DG II DEMOCRACY NEWSLETTER Issue 29 – 06 September 2021
DIRECTORATE OF HUMAN DIGNITY, EQUALITY AND GOVERNANCE
New report: How can governments guarantee women’s access to justice?
A new report of the online Roundtable on “Framework to measure access to justice including specific challenges facing women” is now available.
The report discusses the concept of access to justice in accordance with international and Council of Europe’s human rights standards; it analyses the specificity of women’s access to justice and describes the role of governments in ensuring access to justice for all. It also lays out specific guidelines that can most contribute to inclusive access to justice in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine, and discusses relevant indicators. The report provides national authorities with recommendations towards a research plan aiming at collecting key data useful to inform policies and interventions by governments to ensure inclusive access to justice to all citizens, including women.
Public Private Partnerships for Green City Solutions
Can democracy save the environment? This is the question of this year’s edition of the World Forum for Democracy. In the framework of the World Forum for Democracy, the Democratic Governance Division organised a webinar on 20 July to explore the role of the private sector and financial instruments in the fight against climate change.
In the aftermaths of the Covid-19 pandemic, governments and the private sector are seeking to ‘build back better’ and ensure a green recovery, in line with international commitments and obligations. To contribute to a transition towards a low carbon, climate resilient economy, cities must invest in infrastructure with green potential, especially in the sectors such as energy, building, transport, waste, to name but a few. How, then, can this transition be achieved? What role can the private sector play? And what will be the impact of the public-private partnerships (PPP) for green city solutions? Furthermore, what are the green finance strategies that cities could follow and how can sustainability, participation and transparency be ensured?
The webinar Public Private Partnerships for Green City Solutions explored different approaches taken by cities towards meeting climate targets, discussed challenges and benefits associated with public-private partnerships, highlighted the role of innovative green finance strategies and identified ways to increase transparency, civil participation and responsiveness.
ELoGE - European Label of Governance Excellence is awarded to the municipalities which have demonstrated compliance with the 12 Principles, measured against a Council of Europe benchmark. Currently, ELoGE is being implemented in about 20 of the Council of Europe member States.
The overwhelmingly positive feedback from all participants of these programmes and events attested to the interest in and value of ensuring a sustainable and annual implementation of the ELoGE projects in the Council of Europe member states.
COMMITTEES, MONITORING, WORKING GROUPS,
GREVIO visits Romania and Germany
A delegation of the Council of Europe's Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO) carried out an evaluation visit to Romania from 5 to 9 July 2021, as part of the procedure to monitor the implementation by Romania of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). Meetings were held with representatives from different governmental bodies as well as with judges of the civil and criminal courts, and with representatives of non-governmental organisations and lawyers working in the area of violence against women. The evaluation visit to Germany is planned on 6-10 September. The evaluation reports on these two countries will be published in 2022.
World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30 July)
“The provision of timely and effective assistance to victims of trafficking is essential to encourage them to break away from the traffickers and ensure their recovery and social inclusion,” stated Helga Gayer, President of GRETA. “Victims of trafficking should be given the opportunity to play a role in criminal proceedings against traffickers, if they so wish, and to receive compensation. Measures to improve support should include consultation of victims and survivors of human trafficking to ensure that their needs are adequately met.”
Combating Human Trafficking in the Western Balkans and in Turkey
The Council of Europe, in co-operation with the Directorate General of Migration Management of Turkey, organised a Summit on Combatting Human Trafficking on 29-30 July 2021. The summit took place in Ankara and gathered over 100 participants representing Turkish ministries and government agencies, intergovernmental organisations and civil society.
Four training sessions of the protection of private life and personal data of victims of human trafficking were organised in Banja Luka and Tarčin (Bosnia and Herzegovina), covering a total of 65 professionals. An agreement was reached on creating a unified form for front-line professionals on collecting personal information concerning victims.
A workshop on revising the Standard Operating Procedures for identification and referral to assistance of victim of trafficking took place on 2-6 August 2021 in Kosovo*
Cooperation with Moroccan Universities on fighting trafficking in human beings
The Council of Europe organised two events on trafficking in human beings addressed to the professors and students of Moroccan universities in cooperation with the National Anti-Trafficking Commission: an anti-trafficking awareness workshop took place in the University Hassan II, Casablanca (1 July 2021) and an initial training on the same topic was organised in the University of Tangier (6-7 July 2021). International and national experts presented the relevant national and international legal framework, as well as the Arabic version of the Council of Europe Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) course on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings. Memorandums of cooperation between the two Universities and the Council of Europe were signed.
New documentaries and videos on the impact of the Istanbul Convention now available in Ukrainian
The documentary on the impact of the Istanbul Convention presented on the occasion of its 10th anniversary is now available in Ukrainian. The documentary analyses the impact of the Convention on the ground. It provides testimonies by state authorities and civil society presenting concrete examples of measures taken in Albania, France, Italy and Sweden implementing the four pillars of the Convention, demonstrating the practical relevance of the Convention in providing concrete responses to the needs of women victims of different forms of violence.
La Strada Ukraine raise awareness throughout Ukraine and promote further improvement of legislative and policy frameworks to draw Ukraine closer to fulfillment of the standards of the Istanbul Convention, focusing on decision makers and civil servants responsible for provision of services to the victims of violence against women and domestic violence in Ukraine, as well as the general public..
The Public Movement “Faith, Hope, Love” will focus its efforts on raising awareness in the Odessa region on the need to combat violence against women and domestic violence by organising and conducting information campaigns, forums, press conferences, workshops and trainings, targeting notably decision-makers, civil servants, representatives of the self-government bodies in territorial communities, the media and the general population.
Ukraine: Conference on the protection of electoral rights by administrative courts
On 1-2 July 2021, IV International scientific and practical conference on “Protection of electoral rights by administrative courts in Ukraine” was organised by the Supreme Court in cooperation with the Council of Europe and other international and national partners. It gathered more than 100 participants, including representatives of the Ukrainian judiciary, judges from Georgia, Republic of Moldova, Germany, Lithuania and Austria, as well as representatives of international organisations, lawyers and representatives of academia.
The event was aimed at discussing specific mechanisms for the protection of voting rights of citizens, and election dispute resolution, as well as exchanging on European experiences and good practices on election dispute resolutions. The participants agreed to provide recommendations based on the results of the conference for the improvement of electoral legislation, as well as the practice of its application, in order to further ensure the protection of voting rights of Ukrainian citizens.
The importance of this effort was underlined during the Forum “Ukraine 30 – Decentralisation – one of the most successful reforms in Ukraine”, organised on 28 July in the framework of the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence. The Forum was opened by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and the Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal. They both acknowledged the significance of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, which was ratified by Ukraine in 1997, in shaping the appropriate environment for the reform.
The video recording of the event is available here.
Georgian inspectors trained as trainers on sexual violence cases
Participants learnt about key concepts of sexual violence, international and European legal framework, national standards and practices as well as psychological aspects of working with the victims. The training was also aimed at strengthening the training skills of the participants. The trainings were based on the findings of the study “Administration of Justice on Sexual Violence Crimes against Women in Georgia” and the manual for investigators, prosecutors and judges on dealing with the sexual violence crimes, developed by the Council of Europe in co-operation with the national authorities, UN Women and Equality Now.
GEORGIA Workshop ‘More women in (self)governance and barriers female candidates face’
On 28 July, a workshop on 'More women in (self)governance and barriers female candidates face', was held in cooperation with the Central Election Commission of Georgia.
The workshop allowed for an effective and lively dialogue between representatives from civil society organisations and political parties, election officials, Chairperson of the CEC Gender Equality Council, Chairperson of the Permanent Parliamentary Gender Equality Council, to exchange views on joint efforts and solutions aiming at enhancing women's political empowerment to impact democratisation processes in the country. Participants were introduced to the Council of Europe’s policy and legal instruments on gender equality and balanced participation of women and men in decision-making. They discussed challenges faced by women politicians and candidates as well as measures to actively promote women’s engagement in electoral processes, notably in the context of the upcoming local elections on 2 October 2021.
BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA Three-day training for the representatives of leading Media from BiH
A three-day training (8-11 July) for representatives from the leading media outlets in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) was organised with the aim to strengthen the capacity of media for professional, independent continuous, and relevant monitoring and reporting on electoral processes to reinforce trust in the rule of law, in election administration and fair elections.
The programme was developed in line with relevant international standards and good practices, and prepared in cooperation with the Council of Europe and the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Its aim is to acquaint representatives of the leading media in BiH with the most important aspects of the electoral processes, electoral legislation, existing solutions, but also with the challenges posed by the need to improve electoral legislation and electoral processes, including possible technical improvements by introducing new technologies in the electoral processes.
New phase of the project on fighting against violence against women and domestic violence in Kosovo*
From 1st July, 2021 the Council of Europe has started implementing the phase III of the project ‘’Reinforcing the fight against violence against women and domestic violence’’.
The workshop also featured national seminars for Czech Republic and Poland animated by local professionals to reflect on the specificities of these countries.
Combating violence against women in Tunisia
An online workshop took place on 13 July 2021 with participation of the relevant Tunisian stakeholders in the field of combating violence against women. The event was an opportunity to both discuss the setting up of a national referral system for women victims of violence in Tunisia, and to initiate the process of setting up of this system, as well as to present good practices in the field. The different steps in establishing a national referral system for women victims of violence in other countries were also presented to the participants.
Tunisia has officially launched its new website on gender equality and violence against women during an online event on 16 July 2021 with participation of the Minister of Women, Family and Seniors and the Head of the Council of Europe Office in Tunisia. The website « Toutes et tous Uni.e.s (“All united against Violence”) developed by the Ministry with the support of the Council of Europe is a public information site that explains the concepts of gender, gender equality, gender-based discriminations, forms of violence against women and centralises all applications, portals and supports available at national level. It will enable stakeholders to use these tools for their actions aimed at preventing violence against women and raising awareness on these issues.
Protecting children from online violence in Morocco
A capacity building workshop for parents and legal guardians for a better protection of children online was held on 29 June in Rabat. This workshop, jointly organised by the Council of Europe, with the partners of the Espace Maroc Cyberconfiance project and the Fédération Nationale des Associations des Parents d'élèves du Maroc (FNAPEM), was led by national and international experts, digital industry representatives such as Instagram and Kaspersky and members of the Young Children Committee.
This meeting was an opportunity to discuss the main problems faced by parents and to detail the tools available to better protect children online, and to present again he awareness-raising spots on the risks and dangers on the internet for children and parents, produced by the Council of Europe, as well as the reporting portal launched in February 2021 to report in a secure and anonymous manner images and videos of sexual abuse against children posted online.
REPUBLIC of MOLDOVA - Electoral trainings organized in ATU Gagauzia
On 26 July 2021, the Council of Europe, in cooperation with the Central Electoral Commission of the Autonomous Territorial Unit Gagauzia, and the Centre for Continuous Electoral Training, launched the development of training materials as well as organising trainings for electoral management bodies (EMBs) in view of the elections for the People’s Assembly of Gagauzia scheduled for 19 September 2021.
These trainings will prepare the members of three district electoral councils and sixty-six precinct electoral bureaus to fulfil their responsibilities and deal in a professional manner with the organisation and running of the elections. Hand-outs will be produced to provide members of EMBs with responses so as to fulfil their responsibilities during the electoral period. About 130,000 voters are expected to cast their ballots in ATU Gagauzia, Republic Moldova, on 19 September 2021.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE DEVELOPMENT BANK
Support for refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia
The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) signed three grant agreements, for a total value of €900 000, to continue providing essential assistance to migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia. The funding will support Covid-19 prevention and response measures, including specific efforts aimed at integrating migrants and refuges in the local vaccination campaigns.
CEB implements EU-funded project to support Roma inclusion
The CEB launched an EU-funded pilot project to develop new inclusion models for disadvantaged Roma in the Slovak Republic, Romania, and Bulgaria. The pilot project, entitled “Housing and Empowerment of Roma” (HERO), is a €2.8 million initiative that will support access to housing and employment for vulnerable Roma families. The support will include housing microloans and training and mentoring for life and work skills. About 240 families living in the three countries are expected to benefit from the project.
CEB and Hungary sign a €152 million loan increase to finance ongoing COVID-19 measures
The CEB and Hungary’s Ministry of Finance have signed a €152 million loan agreement to provide medical services to those affected by COVID-19. This additional financing complements a loan approved in 2020 to support the country’s pandemic response. The additional funding from the CEB will cover eligible budgetary health expenditures and essential measures, including medical supplies needed in the continuous fight against the pandemic.
DIRECTORATE OF ANTI DISCRIMINATION
High level Conference on norms and standards on national minority rights
On 29 June, the Council of Europe and the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers organised the high-level conference “Council of Europe norms and standards on national minority rights: Results and challenges”. Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić spoke about the reforms carried out since 2018 to streamline the work of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages (ECRML). She also underlined that the Council of Europe’s action on national minorities is particularly necessary with new problems arising, such as COVID-19. Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy, moderated a panel on the Council of Europe’s instruments on the protection of national minorities and their monitoring procedures, to which Marie B. Hagsgård, Chair of the Advisory Committee on the FCNM, and Vesna Crnić-Grotić, Chair of the Committee of Experts of the ECRML, took part. They highlighted the problems faced by national minorities, which were exacerbated during the pandemic, such as the increase in hate speech, difficulties in accessing health or education or the need to strengthen communication in regional or minority languages, while mentioning positive examples and the possibilities offered by digitalisation.
Human Rights Conference of WorldPride Copenhagen–Malmö and EuroGames 2021
On 16-20 August, the CoE participated in the Human Rights Conference of WorldPride Copenhagen–Malmö and EuroGames 2021, the most important event to promote Pride – LGBTI visibility, awareness and equality at international level. The Conference was open to human rights defenders and activists, elected officials, academics, NGOs, media, Pride organisers and sports leaders in the field of LGBTI+ rights. The Deputy Secretary General Björn Berge participated in the panel ‘Closing Conversation: The role of Europe for LGBTI+ Inclusion at Home and Abroad’ on 17 August, and Dunja Mijatović, the Commissioner for Human Rights spoke at the 'Plenary - A Way Forward for the LGBTI+ Community' on 19 August. Eleni Tsetsekou, Head of Unit, participated in the panel ‘EU LGBTIQ Equality Strategy: Empowering civil society in challenging times’ where she showcased the work of the Council of Europe and discussed future CoE-EU cooperation with Michael O'Flaherty, Director of FRA and Salla Saastamoinen, Director-General of DG Justice European Commission, focusing on LGBTI Action Plans, Hate speech initiatives and work with civil society. She also held various meetings on the CoE’s cooperation activities, including one with Victor Madrigal-Borloz, United Nations Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity; PACE members of Parliament, including Fourat Ben Chikha, General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBTI people; Members of the European Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network. The SOGI Unit was an executive partner in this Pride event and supported the participation of European NGOs especially from Balkan region in an event that pursues and promotes the right to assembly, freedom of expression and prohibition of discrimination, rights that are protected by the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Human Rights – and to support and show solidarity with those who face challenges to organise safe Pride events in their cities.
2 August 2021 - European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day
On the occasion of 2 August – European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day – the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Hungarian Ambassador on behalf of the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, and the Roma Rapporteur of the CoE’s Joint Council on Youth and Board Member of Phiren Amenca International Network, on behalf of Roma civil society, issued written statements in commemoration of the victims of the Roma Holocaust and to honour its survivors. Emphasis was put on the need to counter increasing history distortion and Holocaust denial through teaching the history of the Roma people in a balanced way, enforcing Holocaust remembrance, and stepping up vigilance against increasing racism and incidents of hate speech and hate crimes.
On 29 June the ICC programme released the Facts and Figures page, a new tool that provides a quick visual overview of the composition of the ICC member cities. This new intuitive page, with its easy to interpret charts, is addressed to policymakers, city officials and anyone wishing to know how the intercultural integration policy model is being implemented across the network at a glance.
On the same day, the programme also launched a new awareness video about diversity, identity and equality, to engage citizens to reflect on the meaning of diversity and the importance of dignified identities for more inclusive societies.
On 12 July the Spanish Network of Intercultural Cities (RECI) held its second coordination meeting with the view to debrief about the recent events organised by the network, the follow up to be given to the working group on welcoming migrants and refugees, and the organisation of the celebratory event on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the RECI.
With an online format, the 6th Anti-rumours youth gathering took place on 15-18 July. The event brought together young people to think, create, and build bridges by making their differences a strength. Usually targeting youth from Spain, this year’s programme was opened for the first time to young people coming from a number of ICC international member cities involved in Antirumours Strategies implementation.
On 23 July the ICC programme released the Policy brief on Circular and intercultural cities: including migrants and diversity in circular and green economic models. While there is extensive guidance, scientific knowledge, legally binding instruments, and relatively big funding for a more sustainable development of our societies, there are still important gaps in dealing with the green transition in a way that is truly inclusive and offers solutions to social challenges – and vice versa. The ICC Policy brief on “Circular and Intercultural Cities” is a resource that cities can use to learn how best to integrate the agendas of interculturalism and green development through the lens of the circular economy concept. The publication is part of a wider project on Sustainable Intercultural Cities.
COMMITTEES, MONITORING, WORKING GROUPS
ECRI held its 86th plenary meeting from 29 June to 2 July 2021. At this meeting, ECRI adopted its draft revised General Policy Recommendation No. 9 on preventing and combating antisemitism, which is to be published on 14 September 2021. In addition, ECRI also examined its preliminary draft revised General Policy Recommendation No. 5 on preventing and combating anti-Muslim racism and discrimination.
ECRI also adopted interim follow-up conclusions on Latvia and the Russian Federation, which are planned to be published on 16 September.
During the plenary, ECRI also held consultations with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), ECRI’s sister body at universal level. Moreover, the newly appointed EU Commission’s Anti-Racism Coordinator and the General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on combating racism and intolerance made statements on issues of common interest.
In parallel, the Chair of ECRI held an annual exchange of views with the Ministers’ Deputies.
ECRI is now preparing reports on Denmark, Estonia and Monaco following in situ visits to these countries from May to July 2021. It now organises visits to Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Georgia and Greece by the end of 2021.
On 7 July, the Committee of Ministers adopted two resolutions on the implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by Liechtenstein and the Republic of Moldova.
During the summer, the Committee of Experts of the ECRML and the Advisory Committee on the FCNM carried out several country visits. The Advisory Committee visited Estonia (coordinated visit with ECRI) and Germany, while the Committee of Experts of the ECRML visited Ukraine and Cyprus. In addition, both committees carried out a coordinated visit to Norway. The two committees are now preparing their respective evaluation reports and opinions.
The Committee of experts on the rights and the best interests of the child in parental separation and in care proceedings (CJ/ENF-ISE) published the two feasibility studies on the protection of the best interests of the child in domestic law proceedings by public authorities to limit parental responsibilities or place a child in care, and in parental separation proceedings. These studies, as approved by the Bureaux of the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child (CDENF) and of the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ), will inform the CJ/ENF-ISE further work on the elaboration of (a) non-binding legal instrument(s) in accordance with decisions of the Committee of Ministers.
The Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic games have provided an excellent opportunity to raise awareness on the Council of Europe Sport Conventions, of high relevance to such competitions, be it in the fight against doping and the manipulation of sport competitions, or by promoting an integrated approach to the safety, security and service of sport events. Under the aegis of the Macolin Convention, close coordination of various stakeholders in the field of the fight against the manipulation of sport competitions, together with the International Olympic Committee, allowed these key stakeholders to work together throughout the summer and from various regions of the world, share information and monitor the betting market activity relating to the multiple Olympic disciplines.
On 3 August, Austria ratified the Council of Europe Convention on an Integrated Safety, Security and Service Approach at Football Matches and Other Sports Events (CETS No. 218), also known as the Saint-Denis Convention. The Convention has now 21 States Parties.
Increasing the capacities of Ukrainian police officers to handle hate crimes affecting LGBTI people
On 21 and 22 July and on 29 and 30 July 2021, 28 police officers increased their knowledge about LGBTI groups and their skills on how to handle hate crimes affecting LGBTI people, thanks to two training courses organised by the regional EU-Council of Europe Partnership for Good Governance project on “Strengthening access to justice for victims of discrimination, hate speech and hate crimes”, with the contribution of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and the Ukrainian NGO Fulcrum. The two training courses were based on the Council of Europe manual “Policing hate crimes against LGBTI people”, which has been recently adapted for Ukraine. This is also a good example of the co-ordinated efforts of the No Hate Speech and Co-operation Unit and of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Unit of the Council of Europe.
This is the first time Ukrainian police officers get trained on hate crimes against LGBTI people by the Council of Europe. Another training course for patrol police is scheduled for autumn 2021
Combating violence against children in Ukraine
WORLD REFUGEE DAY
On 26 August 2021, the Council of Europe project “Combating violence against children in Ukraine”, in cooperation with the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner on Human Rights of Ukraine (the Office), held an online workshop on “Monitoring the right of the child to protection from violence and abuse”. More than 50 representatives of the Office from different regions of Ukraine and its Secretariat discussed the draft Methodological Recommendations which provide a framework for a unified approach to conducting monitoring visits and to preparing reporting documentation. The Methodological recommendations will be finalised in light of the feedback received from the workshop participants.
Empowering minorities through art
Empowering minorities through art – a contribution of the Council of Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks to a grant provided in the framework of the EU/COE Horizontal Facility II program, the project on combating discrimination in Bosnia and Herzegovina is supporting the exhibition of the well-known artist Selma Selman. The exhibition focuses on promoting diversity and inclusion through artwork of the Roma community, and is displayed in the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina from 23 July until 10 September 2021.
Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova
The Council of Europe project Combating violence against children in the Republic of Moldova organised an online event on 17 August 2021 presenting the Internet literacy handbook to teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Research. Over 150 representatives of the Ministry, municipal and district Education Departments and teachers participated in the event. They discussed the challenges encountered by the educational system in the field of safe internet use, actions implemented in this area, the necessary measures to be undertaken in this respect and how to use the Handbook to make progress in this area.
EU-CoE Joint Programme “Inclusive Schools: Making a Difference for Roma Children (INSCHOOL)”
On 28 June 2021, an online conference took stock of the achievements of the European Union/Council of Europe Joint Project “Inclusive Schools: Making a Difference for Roma Children (INSCHOOL)” and identified possibly ways forward. The event brought together project partners and stakeholders from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and the Slovak Republic, including policy makers, educational practitioners as well as the Council of Europe and European Union representatives and experts. Representatives of national authorities of the Czech Republic, Romania and the Slovak Republic presented structural reforms undertaken to ensure equality, respect for diversity and inclusive approaches in their respective educational systems, while school principals from the three countries discussed the practical steps taken by their schools to implement the methodologies presented by the INSCHOOL project. One of the main achievements of the joint project is the creation of strong networks of support from state authorities vis-à-vis schools implementing inclusive education concepts.
More information on the Conference, including the presentations, can be found here
On 26 August, the 2021 edition of the Roma Political School was launched in Ukraine. Between August and October, participants will undergo 5 training modules. The first session, which took place on 26-27 August 2021, focused on political participation and Roma, gender equality and Roma women participation, the role and importance of the local councils and the impact of the decentralisation reforms. The purpose of the Roma Political Schools, which will also be implemented this year in Albania, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, is to foster the participation of Roma in public and political life, including standing for election at local, regional, national and European levels
EU-CoE Joint Programme “Roma and Traveller Women’s Access to Justice (JUSTROM)”: human rights and non-discrimination training in Greece
In June-July 2021, the JUSTROM team in Greece successfully implemented four 2-day training courses for police officers on preventing and combating discrimination against Roma, attended by a total of 80 police officers of different ranks from the region of Attica, appointed by the education directorate of the Hellenic Police. During the events, participants discussed, among others, the national legal framework for hate crimes; crimes with racist motives; typology and case law with a particular focus on Roma; community policing and intercultural mediation; antigypsyism as a special form of racism; and case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
The JUSTROM team also held, in partnership with the NGO “Symbiosis”, four training sessions on the case-law of the European Court for Human Rights related to Roma, anti-discrimination, antigypsyism, statelessness, and racist violence for staff members of municipal community centres, partly broadcast live through social media, thus reaching a wide audience of hundreds of attendees.
EU-CoE Joint Programme “Promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level (ROMACTED)”: Working breakfast in Serbia
On 23 July, Gordana Comic, Minister of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue of Serbia, joined the ROMACTED Team in the Council of Europe Belgrade Office for a working breakfast. The event was also attended by Heads of Missions of Council of Europe member and observer States, the European Union Delegation in Serbia, and the UN Resident Coordinator. More information available here.
EPAS - ENLARGED PARTIAL AGREEMENT FOR SPORT
As part of the IPACS partnership, the Task Force 3 drafting group met on 8 July 2021, online, to finalise the drafting of the guidelines for the implementation of the Benchmark for the governance of sport, approved by the Enlarged Partial Agreement for Sport in 2020. The next steps in the Task Force's activities are to develop a strategy for the use of the benchmark and accompanying guidelines with a particular focus on how they can be used by sports organisations and public authorities, offering advice and support on how to include the benchmark in their own monitoring process.
Task Force 3 includes representatives from the IPACS Steering Committee, international sports organisations and government bodies, as well as independent experts who provide expertise in the fields of corporate governance, public governance, governance in sport, anti-corruption, compliance and monitoring.
With an exceptional selection of 18 films supported by Eurimages, including 8 in the official competition, the 74th edition of Cannes Film Festival wrapped up on Saturday evening with Julia Ducournau’s TITANE, a co-production between France and Belgium and supported by the Fund, receiving the Palme d’Or award.
The Jury chaired by Spike Lee also chose to reward other films supported by Eurimages by awarding
the Grand Prix to COMPARTMENT NO.6 by Juho Kuosmanen, an outstanding co-production between Finland, Germany, Estonia and the Russian Federation,
the Best Director award to Leos Carax for ANNETTE (FR, BE, DE, MX, JP) and
the Best Performance by an Actress award to Renate Reinsve in Joachim Trier’s THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD, a co-production between Norway, France, Sweden and Denmark.
in the Un Certain Regard section which included 6 films supported by Eurimages, two received awards: LA CIVIL (BE, RO) by Teodora Ana Mihai obtained the Courage Prize and LAMB (IS, SE, PL) by Valdimar Jóhannsson was awarded the Prize of Originality. Finally, the Eurimages-supported co-production A CHIARA (IT, FR) by Jonas Carpignano, selected at the Directors’ Fortnight was awarded the Best European Film by the Europa Cinemas Label.
Eurimages is proud of this exceptional selection which has been rewarded with so many prestigious prizes, including this 10th Palme d'Or awarded to a woman for the direction of her second and particularly daring feature film.
This recognition by the jury of one of the most important international film festivals in the world of the quality of the cinema supported by the Fund confirms once again the value of the Eurimages label. Since it was set up in 1988, EURIMAGES has supported 2 236 co-productions for a total amount of approximately 640 million euros.
EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS
This year, the European Heritage Days are celebrating their 36th anniversary under the shared theme of Inclusive and Diverse Heritage to encourage broad participation in culture, to foster and celebrate diversity and to emphasise that interaction with individuals and communities with different cultural backgrounds can enrich our lives. Particular attention is paid to making events more accessible, both in terms of removing physical barriers and of offering a platform to different groups, including vulnerable and marginalised people who often have less opportunity to share their stories.
The Heritage: All Inclusive brochure has been prepared and widely shared. It serves as an introduction to the theme and offers event organisers practical tips and ideas for delivering accessible EHD events. Also a special Inclusive Events Toolkit for developing, organising and evaluating inclusive EHD events, draws on the experience and input of the EHD National Coordinators across the continent, as well as a range of partners and participants, on how to engage with new audiences and dismantle barriers to participation by ensuring event spaces are welcoming and accessible.
The annual two-month EHD festival began in Ireland on 14 August and will take place all over Europe, ending in late October. To accompany this year’s events, the European Heritage Days website has recently been re-designed and important changes have been made to provide a better user experience. The new functionalities should enable the EHD National Coordinators and local event organisers to upload their events directly to an interactive map and for the visitors to have a clear overview of what is happening in their local area as well as beyond national borders. The website also contains news, stories, publications and country profiles.
The European Heritage Days chronicles, a documentary film that introduces the diverse experiences of the EHD events from the organisers and visitors in three countries (UK-England, Georgia, Slovenia) has also been made public and widely shared on the EHD digital platforms. The stars of the film talk about their vision of the EHD, the value of our shared cultural heritage and the inspiration for participating in the events. The animation video explains how to participate in the EHDs celebrations and this year it has been adapted to multiple languages.
AZERBAIJAN JOINS THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE DIGITAL EXHIBITION "FREE TO CREATE - CREATE TO BE FREE”
The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan has announced its participation in the new Council of Europe digital exhibition "Free to Create - Create to be Free”. The board of experts has selected artworks by famous artists Faig Ahmed and Rashad Mehdiyev that stand for creativity and freedom.
The CDPPE Bureau met online on 5 and 6 July. The Bureau considered the first draft of the Education Strategy, discussed the further development of the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture (RFCDC), in particular in relation to vocational education, reviewed the draft Recommendation on the importance of plurilingual education for democracy, and advised on the further steps with regard to the Global Forum on the Democratic Mission of Higher Education and the Platform on the Democratic Local Mission of Higher Education.
The inaugural meeting of the Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) of the Observatory on History Teaching in Europe took place online on 13 July 2021. The newly elected members met for the first time to introduce themselves and to adopt the Rules of Procedure that will govern their working methods. The SAC will ensure the academic, scholarly, and methodological quality of the OHTE work. The SAC will meet again on 10 September 2021 to elect its Chair and Vice-chair and discuss the preparation of the Observatory’s regular and thematic reports.
The Chairs of the Steering Committee for Education Policy and Practice (CDPPE), the European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ)/Advisory Council on Youth (CCJ) and Joint Council on Youth (CMJ) and the Steering Committee for Culture, Heritage and Landscape (CDCPP), held an exchange of views at the GR-C meeting of 1 July. The Chair of the CDCPP, Flora van Regteren Altena, Senior Policy Advisor at the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science presented the acquis and current work of the CDCPP, explaining how this relates to the Secretary General’s new Strategic Framework, and how the Committee’s major forthcoming activities and topics will continue to address the Council of Europe’s priorities in the coming years.
Following the presentations from the Chairs, a thematic session was held to discuss the impact and lessons learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic in the fields of education, culture, heritage, environment and youth
EDUCATION IN BRIEF
On 20 July, Belgium officially joined the Enlarged Partial Agreement for the European Centre for Modern Languages, becoming its 34th Member state. Belgium is currently setting up its national structures so that it can immediately benefit from its new status and will take part in the forthcoming Governing Board to be held this October.
Project Changemaker – Compass national training course in human rights education in Hungary / European Youth Centre Budapest, 19-23 July This activity was organised at the EYC Budapest in close cooperation with Amnesty International Hungary. It developed the capacity of 28 youth workers, trainers and teachers to work with and connect with youth who want to play an active role in creating a more just world by organizing and mobilizing themselves in line with the internationally recognized human rights principles on which the Council of Europe and Amnesty International Hungary (AIHU) are founded. The participants were equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to act as multiplier in human rights education and design need-based training elements independently on the basis of Council of Europe resources such as Compass, Mirrors and Gender Matters. During the course, the Hungarian version of Compass was also launched.
Human Rights Academy in Bosnia and Herzegovina / This Compass training course, held from 23 to 26 July, implemented by the Youth Council of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in partnership with the Youth Council of Republika Srpska and the Association of High School Students in Bosnia and Herzegovina empowered people active in working with young people to conduct educational activities in the field of human rights. The participants were introduced to the basic theoretical framework related to human rights, talked about their own experiences and attitudes related to human rights, reflected on the values, principles, and methods used within human rights education, and had the opportunity to design ways to gain knowledge which they can integrate into the organizations in which they work.
Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship education for teachers and youth workers in the Russian Federation 13-17 August, Korobytsyno, Russian Federation / This activity, implemented in cooperation with the Schools Project, developed the competences of 32 teachers and youth workers in Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights education, with a focus on interactive methods of teaching and learning. The programme covered the goals and contents of Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights education, the pedagogical basis of modern Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights education. It enabled participants to devise strategies for solving typical problems in the process of implementation of Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights education in the current Russian context. Conducting the training course is extremely important for the current Russian realities and the challenges facing civil society. It can be assumed that the participants developed a sense of the importance and value of work in the field of EDC / HRE. The multiplier effect will strengthen the potential of HRE in the regions of the training course participants.
On 19 August, at the awards ceremony which closed the Sarajevo Film Festival, the project FORGET THE OCEAN, WHY NOT TRY SURFING THESE INSANE RIVER WAVES by Marko Grba Singh, to be produced by the Serbian company Non-Aligned Films, won the €20,000 Eurimages Co-production Development Award presented at the CineLink Co-Production Market.
Eurimages also continued the implementation of its governance reform during the summer. A new IT tool was developed to allow the launch an open call for applications for external film experts. As of January 2022, independent experts will assess co-production applications and make recommendations for support, based on selection criteria and guidelines defined by the Fund’s Board of Management. Experts will also be called upon to assist decision-making in other programmes of the Fund.
NORTH SOUTH CENTRE
A new Global Education e-learning course for all.
This course offers presentations, interactive information, videos, podcasts, reflective exercises and self-learning assessment tools divided into four thematic modules providing the knowledge and competences needed to best implement Global Education and inspire people to become active agents of global change!
Simultaneously the new ELearning webpage with the course description and respective link was launched.
The North-South Centre is promoting an online training course from the 23 August to 31 October 2021, within the framework of the project “Global Youth”, to increase competences of facilitators willing to improve the quality of the dialogue between youth-related civil society organisations and institutional representatives, in order to increase awareness about each other's roles for the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The online course intends to develop the skills of professionals facilitating virtual moments of dialogue, consultation and sharing among different youth stakeholders (policy makers, researchers, youth representatives, international organisations) ensuring a high level of engagement among all the actors.
Preparations for the Meta-University, to take place from the 19-22 October, are underway. The Meta-University is an online space to connect and re-connect with different organisations internationally and reflect about the recent critical circumstances and challenges, drawing plans for the future. The event will explore the impact which the digital shift, boosted by the pandemic, has on the youth sector. A call for youth-led youth-serving organisations from any region wishing to take part in the Meta-University 2021 was launched, whereas they can propose an online activity (webinar, workshop, lecture, group brainstorm, roundtable, etc.) to be part of the programme of the event.
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Youth and Global Citizenship
The Network on Youth and Global Citizenship celebrates ten years and at this occasion, the North-South Centre launched a research study “The Network on Youth and Global Citizenship: ten years of youth cooperation and youth participation through its Universities”. Since mid-August trainers, speakers, participants, or partners of our Universities from the last ten years were invited to contribute to a short survey, which is the starting point of the study. The survey focuses on the experiences of its protagonists and comes back to the follow-up and cooperation initiatives that resulted from the various Universities organised by the North-South Centre and a series of interviews and focus groups are foreseen to enrich the study research with further qualitative data from institutional representatives, participants, Network members or trainers of the activities led during the Universities. The final publication will measure the added value of the Network and its Universities, so that the North-South Centre continues to improve its programmes and to contribute to the global youth agenda and the youth sector at large.
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Global Education Week
The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe launched a grant scheme to support initiatives carried out in the framework of its annual campaign Global Education Week (GEW) from 15 to 21 November 2021, with the objective to raise awareness about global education/global development education in Europe, under the overarching GEW motto “ It’s our world, let’s take action together!”.
Five grants were attributed to practitioners and activists to design, implement and carry out global education awareness raising initiatives and learning activities, during the GEW:
o Fundación Universidad Católica de Valencia San Vicente Mártir – Spain
o Global Citizens’ Academy (GCA) – Lithuania
o Grupa Zagranica – Poland
o Camila Gonzalez Lopez (Co-organiser, Non-formal Educator) & Sibel Hakyemez (Co-organiser, Non-formal Educator) – France
o Bulgarian Platform for International Development
Six grants were attributed 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. 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. The following organisations were chosen:
o FoRS - Czech Forum for Development Cooperation
o Pedagogical centre of Montenegro
o Open Education Centre – Bulgaria
o NGO Support Centre – Cyprus
o HAND - Nemzetközi Humanitárius és Fejlesztési Civil Szövetség – Hungary
o Latvian Platform for Development Cooperation LAPAS
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Protection of Women and Girls against Violence
In the framework of programme "Regional Support to Reinforce Human rights, Rule of Law and Democracy in the Southern Mediterranean" (South Programme IV) , the North-South Centre leads the project Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation for the Protection of Women and Girls against Violence to improve protection mechanisms of women and girls victims/survivors of gender-based violence in the region. As part of this project, eight civil society organisations from Morocco to Lebanon, benefited from a regional grant scheme to reinforce protection mechanisms for victims of violence against women in the Southern Mediterranean. Out of the thirty activities of advocacy, awareness raising, capacity building and support services foreseen by the grantees until the end of the year, nine have already been concluded. The activities target women and girls’ victims of gender-based and take into consideration intersectional discriminations, such as the case of migrant women or single mothers. They promote integrated approaches to gender equality by engaging with local and national authorities, legal professionals, providers of protection and support services, media, teachers, and community leaders. Find out more.
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Partial Agreement – Cultural Routes
On 2nd and 3rd August 2021, the Secretariat of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) delivered an online opening speech during the International Forum on Sustainable Tourism and World Heritage Online. The Forum was organised by the Regional Institute of World Heritage of Zacatecas in Mexico (IRPMZ), the UNESCO World Heritage Center, the UNESCO Office in Mexico, the National Institute of Anthropology and history, and the Directorate of Culture of the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI).
The successful Forum with more than 1800 participants aimed to analyse the challenges and opportunities of tourism in World Heritage sites in Ibero-America, through the exchange of methodologies, case studies, and experiences. The EPA Executive Secretary presented a brief overview of the programme, its importance for sustainable development, the growing relevance of Cultural Routes in a post-pandemic world as well as the EPA’s cooperation with the OEI.
European Landscape Convention
The opening of the European Landscape Convention to non-European States, on 1st July 2021, represents an opportunity to reaffirm the universality of the landscape dimension of human rights and democracy. It provides a contribution by the Council of Europe to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular with regard to Goals 3 (Good health and well-being), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) and 15 (Life on land).
14th Meeting of the Group of Experts on Invasive Alien Species
Over the past 26 years, the Council of Europe has been supporting the Bern Convention Contracting Parties in designing and implementing control measures for Invasive Alien Species (IAS), with the aim of reducing the negative impact of IAS on native biodiversity in Europe. The Bern Convention’s Group of Experts on Invasive Alien Species met virtually for its 14th meeting on 6th July.
The main objective of the meeting was to review and discuss the further elaboration of guidance documents, such as a study on alien pathogens and wildlife in Europe, a guidance on e-commerce and IAS, as well as a study on communication and IAS. Furthermore, the possible follow-up of Recommendations adopted by the Standing Committee in relation to IAS was discussed.
Representatives of relevant national authorities, scientific experts on IAS and partner institutions/organisations attended the meeting. For more information, visit the 14th IAS meeting page
New LEMON course “Intercultural School Development” is now available on HELP platform
The first in a series of re-visited self-learning LEMON courses targeting the general public, education professionals and policy makers is now available on the HELP platform. Intercultural School Development offers tools to reflect on opportunities and obstacles when further enhancing the intercultural character of an educational institution. The course guides learners towards the development of a practical Action Plan to transform educational institutions into more inclusive, participative and democratic places.
OHTE Launches Calls for Experts for Thematic and Regular Reports
The Observatory on History Teaching in Europe has launched two calls for experts for its Thematic and Regular Reports. The subject of the Thematic Report is Pandemics and Natural Disasters as Reflected in History Teaching. The Regular Report will explore more generally the State of History Teaching in Europe, focusing on the history curricula, teaching practices and learning outcomes in the 17 member States of the Observatory. Interested providers can consult theterms of reference of the calls on the OHTE website. The deadline for applications is 15 September 2021.
EU/CoE Joint Project on Strengthening Democratic Culture in Basic Education - First Module of Trainings of Trainers
Within the joint EU/CoE project Strengthening Democratic Culture in Basic Education in Turkey the training programme on competences for a democratic culture was officially launched on July 26 in Ankara. In the first module, 240 teachers from the project’s 110 pilot schools developed the necessary knowledge and skills to help them better understand the competences for democratic culture and promote them in their respective schools. In the second module, they familiarized themselves with adult education and related teaching methods to be able to deliver cascade trainings. Teachers completing the training modules will be certified as “trainers” and will train their peers through these cascade trainings, which will impact around 5 000 teachers.
Capacity Building for 25 Pilot Schools in Albania: School Development Teams Trained on Index for Inclusion and Self-Assessment Instrument
EDQM - THE EUROPEAN DIRECTORATE FOR THE QUALITY OF MEDICINES & HEALTHCARE
A further step taken towards the renewal of the EDQM’s ISO 17025:2017 accreditation
With the EDQM laboratory’s ISO 17025:2017 accreditation (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories) due to expire at the end of April this year, an audit by the accreditation body BELAC had to be set up at the end of 2020 with a view to its renewal. However, due to the ongoing health crisis, an on-site audit was not possible and BELAC therefore prolonged the certificate administratively from April 2021 to October 2021, postponing the date of the audit itself. The audit was eventually carried out in two stages.
Firstly, a remote audit was carried out in February 2021 by two technical auditors who had already done an on-site inspection of the laboratory. Although this involved more preparatory work for them, the two auditors reported that the actual audit went smoothly, due to the ready availability both of the documents requested in electronic format and of the staff members audited in virtual meeting rooms. This remote audit used the lessons learned from a similar – but internal – audit of the laboratory carried out in test mode in November 2020.
This was followed in July by an on-site audit conducted by two new auditors, both of whom were impressed by the laboratory’s state-of-the-art equipment and facilities. The interviews on technical and quality system aspects were conducted in hybrid mode with the number of staff members audited in person kept to the very minimum (with strict compliance with the current health protection measures) and the documents made available electronically. Carried out during the summer period, this audit had to work around the absence of many staff members and required a lot of organisation.
Corrective actions were proposed for the minor non-compliances detected and immediately accepted by the BELAC auditors.
These different exchanges gave rise to extremely interesting and fruitful discussions. They are true opportunities and support the continuous improvement of our quality management system and working methods, which in turn guarantees the validity of the results generated by the laboratory.
After the successful transition from the 2005 to the 2017 version of ISO 17025 in 2020, the EDQM laboratory is now awaiting the decision concerning renewal of its ISO 17025 certification by the BELAC accreditations board which meets in October 2021.
And of course, we’ll let you know as soon as we hear back from them!
New publication on a Biological Standardisation Programme (BSP) study for standardisation of allergen products
Following the successful completion of the BSP090 study on recombinant major allergens, in collaboration with project leaders from the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (Germany), an article on one of the major study outcomes “Validation of a candidate European Pharmacopoeia standard method for quantification of major grass pollen allergen Phl p 5” has recently been published in the scientific journal Allergy.
Allergic diseases constitute a significant cause of morbidity worldwide and a considerable burden on the health and medical systems of both developed and emerging economies. Allergies and related diseases including asthma, rhinosinusitis, atopic dermatitis and life threatening food, drug, and stinging insect allergies affect at least 30% of the population and nearly 80% of families. According to recent studies, their prevalence is increasing globally. Most frequent allergens include pollen (trees, grasses, weeds), dust mites, food components (e.g. peanuts), insect venoms and pet hair or dander.
The BSP090 study successfully achieved the establishment of reference standards for the quantification of Bet v 1, the major allergen in the pollen from birch (Betula verrucosa), and Phl p 5, a primary allergen in the pollen of meadow timothy grass (Phleum pratense). Validation of standardised enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) methods for the two allergens was also part of the scope of the project. The inclusion of the ELISA for Bet v 1 in the European Pharmacopoeia has undergone public consultation in Pharmeuropa (31.4) and the text will shortly be proposed to the European Pharmacopoeia Commission for adoption.
The last phase of the BSP090 study was aimed at the validation of an ELISA method for Phl p 5a, and this was successfully completed in 2020. The method has been submitted for consideration for inclusion in the European Pharmacopoeia. A further article on the study outcome including more details on the method is expected to be published in Pharmeuropa Bio & Scientific Notes in the autumn.
The EDQM’s laboratory tests a new approach to internships
The EDQM regularly receives requests for internships from students and universities. Due to the sanitary situation and the need to reduce on site presence, the EDQM’s laboratory department looked into alternative ways to be able to accommodate such requests. For the first time, a 4-week virtual internship took place in July. The objective was to create a tutorial on how to perform a microbiological assay of antibiotics. The outcome is a powerpoint with video clips embedded. It turns out to be extremely telling and dense of knowledge, and much more useful than a document or a written procedure, especially for newcomers. Based on the successful outcome of this pilot, this initiative is likely to continue in the future, to have tutorials for other techniques. On the longer term and as a by-product of this initiative, the EDQM’s laboratory department will reflect on the possibility of progressively replacing written documents with modern tools more suitable to capture/share knowledge.
* 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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