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Directorate General of Democracy
DG II DEMOCRACY NEWSLETTER
Issue 27 – 21 June 2021
IN FOCUS

More than 200 participants followed on 18 June the Open Day of the DGII Partial Agreements organised on line. The Director General of Democracy Mrs Snežana Samardžic-Markovic brought together eight Partial Agreements in a virtual event intended for Permanent Representations, ministry representatives in intergovernmental bodies and staff.

Sharing the in-depth insights into the work of the Partial Agreements, better understanding the developments and major issues of their action, this was the objective of the half-day presentation of the work of the DG Democracy Partial Agreements.

Eight presentations on the role of the Partial Agreements in multilateral cooperation, their strategic goals and challenges, as well as their response to Covid-19 were given by the Executives Secretaries and the Presidents of Boards of:

  • Major and technological disasters (EUR-OPA)
  • Eurimages
  • Global interdependence and solidarity (North-South Centre)
  • Youth mobility through the youth card
  • European centre for modern languages (Graz Centre) 
  • Enlarged Partial agreement on sport (EPAS)
  • Cultural routes
  • Observatory on history teaching in Europe
 

The recorded programme for this Open Day can be replayed via the dedicated webpage: Partial Agreement open doors day

DIRECTORATE OF HUMAN DIGNITY, EQUALITY AND GOVERNANCE
EVENTS
World Forum for Democracy

Greening the youth sector : Sustainability checklist

What can the youth sector do to make its projects and activities more sustainable? Join us for the presentation of the sustainability checklist, which will serve as guidelines for youth initiatives across Europe. The checklist was developed by the EU-CoE youth partnership, in cooperation with the Task Force on greening the youth sector, and in consultation with youth organisations. LIVE on Facebook.

Forum Insta Talk "Climate strikes: Youth demand urgent action"

Young climate activists are leading the fight against climate crisis – how do they organise, what type of actions are they taking and how did they adapt their activism to the pandemic world? Join the conversation with Ivy Boileau, activist from the movement Youth for Climate in France. Our followers can join the conversation on the WFD Instagram account.

COMMITTEES, MONITORING, WORKING GROUPS,

The CDDG is drafting a CM Recommendation on accountability of local and regional elected representatives

The CDDG’s working group entrusted with this task (GT-RE) examined at its 3rd meeting on 14 June, held by videoconference, a second version of the draft, which aims at providing guidelines for the establishment of accountability. This future standard should give a legal frame to the ways in which democratically elected representatives can be sanctioned, and in particular can lose their mandate before term, in case of misuse of power. It also lists a series of complementary aspects as scrutiny mechanisms, the definition of the accountability perimeter, best practices in the field of corporate governance, audit and policy evaluation, transparency, access to information, awareness-raising. The CDDG is expected to proceed with the final adoption of the draft at its 14th plenary meeting (29-30 November 2021).  

GRETA resumes monitoring visits : GRETA is carrying out its third evaluation visit to Portugal from 14 to 18 June 2021.

28th meeting of the Committee of the Parties to the Anti-Trafficking Convention

The 28th meeting of the Committee of the Parties to the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings was held in Strasbourg on 4 June. The Committee adopted recommendations concerning Bulgaria, Denmark, GeorgiaMontenegro and Romania, based on GRETA’s third round evaluation reports. Ms Svala Ísfeld Ólafsdóttir (Icelandic) was elected as a GRETA member for a first term of office running until 31 December 2022. The Committee also elected Ambassador Christian Meuwly (Switzerland) and Ambassador Marie Fontanel (France) as, respectively, its new Chair and Vice-Chair, for a first term of office of one year.

  


COOPERATION ACTIVITIES
Good Government and Youth Participation: ELoGE in Friuli Venezia Giulia

The Centre of Expertise for Good Governance is supporting the first implementation of the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) in Italy, in the region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, in collaboration with the Italian Association of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions – Friuli Venezia Giulia Federation (AICCRE FVG) and the Institute of International Sociology of Gorizia (ISIG). 

In this framework, AICCRE FVG and ISIG organised a webinar titled “A Look at the Future. Young European Citizens between Political Participation and Good Local Governance in Friuli Venezia Giulia”. The event aimed to raise awareness of young students of the importance of public participation and good governance at local level, and to promote the ongoing implementation of ELoGE, which is currently involving 18 municipalities from the region.

In particular, Mariano Zufferli and Claudia Pollano, respectively Mayor and Councillor with responsibility for EU Networks and Projects of the Municipality of San Pietro al Natisone, presented their experience with the ELoGE programme within their own municipality.

Training for Good Governance in Cyprus

Competent and capable public authorities are key to ensuring good democratic governance. This is why the Centre of Expertise for Good Governance continues supporting implementation of the National Training Strategy in Cyprus, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, the Unions of municipalities and communities, and the Cyprus Academy of Public Administration.

Three training of trainers' sessions are being held online in June. They are dedicated to refreshing the knowledge of the toolkits on Civil Participation and on Monitoring and Evaluation of trainings. In addition, new Council of Europe toolkits will be introduced, such as the Strategic Municipal Planning, the European Label of Governance Excellence, the Leadership Academy, and the latest toolkit developed by the Centre of Expertise, the Resilience Building Strategies (ReBuS), which incorporates crisis management and resilience building into strategic planning.

In the following phase, the Cypriot trainers trained in the implementation of the Council of Europe tools will be providing training and practical support to all local authorities of Cyprus.

Strengthening Metropolitan Governance in the Lviv sub-region, Ukraine

The Centre of Expertise for Good Governance will support the strengthening of the metropolitan governance in the Lviv sub-region in the framework of the Programme “Enhancing decentralisation and public administration reform in Ukraine”. 

This agreement was reached during an online meeting held on 9 June between Andriy Sadovyi, Mayor of the City of Lviv and Daniel Popescu, Head of the Department of Democracy and Governance.

The Centre of Expertise for Good Governance has been supporting Ukraine in the development of metropolitan governance for more than two years, in particular focusing on the Kyiv metropolitan area. It also contributes to the Working Group of the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government, which is responsible for drafting the new version of the law on agglomerations. 

Good Governance Academy in Bulgaria

The National Association of Municipal Clerks in Bulgaria (NAMCB), with the support of the Council of Europe's Centre of Expertise for Good Governance, organised the Leadership training as part of the NAMCB’s Academy of Good Governance.

For five days, from 10 to 14 June, participants from Ukraine, Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece and Bulgaria exchanged views on such topics as strengthening leadership skills; building organisational capabilities; delivering community leadership; conflict management; building social capital, emotional intelligence and staff emancipation. Mayors and local authorities of North Macedonia and Serbia, university professors from Ukraine, Serbia and Bulgaria, as well as non-governmental organisations from Greece and Bulgaria shared their experiences through various role-playing games.

The event was officially opened by Mr. Tyhomir Yanakyev, the mayor of the municipality of Sozopol, Bulgaria.

Ukraine : Innovative CivicLab methodology: supporting effective and inclusive decision-making 
Civil participation

The CoE project “Strengthening  civil participation in democratic decision-making in Ukraine” is implementing innovative approaches and mechanisms to involve citizens in decision-making at local, regional and national levels. The CivicLab methodology, developed in the framework of the project, increases the efficiency and effectiveness of both the decision-making process and the civil participation in it.

Currently, the project assists several pilot municipalities in introducing the methodology in the work of public servants.  The Lviv Regional State Administration became the first regional-level authority that decided to officially implement the CoE CivicLab methodology in its activities. Moreover, recently, the public servants of the Administration were provided with the certification course on the application of the CivicLab methodology in their activities, as well as methodological mentoring in the process of planning and application of the methodology.  

The CivicLab methodology can be tailored, adapted and implemented in all CoE member states and worldwide. The CivicLab Toolkit is available in English and Ukrainian

Republic of Moldova : Electoral stakeholders and media countering misuse of administrative resources in electoral period
Electoral co-operation

The Council of Europe, in co-operation with the Central Electoral Commission of the Republic of Moldova (CEC) and the Centre for Continuing Electoral Training in the Republic of Moldova (Training Centre), organised an online round table on “Awareness raising with electoral stakeholders and media on countering misuse of administrative resources in electoral period” on 4 June 2021.

The Round table brought well-known experts in that area. Over 30 participants and an important number of followers on Facebook representing electoral stakeholders, media and potential voters, learned how to cope with countering misuse of the administrative resources in electoral period in line with the best national and international standards.

At the end of the round table, Ms Rodica Sîrbu, Head of Direction of Communication of CEC, made a call to electoral competitors and media representatives to sign the Code of Conduct on the conduct and reflection of election campaigns in the 11 July 2021 early Parliamentary Elections in the Republic of Moldova.

Strengthening the protection of children in the South Mediterranean region

On 10 June, a new portal aimed at protecting children against sexual abuse and exploitation online was launched by the Ministry of Women, Family, and the Elderly of Tunisia and Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). The launching was supported by the CoE/EU South Programme IV, in cooperation with the Global Partnership ‘End Violence against Children‘ and UNICEF. This platform contributes to the efforts of Tunisia to prevent abuses and sexual exploitation against children online, to protect children against them and to criminalise sexual offences committed against children in compliance with the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention), which entered into force in Tunisia in February 2020.

The HELP course « Child Friendly Justice and Children’s Rights”  is now available online in Arabic. This course presents the international standards and practical guidelines in the area of child-friendly justice. It will be addressed primarily to legal professionals (prosecutors, judges, lawyers) of the Southern Mediterranean region active in the field and will improve the processing of cases of sexual abuse against children using a multidisciplinary approach in the beneficiary countries.

A new Interview Kit for victims of trafficking available in Tunisia

The Tunisian Instance nationale de lutte contre la traite des personnes (INLTP) launched a new Interview Kit for Victims of Human Trafficking. The Kit is intended for professionals in direct contact with victims, witnesses or any other person linked to a trafficking situation. Its objective is to inform and guide professionals in their work on how to establish a relationship of trust with victims. The final objective is to identify perpetrators and ensure the best possible care for the victims, as well as their access to the rights and services guaranteed by the organic law n°2016-61. This Kit, composed of an Interview Guide and astandard questions booklet, is one of the practical tools developed within the framework of the National Referral Mechanism (MNO) for Victims of Trafficking in Persons which is currently being finalised by the Tunisian authorities with Council of Europe support.

Strengthening the role of prosecutors in combating violence against women and domestic violence in Morocco

The Council of Europe and the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor's Office of Morocco organised on 2-3 June, in El Jadida, a training session aimed at strengthening the role of public prosecutors in combatting violence against women and domestic violence. In total, 50 prosecutors were able to deepen 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. A new territorial protocol for the care of women victims of violence was also presented on this occasion by the Moroccan authorities.

The gendered aspects of migration

The Gender Equality Division participated in a webinar organised jointly by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 3 June, to present the work of the Drafting committee on migrant women (GEC-MIG)  . This webinar provided an excellent opportunity to hear about the gender-specific vulnerabilities and discrimination of migrant women and about the necessary integration of a gender equality perspective in migration policies.  

Quality Guidelines for Shelters for Victims of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in Kosovo*

On 27 May, the Council of Europe in co-operation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Division of Family and Social Services launched a set of Quality Guidelines for Shelters for victims of Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, rooted in the Istanbul Convention and other international standards, as well as by practical experiences and good practice examples for running women’s shelters and women’s support services. Based on the guidelines, the Council of Europe project will support the Ministry to train social workers and staff of shelters.

Raising Awareness on the Istanbul Convention and other Gender Equality standards in Azerbaijan

Under the PGGII action ‘Raising awareness of the Istanbul Convention and other gender equality standards in Azerbaijan’,  Azerbaijani stakeholders participated on 31 May in on online pilot session on a twinning methodology in the field of violence against women, domestic violence (VAW/DV) and gender equality, based on the standards of the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention. Once finalised, the Twinning Methodology will help authorities to improve their policies and practices in the field of VAW/DV and gender equality through peer learning. On 8 June, the second of a series of webinars explaining specific articles of the Istanbul Convention took place, dedicated to Article 13 on raising awareness on violence against women. The aim of these series of webinars is to contribute to the debate at the national level on why Azerbaijan should join the convention.

New report: the crucial role of risk assessment in protecting victims in cases of violence against women and domestic violence in Turkey

The report “Assessing and managing risks in cases of violence against women and domestic violence: Strengthening risk assessments, the risk-management system and inter-agency co-ordination in Turkey”,  examines the full cycle of the response of law enforcement to cases of violence against women and domestic violence. It provides recommendations for short, medium and longer-term adjustments to the current risk assessment and management system in Turkey in light of international norms and good-practice standards. It is available in English and Turkish.

Launch of the HELP course on Access to Justice for Women in the Eastern Partnership countries

After a regional online launching event on 8 June, six national tutored courses of the Council of Europe Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) course on Access to Justice for Women will be implemented in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, reaching over 100 judges and prosecutors as part of the PGGII project “Women’s Access to Justice : delivering on the Istanbul Convention and other European gender equality standards  (see Video on the HELP course on Access to Justice for Women)

COUNCIL OF EUROPE DEVELOPMENT BANK

The CEB approves €1 billion in new loans to support Europe’s inclusive recovery

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved 14 new loans totalling about €1 billion. The financing will support investments in multiple social sectors, such as health, education and housing, as well improve access to funding for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The loans will support Europe’s recovery and strengthen social cohesion, with a focus on the most vulnerable and those severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

CEB Award for Social Cohesion 2021 goes to Eco-Razeni

The winner of this year’s CEB Award for Social Cohesion is a social enterprise that provides opportunities for personal and professional development for disadvantaged and disabled youth in the Republic of Moldova. The organisation combines on-the-job training with social catering in rural areas, thereby combating economic and social exclusion and reducing inequalities. Eco-Razeni will receive a €25 000 prize for its innovative social bakery project.

CEB appoints Carlo Monticelli as new Governor

The CEB Governing Board appointed Carlo Monticelli to the post of Governor, effective from 18 December 2021 for a five-year mandate. Mr Monticelli, an Italian national, has been serving as CEB Vice-Governor for Financial Strategy since November 2015. In this capacity he contributed to the success of the CEB in responding to the social challenges Europe is facing. He will be succeeding Rolf Wenzel, who joined the Bank as Governor in 2011.

San Marino issues stamp to mark CEB’s 65-year anniversary

As announced by Ambassador Bollini, the philatelic issue has multiple meanings. It is a work of art, intended to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the CEB, to whom the Republic of San Marino expresses its gratitude for its useful and prompt intervention in the fight against the pandemic in the member states. The stamp also wishes to acknowledge the Bank’s significant contribution through its activities over the decades and it wants to pay tribute to all health sector personnel for their deep commitment in this emergency situation.

DIRECTORATE OF ANTI DISCRIMINATION
EVENTS
Forum on Sport and Human Rights  

Most of the rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights may, in one way or another, be at stake in the context of sport. The work of other monitoring mechanisms of the Council o is also very relevant to prevent and respond to human rights violations.

The Forum on Sport and Human Rights organised on 1 June 2021 focused on the work of these monitoring bodies, bringing them closer to the world of sport.

 The forum reviewed 7 of the 12 Human Rights issues that had been highlighted within the framework of the 16th Conference of Ministers responsible for sport:

  •  Fair trial
  • Data protection
  • Media freedom
  • Young migrant athletes and human trafficking
  • Economic and social rights of athletes, with a focus on the right to health
  • Racism, hate speech and other types of discrimination in sport
  • Gender equality
 

The Forum made proposals on how to address them, in co-operation with the specialised bodies. Its conclusions, which are opening new opportunities for interinstitutional co-operation, will be presented  to the EPAS Governing Board.

The Forum was open to the EPAS Governing Board and Consultative Committee and to the Bureaus of the four Sport Conventions. It gathered over 100 participants, demonstrating the keen interest of our stakeholders in strengthening the human rights protection in sports.



Intercultural Cities

On 9 June the Intercultural Cities programme launched a call for contributions to the 2021 Campaign to mark the World Refugee Day. Under the slogan “Our Intercultural City - Our Home” the objective of the campaign is to raise awareness about the need to promote further the values of interculturality in diverse society. The campaign is built around the concept of “Home” to showcase that home can mean many things and, most importantly, that Home is for all of us. The toolkit for participating cities has already been published. The campaign is supported by the UNHCR.

     

COMMITTEES, MONITORING, WORKING GROUPS

ECRI

From 31 May to 4 June, ECRI carried out monitoring visits to Denmark and Monaco and will draw up its sixth cycle reports on these countries. News on the visit to Monaco: Council of Europe Anti-racism Commission to prepare report on Monaco - News of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) (coe.int)

National Minorities and Minority Languages

On 31 May and 1 June, the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities held its 71st plenary meeting by videoconference. It adopted its final opinion on the implementation of the Convention by the Czech Republic and approved its draft opinion on the implementation of the Convention by San Marino. Furthermore, it held an exchange of views with the Chair and Bureau members of ECRI. On 3 June, the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution CM/ResCMN(2021)14 on the implementation of the Framework Convention by Montenegro. The Advisory Committee’s opinions on Croatia and Liechtenstein were published on 10 June.

CDENF

On 14-15 June 2021, the Council of Europe Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) continued its examination of the upcoming Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2022-2027) during an online plenary session. The revised draft Strategy should be approved at the next CDENF plenary meeting on 13-15 October 2021 and then submitted to the Committee of Ministers before the end of the year, for its adoption in early 2022.

Anti-doping Convention : 53rd meeting of the Monitoring Group (T-DO)

On 10-11 June 2021, 77 participants from 43 States parties and 7 observer organisations met online to advance the implementation of the Anti-doping Convention. The newly adopted T-DO Strategy and Operational Programme for 2021-2023 reflect the priorities for the States parties’ cooperation and standard setting in protecting sport integrity and supporting clean athletes, as well as an important commitment to constantly monitor the quality of the national anti-doping programmes. Important updates included the work on the improvement of anti-doping disciplinary procedures, whistle-blower protection, education, anti-doping laboratories’ network, doping list as well as the evaluation of Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Italy and the UK.

Convention on safety, security and service in sport (CETS Nº 218) : Hungary and Germany sign the Saint-Denis Convention

The Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events (CETS No. 218) was signed on 2 June by Péter Sztáray, State Secretary for Security Policy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and on 7 June by Rolf Mafael, Permanent Representative of Germany to the Council of Europe.

Hungary and Germany are respectively the 17th and 18th Member States of the Council of Europe to sign this Convention which has already been ratified by 20 Member States.

COOPERATION ACTIVITIES

Meet the “No Hate” Ambassadors who joined the “Block the hatred. Share the love!” campaign

In the framework of ‘Promotion of diversity and equality in the Western Balkans’, which is a component of the EU-COE Horizontal Facility II programme, a campaign to combat hate speech was launched in December 2020.

Since then, the campaign’s website and FacebookTwitter and Instagram accounts have significantly increase their daily outreach. In early June, the campaign moved local: it is engaging important public figures and prominent personalities in the region in the effort to fight in particular hate speech directed towards members of vulnerable groups, who have already been affected by stigma and discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first Ambassadors are: Alban Skënderaj, singer, songwriter, composer, actor, producer and television personality from Albania, Edo Maajka, rapper, record producer and songwriter from Bosnia and Herzegovina; Uta Ibrahimi, famous alpinist from Kosovo; Danka Kovinić, professional tennis player from Montenegro; Vlatko Stefanovski, ethno-rock jazz fusion guitar virtuoso singer from North Macedonia and Sara Jo, singer-songwriter and dancer from Serbia.

The Ambassadors will be in the forefront of the campaign, supporting the activities and awareness raising initiatives in the region in the period ahead. Coming from different personal and professional backgrounds, different nationalities and beliefs, they all have a common message to share about respect, diversity and inclusion. They joined this campaign because they believe that they can make a change towards a more inclusive and equal society.

 
Roundtable on equality and non-discrimination practices in the Republic of Moldova, in co-operation with ECRI

On 3 June 2021, an online round table on enhancing equality and non-discrimination discussed the latest  ECRI Conclusions on the Republic of Moldova with national stakeholders. The roundtable focused on successful practice on training of law enforcement officials and judiciary on hate crime and on future steps to combat hate crime and discrimination in the country.

After the presentation of ECRI’s conclusions the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office of the Prosecutor General present their views on combating hate crime and discrimination. Good practice on training for law enforcement and the judiciary were presented by the General Police Inspectorate, the National Institute of Justice and the Superior Council of Prosecutors. In conclusion, future directions of work on combating hate crime and discrimination in the Republic of Moldova were identified by the participant institutions, highlighting the importance of synergies and common efforts to ensure that enforcements officials and the judiciary gain the trust of victims of hate crime and hate speech.

The round table was organised jointly by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) and by the EU - Council of Europe regional project “Strengthening access to justice for victims of discrimination, hate speech and hate crime in the Eastern Partnership” funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe in the framework of the Partnership for Good Governance.

Link: https://go.coe.int/dULKB

CP4 EUROPE - Strengthening National Child Participation Frameworks and Action in Europe

On 15-16 June 2021, under the joint EU-CoE project “CP4 EUROPE - Strengthening National Child Participation Frameworks and Action in Europe”, two Council of Europe experts led an induction seminar on child participation in Iceland. The objective of the event, opened by Minister Asmundur Dadason, was to ensure that all national stakeholders (Ministries, Ombudspersons, professionals, civil society organisations, children) who will be involved in the planned assessment of child participation in Iceland on the basis of the Child Participation Assessment Tool (CPAT) have a clear and equal understanding of the importance of child participation in all decisions affecting them. A series of nationally led induction seminars will be organised as from September 2021 to promote stronger national and local child participation mechanisms, and build the capacities of all relevant stakeholders to ensure fruitful and sustainable child participation throughout the project and beyond

End Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse @ Europe

The Council of Europe Project to End Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse @ Europe ([email protected]), closing event took place online on 17 June 2021. It was organised as part of Together to #ENDviolence, as an affiliate event of the End Violence Fund Solutions Summit Series. Three webinars brought to light the key issues and concrete results of the project. The first webinar was an opportunity to discuss OCSEA through the Lanzarote and Budapest Conventions and it included presentations from the Lanzarote Committee, the T-CY, the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, WeProtect Global Alliance, and the End Violence Fund. The second webinar addressed the key findings and new recommendations of the updated Baseline Mapping of Member state responses to prevent and combat online child sexual exploitation and abuse with key partners from Interpol, InHOPE, NCMEC, InSAFE, WeProtect Global Alliance and End Violence. The third webinar addressed parents, carers and professionals working with very young children to discuss the messages of ‘Kiko and the Manymes’ for (4-7 years old) conveyed through its storybook, video and parental leaflet.

Outreach activities organised by Roma women leaders

Following their participation in a mentoring programme by the EU/Council of Europe joint programme on access to justice for Roma women (JUSTROM), Roma women organised 17 outreach activities in their local communities in June 2021. The activities took place in Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo, in the Suhindol settlement (Bulgaria); in Thessaloniki, Xanthi and Athens (Greece); and in Bucharest and Iasi (Romania). The topics included entrepreneurship, children’s rights, family rights, awareness raising about services for Roma who are unemployed and are searching for jobs, early/forced marriages, etc. These activities were a first important step for Roma women community leaders to put into practice the skills learned during the mentoring sessions.

DIRECTORATE OF DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION
EVENTS
Youth, peace and security today: successes and challenges

On 8 June 2021, on the initiative of the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ), the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) organised a thematic debate to mark the recent fifth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, a text which Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Youth (pre-recorded message),explained has its origins in a youth-led movement.

Across Europe and elsewhere, for many young people in Europe, protracted conflicts have become a part of normal life, a situation which, according to Inka Hopsu, Third Vice-Chairperson, Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, can be a barrier for the implementation of Resolution 2250.

Miriam Teuma, Chair of the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ), spoke of the more restrictive lifestyle; limited access to education, work and services; self-isolation and social distancing which have resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic, the impact of which has been felt across the world. Miriam described her own country, Malta, as a doorway to Europe, and reflected on how the incoming migration as a result of conflict is symbolic of deeper and more pervasive problems.

Youth participation and an enabling youth civil society are paramount to combating the democratic deficit that children and young people are being raised into according to Rosaline Marbinah, Special Representative on Youth & Security, OSCE.  Issues which were also touched on by Andrea Ugrinoska, Chair of the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) and of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ).

For her part, Paulína Jalakšová, Board Member, European Youth Forum, underlined the valuable role of young people and their organisations who contribute to a culture of peace through peace dialogue, reconciliation processes, and intercultural understanding within Europe and across the world.

Pia Šlogar, Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ), spoke of the necessity to hear diverse voices. Excluding minority youth from decision and policymaking in the youth, peace and security agenda has a disproportionate impact, both direct and indirect, on minority groups.

Reminding the participants that the large multilateral organisations were created mainly to protect peace, Antje Rothemund, Head of the Youth Department, distinguished each one by its mandate: the UN is a forum for dialogue, meeting and exchange; the EU was created to safeguard peace through economic co-operation; the OSCE through dialogue and negotiation between East and West.  For its part, the Council of Europe is founded on three pillars, without which peace cannot be protected, those of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Finally, Graziano Tullio explained how the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre has been working on the youth, peace and security agenda since 2018 through confidence-building measures, intercultural dialogue and human rights education.

This thematic debate will now inform the Advisory Council on Youth’s further work on the youth, peace and security field.

EURIMAGES

The much anticipated 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will open in early July with a Eurimages-supported film, ‘Annette’ by French-American director Léos Carax.  No less than 17 other films with the participation of Eurimages have been selected for the various sections of the festival, of which 8 are presented in the prestigious Official Competition. A small team from Eurimages will be present at the professional Film Market of the festival from 6 to 17 July 2021.

Eurimages Working Groups (cinemas support, promotion and gender equality) composed of national representatives of the Fund met online to prepare recommendations to be decided upon by the Board of Management on its 163rd meeting (24-25 June).

The exceptionally high number of co-production projects submitted for the second call of the year will be examined by online working groups from 15 to 23 June.

 

Read more ›

EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement contributed to the Conference on “Modern Approaches in Earthquake Monitoring, Prevention and Consequences Assessment”, organised by the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Centre in Nis, Serbia on 9 June 2021. Dr  Evangelia Linda Pelli, Director of the European Centre on Prevention and Forecasting of Earthquakes (Athens) made an online presentation centred around the experience of the earthquake in Samos which hit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the auspices of the Agreement, the Directorate General of Fire Safety and Civil Protection within the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria, in co-operation with the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Palace of Children, organised the International Art Competition for Children, “I saw the disaster with my eyes”. The event covers the knowledge of adolescents related to disaster risks, appropriate behaviour, pre-medical first aid, the activities of specialised fire and rescue teams.

NORTH SOUTH CENTRE

The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe launched a call for the attribution of grants to support the development and implementation of Global Education/Global Development Education (GE/GDE) national strategies and/or policy reforms in Balkan, Baltic, Visegrad and South-East Europe & Mediterranean countries.

With a maximum amount of fifteen thousand Euros each, the grants will be attributed to pilot projects encouraging governments and/or Civil Society Organisations to develop initiatives and put in place the necessary mechanisms to further develop educators’ competences on GE/GDE. The implementation period of the actions should start on 30 August 2021 and shall not extend beyond 30 April 2022.

The grants aim at promoting spaces of dialogue and collaborative work between different stakeholders from institutional and pedagogical levels. It seeks to guarantee a continued approach involving different stakeholders to sustain current education reforms undertaken in Balkan, Baltic, Visegrad and South-East Europe & Mediterranean countries to consolidate the competences of educators from the formal and non-formal sectors in the field of GE/GDE.

A preparatory meeting was held on the 12 June for the Global Education Week 2021. The Global Education Week is an annual World Wide awareness raising initiative unfolding during the third week of November. It is a call to rethink our world together, using Global Education as a tool for solidarity and change and contribute for a more and sustainable and equitable world. In preparation and during the Week solutions are shared to rethink our habits and ways of living, spending and consuming but also finding new ways of education and socialisation.

At the end of the month the North-South Centre will receive the visit of Mr Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights.

COMMITTEES, BOARDS,WORKING GROUPS

Observatory on History Teaching in Europe

On 4 June, the Governing Board of the Observatory on History Teaching in Europe elected the 11 members of the Scientific Advisory Council, one of its constituent bodies and guarantor of the Observatory’s neutrality and scholarly approach for its future work. The list of elected members and further details are available here.

ECML

The 77th Meeting of the Bureau of the ECML Governing Board took place on 1-2 June. Bureau members were informed about programme activities, all delivered online, and which included additional support being offered to Member states during the pandemic. It was agreed that a strategy to attract new Member states should be developed at the next Governing Board in October. There was satisfaction with the revised draft Committee of Ministers Recommendation on plurilingual and intercultural education for democratic culture and with the accompanying draft Explanatory Memorandum.

Youth sector statutory bodies’ Bureaux: campaign, climate and Covid

During their meeting on 3 and 4 June 2021, the Bureaux of the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) and of the Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) took stock of the discussions on a future youth campaign, took note of the ongoing work of the task force on greening the youth sector, and explored possible options for the next plenary statutory meetings in light of the current sanitary situation linked to Covid.

In a discussion with the Director of Democratic Participation, the CDEJ and CCJ Bureaux highlighted the need to address what the Council of Europe Secretary General has called the democratic backsliding in Europe. A series of actions which, pending the approval of the Joint Council on Youth in October, would be organised in 2022 and centre around the state of democracy today, brought a number of ideas for a youth campaign on democracy, meaningful youth participation and digitalisation.

The Bureaux congratulated the Advisory Council on Youth for its intensified co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. During the second part of the 2021 session, a motion was tabled by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media to establish a “youth partner” status with the Parliamentary Assembly.

For more information on the youth sector statutory bodies and on their decisions.

45th meeting of the Programming Committee on Youth

From 9 to 11 June, the Programming Committee on Youth (CPJ) held its 45th meeting, which took place online due to the current health situation in Europe.

The CPJ establishes and monitors the programmes of the European Youth Foundation (EYF) and the European Youth Centres (Strasbourg and Budapest) and consists of eight government representatives and eight non-governmental youth organisations. It is part of the co-management system of the Council of Europe’s Youth Sector.

At its June meeting, decisions were made, inter alia, about the grants for international activities and annual work plans to be implemented by youth organisations in 2022, as well as study sessions to be organised in cooperation with the European Youth Centres, also in 2022. The criteria for structural support to international youth organisations or networks in 2022 and 2023 and the maximum amount of the grant for local pilot projects in 2022 were also agreed upon.

The Programming Committee has been following closely the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both the Youth Department activities and the supported projects by youth NGOs in the field. The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the situation, but also to cautiously start planning ahead, as 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the youth sector.

Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape (CDCPP)

The agenda of the 10th CDCPP plenary session (18 June 2021, online) will include the adoption of the CDCPP Strategy for 2022-2025, and a proposal to prepare a draft recommendation on the essential role of culture, cultural heritage and landscape in helping to address global crises, with special consideration of the impact of AI in these areas. Responsible for all matters relating to culture, the CDCPP will begin discussions about a possible scheme for pan-European public financial support and a legal framework to facilitate international TV series co-productions. There will be a digital exhibition “Free to Create – Create to be Free”, presentations about the hosting website and the new 10-module MOOC on Strategy 21.



Third Regional Seminar “The Faro Convention for concrete action on cultural heritage”, 10-11 June 2021

Concrete action, active participation and increased synergies between heritage actors were the main messages of the Third Regional Seminar on 10-11 June. Organised in the framework of the Council of Europe - European Union Joint Project, “The Faro Way: enhanced participation in cultural heritage”, it was in co-operation with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth of Georgia and the Georgian National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation. Conclusions of the regional seminars will serve as inspiration for the final conference of the Joint project in November, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Faro Convention’s entry into force.

European Heritage Days

The EHD Advisory Panel on Sustainable Heritage met on 8 June 2021 to discuss preparations for the 2022 shared theme creating an opportunity for EHD communities to raise awareness of, and respond to, challenges presented by climate change, both by management of physical heritage assets and provoking a broader discussion about the role of culture in building a more sustainable/resilient future. The theme encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to participate in events and activities to promote the importance of preserving tangible, intangible and natural heritage for future generations. This theme will be shared with EHD National Co-ordinators.

European Landscape Convention

Preparation of the Report of the 11th Council of Europe Conference on the European Landscape Convention organised under the auspices of the Hungarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, Strasbourg, Palais de l’Europe, 26-27 May 2021.

Preparation of the working documents on the European Landscape Convention for the Steering Committee on Culture, Cultural Heritage and Landscape (CDCPP) – 18 June 2021, item 4.3: CDCPP(2021)9

Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention)

The 3rd Joint Meeting of the Bern Convention Network of Special Focal Points on Eradication of Illegal Killing, Trapping and Trade in Wild Birds (IKB) and the Intergovernmental Task Force on Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds in the Mediterranean (MIKT) of the Convention on Migratory Species took place virtually from 9 to 11 June 2021, taking stock of progress made in combating IKB and discussing steps to implement the Rome Strategic Plan 2020-2030, adopted by Bern Convention Parties in 2019 and by MIKT countries in 2020. The meeting brought together representatives of 26 countries, 37 international and national observer organisations.

Online meetings were held with counterparts related to the conservation of marine turtles, the Emerald Network and an on-the-spot-appraisal visit for a pending case-file. 

COOPERATION ACTIVITIES

Call for projects: LOCAL PEACE CAMPS

Within the Youth for Democracy programme the Council of Europe is inviting for local projects to support young people from conflict-stricken regions to learn and act together for dialogue, peace-building and cooperation.

The main function of the Local Peace Camps is to allow young people from conflict-stricken regions to meet, learn and live together to engage in dialogue and cooperation activities. The local dimension of the camps should provide the opportunity to contextualise past or current conflicts while also planning/engaging in meaningful actions in support of peace.

The Local Peace Camps may take two forms, depending on the conditions for travelling, meeting and working together in each specific community or country:

  • Local activities, bringing together young people from one or various communities from a single region or place.
  • Bi-communal activities, bringing together young people form two or more communities from two different regions or places.
 

All activities should engage young people interested in and committed to dialogue and peace-building in their communities, supporting them with the educational tools and institutional/organisational frameworks to act as multipliers for peace-building, conflict transformation, intercultural dialogue and human rights education.

European Day of Languages
ECML

The National Relays for the European Day of Languages were informed about the planned activities and resources for this year’s 20th anniversary. These include a  ‘language journey across Europe’ booklet including over 45 languages, accompanying stickers, a new language challenges app as well as a host of new features and initiatives for this special edition of the Day https://www.coe.int/edl.

Promoting Academic Integrity
EDUCATION

Under the new Best Practice Programme on Promoting Academic Integrity, a panel of independent experts has been established in close consultation with the members of the Programme’s Steering Committee. The panel will evaluate and select practices in promoting academic integrity during COVID-19. It includes experts with backgrounds from the academic community, a public authority, the student community, the recognition community and members of the CoE Secretariat.   

Strengthening Democratic Citizenship Education in Albania

Following the selection of 25 primary and secondary pilot schools for the SIDA funded project Strengthening Democratic Citizenship Education in Albania, the project team and school mentors started on-site visits in schools to establish the development teams. Based on the School Inclusion Index, the development teams will help schools through a process of inclusive school development, to build supportive communities and foster quality education. In the last two weeks, 10 Pilot schools in Durrës and in the Lezha Region were visited and meetings with nominated teams were  held to discuss the Project and learn about students, parents and communities’ engagement and the challenges that the schools are facing in their everyday work.
In parallel, the project team was invited to join a multi-stakeholder working group on the development of the new Albanian Draft Education Sector Strategy 2021-2026, led by the Albanian Ministry of Education, Science and Youth.

Strengthening youth centres for local youth policy in the Russian Federation

A “50-50” training seminar for specialists from local and regional authorities and for leaders in youth organisations was held from 7 to 11 June in Novosibirsk, Russian Federation. The training seminar gathered 28 participants from 14 regions of Russia, representatives of the local and regional authorities, heads and specialists of the youth centres and youth spaces and leaders of the youth NGOs. During 5 training days, participants were exploring together topics of youth participation, rights-based approach to youth work and youth policy and how the cooperation between different actors can be developed for better participation of young people. The participants developed a list of recommendations for youth centres, together with action plans for following up the activity.

The ”50-50” character of the course refers to the approach of these activities which emphasise cooperation between publish authorities and non-governmental (youth) organisations; the participants are in equal numbers from each of these two stakeholder groups.

The activity is a part of the 2021 Action Plan of the bilateral cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation in the field of youth policy and was organised by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation, the Council of Europe Youth Department and the National Youth Council of Russia.

Service Design in Youth Information

The webinar “Service Design in Youth Information” took place on 9 June 2021 as part of the Partnership Agreement between the Council of Europe (Youth Department) and The European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA). It focused on the “Design Thinking methodology” as a best practice approach to designing digital services. The central principle is about keeping people’s needs at its core. The Service Design process is a powerful tool that can be used to support youth workers to both innovate new services/products or to rethink and strengthen existing services. Adopting this approach would help to build on past successes and ensure services remain sustainable in the future by actively involving young people and stakeholders in all stages of service development. This approach provides a high level of empowerment for young people as, along the process, they acquire new skills and knowledge, and take part in decision making.

This webinar elaborated on the service design method, discussed its role and integration into youth information services, as well as outlined the results of the DesYIgn – Service Design in Youth Information project.

EDQM - THE EUROPEAN DIRECTORATE FOR THE QUALITY OF MEDICINES & HEALTHCARE
A further step towards increased international recognition of harmonised pharmacopoeial standards taken

The Pharmacopoeial Discussion Group (PDG), comprising the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.), United States Pharmacopeia and Japanese Pharmacopoeia, has harmonised over 70 general chapters and excipient monographs for application in the three regions since 1989.

By 2010, 16 of these harmonised general chapters (each providing important test methods for active ingredients and medicinal products that support global regulatory guidelines) had been declared ‘interchangeable’ by all the regulatory authorities that were members of the International Council for Harmonization of Technical Requirements of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use (ICH). These chapters were then published as annexes to the original ICH  guideline describing the harmonisation procedure.

Since then, ICH has grown to include seven additional regulatory members from different continents, a number of which have their own pharmacopoeias. This expansion provides an excellent opportunity to further promote the global convergence of pharmacopoeial quality standards through recognition of interchangeability – notably of the test methods described in the individual annexes – by a greater number of ICH Regulatory Members.

Following a proposal from the PDG, the ICH asked the PDG to maintain the guideline and its annexes and to start a pilot phase for the update of three selected annexes in November 2020. As a first step, the four new regulatory members that have their own pharmacopoeia have been contacted and invited to compare their own text to the harmonised text, with a view to evaluation and, in the final instance, declaration of their interchangeability.

The Ph. Eur., as the current host of the PDG, is leading this pilot. A first crucial milestone has been reached with the involvement of the Brazilian, Chinese and Korean pharmacopoeias as well as of the one of the TFDA, Chinese Taipei.

The PDG will review the feedback from the contacted pharmacopoeias at the PDG Annual Meeting, which will be hosted by the EDQM in October 2021, and then provide a status update to the ICH. The Ph. Eur. is looking forward to shaping quality standards that are recognised well beyond the member states of the Council of Europe
New Pharmeuropa Bio & Scientific Notes articles published

The purpose of the Biological Standardisation Programme (BSP), an EDQM activity co-funded by the European Commission, is to validate new pharmacopoeial methods and establish Ph. Eur. reference preparations for the quality control of biological medicines.

Two articles on the successful outcomes of recent BSP studies have been published in Pharmeuropa Bio & Scientific Notes, the EDQM’s free online journal.

One of these, Calibration of the Ph. Eur. human coagulation Factor VIII Concentrate BRP batch 6, describes a BSP study carried out to establish a replacement batch of Ph. Eur. Human coagulation Factor VIII Concentrate Biological Reference Preparation (BRP), that reached a successful conclusion with the adoption of batch 6 of this reference standard by the Ph. Eur. Commission in June 2020.

Through the BSP programme, the EDQM is also particularly committed to taking into consideration all promising alternative 3R methods (Replace, Reduce, Refine) to animal testing.

This was manifest in the second study, Collaborative study for the validation of cell line assays for in-process toxicity and antigenicity testing of Clostridium septicum vaccine antigens – Part 2: Optimisation of cell line assays, which was part of a major project in the context of replacing in vivo animal tests by an in vitro cell line based assay.

The successful outcome of this study provided the basis for revision of the monographs on Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium novyi (type B) vaccines for veterinary use, which are proposed for adoption by the Ph. Eur. Commission at its June session.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.

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