Strasbourg, 22 February 2006

CG (12) 29 PART 2

North South Centre: contributions of local and regional authorities to promote the efficiency of the work of the Centre12

Rapporteur: Helene LUND, Denmark,
Chamber of Local Authorities, Political Group: SOC



1. The Council of Europe stands for pluralist democracy, the rule of law and the defence of human rights. These values are a precondition not only for a humane and civilised society, but also for economic growth and social justice.

2. The Council of Europe’s responsibility to defend and consolidate democracy and human rights does not stop at the borders of Europe. Our European ideals cannot be realised in “splendid isolation” in today’s context of unbridled globalisation. Thus, aware of the urgent need for new and renewed efforts that meet the requirements of an interdependent world through strategies of co-operative action in a spirit of solidarity, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe created the North-South Centre in 1989, in Lisbon, in the form of a “partial agreement” of which the Council of Europe member states can become members. The agreement is also open to non-member states under certain conditions.3

3. The globalisation process will continue whether we welcome it or not and may take dramatic dimensions in the future. We have a responsibility towards our populations to face the realities of globalisation and at the same time to turn the process to the advantages of all human beings in an equitable manner and in a spirit of solidarity. But we can only do this if they have a better understanding of the fact that the complex interdependent relations between countries and peoples call for constructive approaches to international policy. The underlying philosophy of the Centre’s creation was that more had to be done in Europe to promote public understanding of the fact that the fate of Europe is intimately bound up with the fate of the south. We cannot create a better world without realising this fundamental reality.


4. The institution became operational in 1990 with a double mandate: raising public awareness that we live in an interdependent world, a world that will either be swept away by self-interest taking us away with it, or one where solidarity will take the upper hand and we will all move forward with it, and secondly, promoting the values of democracy and human rights on other continents. The first aims at rallying public support for constructive North-South policies and international solidarity, the second at strengthening democracy and respect for universal values of human rights and human dignity in the south. After a trial period of three years, the continuation of the Centre was confirmed by the Committee of Ministers in 1993.

5. In fact the Centre is the outcome of a process that started in 1984, when the Parliamentary Assembly organised the first ever European parliamentary conference on the theme of “North-South: Europe’s role” which was hosted by the Portuguese parliament. This conference launched the idea of organising a European Public Campaign on North-South Interdependence and Solidarity.

6. The Campaign was organised in the then Council of Europe members States in 1987-88 and led in turn to the idea of setting up a permanent structure that would be responsible for continuing the dialogue between North and South in a spirit of respect for democracy and human rights in order to guarantee fair, balanced and sustainable development for all the world’s inhabitants. The Council of Europe’s main organs took over the idea and thus the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity was born. The institution’s short name is the “North-South Centre”.

Statutory bodies

7. A unique feature of the Centre is that it is based on the so called quadriloque. This means that governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities as well as non-governmental organisation are associated with its work and sit on its statutory bodies. Thus the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities have been involved in the work of the Centre ever since its creation and have also been represented on its Executive Council and Bureau. The other statutory body is the Committee of Representatives of member States whose main function it is to establish the ceiling of the institution’s budget and to decide on the member States’ contributions to it.

8. In 2003 the Parliamentary Assembly debated a critical report by Mr Frey (Switzerland) on “the North-South Centre and its contribution to development cooperation in the 21st century” (Doc. 9879). Following this report and internal audits, a reorganisation of the Centre took place in order to increase its efficiency and to refocus its work on three main areas: global education and youth, dialogue with the Trans-Mediterranean and African countries and a better communication policy. The Centre also co-operates more closely with the competent General Directorates of the Council of Europe.

9. In January 2005, the Parliamentary Assembly concluded a co-operation agreement with the Centre aimed at enhancing cooperation between the Parliamentary Assembly and the Centre. Like the Congress, the Assembly is represented institutionally in the organs of the Centre and certain Assembly committees have a specific mandate concerning the North-South Centre and follow its activities. In the agreement the Parliamentary Assembly considers that parliamentary cooperation at a global level strengthens the Council of Europe’s main aims: to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law and to promote awareness of a European identity based on shared values and cutting across different cultures.

10. The Parliamentary Assembly therefore will promote the involvement of parliamentarians in the outreach of the North-South Centre and its programme of activities, mainly in the areas of trans-Mediterranean cooperation and Europe-Africa dialogue. The Assembly and its committees will therefore make increased use of the expertise and know-how of the Centre, so as to take advantage of its role of think-tank on North-South issues and interface between the Council of Europe and the South in order to generate new ideas and proposals for constructive relations. Under the agreement the Assembly will also, within the Council of Europe, promote the Centre’s position, to act as a catalyst and facilitator of North-South dialogue. For these purposes it contains a number of provisions on practical cooperation.

11. The Congress may be inspired by this agreement to follow a similar course.

Enlargement and new challenges

12. The Centre has grown from 10 member States at its creation, to 20 to date. The Centre co-operates closely with the European Union, the United Nations system, and other international or regional organisations, including the African Union and the League of Arab States. The number of member States is however relatively low and it is highly desirable for the Centre to gain new members in order to consolidate and strengthen its capacity and capabilities to pull down cultural and religious barriers and engage in dialogue to strengthen mutual understanding in an ever more interdependent world. Austria has taken the welcome decision to start discussions this year (2005) with a view to acceding to the Centre. Hopefully other states will follow suit.
I for my part will check with the Danish authorities if my country could play a more active role with respect to the southern shore of the Mediterranean. The inter-cultural and inter-religious dimension of our work must be strengthened by all means at our disposal. We need to increase mutual understanding in order to fight more efficiently Islamo-phobia, Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia gaining ground in our societies.

13. The enlargement of the Centre would make it easier for the Centre to meet the tasks it has been entrusted with under the Action Plan adopted by the Council of Europe’s third Summit namely to promote the intercultural dialogue. In this regard, the Centre will organise a series of activities in 2005 and 2006 aim at reinforcing the intercultural and inter-religious dialogue between Europe and its neighbouring regions and at promoting democratic stability.

Activities of the North-South Centre

14. The North-South Centre’s activities come under two programmes: Education for global citizenship and youth, and Dialogue and capacity-building for solidarity in an interdependent world. From a geographical point of view, the activities concentrate on Europe, Mediterranean countries and Africa. From a methodological point of view, the Centre has essentially a multiplier function and acts mainly as a catalyst in order to achieve its objectives; the Centre has also developed an important youth dimension.

15. Global education and raising public awareness are key activities of the Centre. According to the North-South Centre, global education helps people to open their eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and to awaken them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity, and human rights for all. Global education is understood to encompass development education, human rights education, education for sustainability, education for peace and conflict prevention and intercultural education: being the global dimensions of education for citizenship.

16. The Congress has always been committed to encourage local and regional decision-makers to introduce into the curricula of education programmes they are responsible for, a dimension promoting the understanding of the cultural background and the cultural identity of the others. This is not only true with respect to better integrate migrants into the cultural traditions of the host countries, but also for the purpose of enriching our European knowledge and understanding about our common roots.

17.We can only fully integrate people from other cultural origins, if they are aware of these origins and ready to share them among the majority and the minority population of the host country. Cultural identity is based on knowledge, the knowledge about their own cultural roots and the interest and the understanding of the cultural background and traditions, customs of the other.

18. Those types of education for needed change, local and global, share a justice perspective and a commitment to building a more equitable world. We argue that this type of education is a crucial key to enhancing democratic engagement of people in schools, in youth organisations, in civil society organisations, in the varieties of ways that people chose to organise themselves as civil society. The North-South Centre pays particular attention to the youth dimension of this work, as young people and their organisations are not only the future of the world but also current leaders.

19. Opinion polls show that support for global interdependence and solidarity is strong in European countries.4 This public support is manifest in the political will for policies of international development co-operation. There is support in countries such as Denmark for at least 0.7% of Gross National Income to be devoted to Official Development Assistance (ODA). At European level, there is growing impetus for European countries to move towards this target, at least by 2010.

20. The Congress should lend its support to the attempt to devote at least 0.7 of Gross National Income to development policies in the countries concerned. These investments are concrete contributions to reduce poverty and injustice. Injustice and poverty are incompatible with the respect for basic human rights. These phenomena often constitute the breeding ground for extremist movements and terrorist organisations. We need to do everything within our competence to curb this tendency. Active development policy is preventive policy, ahead of repressive policies, with respect to terrorist acts which could happen everywhere and hit every one of us at any time. We need all the tools at our disposal to fight this disease. Co-operation between cities and regions in the Northern part of Europe should become more tangible with respect to cities and regions in the South, city partnerships are concrete steps into the right direction. The North-South Centre and the Congress should joint forces in this respect and make better use of existing networks. 21. At the same time, while public support is often stronger that generally assumed, public knowledge is still weak. This gap between strong public support and weak public knowledge poses a threat to sustained political engagement.

Global Education

22. Global Education is an educational response to this gap, and to the need to develop a global dimension in all education in Europe. In some countries in Europe, global or development education has a strong history; where structures, policies and practices have been developed over many decades. In others, it is beginning to grow.

23. The North-South Centre has been engaged in bringing this experience together at the wider European level since its creation.

24. Under this programme, the Centre has set up a number of activities such as the Global Education Week which the Centre organises in the third week of November each year. This Week focuses on a chosen global education theme, to increase and improve global education. In 2004 the theme was ”Together for a World without Poverty”. In 2005 the theme is “Learning for All, Everywhere, Now!”

25. The number of countries involved in the organisation of the Global Education Week has grown steadily and in 2004, 40 countries in Europe took part. The Global Education Week motivates students, teachers and youth groups to implement a global education project. These projects address issues of diversity and inequality at a local as well as a global level, using the Millennium Development Goals as a guiding principle to 2015, and involve an understanding of the core issues of global citizenship.

26. Since 2001, national agencies for the support, co-ordination and funding of development or global education in a number of Council of Europe member States have been sharing national strategies for increasing and improving global education, through a networking initiative the Global Education Network Europe (GENE). This network, which includes many authorities and agencies in many countries, is facilitated by the NSC. It includes a clear focus on evaluation, with a view to sharing good practice and to stimulating innovative and useful thinking in the field of education of global and development education.

27. The NSC also facilitates the European Peer Review process. Peer review national reports of the state of global education in a number of countries have been carried out and have proved of great value in the shaping of national global education policies. So far such reviews have been carried out with regard to Cyprus, Finland and the Netherlands. A national review is foreseen for Austria beginning later in 2005 and for Germany and Switzerland in 2006; the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are engaged in discussions regarding national reports in the 2005-2007 period. It is clear from these reports – and from other initiatives that the Centre has been involved in, such as the Mayors for Peace Forum - that regional and local authorities are increasingly involved in the support and provision of education, and also in the provision of global education – but that greater national and international coordination is required in this field

28. Furthermore, through global and inter-regional youth training programmes the Centre focuses on capacity building for an emerging generation of world leaders in these issues. This work in recent years includes a comprehensive Euro-Mediterranean youth training programme in partnership between the Centre, the Council of Europe Youth Directorate, and the European Commission; a Euro-Africa training programme focused on poverty eradication and the Millennium Development Goals; and the University on Youth and Development which takes place in Mollina, Spain, in early autumn each year, with the support of the Spanish government and in partnership of a broad alliance of youth civil society organisations.

29. With the financial support of the Netherlands, in 2004, the Centre embarked on a Programme of Support for global and development education at national level in the four Visegrad countries, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. The purpose of this programme is to support the growth and improvement of global and development education at national level - developing national policies, improving co-ordination and coherence of practice and supporting the development of structures for support and funding.

30. The programme consists of support for national administrations, NGOs, local and regional authorities in their work in the field of global and development education. This programme should be continued and enlarged to cover other new EU member countries. It is a particular challenge to win public support among the 76 million new citizens of the EU for their countries’ new role as donors rather than as recipients of aid.

31. This requires global education co-ordination at both national and local or regional level. This is why the programme, along with supporting national seminars for the development of national policy, also supported local and regional initiatives. One outstanding example was the regional pilot programme for partnership between local authorities, NGOs, schools and teacher trainers, which took place in Kosice, Slovakia, in May 2005. This excellent model of partnership between regional authorities and other actors to promote global education will, it is hoped, be up-scaled in the next phase of the programme.

North South dialogue

32. The “Dialogue” activities of the Centre aim at creating opportunities and platforms for discussion and dialogue between partners from the North and the South on the policies to be pursued for democracy, human rights, social cohesion and capacity building. The Centre was created at about the same time as the fall of the Berlin wall. This was an irony of sorts as the Centre tried to promote improved North-South relations at the time that the whole of Europe began to focus on co-operation and assistance for the countries of Eastern Europe that had chosen the path of democracy.

33. Nevertheless the NSC had the foresight to set up a Trans-Mediterranean Programme in the early 1990’s to improve mutual understanding and co-operation between the peoples and countries around the Mediterranean. This programme aims at promoting the values of democracy and human rights in the countries on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean as well as the intercultural and inter-religious dialogue. The Centre has put a special emphasis on working with young people through our Euromed-youth programme that we carry out with the support of the European Union.

34. In the 2005 programme, the activities focus on the rights of women, the role of NGOs with regard to migrants, the strengthening of the dialogue between Europe and the Arab world, and on democratic citizenship in the region.

35. The Centre pays particular attention to the need to establish better relations and co-operation with Africa, in particular in order to share the same values with the countries of the African continent. Activities in this area focus on enhancing the Europe-Africa Dialogue, in co-operation with other partners such as the new Pan-African Parliament, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the New Economic Plan for African Development (NEPAD) secretariat. The Centre’s work addresses the broad issue of good governance and comes at a time of growing African unity.

36. The NSC has set up a number of projects that aim at realising these objectives: a NEPAD parliamentary group embracing European and African countries, a dialogue information network, and the annual Lisbon Forum on Human Rights to address the challenges to improve human rights protection in Africa.

The intercultural dialogue

37. At the Warsaw Summit of the Council of Europe in May 2005, the Heads of State and Government adopted an Action Plan in which they encouraged, inter alia, intercultural and inter-faith dialogue, as a means of promoting awareness, understanding, reconciliation and tolerance, as well as preventing conflicts and ensuring integration and the cohesion of society. In the Action Plan, they committed themselves to a new dialogue between Europe and its neighbouring regions – the southern Mediterranean, the Middle East and Central Asia – based on these principles. They recognised the role of the North-South Centre in promoting this dialogue, as well as its mission of fostering European awareness of intercultural and development issues. The orientations of the Centre’s Transmed programme fit in with these priorities.

38. The Centre will continue addressing the fundamental issue of improving intercultural and inter-religious understanding between the peoples of Europe and the Mashrek and Maghreb as well as addressing specific human rights issues in these countries. It will also endeavour to enlarge its work to cover the central Asian republics in response to the Action Plan adopted by the third Council of Europe Summit.

39. The Centre’s dialogue activities are conducted, and should be further developed, at various levels, governmental, non-governmental and at the level of the local and regional authorities, and their national or international associations, in order to ensure the widest acceptance of the outcomes.
40. For 2006, and in the framework of the Action Plan adopted by the third Council of Europe Summit, the Centre will organise a number of activities specifically designed to promote the intercultural dialogue.

41. The Congress stresses, in particular within in this context, the importance of co-operation among all tiers of government – local, regional and national and increased interaction with civil society.

42. The Congress is particularly committed to promote the Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life and its implementation, as well as the handbook on local consultative bodies for foreign residents, in order to promote inclusion and integration of foreign citizens via active participation and political involvement within the civil society of the host country.

The United Nations Millennium Development Goals

43. Another priority of the Centre is to mobilise greater support for the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals5 It is clear that greater support worldwide is indispensable in order to achieve these goals. The Centre should help in stimulating the discussion and reflection among political decision-makers at all levels, non-governmental organisations and experts. This could lead to a regular evaluation exercise involving these partners. In the framework of the Europe-Africa dialogue, local and regional authorities can play a crucial role.

44. It is clear that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can only be achieved by action at both the national and local and regional levels in order to mobilise support for these goals. The prominent role of local and regional authorities in addressing the challenges of modern society has been acknowledged also by the Council of Europe, precisely through the creation of the Congress. The Congress is the voice of Europe's regions and municipalities. It is also a pan-European platform for co-operation between elected representatives at sub-national level and a consultative body assisting the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly to shape their positions on all aspects of local and regional policy.

45. More and more decentralisation is on the political agenda of national administrations. Promoting good local governance is today duly recognised as a key issue and a powerful tool in the new approach to development cooperation. Recent international declarations and agreements such as the NEPAD, the Cotonou EU-ACP Agreement, and many others stress the crucial role that local actors have to play in their implementation.

46. Local government can play a crucial role in dealing with the development challenges of poverty. Local governance is the best way of ensuring that the fight against poverty and the struggle for sustainable development really reaches the most indigent and vulnerable populations.
The slogan “Think globally and act locally “ should be on our minds in order to do what we are able to do in our respective city in our region, together with the people, involving the citizens, taking advantage of the willingness of the young generation to be involved and to contribute to new forms of political engagement.

The North-South prize

47. The North-South Prize of the Council of Europe has been awarded annually since 1995 to two public figures who are recognised for their deep commitment, outstanding achievements and/or the hope they have generated in the field of individual rights protection, the defence of pluralist democracy and North-South solidarity and partnership.

48. The North-South Prize is awarded each year by the President of Portugal during a solemn ceremony at the Portuguese National Assembly, in the presence of the President of the Portuguese Assembly, along with eminent personalities from the North and the South, representing governments, parliaments, non-governmental organizations, local and regional authorities in Europe as well as the media.

49. North-South Prizes winners in the past have included Mary Robinson, Patricio Aylwin, Graça Machel, Mário Soares, Marguerite Barankitse and Xanana Gusmão.

Participation of the Congress in the activities of the Centre

50. I attach great importance to the role of local and regional authorities in the work of the North-South Centre. However, this co-operation must still be further developed. It is particularly important since the local and regional authorities are closest to the citizens. In many of our member States, local and regional authorities are strongly involved in both education and development co-operation policy; including those issues that are high on the agenda of the NSC such as intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, migration and the fight against racism and prejudice.

51. The Congress is represented on the Executive Council by four of its members and on the Bureau by one of them. Article 5 of Resolution (93) 51, confirming the continuation of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity, provides for four members to be designated by the Congress to sit on the Executive Council6. This gives the Congress the possibility to participate in the decisions on the policy, work programme and the budget of the institution. As already said above, the association of the Congress with the work of the Centre is of utmost importance given the essential role local and regional authorities can play in creating a better understanding among their citizens of global interdependence and solidarity issues.

52. Many towns and regions have their own development co-operation programmes, organise cultural events about other parts of the world, promote a culture of peace, are twinned with cities in the South or are involved in co-operation activities within their own national or international associations. A recent seminar organised by the Centre on migration and co-development, clearly demonstrated the important role of local and regional authorities in mobilising migrants or migrant communities for the development of their countries of origin.

53. The Congress has contributed to those activities of the Centre which are of direct concern to local and regional authorities. For example, the annual Lisbon Forum on Human Rights which was devoted in 2004 to “Social Cohesion and Local and Regional Sustainability Strategies: The role of Civil Society and Local Authorities”.

54. The Lisbon Forum 2004 was an opportunity to discuss ways to improve local governance and decentralised cooperation through better coordination of policies, better adaptation to local needs, better dialogue and participation of civil society in the drawing-up process of local cooperation policies.
55. The Forum reaffirmed the importance of local governance and decentralised cooperation in creating new opportunities for empowering poor and marginalised groups, provided that it is accompanied by measures that help strengthen the capacity of the poor to organise themselves so as to effectively articulate, defend and represent their interests vis-à-vis local decision-making bodies.
56. In relation to decentralised cooperation the participants agreed on the need:


57. It is clear that local and regional authorities play an increasingly important role in development cooperation and, as a corollary, in promoting a better public understanding of the need to engage in a constructive cooperation with the countries of the South. Many towns and regions have set up substantial cooperation programmes of their own and are engaged in promoting the idea that we live in an increasingly interdependent world in which the fate of all countries and peoples is intimately bound up with each other. In many countries national associations of local and regional authorities are involved in international cooperation activities.

58. In many instances they work together with non-governmental organisations, schools and other educational bodies. For instance, the organisation “Educating cities”, based in Spain with a large network in Latin America, has developed good practice in promoting global aspects of education.
I may underline that the North-South Centre has set up a comprehensive programme in assisting the Council of Europe member States in increasing and improving global education, which should be better used by member States.

59. From the outset the North-South Centre has been functioning as a “quadripartite” structure, involving governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities, and civil society organisations both in its statutory bodies and in its programmes and activities. Given the fact that local and regional authorities and non-governmental organisations are closest to the citizens they must play an essential role tin the work of the Centre. I feel it important therefore that the Congress explore possibilities to increase its participation in the work of the Centre, for instance by strengthening the input of the four members of the Congress sitting on the Executive Council of the Centre. We need to increase the feedback from these members to the Bureau of the Congress. This should enable the Congress to work more closely together with associations of local and regional authorities in the southern part of Europe and North Africa in order to promote a democratic transition and local self-government, in particular in this sensitive geographical area.

60. A decentralised approach to development has several advantages: a better participation of the populations in the conception and implementation of development projects, the setting-up of horizontal north-south solidarity networks based on greater mutual confidence, and a better sensitisation of the public at large to the need for north-south solidarity. Furthermore, as education policy in Council of Europe member States becomes increasingly decentralised, integration of global perspectives into curricula requires the engagement of local authorities if it is to consistently succeed.

61. This is why the Congress could take a number of initiatives that aim at learning from each other best practices in such areas as mobilising public awareness of global interdependence issues at the local or regional level, setting up and managing cooperation projects, promoting co-development with the help of migrant communities, and strengthening the intercultural and inter-religious dialogue.

62. The Congress should set up via its members, at the local and at the regional level, partnerships between the North and the South.
Therefore, we need to get a clear overview of what has already been done, what is currently underway and what could be done more in this respect. This overview about current activities conducted by cities and regions could help us to identify good practices. Good - or best practices could then be made available to those who would like to engage into new or different forms activities. Reshaping existing activities, the evaluation of existing activities and programmes would also be an important element/tool to better use limited resources for the benefit of those cities and regions which would most need them.

63. It is clear that since 11 September the Centre’s mission has become even more important than before. The Action Plan adopted by the Council of Europe’s third Summit, held in Warsaw in May 2005, recognises the importance of the Centre in promoting the intercultural dialogue with the neighbouring regions of Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and central Asia. The Congress and the Centre could strengthen their co-operation in addressing these issues which are also at the heart of local and regional communities.

64. I would also recommend that the Congress proceed in the same way as the Parliamentary Assembly in concluding a co-operation agreement with the Centre so that the specific competence and expertise of the latter becomes more readily available to the Congress, its two chambers and committees.

65. Pooling resources and networks would enable the North South Centre and the Congress to be more attractive and to organise for instance a common seminar of local practitioners with the aim to bring the mayors and local decision-makers from both shores of the Mediterranean together, in order to create a solidarity based on facts and concrete co-operation programmes.

1 For debate in the Standing Committee (See Rule 15 of the Rules of Procedure) Deadline for tabling amendments: at the latest 4 pm on the eve of the day when the texts to which they refer are to be discussed (Rule 27 of the Rules of Procedure)

2 For debate in the Standing Committee – see Article 15 of the Rules of Procedure of the Congress - Objections to the Standing Committee procedure must reach the Chief Executive of the Congress a clear week before the meeting of the Standing Committee; if 5 members object, the report will be submitted to the Plenary Session.

3 Currently the Centre has twenty member States : Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

4 For a detailed analysis of public opinion polling in COE and OECD member states see the joint OECD Development Centre/North South Centre publication: Mcdonnell, I, Solignac LeCompte, H-B and Wegimont, L. (eds) Public Opinion and the Fight Against Poverty OECD Paris 2002.

5 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development.

6 The article reads: « four members designated for a period of two years by the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) through its North-South Working Party, in its extended membership, i.e. inclusive of representatives of the international associations of local and regional authorities ». In the mean time this working party no longer exists. Currently the following members of the Congress sit on the Executive Council of the North-South Centre: Mr. Ken Bodfish, Mr. Jean-Claude Frécon, Mr. Carlos Alberto Pinto, and Mrs. Ludmila Sfirloaga. Mr. Bodfish was also elected to the Bureau of the Centre.