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Directorate General of Democracy
Issue 22 – 9 April 2021
The European Pharmacopoeia moves ahead
The 169th session of the European Pharmacopoeia Commission took place on 23-24 March. Held virtually for the third time, attendance was higher than usual, with more than 140 people – including 60 representatives of 32 countries that have signed the Convention, 17 experts from observer States (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Russian Federation, Georgia, Uzbekistan, India and Japan), the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and 28 chairs of the European Pharmacopoeia’s (Ph. Eur.) 61 groups of experts and working parties taking part.During the session, the Commission adopted 68 texts, including 9 new monographs and 18 texts that had undergone technical revision (substantial modification of their scientific content). As is standard procedure at the Ph. Eur., before being submitted to the Commission these texts were published for public enquiry on the Ph. Eur.’s online commenting forum, Pharmeuropa, to give stakeholders the chance to review the proposed changes. All comments received by the EDQM (often via the various National Pharmacopoeia Authorities) are shared with the group of experts responsible for the text, which will decide on how best to deal with them. The Commission, however, always has the final say in this matter. The remaining 41 texts adopted in March had undergone “minor revision” and, again according to standard procedure, had been submitted directly for adoption without a public enquiry stage. All 68 texts will be published in supplement 7 to the 10th Edition of the Ph. Eur. The Ph. Eur. will then comprise 2847 texts, including 2464 individual monographs (including monographs on different dosage forms) and 383 more general texts (general monographs and analytical methods).This March session also saw no fewer than six new monographs and 47 revision projects added to the work programme, with the Commission also deciding to stop revision work on 4 others. Today, the Ph. Eur. work programme comprises 320 new texts to be elaborated and more than 350 submitted for technical revision. The entire work programme is reviewed annually in detail by the Commission. To this end, the chairs of the expert groups and working parties are invited to present, at one of the three annual Commission sessions, a progress report on their group’s work, including their successes and any difficulties encountered. Twenty chairs also presented their individual progress reports at this session, highlighting the successes and the difficulties encountered over the past months. While it is clear that the pandemic has had a significant impact on a number of projects, the chairs praised the experts and the Secretariat for their rapid response to the challenges of the situation and for their commitment to ensuring that the meeting schedule and work programme targets – and by extension, the publication deadlines – were maintained.
New CM recommendation in the field of Sports 

The Committee of Ministers has adopted a Recommendation to its member States on extreme martial art and combat activities. The new recommendation, which was negotiated and drafted by EPAS, focuses on those aspects which can significantly help to prevent risks to the health of the practitioners. It also aims at ensuring that these activities are in keeping with the requirements of existing norms with regard to the values of sport, the prevention of doping and the manipulation of sports competitions, fair competition and the training of coaches and referees. The recommendation sets the aims, calls for multi-stakeholder co-operation and invites EPAS to follow up and facilitate co-operation. It replaces Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation R(99)11 which was on the prohibition of free fighting contests such as cage fighting.
Photo contest - Participate in the #TogetherInTheDistance campaign !
DGII as well as its Partial Agreement North-South Centre are part of a joint campaign “Together in the distance: Building new solidarities in a changing world.”, launched by the EU Delegation to the Council of Europe to celebrate the resilience of societies across Europe and beyond and pay tribute to those who demonstrated solidarity with their own kind in the face of the crisis. This international campaign will connect with the #Solidaction campaign, which came up at the same time of the year in 2020. Both are supporting the voices and actions of those who see in solidarity a response to the current challenges. This call is an opportunity to share visual messages of hope all around the world !

Do you have a story to share about an act of solidarity you carried out? Would you like to say thank you to someone who set an example of courage and solidarity during the last 12 months? 

Send your picture and testimonial through this form by the 31 May 2021. 

The selected photos will be featured in a virtual exhibition and in a dedicated photobook and postcards collection.
EDQM continues to support independent quality control of medicines in African countries
The African Medicines Quality Forum (AMQF) is a technical working group of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonization (AMRH) Programme and plays a key role in assuring the quality of medicines circulating on the African markets by independent laboratory testing. The forum was established in 2017 to build and strengthen the capacity of African countries in independent medicines quality control and regional post-market surveillance with the goal to contribute in reducing sub-standard and falsified medicines on the continent. The work is supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and sponsored by a number of donors, such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.The AMQF has put in place a Technical Committee consisting of representatives from National Quality Control Laboratories of different African countries, comparable to the Advisory Group of the General European OMCL Network (GEON) coordinated by the EDQM, which establishes the work programme in Europe together with the members of the OMCL Network. Similar to the GEON, the work programme of the African Control Laboratory Network includes the running of coordinated post-market surveillance studies applying risk-based selection of products, as well as inter-laboratory studies to monitor the competences of its members in the testing of medicines. The AMQF and its technical body have also set up a peer audit and training visit scheme to give support to its members in developing and improving their laboratory quality systems, similar to the Mutual Joint Audit (MJA) and Training Visit (TV) programmes developed by the EDQM and its network. With the support of WHO, an IT platform has been put in place for AMQF members which allows sharing of test data and other relevant information with the aim to foster networking. For all these essential elements, EDQM has provided technical support to AMQF based on its own experience in building up the necessary infrastructure for the GEON.The EDQM participated in the first two Annual Meetings of the AMQF in 2018 in Tanzania and 2019 in Morocco as partner organisation, and since then continues to give scientific input on a regular basis to the forum. On the 30 and 31 March 2021, the virtual 4th AMQF Annual Meeting focused on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, the African continent was confronted with a high number of substandard and falsified “COVID-19 medicines” and low quality medical devices as well as hand sanitizers. The group also discussed the outcome of recent testing activities and established a work plan for 2021. One long-term objective of the African control laboratories remains to become self-financed in running their programmes independently from donors. The EDQM as partner of the AMQF will continue to provide technical support, where needed, in building an All African OMCL Network.
Using a human rights-based language in responding to hate speech: a challenge for equality bodies across Europe
On 29 March, over 40 staff of equality bodies from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership region explored communication approaches related to counter and alternative narratives to hate speech and developed ideas and plans for their own institution’s communication in the coming months. This activity is part of a capacity-building programme to provide tools and peer-to-peer exchanges for these institutions, to better develop responses to hate speech, using the European standards and practices as reference, especially the ECRI General policy recommendation nr. 15 on combating hate speech. Equality bodies need to make strong efforts to respond to hate speech in the framework of their mandate, and to do so they need to shape counter and alternative narratives to hate speech. This activity is organised within the joint programmes of the European Union and the Council of Europe, the Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey (HF) and the Partnership for Good Governance (PGG) and in particular the action “Promotion of diversity and equality in the Western Balkans” (HF) and the project “Strengthening access to justice through non-judicial redress mechanisms for victims of discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes in the Eastern Partnership” (PGG).
Presenting first results of the joint methodology on hate crime data collection
On 18 March, the General Prosecutor’s Office, the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the National Statistics Office of Georgia with the support of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia organised a presentation of the joint data collection on hate crimes. Since September 2018, the Council of Europe Office in Georgia, in the framework of the co-operation project “Fight against discrimination, hate crimes and hate speech in Georgia”, with the support of the Danish Neighbourhood Programme in Georgia (DANEP), has been assisting stakeholders to improve hate crime data collection methodology. As a result of an inclusive process, recommendations regarding the new data collection methodology, specific guidelines and data collection templates on hate crime, discrimination and hate speech in line with ECRI recommendations and current needs were developed. In 2020 a memorandum on cooperation between the agencies on the collection of data on hate crime was signed.
On 22 March, the Intercultural Cities programme announced the membership of Ephesus Selçuk (Turkey), the third Turkish city to join the ICC network and the 146th member of the ICC family. A city with a very rich cultural landscape, Ephesus Selçuk declared deeply committed to making its diversity asset visible, by recognising the multiple ethnic, religious, cultural, and social groups living in the city, and helping them to develop a common future based on mutual understanding and respect, free from all kinds of discrimination.  

On 24 March the Intercultural Cities programme, together with the city of Fuenlabrada (Spain) and the Spanish Network of Intercultural Cities (RECI) organised a seminar on "The social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the migrant population", targeting civil servants and practitioners from local authorities across Spain. The objective of the seminar was to share lessons learned and reflect on the social effects of the pandemic on migrants and refugees, while bringing forward the solutions identified by local authorities in Spain and abroad. Over 100 participants took part in the Seminar. The seminar was part of the celebratory events organised by the city of Fuenlabrada to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

On 25 March, as a part of the events organised by the Permanent Observer Mission of Japan to mark the 25th anniversary of their Observer Status, the Intercultural Cities Programme and the Permanent Mission held a “Webinar on Intercultural Cities in the Asia-Pacific - Local experiences, regional cooperation”. The webinar presented the ICC model based on the experience of participating cities from the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. Representatives of ICC member cities in Japan, South Korea and Australia shared how the ICC concept has taken root in their cities and how it is applied to the fields of intercultural education, multilingualism, inclusion in the job market and migrants participation in emergency management and recovery.

On 30 and 31 March 2021, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) held its 85th Plenary, including an Exchange of Views with the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe. 

National Minorities and Minority Languages 
From 22 March to 23 March, the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages held its 68th plenary meeting by videoconference. The Committee of Experts examined how the Slovak Republic, Spain as well as the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man have implemented the recommendations for immediate action contained in the respective previous evaluation reports, and adopted its evaluations in respect of each State Party.

The Roma and Travellers team has participated in the PACE session on 26 March 2021 when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education and culture was discussed. The COVID-19 crisis revealed existing inequalities in access to quality education and exacerbated these inequalities. Several studies carried out during this period show that certain categories of students, including the Roma students, were excluded from the education process, not being able to join their peers in online classes. The experience of the EU/CoE Joint Project INSCHOOL has been presented, showing that schools already engaged in participatory processes of advancing towards more inclusion were better equipped to respond to the needs of students at risk of exclusion and more resilient in adapting to the new context. Such approaches could be expanded and mainstreamed in education policies

On 29 March 2021, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe addressed the Lanzarote Committee at the opening of its 31st meeting (29 March – 1 April). She emphasised that the fight against children sexual exploitation and sexual abuse would remain a priority for the Council of Europe. The Committee also held an exchange of views with the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children and the Executive Director of the Technology Coalition on Fighting Child Sexual Abuse. Otherwise the Committee focused on examining the draft chapters concerning education, training of professionals working with children, research and awareness raising initiatives of its forthcoming monitoring report on the challenges raised by child-self generated sexual images
Online training on theory and practice in intervening in cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation
On 10, 24 and 29 March 2021 the Council of Europe project Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova conducted a series of three online training sessions on theory and practice in intervening in cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation for social assistants and other representatives of interagency teams. The purpose of the training sessions was to enhance the knowledge and capacities of social workers and other relevant frontline professionals in identification and intervening in cases of child sexual exploitation and abuse. The overall number of participants encompassed 600 and included social workers, police officers and medical assistants of family doctors
Barnahus Law in Slovenia adopted unanimously
On 26 March 2021, the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia adopted unanimously the Law on Child Protection in Criminal Proceedings and their comprehensive treatment in Barnahus (Children’s House). The Law is unique in its attempt to comprehensively regulate the establishment and operation of the Barnahus in a single act, the first of its kind in Europe, and aims at protecting children from all forms of violence. The development and adoption of the Law shows strong commitment of the Slovenian authorities to upholding children’s rights and constitutes a major milestone of the joint Council of Europe - EU Structural Reform Support Programme (DG REFORM) project “Support the Implementation of Barnahus/Children’s House in Slovenia”.
CP4EUROPE - Strengthening National Child Participation Frameworks and Action in Europe”
On 1 April 2021, Children’s Rights Division of the Council of Europe and its Partners from the Czech Republic, Finland, Iceland, Portugal and Slovenia, started the new EU-Council of Europe joint Project “CP4EUROPE - Strengthening National Child Participation Frameworks and Action in Europe” which they will  implement at European and national levels until 31 March 2023. The main objective of CP4EUROPE is to increase the means, the spaces and the opportunities for child participation in EU and Council of Europe member states, and to support national activities through pan-European networking action and visibility. The project will promote, in particular, the use of the Council of Europe Child Participation Tool (CPAT) and the new Handbook on Children’s Participation “Listen – Act – Change”, as specific tools in this area, and support the development of new (model) tools through national action.
EU/CoE Joint Project INSCHOOL
On Thursday, 25 March 2021, the first session of the EU/CoE Joint Project INSCHOOL “Training on quality and inclusive education for teacher and education professionals” took pace online. Nearly 40 participants (teachers, principals, pedagogues, etc.) from the Czech Republic, Romania and the Slovak Republic participated in the event. The aim of the training course was to raise understanding of the benefits of inclusive education and develop  professional competences in methodological and pedagogical work facilitating the implementation of a high quality and inclusive educational activities for all children, more specifically for Roma children and other groups having different learning and educational needs.
“Roma and Travellers in Europe and Ireland”
On 31 March 2021, the Council of Europe Roma and Travellers Team participated in an online webinar on “Roma and Travellers in Europe and Ireland”, organised by the German Embassy in Dublin in the framework of the German Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Panellist included Senator Eileen Flynn, first female Traveller member of the Irish Senate, Mr Martin Collins, Co-Director of Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, Timea Junghaus, Director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, and Thorsten Afflerbach, Head of the Roma and Travellers Team of the Council of Europe. The event was attended by 75 participants. While welcoming the 2017 formal recognition of Travellers as ethnic minority with a distinct culture and identity by the Irish Government as a historical step, panellists and participants also discussed challenges to be met in the areas of accommodation, education and employment as identified by ECRI and very recently by the European Committee of Social Rights.
European Label of Governance Excellence: New Accreditations - 29 March, Online
 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.The Centre of Expertise for Good Governance is currently supporting the implementation of ELoGE in a dozen of CoE member states. The European Stakeholders’ Platform is in charge of accrediting the national organisations to deliver ELoGE. At its meeting on 29 March, the Platform discussed and decided to grant new accreditations to the following organisations:
  • Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities (TÖOSZ) to implement ELoGE in Hungary until 2024.
  • Italian Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (AICCRE) to implement ELoGE in Italy until 2024.
  • Association for Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA) to implementing ELoGE in Croatia and North Macedonia until 2023.
The Platform also favourably considered the request submitted by the Chair for Good Government at the University of Murcia and invited the applicant to submit a more detailed Action Plan.In deciding on each request, the European Stakeholders’ Platform considered the impact of possible Covid-19 restrictions, the outreach capacity of the requesting entities amongst municipalities, their expertise, capacity and experience in the field of good governance, the gender dimension, and the involvement of the civil society.
The EU Portuguese Presidency celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Istanbul Convention
On the 6th of April, the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised a High-Level Conference entitled “The tenth anniversary after the signature of the Istanbul Convention. State of play”, marking the beginning of celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the opening for signature of the Istanbul Convention. The event brought together high-level speakers, including the President of GREVIO.
Serbia: Improving Human Resource Management at Local Level - 24 March, Online
In the context of the Programme “Human Resource Management in Local Self-governments – phase 2“, implemented by the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance, representatives of local self-governments took part in a workshop aimed at collecting feedback and identifying the most significant results achieved so far as well as the main challenges lying ahead. The local authorities attending the workshop are using the “municipality support packages” developed by the Centre of Expertise. The package includes a set of mandatory and recommended local legal acts and is complemented with support from consultancy teams.The workshop was also an opportunity to inform participants about the plan to introduce a competencies system for local government employees, which is one of the priorities of the new Public Administration Reform Strategy of the Republic of Serbia.
CEB publishes 2020 Social Inclusion Bond Report
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) published an impact report on its two dedicated COVID-19 Response Social Inclusion Bonds, issued in April and June 2020, respectively. The report provides detailed information on the allocation of the proceeds and the social impact of the projects financed.  In the context of the pandemic the CEB provided financing for Europe’s public health systems as well as for MSMEs. Fifteen projects across 14 countries benefitted from the proceeds of the two social bonds: 28.8 million people received medical care and 85 thousand jobs were preserved or created.

6th meeting of the Bureau of the Gender Equality Commission
The Bureau of the Gender Equality Commission (GEC) met on 29 March 2021 to review and discuss the draft agenda for the 19th GEC meeting (14-15 April 2021), which was approved for publication and transmission to the GEC members and participants.

Meeting of the SYNERGY Network against Gender-based and domestic violence
Governmental and non-governmental professionals from twelve EU countries working directly on policy and implementation measures combatting violence against women and domestic violence gathered online on 29 March for a meeting of the EEA/Norway Grant SYNERGY Network against Gender-based and Domestic Violence, with the participation, as keynote speaker, of Ambassador Nina Nordström, President of the Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention. Information was also provided on the HELP course on access to justice for women for SYNERGY members, which was then launched on 7 April.

Improving Data Collection on Trafficking in Kosovo*
In Kosovo*, a working group on setting up a database on trafficking in human beings met during the week on 29 March - 2 April 2021 in order to prepare templates and protocols for the collection of data on victims of trafficking and the criminal justice response to human trafficking.

Decentralisation Programme in Ukraine, 1 April: Enlarged Steering Committee Meeting praises the results of the programme and approves its new Action Plan
The Council of Europe Decentralisation project is an exemplary project, first and foremost because it has been a successful not only for its achievements but also for the way it has been conducted – in a very close partnership between the Government of Ukraine, Parliament, local government associations and civil society,” underlined Claudia Luciani, Director of Human Dignity, Equality and Governance of the Council of Europe, at the Steering Committee of the Programme “Enhancing decentralisation and public administration reform in Ukraine,” which met online on 1 April.Over 50 representatives of the Programme’s partners took part to the meeting, including the leadership of the Ministry of Territorial Development, the Parliamentary Committee on Local Self-Government, the National Agency for Civil Service, the Kiyv City State Administration, local government associations, think tanks, experts, diplomats, and donors. They discussed the current state, challenges, and priorities of the on-going decentralisation reform, as well as progress and the next steps of the Programme. The Centre of Expertise for Good Governance has been implementing programmes to support decentralisation reforms in Ukraine since 2010. They were appreciated by the national stakeholders:
  • Our Parliamentary Committee has a long-standing and literally exemplary co-operation history with the Council of Europe. We highly appreciate this Organisation’s legal expertise and consultative support.” – Mr KLOCHKO, MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on State Building, Local Governance, Regional and Urban Development.
  • We appreciate the Council of Europe’s support throughout the decentralisation reform process and also in the period before it was launched… immediately after Ukraine ratified the European Charter of Local Self-Government.” - Mr NEHODA, Deputy Minister for TerritorialDevelopment of Ukraine.
  • The Council of Europe project offers platforms for co-operation of all the national stakeholders, it enables to consolidate efforts and ideas” – Ms POLTAVETS, Executive Director of the Association of Amalgamated Communities.
Training legal professionals and law students on trafficking in human beings
In Turkey, the HELP course on combating trafficking in human beings was launched on 29 March 2021 for lawyers of the Istanbul Bar Association, then on 8 April for the Gendarmerie General Command on 8 April, and for judges and prosecutors on 9 April.  In North Macedonia, a webinar for legal professionals linked to the HELP course took place on 12 April.An awareness-raising workshop for students and teachers on combating trafficking in human beings which took place on 2 April 2021 at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Tangier (Morocco) with participation of national experts in the field. The national and international framework in the area of trafficking in human beings and particularly the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, as well as the HELP course on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, were presented to the participants.
Ensuring sustainable and representative citizens' engagement in the time of Covid-19 constraints
The Council of Europe project “Strengthening civil participation in democratic decision making in Ukraine” supports Khmelnytsyi, Stryi and Chernivtsi city councils in establishing effective mechanisms for public consultations during Covid-19 restrictions. The specifically developed three-stage project methodology is composed of: 1) raising awareness about the benefits of the mechanism of public consultations in the development and adoption of the Regulation on public space and citizen engagement; 2) conducting online trainings for officials responsible for public consultations and active NGOs on the algorithm for implementing the provisions and the main methods of involvement of citizens; 3) providing capacity-building support and coaching in piloting of the Regulation on a selected public space project.
Strengthening the role of the judiciary in combating violence against women in Morocco
The Council of Europe and the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Morocco organised, on 31 March and 1 April 2021, two training sessions aimed at strengthening the role of public prosecutors in combatting violence against women and domestic violence. In total, 85 judges were able to deepen their approach to the issues related at the level of the judicial chain, as well as their knowledge of national and international standards and best practices applicable in this area, in particular concerning the prevention of violence in times of pandemic, the protection of underage victims, as well as violence in the digital environment.
Raising awareness and capacity building on the protection of children in the online environment in Morocco
An awareness session for parents on the protection of children online was organised on 18 March 2021 in Morocco. This session enabled parents to be informed on the subject in order to provide them with the means to find the guidance adapted to their child or teenager facing the  risks associated to the use of the Internet for children. In this context, the awareness-raising spot on protecting children online for parents, produced by the Council of Europe on the occasion of Safer Internet Day 2021, was also broadcasted. On 24 March, the Council of Europe, in collaboration with the National Observatory for the Rights of the Child (ONDE) organised a capacity building workshop for around 30 ONDE professionals as well as representatives from non-governmental organisations. Supervised by national and international experts, it aimed to train them to the technical aspects of the protection of children online, such as the safeguarding of digital evidence, to update their knowledge and to provide them with national and international statistics in this field.
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.
The EDVAW platform launches a new publication 
On the 24th of March, the EDVAW Platform of 7 independent United Nations and regional expert mechanisms on the elimination of discrimination and violence against women, of which GREVIO is a member, called upon all States, relevant stakeholders worldwide and the UN Commission on the Status of Women to adopt a human rights based approach to the implementation of strategies for the elimination of discrimination and violence against women and the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, as presented also in their joint publication launched during the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
New Report: European Standards and Promising Practices related to Data Collection on Violence against Women
The report of the webinar on “Administrative data collection and analysis on violence against women and domestic violence” is now published, presenting minimum European standards, including GREVIO’s recommendations, as well as promising practices from six European countries (Austria, France, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK) on collecting, recording and transforming data on violence against women and multi-agency co-operation. “Data is not just boring numbers. It is the main tool that can allow the states to analyse and follow up on their efforts to prevent and combat violence against women”, said Biljana Brankovic, the webinar rapporteur.
Academic Integrity in Higher Education
A Best Practice Programme in Promoting Academic Integrity during COVID-19 was recently announced, with the aim of identifying, publicly recognising and disseminating relevant practices across Europe. The practices will be selected through a public call open to public and private higher education institutions. A compilation of good practices on promoting academic integrity will be disseminated across higher education institutions and by using the ETINED Platform. An award ceremony will be organised in autumn 2021.
Co-managed youth statutory bodies pay special attention to transversality
From 22-24 March, the fully online co-managed youth statutory meetings were very well attended with more than 130 registered participants. 

The separate and joint committee meetings paid special attention to communication and transversality with other work sectors in the Organisation. 
 The CDEJ (European Steering Committee for Youth), CCJ (Advisory Council on Youth) and/or CMJ (Joint Council on Youth) exchanged views with the Director of Democratic Participation, the ADI-ROM's youth rapporteur and a representative of the CDADI (GT-ADI-MIN).  

The CMJ Roma rapporteur, the CMJ Gender Equality Rapporteur, the CMJ Rapporteur on mainstreaming disability issues, the CMJ Co-ordinator on communications and the CMJ Co-ordinator on anti-racism all provided detailed updates.  

The cooperation with the team of the SRSG on Migration and Refugees, with the Council of Europe Ad-Hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI) and with the Congress on Local and Regional Authorities received special focus. The Conference of INGOs, EYCA (European Youth Card Association cooperation with the 4U Cultural Routes) and the North South Centre also provided updates on their own priorities/activities to the committees.
Joint session with EYF and the Quality Labelled Youth Centres
 On 26 March, an online seminar was held by the EYF and the network of Quality-Labelled Youth Centres, to increase mutual understanding and to explore opportunities for further co-operation. The EYF had the opportunity to share some of its programme and criteria with representatives from 12 of the 14 labelled centres, and learn about their work, their partners and some of the challenges they face, which provided useful context for a fruitful discussion on possible partnerships and next steps to advance each of their missions and the common goal to support youth work and young people in Europe.
  • To learn about each other and understand how our organisations support youth NGOs and youth projects, and
  • To identify ways we could jointly engage to support youth NGOs and youth projects.

The Steering Committee for Education Policy and Practice (CDPPE) met for its 15th plenary session on three consecutive mornings from 24 March. The Committee considered and advised on the priorities for the 2022-25 Education programme, including for the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture. It also considered the first draft of a CM recommendation on the role of plurilingual education to furthering democratic culture, adopted a proposal for developing an activity on the local democratic mission of higher education and advised on developments with regard to history education, the reform of the Schools of Political Studies, and capacity building activities.

Three network meetings were held online to launch ECML Training and Consultancy (TaC) workshops for 2021. One focused on RELANG, an initiative co-funded by the European Commission, while the other two focused on eight key areas of language education - Action research, Teacher competences, Whole-school approaches, Language for Work, Language in subjectsICT, Quality education in Romani and Pluriliteracies. A total of twenty-seven local organisers worked with the expert teams to prepare workshops for language professionals, tailored to their specific national contexts. In total, the ECML will deliver thirty-seven capacity-building workshops between May and December 2021.

European Heritage Days 
The second session of the EHD Assembly for the National Co-ordinators took place online on 29 March 2021, focusing mainly on visibility and communications issues, including further development of the new EHD website. A Call for Advisory Panels – small groups of National Co-ordinators who could contribute at pertinent moments to certain aspects of the Programme development – was also launched. The National Co-ordinators were invited to express interest in joining the panels on Sustainable Heritage (the EHD shared pan-European theme for 2022), Living Heritage (shared theme for 2023), Data and Evaluation, Digital Heritage and Communications.
In preparation of the change in its governance structure on 1 January 2022, Eurimages launched on 23 March a restricted market consultation to commission the development of an IT platform for the Management of External Experts of the Eurimages Fund. Also in view of this change, a study group mandated by the Board of Management of the Fund worked on a draft policy document outlining areas of strategic importance to Eurimages in the short term (3 to 5 years), in the context of the recent adoption of a revised founding Resolution. 

At the end of March, the Fund also launched a new podcast series on co-production in collaboration with film industry website Cineuropa. Each episode invites producers to share best practices in co-production and to inspire new industry-wide collaborations in Europe and beyond. In the prequel episode of the Co-production Podcast, Cineuropa's editor-in-chief, Domenico La Porta, speaks with Roberto Olla, Executive Director of Eurimages, about this new collaboration and the role of Eurimages in the European audiovisual landscape.
A Regional Grant Scheme to reinforce protection mechanisms for victims of violence against women in the Southern Mediterranean
In the framework of the joint programme between the European Union and the Council of Europe "Regional Support to Reinforce Human rights, Rule of Law and Democracy in the Southern Mediterranean" (South Programme IV), the North-South Centre awarded eight grants to civil society organisations specialised in the provision of protection services for women victims of violence in the Southern Mediterranean. These organisations will implement different actions in their respective constituencies as part of a regional grant-scheme that aims at strengthening the capacities of civil society in the region to improve the protection and support provided to victims of violence against women and domestic violence. More information about the eight projects selected and the organisations behind them here
Call for trainers, experts, consultants, and artists
The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe just launched an international consultancy call for tenders to set up a pool of maximum 230 providers (trainers, experts, campaigners and artists) who would support the North South Centre’s projects and activities for the next four years. Deadline to submit proposals is 25 April. More info here
Faro Convention Faro brochure now available in German and five further national languages
With the aim of further increasing its accessibility to all interested parties, the German version of the new Faro Convention brochure has now been added to the list of languages offered, namely English, French, Serbian, Italian and Lithuanian. These can all be found on a new dedicated page which also includes a video message from the Director General of Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković, who encourages wide dissemination of the brochure as a simple but powerful tool for promoting the Convention’s principles among citizens, communities, heritage stakeholders, and local, regional and national authorities.
New study “Polish civil society and the aims of the Faro Convention” now available online
This study identifies civil society heritage initiatives in Poland that apply the Faro Convention principles, emphasising the collaboration among various stakeholders (academics, heritage institutions, authorities and heritage communities) and highlighting the limitations that heritage initiatives currently face in developing their projects. It thus emphasises the importance of national authorities signing and ratifying the Faro Convention in order to fully unleash such initiatives and reflect on the crucial role that cultural heritage can play in the everyday life of societies, and its contribution both to sustainable development and the economy.
The Education Department has produced three promotional videos to offer a wider public a glimpse of its current activities. The videos cover the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture, Digital Citizenship Education and the Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants Toolkit.
* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, 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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