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Directorate General of Democracy
Issue 21 – 30 March 2021
25 years European Youth Centre Budapest: share your memories!  
25 years ago, the European Youth Centre Budapest opened its doors for the first time. During this past quarter of a century, the EYCB has played an extraordinary role in supporting young people from across the continent to benefit fully from human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. On the occasion of this special 25th anniversary, former participants, visitors, and partners of the EYCB are kindly invited to celebrate by sharing their most precious and unforgettable memories from the youth centre on social media platforms. Do you remember entering the EYCB building for the very first time? Did you attend an event in the centre that had a huge impact on your personal and professional development? Did you engage in lively discussions on the balcony while enjoying the panoramic view of Budapest? Do you have a special moment from the EYCB that you will never forget?
Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility and its role in the implementation of youth policies in member states
The on-line promotional seminar “Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility and its role in the implementation of youth policies in member states” (16 March), organised in co-operation with the European Youth Card Association (EYCA), was an occasion to promote the European Youth Card as a tool for youth policy development and youth card implementation at local, national and European levels. The seminar gathered 30 participants including 18 governmental representatives out of 15 countries of both member states of the Partial Agreement and those which have not yet joined.  The seminar shared good practices on how the European Youth Card was developed by EYCA members and public authorities for the benefit of young people, especially in times of continued Covid-19 pandemic.  One of the highlights of the event was the promotion of the transversal co-operation with the Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes, particularly the project #Routes4U and the special co-branded youth card.
EPAS Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport

As a side event to the UN’s 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), EPAS hosted an online round table discussion on 16 March 2021 to highlight the current situation in sport and what steps are being taken to challenge stakeholders to step up their efforts. The round table was moderated by journalist and TV presenter, Anne-Laure Bonnet, who asked why it is so fundamental to achieve gender balance in sport and what has been done so far to improve the situation. Panel members included Valérie Glatigny (Minister in charge of sport, Federation Wallonia-Brussels), Ada Hegerberg (international footballer), Andreas Zagklis (Secretary General of the International Basketball Federation), Kateryna Levchenko (Vice-Chair of the Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe and Government Commissioner for Gender Equality Policy in Ukraine) and Stanislas Frossard (Executive Secretary of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport). Over 280 people tuned in to watch the event live.
OneVoice evaluates the progress of WADA Governance Reforms
Sport Conventions

The OneVoice platform, which unites the representatives of the public authorities in the statutory bodies of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), nominated two independent experts to the working group on the review of WADA governance reforms. As an initial step the experts were invited to a meeting with OneVoice to discuss the issues of high importance for the public authorities in the governance of WADA. The meeting welcomed public authorities from all continents (African Union, Australia, Austria, Canada, Japan, Ecuador, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and USA). Through an open and substantial discussion, a number of key issues were identified: diversity, gender equality, independence, appointment and functioning of the statutory bodies, and engagement with broader stakeholder groups. The independent experts committed to convey the public authorities’ concerns to the working group and to report back to the OneVoice as soon as new consultations become necessary.
The Anti-Doping Convention will develop a recommendation to protect whistleblowers
Sport Conventions

In response to the modernisation of the methods in the fight against doping, an increasing number of national anti-doping organisations and international sport federations implement whistleblower policies and programmes. The Monitoring Group of the Anti-Doping Convention (T-DO) is concerned about the quality and efficiency of the systems put in place. In order to help the States parties in addressing specificity of whistle-blowing in anti-doping, T-DO decided to draft a recommendation which is now being prepared by the Ad Hoc Group of experts on ensuring whistleblowers’ protection (T-DO WP). The group has invited the relevant Council of Europe bodies - The Group of States against Corruption (GRECO), European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and The European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) to share the experience in dealing with whistle-blowing in other fields. Discussion focused on identification of issues to be covered by a T-DO recommendation. The Group agreed that the mapping of existing practices is a necessary next step and proposed to include questions about the whistleblower programmes in the T-DO annual report questionnaire, which will be launched to collect the 2020 data shortly. T-DO WP plans to present the first draft of the recommendation to the Monitoring Group meeting in November 2021.
On 8 March the Intercultural Cities programme (ICC) published its annual report for the year 2020. The report informs on the implementation of the programme of activities, the objectives met, and the resources and tools developed in the past year. 

On 9 March ICC launched a call to join the campaign “Feel diversity – revive your senses”, to be organised on the occasion of the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, celebrated every year on 21 May. The aim of the campaign is to create a virtual journey to unlock and celebrate Europe’s diversity, and offer a feast for the senses through social media communication including images, video and audio files. This communication campaign is the first in line of three joint campaigns the ICC will run in 2021. The deadline to submit materials is 2 April 2021. The concept note is available here.

On 10 March 2021, the Steering Committee on Anti-discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI) organised in cooperation with the Permanent representation of Germany to Council of Europe the online-event “Promising practices on upholding equality and protecting against discrimination and hate during the COVID-19 pandemic” in the framework of the Regional Forum of Sustainable Development of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which reached a high number of participants via the Facebook-livestream. On the same topic, the CDADI has prepared draft Guidelines that have been transmitted to the Committee of Ministers for discussion and adoption. Additional CDADI-work on this topic can be found here: https://www.coe.int/en/web/committee-antidiscrimination-diversity-inclusion/publications 

On 12 March, the secretariats of the CDADI and the Division of National Minorities and Minority Languages presented and exchanged on their activities and FCNM/ECRML conventions at the seminar “Societal Inclusion through Acknowledgement of Cultural Diversity. Experiences of Europe and Japan in the Era of Global Pandemic”, that the Consulate General of Japan in Strasbourg organised to celebrate the fact that Japan has been participating in the Council of Europe as an observer for 25 years.   

On 16-17 March 2021, the Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (ADI-ROM) held its third meeting. The agenda included a debate on topical and urgent issues, namely the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Roma and Travellers and member states’ responses and good practices, a discussion on a draft expert study on the causes, prevalence and consequences of antigypsyism, and possible responses thereto, a draft report on combating hate speech against Roma and Travellers, the preparation of the 8th International Roma Women’s Conference, scheduled to take place on 15-17 September 2021 in Skopje, North Macedonia. On the occasion of the 3rd ADI-ROM meeting, the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) in Berlin organised a cultural event in the evening of 16 March 2021 under the aegis of the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers. 

On 16-17 March the Working Group on Intercultural Integration (GT-ADI-INT) gathered for its third meeting. The Group reviewed and amended the final daft Model Policy Framework for Intercultural Integration, with the view to send it to the Steering Committee on Anti-discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI) for further discussion and possible adoption at its third meeting in June. The Group made further progress on a Draft Recommendation on multilevel governance of intercultural integration. 

On 18 March 2021, ECRI published its annual report for 2020. On the same day, ECRI’s Chair participated in a virtual public hearing organised by the EU Economic and Social Committee on the EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025.

On 19 March 2021, ECRI’s Chair participated in the first EU Anti-Racism Summit. ECRI also issued a joint statement together with FRA and OSCE/ODIHR and as well as for the first time with the United Nations CERD ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial

2nd meeting of the Inter-Secretariat Task Force on the Implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion (2020-2025)

On 11 March 2021, the second Inter-Secretariat Task Force meeting on the Implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion (2020-2025) took place. The meeting was opened by Jeroen Schokkenbroek, Director of Anti-Discrimination, followed by a presentation on past, present and future activities by the Roma and Travellers Team. Other Council of Europe services contributed to a tour de table on ongoing and future Roma and Traveller related initiatives, including on alleviating the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on Roma and Traveller communities. The Task Force furthers the mainstreaming of Roma and Traveller issues in all relevant policy areas of the Organisation and assures coordinated stocktaking of implementation activities. It also serves as a platform to ensure synergies and co-operation when designing and implementing relevant initiatives.

On 17 March 2021, the Children’s Rights Division held an annual partnership meeting with the Coordinator for the Rights of the Child of the European Commission and the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) where the Organisations presented their respective upcoming Strategies for the Rights of the Child and discussed possible synergies to be developed in the coming years. 

On 18 March 2021, the Inter-Secretariat Task Force on the Rights of the Child held a meeting to discuss a first draft of the new Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027) and the process ahead. The draft strategy will be further updated based on the comments received from the Task Force members and subsequently shared with the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF). The next work phase will comprise the preparation of the first biennial Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy (2022-2023), defining specific actions to be developed by or in co-operation with other sectors involved. 

On 18 March 2021, the 6th Steering Committee of the joint EU/CoE project to Support the implementation of Barnahus in Slovenia (phase II), chaired by the State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Slovenia, discussed the progress made towards the adoption of the Barnahus Law and future plans for its further implementation. Next steps in the project implementation include: development of a Communication Strategy for Barnahus; drafting of protocols and regulations to complement the Barnahus Law; and finalisation and validation of the forensic interviewing protocol adapted to the Slovenian context, which foresees the creation of a pool of trainers to ensure sustainability and transfer of knowledge at national level. 

On 19 March 2021, the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) sent comments, as requested by the Committee on Counter-Terrorism (CDCT), on the Preliminary draft Recommendation on measures aimed at protecting children against radicalisation for the purpose of terrorism. On 22 March 2021, CDENF organised a Webinar titled “COVID-19 and Children’s Rights: Overcoming education challenges”. CDENF national delegations, participants and observers, as well as international experts and children had the opportunity to hear more about the latest activities by UNICEF, OECD and WHO, and to hold an exchange on good practices in response to the most urgent challenges in the area of education. It was the first in a series of three CDENF webinars on children’s rights in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic scheduled in 2021.
Local Plans for the Integration of Roma and Egyptian minorities published in Albania
The EU/Council of Europe Joint Programme ROMACTED in Albania published Local Plans for the Integration of Roma and Egyptian Minorities for seven partner municipalities. The plans are the result of a participatory and all-inclusive drafting process including local municipalities, grassroots teams, high-level expertise and Roma facilitators. These documents represent examples of good practice where Roma issues are targeted under local plans for the Integration of Roma and Egyptian minorities as well as mainstreamed in the more general Action Plan for Social Inclusion.

The Plans are available for download in English and Albanian:Elbasan (ENAL) / Fier (ENAL) / Korca (ENAL) / Permet (ENAL) / Pogradec (ENAL) / Roskovec (ENAL) / Vlora (ENAL)
Baseline overview on the capacities and needs of Roma communities and municipalities of the EU/CoE JP ROMACTED in Kosovo*
Using primary and secondary data sources, the Assessment Report serves as a baseline overview of the situation of the Roma communities in the eight programme municipalities in Kosovo: Ferizaj/ Uroševac, Fushë Kosovë/ Kosovo Polje, Gjakova/ Đakovica, Gracanicë/ Gračanica, Lipjan/ Lipljan, Istog/ Istok, Obiliq/ Obilić, Mitrovicë/ Južna Mitrovica. The report also includes the local pages of “ROMACTED at a Glance”, summarising the step-by-step implementation and the milestones of the Programme in Kosovo from 2018 to 2020. Find more details here.The Assessment report is available for download in EnglishAlbanianSerbian and Romani.
Webinar for anti-trafficking lawyers and NGOs on the Court case-law
A webinar presenting recent case-law of the European Court of Human Rights related to trafficking in human beings took place on 15 March 2021 for the network of lawyers and NGOs specialised in providing legal assistance to victims of human trafficking, set up by the Council of Europe in 2016. The cases presented were V.C.L. and A.N. v. UK, where the Court examined for the first time the compatibility of the prosecution of victims of trafficking with Articles 4 and 6 of the ECHR, and Lăcătuş.v. Switzerland, where the Court referred to GRETA’s report on Switzerland urging the authorities to provide for the possibility of not punishing victims of trafficking for their involvement in unlawful activities they were compelled to commit
First ELoGE workshop in Hungary
TÖOSZ, a national association of local authorities in Hungary, has applied to be accredited to implement the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) in Hungary. The European Label of Governance Excellence - ELoGE - is awarded to the municipalities which can demonstrate their compliance with the 12 Principles of Good Democratic Governance. It is also a learning and improvement tool for local authorities. Consequently, on 10 March 2021 the first online ELoGE workshop in Hungary took place involving TÖOSZ, the Hungarian Ministry for Public Administration, and a group of Hungarian mayors. The aim of this meeting was to present the tool, to decide on the key steps in the process, and to discuss the overall implementation. This activity will be initiated before the end of the year, in collaboration with the forthcoming Hungarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
Armenia: online community consultation
On 5 March 2021, more than 30 representatives of local authorities and civil society organisations gathered online today to discuss draft guidelines on “Organising and Implementing Community Economic Activities.” The draft guidelines have been prepared in order to promote compliance with Article 9 of the European Charter of Local Self-Government in Armenia. They have been developed on the basis of the relevant appendices of CM/Rec(2005)1 on the financial resources of local and regional authorities and of CM/Rec(2004)1 on the financial and budgetary management at local and regional levels.The meeting offered key stakeholders an opportunity to contribute to the policy-making process. Participants noted that the guidelines would help clarify the legal framework for Community economic activities and welcomed the electronic budget management tool that has been developed in connection with the guidelines. Acknowledging the need to ensure that the gender dimension is addressed, the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure invited participants to share any further observations on the proposals in writing by mid-March.This Community Consultation meeting was organised in the context of the Democratic Development, Decentralisation and Good Governance in Armenia project of the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance, implemented in the context of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia and funded by the Austrian Development Agency.
The CEB approves € 874 million in new loans
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved 13 new loans spread across 12 countries and totalling 874 million euros. The financing will support health care costs, including the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines, as well as social infrastructure projects including schools and higher education facilities, day-care and sports facilities, social housing, water supply networks, district heating, local roads and urban mobility systems. Several loans will provide funding for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), helping to preserve and maintain employment and thus contribute to member countries’ recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. 

CEB Governor on sustainable and green financing
Governor Wenzel gave an interview in the framework of the World Forum for Democracy “12 Months, 1 Question” series, explaining how CEB’s social lending activity helps to mitigate climate change and promote sustainability.

GRETA’s 40th plenary session
GRETA held its 40th plenary session on 22-26 March, in an online format. GRETA adopted final third-round evaluation reports on Montenegro and Romania and discussed draft reports on Malta and the United Kingdom. GRETA also considered its second report on the compliance of Kosovo* with the standards of the Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Convention. 

Adoption of two new GRETA reports
GRETA’s third round reports on the implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings by Georgia and Denmark were published, respectively, on 16 and 17 March. The reports focus on access to justice and effective remedies for victims of trafficking in human beings and assess developments since the publication of GRETA´s respective second evaluation reports.

Training activities on trafficking in human beings in the Western Balkans
In Serbia, a new online session of training on combating trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation took place on 16-18 March. Almost all labour inspectors (220 in total) have now received such training. Further, two NGO projects were selected for the award of grants to raise awareness on child trafficking.  

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a third multi-disciplinary training session on trafficking in human beings for the purpose of labour exploitation was organised in Republika Srpska on 3-5 March, with practical exercises and good practice examples being presented by the Belgian labour inspectorate.

In North Macedonia, the second launch of the HELP online course on combating trafficking in human beings took place on 8 March, for judges and prosecutors. Furthermore, an expert discussion was organised on 17 March on the legal standing and rights of trafficking victims in judicial proceedings, with the involvement of 30 judges, prosecutors and members of the National Anti-trafficking Commission. Further to a call for application, seven micro-grants were awarded to journalists, with a view to supporting journalistic research, reporting and dissemination of information on human trafficking.
Reinforcing the Fight against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in Kosovo*
Cooperation with the Academy of Justice, in the context of the project “Reinforcing the Fight against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence - phase II”  led to the development of a new curriculum on the training of trainers in combating violence against women and domestic violence and to the launch of the HELP course on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence for MA law students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Pristina . The Curriculum will be an important tool to ensure that judges and prosecutors are trained to the highest international standards in this area, including the Istanbul Convention. Similarly, the HELP course aims to provide high-quality training (based on the Istanbul Convention and on the European Court of Human Rights case law) that will enable legal professionals to be more responsive to the needs of victims of violence against women and domestic violence.
Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan
A series of online webinars was launched to contribute to raising awareness on the content of the Istanbul Convention and to promote dialogue at national level on why Azerbaijan should join the convention. The first webinar took place on 18 March and was dedicated to Article 12 on general obligations. In addition, three focus groups meetings with intergovernmental organisations and civil society to support the development of a national campaign against violence against women and domestic violence and to raise awareness of the Istanbul Convention in Azerbaijan, with the purpose of identifying priorities and possible obstacles.
E-learning on “Countering the misuse of administrative resources”
Electoral co-operation

The representatives of the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training of the Republic of Moldova (Training Centre) met Council of Europe anti-corruption experts in a visio conference on 9 March 2021.Best international and national practices, the Council of Europe’s toolkit on “Countering Misuse of Administrative Resources in Electoral Campaign”, the Venice Commission’s recommendations in this field, as well as national baselines documents were discussed.Electoral professionals and observers representatives of political parties and any citizens interested to know how to identify and prevent misuse of administrative resources will now be able to access an online course which will be accessible soon via the e-learning platform run by the Training Centre.
Innovative citizen participation tools to engage youth in the decision-making 
Civil participation

The new Council of Europe project “Strengthening civil participation in democratic decision making in Ukraine” assists local city councils in  introducing the School Participatory Budgeting Toolkit (School PB) that helps young women and men to develop competencies and knowledge in active citizenship and participatory democracy through the implementation of the Council of Europe Toolkit. Apart from tailored expertise provided to the Vinnytsia, Mukachevo and Nova Vodolaha municipalities, a series of online game-based trainings and interactive courses, in addition to individual coaching sessions, helped children master practical skills and competencies in developing of ideas and projects for the benefit of the school community. Learning about citizen participation in the decision-making process resulted in a high level of engagement of school students in pilot communities. The School PB has been successfully implemented even when schools were closed due to the pandemic thanks to the unique online learning methodology, tailored expert support and the online platform for School PB.
Launch of an awareness campaign on gender equality in Tunisia
 An awareness-raising campaign on gender equality, the participation of women in the decision-making process and the fight against violence against women has been launched in co-operation with the Ministry of Women, Family, Children and the Elderly (MFFES) and UN-Women, and will continue until the end of March. On the International Women’s day, an awareness-raising spot with the personal participation of the Minister has been broadcasted on national channels and various activities took place in Habib Bourguiba avenue in Tunis to promote gender equality and the need to combat violence against women.
Training Moroccan judges and prosecutors on combating violence against women
The Council of Europe and the Public Prosecutor's Office of Morocco organised on 9-10 March  two training sessions aimed at strengthening the role of judges and prosecutors in combating violence against women and domestic violence, with the participation of 70 magistrates. The working sessions involved leading experts from Morocco and the Council of Europe and drew upon applicable national and international standards, on various aspects related to prevention of violence, especially in times of pandemic, to protection of minor victims and violence in the digital environment, on the relevant case law of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as on existing good practices in some Council of Europe member States.
“Make Gender Equality in Law a Reality in Fact”
An updated compilation of Committee of Ministers’ Recommendations on gender equality has been published, including texts adopted between 1979 and 2019 on a diversity of topics: from the role of women and men in conflict prevention and resolution and in peace building, to the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls with disabilities, from gender mainstreaming in sport to gender equality and media.
Education and Training of Youth Workers in Europe Today  
The online Study Session on Education and Training of Youth Workers in Europe Today, organised in cooperation with ECYC - European Confederation of Youth Clubs, took place last week. The activity explored the creation of frameworks for education and training for youth workers, based on the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on Youth Work and the European Youth Work Agenda. The possibility to exchange with the Head of the Youth Department, updates from the institutions, academia, and organisations at the forefront of youth workers education was very inspiring and gave a lot of content to the study session, as well as expertise, visibility, discussion material, motivation, and inspiration for participants. The study session was a contribution to the dissemination of the CM Recommendation on Youth Work and the European Youth Work Agenda  and supported the European Confederation of Youth Clubs in their advocacy work in shaping policy and influencing practice and research on national, local and organisational level.
European Heritage Days (EHD)
The first session of the annual Assembly for the European Heritage Days National Co-ordinators, postponed from November 2020 due to Covid-19, took place online on 15 March.
During the meeting, under the auspices of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, the National Co-ordinators from 50 countries had the opportunity to exchange and share their experiences and ideas, to review the current Work Programme and to discuss how future actions could be developed. Other discussions centred on the challenges and opportunities of organising and promoting the EHD events in the context of the pandemic, the experiences of celebrations under the 2020 shared theme “Heritage and Education: Learning for Life!”, as well as ideas on widening audience participation and examples of activities under the 2021 theme “Heritage: All Inclusive!”.  The second session of the Assembly was held online on 29 March and focused on visibility and communication issues.
Estonia signs the Faro Convention 
In the presence of Mr Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ambassador Rasmus Lumi, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the Council of Europe, signed the Council of Europe Framework Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society on 18 March. This latest signature brings the total number of signatures to seven, in addition to the 20 member States that have ratified the Convention. Estonia becomes the second Baltic country to sign the Faro Convention after Latvia. With a rich cultural heritage (both tangible and intangible) and as a pioneer in e-participation processes, Estonia’s signature should further encourage citizen engagement in cultural heritage governance and the development of additional bottom-up initiatives in this domain.
ECML Building, Graz, Austria
The European Centre for Modern Languages - ECML

The 76th meeting of the ECML Bureau took place via Kudo, chaired for the first time by Claire Extramiana (France). The Bureau approved the 2021 Programme of Activities and expressed its satisfaction with the additional support organised for member states during the crisis. The Bureau also welcomed and commented on the draft Recommendation on plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture, agreed on the need to postpone the summer academy for language teacher educators until 2022 and exchanged ideas on developing a strategy to attract new member states to the Partial Agreement.

The first ECML webinar of 2021 entitled  "Covid-19 and language education: Making home schooling motivating and fun” attracted over 300 participants from across Europe and beyond and has since been viewed over 600 times. Déirdre Kirwan presented a range of learner-centred activities from the treasure chest for learners, parents and teachers, focusing in particular on developing the home languages of migrant children.

The ECML 25th Anniversary Declaration - Quality language education for a democratic, socially cohesive and peaceful Europe - was published in German and in Slovak.
Increased demand to the European Youth Foundation for financial support to youth projects  
During its 44th meeting in December 2020, the Programming Committee on Youth awarded EYF grants to 28 additional projects to be implemented in 2021, in line with the Council of Europe youth sector’s priorities. The annual work plans of 11 international youth  organisations which applied at the 1 October deadline were approved for a total amount of €505 563. They will support activities promoting youth participation and youth work, access to social rights, inclusion, and equality for young people. Grants to international activities of 16 international youth organisations and one national NGO were also awarded for a total of €291 778, to support youth participation, youth work, human rights education, inclusive and peaceful societies. So far, the European Youth Foundation granted 24 international activities and 26 work plans which will be implemented in 2021. The total amount of the grants awarded was €1 540 284. The decisions can be found here.
Higher Education’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Some 200 higher education policy makers and practitioners from around the world were introduced to the publication on Higher Education’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, in the CoE Higher Education Series. Further webinars for presenting the book are planned, for Ireland and for Latin America (in Spanish), both on 21 April
Strengthening Democratic Citizenship Education in Albania”

Presidents of the Regional Students Parliaments and representatives of students’ networks from the 25 pilot schools taking part in the SIDA-funded project “Strengthening Democratic Citizenship Education in Albania” participated in an online discussion entitled You(th) Talk. Together with senior diplomats, experts and civil society representatives they debated the priorities of the German Presidency of the CoE Committee of Ministers focusing on Albania’s membership benefits and its role in tackling current democratic and human rights challenges, in particular related to the public health crisis as well as in the context of the EU integration agenda.
The Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC), intended to be used by educators and education systems to equip young people with the competences needed to promote human rights, democracy and the rule of law, was recently translated into Armenian, Slovak and Turkish. A Japanese translation of its Volume 2, listing the CDC descriptors, is now available too, showing growing interest from beyond CoE member States.
The Results of the call for proposals for micro-grants of the EU/CoE JP “Democratic and Inclusive School in Operation” (DISCO) were published online. Under Lot 1 of the Call, the project “Sharing Knowledge, Handling Controversy in schools of Greece, North Macedonia and Bulgaria” was selected. Lot 2 will finance initiatives in Georgia, Italy, North Macedonia, Romania and Ukraine.

Co-managed youth statutory bodies plenary meetings  

The co-managed statutory bodies met on-line from 22 to 24 March in order to ensure the ‘business continuity’ of the Council of Europe youth sector. 120 participants, members, observers and participants of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ), the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) and the Advisory Council of Youth (CCJ) took part in the meetings. 

The CMJ reviewed the implementation of its 2020-21 priorities on young people’s access to rights, youth participation, youth work and peaceful and inclusive societies. It also reflected on the youth sector’s future actions on climate crisis and on greening the youth sector, on democracy, digitalisation and the situation of young people during the pandemic. Following the successful 3rd European Youth Work Convention, held in December 2020 in the framework of the German Presidency of the European Union and of the German presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the CMJ  discussed the implementation of the European Youth Work Agenda. The Council of Europe “Youth for Democracy” programme, youth sector strategy 2030 and CM/Rec(2017)4 on youth work will constitute the cornerstone of follow-up measures. 

The CMJ held an exchange of views on the latest developments in the Council of Europe and in the youth sector, including on a possible future youth campaign and on the response to Covid-19.  The outcomes of this meeting will be available in due course on the latest decisions page of the youth portal.

Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility - 45th Board meeting  

The 45th meeting of the Board of Co-ordination of the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility through the Youth Card took place on-line on 18 March ahead of the youth sector’s statutory bodies. This meeting evaluated the implementation of the Partial Agreement’s work programme in 2020, reviewed the 2021 work programme and introduced recent developments and the Strategy 2021‑2025 of the European Youth Card Association (EYCA), the Partial Agreement’s main institutional partner. The results of the survey conducted among members and non-members of the Partial Agreement on Youth Mobility were also presented and open for a preliminary exchange of views. Proposals to further enrich and develop the Partial Agreement’s programme will be elaborated based on the survey results and discussions at the current meeting.
Now in German: Mirrors – Manual for combating antigypsyism through human rights education
Every day in Europe, Roma are exposed to acts of discrimination and exclusion. Education plays a central role in combating antigypsyism because the result of centuries of prejudice cannot be fought by laws and courts alone. Human rights education provides an ideal approach to raising awareness about antigypsyism and promoting a culture of universal human rights. This manual was produced within the Roma Youth Action Plan of the Council of Europe to provide educators with essential information and tools to address antigypsyism with young people. It is equally suitable for work with groups of non-Roma, Roma only, or mixed groups. Combating antigypsyism is a task for all of us; learning about it is a necessary starting point
Now in German: Right to Remember- a Handbook for Education with Young People on the Roma Genocide
Right to Remember is an educational resource to promote a deeper awareness of the Roma Genocide and combat discrimination. The handbook is based on the principles of human rights education, and places remembrance as an aspect of learning about, through and for human rights. Strengthening the identity of Roma young people is a priority for the Roma Youth Action Plan of the Council of Europe.  Learning about the Genocide is very important for all young people. For Roma young people it is also a way to help them come to terms with their identity and situation today. Right to Remember includes educational activities and information about the Genocide; it is designed for youth workers but it will be useful for anyone working in education, including in schools.
A new member in Bookmarks big family! Albanian version
 A manual for combating hate speech online through human rights education

Hate speech is one of the most worrying forms of racism and discrimination prevailing across Europe and amplified by the Internet and social media. Young people are directly concerned as agents and victims of online abuse of human rights; Europe needs young people to care and look after human rights, the life insurance for democracy. Bookmarks was originally published to support the No Hate Speech Movement youth campaign of the Council of Europe for human rights online. The campaign may be officially over, but the education and awareness-raising to counter hate speech and promote human rights values remain an urgent task for young people of all ages.
New video: Young women’s participation
 YOUTH - EU-Council of Europe youth partnership

8 March is a great occasion to remind ourselves that equality and access to rights is experienced differently by young women and men. Watch the video of the EU-Council of Europe youth partnership to learn what research says about young women’s participation in social, political and economic life and what can be done to achieve greater gender justice in our societies.
Drawn by Alberto Floridi
New podcast: COVID-19 and learning mobility
YOUTH - EU-Council of Europe youth partnership

Learning mobility of young people during the pandemic practically stopped. What impact COVID-19 had on the mobility of young people in Europe? How did it affect the functioning of youth organisations? What is the future of learning mobility? Listen to the new episode of our Under 30' podcast exploring this topic.
Do you want to know more about the topic? Read the desk research study on COVID-19 and Learning Mobility by Ewa Krzaklewska and Özgehan Şenyuva.
The 162nd meeting of the Eurimages Board of Management and the different thematic working groups were held online from 11 to 19 March. During the meeting, a total of €5.8m in funding was awarded to 24 feature film projects, including three documentaries and three animations. 46% of the projects selected were directed by women, with 38% of the total amount going to these projects. Co-productions from French director Michel Hazanavicius and Belgian filmmaking duo Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are among projects selected. 

Also during the meeting, two external consultancies presented their findings on the future of the Fund’s support to experimental and non-conventional filmmaking and on new ways to support the distribution of films. These studies will be published on the Fund’s website and a study group has been mandated to examine the findings of the reports and make recommendations for action during the policy plenary session in November. 

The Board approved unanimously the request of Canada to become a full member of the Fund. Its favourable opinion will be communicated for decision to the Committee of Ministers via the Rapporteurs Group on Legal co-operation, GR-J. On 11 March, during the digital edition of Cartoon Movie 2021, the Eurimages Co-production Development Award of €20,000 was granted to the project SHADOWS by Nadia Micault. This animation will be produced by the French company Autour de Minuit in co-operation with Panique! from Belgium and Schmuby (FR).
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the North-South Centre discovered or rediscovered, through a selection of interviews, the struggles of exceptional and highly committed women who stand up for women’s rights, bearing in mind the theme chosen by the United Nations for International Women’s Day: female leadership. In this regard, the proposal of their efforts in different parts of the world stress the interdependent and global dimension of the persistent challenge to achieve gender equality. 

Nabila Hamza, North-South Prize laureate of the Council of Europe 2019 and our ambassador for this international women's rights day will close the series interviews that include other names such as Kathryn Gwiazdon, Executive Director, Center for Environmental Ethics and Law or Hibaaq Osman, founder of Karama. Municipal Councillor and President of the Women and Family Commission of La Marsa in Tunisia, she delivers a strong message recalling the meaning of this day and noting the efforts that remain to be done for a true realisation of women's rights worldwide. 

On 9 March the North-South Centre participated in the Bridge 47 advocacy working group meeting. This meeting focused on updates of i) the monitoring process of Envision 4.7 roadmap; ii) the European Education Area (EEA) work and possible coordinated actions; and iii) Policy Working Group members’ actions. 

The Visegrad online experts meeting on Global Development Education  took place on 16 March where over 30 practitioners and decision-makers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia jointly discussed existing perspectives and further developments on the support and practice of GDE - focusing on advocacy, competences development and pedagogical support of practitioners and decision-makers, awareness-raising and networking - taking into consideration the challenges arisen in the context of the current pandemic situation and the contribution of GDE in this context. 

Through plenary and working sessions, participants reviewed the state of advancement of advocacy, professional development of and pedagogical support to educators and institutional stakeholders and proposed a roadmap to increase GDE advocacy and capacity-building at national and regional level.
The EDQM takes the lead in promoting ethical organ transplantation practices through its new Registry of International Travel for Transplantation Activity
Transplantation is now a consolidated therapy saving and improving the lives of more than 110,000 patients every year throughout the world. However, access to transplantation is unequal across countries. The number of patients receiving a transplant ranges from 0 to more than 100 per million inhabitants. Currently, only 84 countries in the world report kidney transplant activity, and the number of countries which report on extrarenal transplants is much lower (70 for liver, 57 for heart and 46 for lung transplants). While, in exceptional circumstances, some patients may be properly referred for transplantation abroad by their treating physicians for medical, organisational (e.g. co-operation agreements between countries) or social reasons (e.g. to facilitate family support), other desperate patients with no or limited access to transplantation in their home countries may also try to resort to transplantation abroad. Travel for transplantation becomes transplant tourism, and thus unethical, when it involves trafficking in persons for the purpose of organ removal, trafficking in human organs, or when the resources (organs, professionals and transplant centres) devoted to providing transplants to non-resident patients undermine the country's ability to provide transplant services for its own population. However, at present, the phenomenon of travel for transplantation is a largely unexplored topic.The EDQM/Council of Europe Network of National Focal Point (NFP) on Travel for Transplantation has since 2017 been collecting information about patients who received a transplant abroad. All this information will now be compiled and regularly submitted to the newly revamped Registry of International Travel for Transplantation Activity (RITTA) for regular analysis and assessment by the network. The valuable information exchanged through this registry, first of its kind in the entire world, will help to better understand and analyse the phenomenon of travel for transplantation, assess of its dimension, and identify possible hotspots of transplant tourism that deserve careful investigation by the countries concerned. In addition, it will help improve knowledge of the profile of donors and recipients involved, the quality of the transfer of recipient care and its impact on post-transplant outcomes. Ultimately, this knowledge will contribute to improving practices and identifying tools and resources to be developed at national and international level with the final goal of promoting ethical travel for transplantation and combatting illicit practices.
Phasing out animal testing for in-process control of veterinary vaccines: Clostridium septicum as a proof of concept

On 9 and 10 March 2021, a virtual workshop aimed at facilitating the implementation of replacement in vitro toxicity and antigenicity assays for Clostridium septicum vaccine antigens was jointly organised by the EDQM, the European Partnership for Alternative Approaches to Animal Testing (EPAA) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). Also on the agenda was a discussion of the regulatory consequences of the related revisions to veterinary vaccine monographs undertaken by the European Pharmacopoeia Group of Experts on Veterinary Vaccines and Sera (15V) and the potential for international harmonisation.In an effort to foster international harmonisation for the implementation of the replacement methods, the workshop brought together manufacturers and regulators from all over the world. Well over 200 attendees from some 43 countries participated in each workshop session, representing quality control laboratories in both the private (veterinary vaccine manufacturers) and public (OMCLs) sectors, regulators and experts, researchers and students. This workshop is the follow-up of a collaborative study (BSP130) conducted under the Biological Standardisation Programme (BSP), co-funded by the European Union and the EDQM/Council of Europe. Fourteen manufacturers and public-sector control laboratories were enrolled in an international study run under the common aegis of the EDQM and the EPAA. The whole results of this BSP130 study were presented and analysed during the workshop. Experimental work toward the extension of the concept to other clostridial toxins was also presented. The study results have demonstrated that cell-based assays can be more sensitive and accurate, have high reproducibility, can shorten the duration of tests and provide huge advantages in terms of saving animal lives and reducing costs, while ensuring safety and public health are not compromised.
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