellent during the COVID-19 crisis and that no major oxygen shortages had occurred in Europe yet. The utility of oxygen generators in this context appeared to be very limited. Although the urgent elaboration of a monograph on oxygen 98 per cent is no longer seen as absolutely necessary for Europe, the monograph itself is still considered useful to cover the needs of remote areas and other settings and to cater for the need in other parts of the world. To further explore the needs and to support the Ph. Eur. Commission in taking an informed decision on how best to proceed further, the EDQM/Ph. Eur. organised a regulators-only workshop (9 and 11 February 2021) attended by assessors and inspectors knowledgeable in this field. Thanks also to the great support provided by some NPAs in organising this workshop, the latter was a great success as it will now be possible to make concrete proposals on how best to set appropriate quality requirements for oxygen 98 per cent at the next session of the Ph. Eur. Commission scheduled for 23 and24 March 2021.
DIRECTORATE OF HUMAN DIGNITY, EQUALITY AND GOVERNANCE
Malta celebrates its first ELoGE
On 16 February, the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) was awarded to the Pembroke Local Council in Malta. The Hon. Dr. José Herrera, Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, and Ms Claudia Luciani, Director of Human Dignity, Equality and Governance of the Council of Europe, participated in the event. ELoGE is a distinction which is awarded to municipalities which have demonstrated compliance with the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance, measured against a Council of Europe benchmark. Currently, it is being implemented in a dozen of Council of Europe member states. Many Maltese municipalities have already applied to participate in the second round of ELoGE in 2021.
GREVIO held its 23rd meeting GREVIO experts met virtually from 16 to 18 February 2021.They approved the draft reports on San Marino, Slovenia and Poland, which will now be sent to the governments of the states concerned for comments. They also adopted a draft General recommendation on the digital dimension of violence against women – which will now be submitted to a public consultation - and the 2nd General Report of GREVIO activities, covering the period from May 2019 to December 2020.
The European Committee on Democracy and Governance (CDDG) looks at how democracy adapts to the digital age In the digital age, technology, democracy and governance have become increasingly intertwined processes, evolving at great speed. At its meeting on 8 February 2021 the CDDG working group on democracy and technology finalised a study aimed at capturing the complexity of this interaction, highlighting risks and mitigating factors as well as opportunities and enabling factors which can help member States be prepared to reap the benefits of digital transformation and new technologies such as artificial intelligence. The working group also examines a compendium of replies to a questionnaire on new technologies and their impact in the different stages of the electoral cycle, in preparation of Committee of Ministers’ Guidelines to be finalised by the end of 2021.
Launch of a new good governance project in Lithuania
The Centre of Expertise for Good Governance has launched a new Council of Europe – EU Joint Project on the “Establishment of legal institutional and financial framework at regional county level and capacity building to enhance quality of regional public administration in Lithuania”. The project was prepared at the request of the Lithuanian government and designed in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior. It will support the Lithuanian authorities in improving the legislative and policy framework for regional development, and provide complementary capacity-building to help the staff of the new regional structures prepare for the implementation of the new Lithuanian regional policy. The Council of Europe toolkits on Strategic planning, Local finance benchmarking, and Human resource management will be adapted and used for the regional level of governance.The first Project Board meeting on 17 February 2021 was opened by the Vice-Minister of Interior of Lithuania, Mr Arnoldas Abramavičius. The Board members, including representatives of the government, associations, experts, as well as the European Commission and the Council of Europe, discussed the main elements of the project implementation.
Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan
Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in AzerbaijanOn 17 February, the PGGII action “Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan” held its first Project Board meeting. During the meeting, fruitful discussions took place on how the implementation of the project could further contribute to the work in Azerbaijan to prevent and combat violence against women and domestic violence, and partners presented specific proposals seeking the support of the Council of Europe in this regard.
Protection of children in the digital environment in Morocco
Following the initiatives already undertaken around the Safer Internet Day in Morocco, the Council of Europe, in collaboration with the Moroccan Center for Polytechnic Research and Innovation (CMRPI) and the Task Force Espace Maroc Cyberconfiance, organised on 10 February a capacity building workshop for professionals and non-governmental NGOs working in the field of child protection on the Internet. With participation of representatives of Facebook or Kaspersky, the discussions focused on preventing and raising public awareness of on-line violence and of the legal and technical aspects contributing to a better protection of children’s rights in the digital environment. Finally, two awareness workshops were held on February 16 for the benefit of 50 students in two schools in Rabat. These workshops enabled to sensitize children, parents and teachers to a responsible practice of the Internet.
Training sessions on the detection and identification of victims of trafficking in Morocco
Two online training sessions were held on the detection and identification of victims of human trafficking for members of the National Commission for Coordination of Measures to Combat and Prevent Human Trafficking in Morocco. The discussions were based on the international and European normative framework, and on examples of experiences and good practices from Council of Europe member States, with a view to the establishing a national referral mechanism for victims of trafficking. The international and European normative framework in the field of detecting and identifying.
DIRECTORATE OF DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION
30th Anniversary of the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card
This year the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card, together with the European Youth Card Association (EYCA), will celebrate its 30th anniversary! The Partial Agreement was set up in 1991 on the initiative of the then Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Catherine Lalumière, following the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Youth held in Lisbon (Portugal).
Council of Europe Grant Agreement with the European Youth Card Association (EYCA)
The new Council of Europe Grant Agreement for this year with the European Youth Card Association (EYCA) was signed in January 2021. The purpose of the agreement is the implementation of a number of joint activities of the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card and EYCA, such as:
“training 50/50” for civil servants and youth card organisations on “Building partnerships and promoting youth mobility in the post COVID-19 context”;
seminar/webinar ´Mental health and Youth Work: the role of the European Youth Card in supporting a resilient generation´;
seminar ¨Education on-line and in person: what did we learn and how the European Youth Card can help with re-building learning communities?
Consultative meeting "The climate crisis, young people and democracy"
To reflect the growing concerns with the acuteness of the climate crisis and its impact on the present and future of current young generations, the Youth Department of the Council of Europe organised a consultative meeting on 16-18 February online. The meeting was structured around the following objectives:
To reflect on the impact of climate change on the lives of young people in relation to the right to a healthy environment;
To showcase existing practices and explore challenges for youth participation to impact political actions on climate crisis;
To address intersections between the climate crisis and other issues including human rights, democracy, migration, health etc.;
To discuss and explore youth policy responses to the climate crisis;
To discuss approaches and actions for taking environmental issues into account in youth policy and programmes.
Director General of Democracy launches the Serbian edition of the Faro Convention brochure
On the occasion of the launch event for the Serbian edition of the Faro Convention brochure, organised in Novi Sad (Serbia) on 12 February by the Association “Almašani”, member of the Faro Convention Network, and in collaboration with the local authorities, Ms Snežana Samardžić‑Marković made an opening address in English and Serbian, in support of this initiative. She encouraged wide dissemination of the brochure and thanked the Mayor of Novi Sad and the Regional Minister of Culture for their invaluable support to local heritage initiatives that will inspire other authorities in the country.
Education The Bureau of the Lisbon Recognition Conventionmet on 10 February to review the quantitative analysis of the questionnaires submitted for the monitoring of the Convention.
On 18 February, the Governing Board of the newly established Observatory on History Education met for the first time. The Governing Board elected its Bureau, adopted the Rules of Procedure, agreed on the annual work programme and on the topic of the first thematic report. It mandated the Secretariat to launch the call for expression of interest for membership of the Scientific Advisory Council. Alain Lamassoure (France) is the first Chair of the Observatory; Vasilios Gounaris (Greece) and Frances Moss (Ireland) were elected Vice-Chairs, and Bureau members come from Andorra, Armenia, the Russian Federation, Serbia, and Spain
European Heritage Days The Focus group meeting, involving several EHD national co-ordinators and members of the Secretariat, took place on 19 February to discuss the agenda of the online Assembly that will be organised on 15 and 29 March for all national co-ordinators to share their experiences from the 2020 season, and to discuss their preparations for 2021.
Cyprus signs the Faro Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society On 19 February 2021, in the presence of the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ambassador Spyros Attas, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the Council of Europe, signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society. This latest signature brings the total number to six, in addition to the 20 member States that have ratified the Convention.
G-20 Culture Working Group Meeting The Director of Democratic Participation has participated in the first Culture Working Group Meeting (22-23 February) in preparation for the G-20 Ministerial session on 3 May 2021. The agenda of this Ministerial event is highly relevant for the Council of Europe, focusing on protecting cultural heritage and fighting illicit trafficking of cultural property; addressing the climate crisis through culture; and building capacity through education. The Council of Europe offers several standard-setting and policy-inspiring tools in these areas of intervention which may in the future yield best impact through interaction with partner organisations’ existing tools and innovative joint initiatives.
Around 200 participants attended the webinar on “Action-oriented plurilingual mediation in collaborative tasks” on 10 February. The participants were informed about the action-oriented approach and asked to reflect and give feedback on six classroom activities presented during the introduction.
As part of the “Democratic Schools Chat Room”, taking place in the context of the EU/CoE JPs “Quality Education for all” in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, an online meeting was held on 8 February where students from secondary schools of Bosnia and Herzegovina debated on the topic of human rights and competences for democratic culture.
Young people’s right to assemble peacefully – A mapping study
YOUTH - EU-Council of Europe youth partnership
“Young people’s right to assemble peacefully – A mapping study” by Maria-Carmen Pantea, PhD has been published. Why do young people's rights to gather peacefully and to freely form, join and be active in associations and trade unions matter? Where are these rights threatened? Who is (more) affected? Who limits young people’s right to assemble peacefully? Why? How? What works in removing these obstacles? To find out more, read Young people’s right to assemble peacefully – A mapping study, by Maria-Carmen Pantea PhD.
Review of the documents on young people’s access to rights and non-discrimination - A desk research study
YOUTH - EU-Council of Europe youth partnership
Review of the documents on young people’s access to rights and non-discrimination – A desk research study, by Dunja Potočnik PhD has been published. Today, the situation of young people and their potential for realising their aspirations and enjoying a fruitful and fulfilled life are challenged by economic, social, environmental and health problems, and by the Covid-19 pandemic. Young people are facing restrictions in access to education, high unemployment rates, the scarcity of leisure and sport activities and forced dependency on family. To find out more, read Review of the documents on young people’s access to rights and non-discrimination – A desk research study, by Dunja Potočnik PhD.
In the context of the SIDA-funded project Strengthening Democratic Citizenship Education in Albania, a number of CoE publications on ensuring democratic citizenship education in times of crisis have been translated. The ‘Manual for Teachers: teaching competences for democratic culture online’, the ‘Digital Citizenship Handbook’ and ‘Digital Lesson Plans’ were distributed to the education community throughout the country.
A new resource website for professionals involved in sign language teaching and assessment was launched by the ECML in International Sign Language and in English. The aim is to enhance quality and standardisation in sign language teacher education and programmes where sign languages are taught. The website will also increase awareness of the linguistic and cultural diversity of sign languages in Europe and of the importance of sign language teaching and learning within the framework of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
The Secretariat is preparing the 162nd plenary meeting of the Board of Management, which will be held once again online on 18 and 19 March with interpretation via the KUDO software and digital voting. Co-production projects submitted on 14 January for the first call of the year will be examined by online working groups composed of national delegations from 11 to 17 March. On the same occasion the Board of Management will examine two reports by external consultants commissioned to propose revised schemes for the support of film distribution and the production of innovative and unconventional film projects. In parallel, and also as part of the reform package adopted in 2020, the Secretariat prepared to launch a restricted call for tender for the provision of an IT tool to manage the core aspect of the reform, the use of external experts for the selection of film co-production projects to be supported.
Further to the letter from the Minister of Canadian Heritage received on 13 January, Eurimages initiated the process for Canada to become a full member of the Fund.
The North-South Centre is preparing a series of activities to take place at the end of February and in March:
In the Global Education programme, the Visegrad online experts meeting will take place on 9‑10 March, where experts from the region will discuss the regional state of play in the field of GDE capacity-building and advocacy. The Global Education Network meeting will take place on 23-24 March, where at least 30 national coordinators, members of the North-South Centre’s Global Education Network, will exchange expertise in advocacy, pedagogical support and networking mechanisms.
In the Women Empowerment programme, the chosen grantees for the call for Grants for Southern Mediterranean civil society to reinforce support and protection mechanisms for victims/survivors of gender-based violence, will soon be announced. These grants aim at strengthening capacities of eight civil society organisations in the Southern Mediterranean to ensure a greater access to protection structures and services for victims/survivors of violence against women and girls.
The online Conference ‘Unboxing Hate Speech’ discussed the treats online hate speech poses to human rights and democracy and counter strategies with politicians, researchers and representatives of tech businesses and civil society on 18 February. The participants confirmed the need for a European legal framework outlining a comprehensive and multi-stakeholder approach combing legislative and non-legislative measures to address hate speech. The German Ministers Lambrecht and Maas, The SG and DG for Democracy all stated the importance of the work of the DG1 and DG2 joint Committee of Experts on Combating Hate Speech on a new CM recommendation in that regard. High-level event conference was jointly organised by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung as part of Germany’s presidency in the Committee of Ministers.
Global Football Alerts Analysis Workshop Final Conference
The Global Football Alerts Analysis Workshop (GFAAW) is an initiative of the Council of Europe’s Network of National Platforms (Group of Copenhagen) in cooperation with FIFA and in support of the principles and objectives of the Macolin Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions. It aimed at further deepening the analysis of the different forms of manipulation having impacted on football competitions with a view to develop a detailed methodological proposal to be addressed to the Group of Copenhagen. Football Organisations and other partners have worked together to suggest effective ways to analyse football alerts and strengthen the cooperation between the main national and international actors concerned by the prevention, detection and sanction of football manipulations. An interesting dimension was the use of AI to detect and investigate incidents of manipulation through performance assessments. The GFAAW final conference took place on 12 February 2021. Its goal was to share the findings and results of each of the GFAAW groups, to discuss the key challenges that emerged and to explore possible future projects.
On 12 February the Intercultural Cities Programme organised a brainstorming meeting for its member cities under the headline “Campaigning Together”. The online event focused on preparing the joint campaigns for the World Day for Cultural Diversity (21st of May), World Refugee Day (20th June) and International Migrants Day (18th December). Marking the international days together is one of many ways the Intercultural Cities Programme brings the member cities and the new Intercultural Regions network together to voice the message of diversity advantage, equality and inclusion across the global network. The online event drew much interest within the network and over 50 cities participated in the discussion with further cities represented through the Coordinators of the National Networks. Based on the brainstorming meeting, the Intercultural Cities Programme will draft concept notes for each international day and launch the joint communication on each topic.
On 16 February a webinar took place for the members of the Intercultural regions network and partners of the Include-EU project. It is a part of a webinar series introducing policies and practice that foster intercultural interaction and inclusion in order to enable cities and regions to manage diversity positively and realise the diversity advantage. This focus of this webinar was on regional and local experiences facilitating migrants’ active participation in all areas of social life. Contributors were representatives of the European Commission, IOM, and the Catalan regional government.
On 18 February, the Fifth Opinion on Malta of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities was published together with the government comments. It will be examined by the GR-H at one of its next meetings, in view of the adoption by the Committee of Ministers of a resolution on the implementation of the Framework Convention by Malta The Committee of the Saint-Denis Convention (T-S4) held its 3rd Informal Meeting On 18 February, the Committee of the Saint-Denis-Convention held its 3rd informal meeting. The goal was to discuss and reach a consensus on the three topics be decided at its 1st formal meeting (mid-April 2021), notably: 1) the draft Terms of Reference of the three Advisory Groups: Monitoring, Standard Setting and Legal Issues and International Cooperation; 2) the adoption of the Recommendation Rec (2015)1 on good practices on safety, security and service at football and other sports events, revised in 2019 and adopted in 2020 by the Standing Committee of the 1985 Convention on Spectator Violence (T-RV); and 3) the procedure to grant the observer status to States and NGOs that are currently observers to the T-RV Standing Committee.
The video animation on age assessment for children in migration developed jointly by the Council of Europe and the European Asylum Support Office has been translated into Bambara, Wolof and Moroccan Arabic by the Spanish Ombudsperson’s Office. This animation seeks to inform children about the age assessment procedures in an adapted way, so that they understand that the age assessment should be conducted in a manner that respects their human rights and dignity, with their informed consent, and that takes into account any particular vulnerabilities, their gender and cultural background.
Police officers from the Republic of Moldova will improve their professional abilities on equality and non-discrimination
NO HATE SPEECH AND COOPERATION
From 15 February to mid-April 2021, the regional project “Strengthening access to justice for victims of discrimination, hate crime and hate speech in the Eastern Partnership” will train 17 police officers in the Republic of Moldova as trainers who will carry out educational and capacity building activities for the General Police Inspectorate in the Republic of Moldova on equality and non-discrimination. The 17 police officers will deepen and improve their knowledge in practical implementation of concepts related to human rights and equality, that will contribute to a respectful approach in interacting with different social groups. After this training, the participants will conduct training sessions at the local level for other police officers (up to 2000 police staff). This training of trainers is based on the findings of an analysis carried out by the project on harmonising law enforcement training in the Republic of Moldova on non-discrimination and combating hate crimes and supports Moldova authorities to implement the recommendations on this matter from the last report of monitoring racism and intolerance in the Republic of Moldova of ECRI.
On 18 February 2021, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted in the second reading Law no. 3055 “On amendments to some laws of Ukraine regarding the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (the Lanzarote Convention)”. The Council of Europe provided a thorough input to ensure that the provisions of the law be in line with the Lanzarote Convention. In the framework of the Council of Europe project “Combating violence against children in Ukraine” the adopted law will be reviewed to see to what extent the recommendations provided have been finally integrated. The Council of Europe considers this whole process a step forward towards a more effective child protection framework in the country.
On 17 February 2021, the Council of Europe project Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova organised an online meeting on Prevention and reaction to child sexual abuse in sport. The meeting was instrumental in raising awareness among all relevant stakeholders on international and Council of Europe standards related to child sexual abuse prevention and identification, with specific focus on sport area, as well as national legal context for reporting of such cases.
ROMANIA : Microgrant scheme to support quality inclusive education
ROMA AND TRAVELLERS
On 9 October 2020, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Education and Research of Romania (MoER), setting quality inclusive education and training as a common priority. Following this positive development, a microgrant scheme was launched on 19 October 2020, targeting schools in the most disadvantaged areas of the country as a first initiative within the co-operation between the two institutions on the topic of inclusive education for all children, including Roma children. By 31 December 2020, twenty schools benefitted from the financial support of the Council of Europe through the dispersal of microgrants of up to € 2,500 per school, with a total investment of € 45,910.
Almost 70 teachers were directly involved in the activities conducted in this first wave of the microgrant scheme, with a further 20 schools to receive similar microgrants between March and June 2021.
ALBANIA : Roma and Egyptian inclusion policies at local level
ROMA AND TRAVELLERS
The Operational Plan of the Korca Community Centre (2020 - 2021) was elaborated in partnership with the Municipality of Korca in Albania and supported by the EU-CoE Joint Programme ROMACTED. The Plan is proposed as a model for the planning and organisation of any local community centre, serving as a guide for the Centre’s administration and activities while integrating a facilitatory mechanism for the implementation of Roma and Egyptian inclusion policies at local level. The Plan is available for download in English and Albanian.
EDQM - THE EUROPEAN DIRECTORATE FOR THE QUALITY OF MEDICINES & HEALTHCARE
Sharing expertise – the EDQM joins the World Health Organization in training Indonesian Regulators
Reference standards play a vital role as part of quality assurance of laboratory testing to ensure the validity and the reliability of the testing results. Following a request from the World Health Organization, the EDQM participated in a virtual training on pharmaceutical reference standards for the Indonesian Food and Drug Administration, Badan Pengawas Obat dan Makanan, on 16-17 January 2021. The two contributions provided by the EDQM covered the establishment and use of pharmaceutical reference standards and GMP requirements and deficiencies observed during inspections. Both presentations were followed by lively Q&A sessions which were an excellent opportunity to share important information concerning Good Practices regarding reference standards and to reinforce the primacy of pharmacopoeial reference standards in a region where the regulatory framework for medicines is not as developed as in Europe.
Training new auditors for the OMCL Network’s audit scheme
In order to increase its pool of auditors for the mutual joint audit scheme, the EDQM organised a 3-day virtual training in February 2021 for Quality Managers from 11 European Official Medicines Control Laboratories (OMCLs). Mutual joint audits (MJA) are peer-to-peer assessments to verify the compliance of OMCLs with the relevant standards concerning the testing of medicines and their quality system. OMCLs of the European Network are obliged to undergo national accreditation and/or MJAs to make sure that the common standards (Ph. Eur., ISO IEC 17025:2017 and specific OMCL guidelines elaborated jointly) are respected. This is an important precondition for mutual recognition of test results in medicines control throughout Europe, making sure that scares resources are shared and important findings about eventual problems with the quality of a health product detected in one country are acknowledged and can be tackled without a supplementary testing phase in another country.The recent training represents the first step of the qualification of new auditors and consisted of a specific communication skills workshop and an in-depth training on the MJA procedure, working methods and tools, as well as typical audit findings. To complete their qualification, the trainee auditors will be invited to participate as an observer in one of the upcoming MJAs. Usually, each audit team is composed of two to five auditors and this year 18 MJAs have already been scheduled. Due to the current sanitary crisis, MJAs— which under normal circumstances are carried out on site at the OMCL laboratories — will continue to be carried out remotely. In order to increase its pool of auditors for the mutual joint audit scheme, the EDQM organised a 3-day virtual training in February 2021 for Quality Managers from 11 European Official Medicines Control Laboratories (OMCLs). Mutual joint audits (MJA) are peer-to-peer assessments to verify the compliance of OMCLs with the relevant standards concerning the testing of medicines and their quality system. OMCLs of the European Network are obliged to undergo national accreditation and/or MJAs to make sure that the common standards (Ph. Eur., ISO IEC 17025:2017 and specific OMCL guidelines elaborated jointly) are respected. This is an important precondition for mutual recognition of test results in medicines control throughout Europe, making sure that scares resources are shared and important findings about eventual problems with the quality of a health product detected in one country are acknowledged and can be tackled without a supplementary testing phase in another country.The recent training represents the first step of the qualification of new auditors and consisted of a specific communication skills workshop and an in-depth training on the MJA procedure, working methods and tools, as well as typical audit findings. To complete their qualification, the trainee auditors will be invited to participate as an observer in one of the upcoming MJAs. Usually, each audit team is composed of two to five auditors and this year 18 MJAs have already been scheduled. Due to the current sanitary crisis, MJAs— which under normal circumstances are carried out on site at the OMCL laboratories — will continue to be carried out remotely.
Harmonising activity of data collection exercises in the field of tissues and cells in Europe
Human cells and tissues for human application, such as haematopoietic cells, can save lives or restore essential functions.
Achieving self-sufficiency based on voluntary non-remunerated donation and security of supply, as well as timely and equitable access to safe transplantation, are important national and European goals. A realistic assessment of supply and needs are fundamental for the rational, fair and effective distribution of tissues and cells and, most importantly, to avoid overreliance on 3rd countries outside Europe or on a few European countries. Furthermore, having accurate activity data would also be essential in order to put into context the figures related to serious adverse events and reactions related to the use of tissues and cells of human origin.In an attempt to streamline and harmonise data collection exercises in the EU, and in the framework of a co-operation Grant Agreement with the European Commission, the EDQM has co-ordinated a project entitled “Harmonising Activity Data Collection Exercises in the Field of Tissues and Cells in Europe”. This project started in 2019 and has built on the experience from member States and relevant professional societies in the field of tissues and cells. It has aimed at agreeing on a minimum dataset that would serve the purposes of transparency for citizens and as denominators for the EU biovigilance exercises. It has entailed reaching an agreement on the parameters, units and expected quality of the data to be collected, as well as making recommendations on who should be accountable for the collection and validation of this data and ensure dissemination among all relevant stakeholders. This exercise is of particular importance in the context of the upcoming revision of the EU legislation in the field of tissues and cells.
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