Resolution 70 (1998) on social cohesion in towns

The Congress, bearing in mind the proposal of the Chamber of Local Authorities,

1. Having heard the report by Mrs Jaggi and Mr Roppe on Social Cohesion in Towns and welcoming the proposals contained in Recommendation CPL (5) 3;

2. Considering that social cohesion in towns means the capacity of people to live together satisfactorily and peaceably, respectful of each others human and social rights;

3. Considering that public administration, particularly at a local level, has a responsibility to provide conditions in which such rights and way of life can be respected and achieved;

4. Recalls in this sense the recent Council of Europe campaign against "Intolerance, Racism, Xenophobia and Antisemitism" and that of the European Union on the same subject;

5. Welcoming the emphasis given on these questions at the Second Summit;

6. Considering that, whilst it is in towns where social cohesion is most visibly threatened, it is in towns where it is most easily achieved and controlled;
7. Believe in this and indeed in other areas of public life that towns are thus the arena of both problems and opportunities;

8. Believe that one of the main aims of urban policies is to bring about social cohesion and recall in this sense the principles and sections on this question in the European Urban Charter;

9. Consider that a key element in social cohesion is local democracy, citizenship, partnership, concertation and cooperation.

AS A CONSEQUENCE, RECOMMENDS TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN EUROPE THAT:

10. IN RESPECT OF CITY GOVERNANCE, TO:-

11. Promote policies for strengthening local democracy for all citizens, irrespective of social category, race, religion, ethnic group or generation.

12. Encourage the development of community groups, citizens associations, Parliaments for foreigners and any other appropriate mechanism for the full participation and involvement of all citizens in political, civic and cultural life of the community.

13. Involve citizens, irrespective of background, in discussions and joint bodies relating to other policies affecting everyday life in towns, eg., on transport policy, environment questions, public health.

14. IN RESPECT OF INTEGRATION, TO:-

15. Develop a range of socio-cultural policies for minorities, the migrant population, different ethnic groups to enable them to play a full role in the social and cultural life of the city.
16. Ensure that different ethnic groups are able to retain their own specific identity and traditions in a manner which enhances and enriches the life of a community rather than detracts from it.

17. IN RESPECT OF THE QUALITY OF URBAN LIFE, TO:-

18. Ensure that adequate housing, with facilities of an acceptable standard, is equally accessible to all citizens and on the same conditions, irrespective of background.

19. Provide and maintain and encourage the provision and maintenance of open space, green areas, parks and gardens accessible to all, in the conviction that such facilities can play an important role in the wellbeing of citizens and their capacity to live together.

20. Develop policies for the improvement of urban aesthetic quality, in the belief that there is a close relationship between such quality and the civilised behaviour of people living in urban areas.

21. IN RESPECT OF EQUALITY, TO;


22. Ensure that men and women, not only in theory, but also in practice, have equal access to the opportunities and structures of community and urban life.

23. Ensure that all citizens and all ethnic groups, particularly but not exclusively young people, have an equal access to education and professional training.

24. Facilitate the non-discriminatory access to public utilities, services and housing for all citizens irrespective of race, religion, ethnic group or generation.

25. IN RESPECT OF EDUCATION, TO:-

26. Acknowledge the key role of schools in the promotion of an apprenticeship for living and accordingly help promote the development of curricula which, whilst emphasising different historic and cultural traditions, encourage an ethos of tolerance, equality and partnership.

27. Devise special courses, in collaboration with educational establishments, to combat illiteracy (affecting approximately 10 per cent of the adult population), particularly in relation to the fulfilment of civic and statutory duties, eg., on residence, voting, schooling and requirements.

28. RESOLVES TO:-

29. Continue its identification and promotion of relevant local policies for social cohesion.

30. Ask its Working Group on Policies for the Town, to organise Seminars on;

a. The role of public space, green areas, parks and gardens in the strengthening of social cohesion.
b. Policies for the improvement of urban aesthetic quality.
c. Parliaments for foreigners and other instruments for improving participation and local democracy for young people and ethnic groups.

31. Promote an exchange of experience between towns in Europe, eg., exchange of exhibition material, on local policies for social cohesion and, in this respect and as appropriate, to collaborate with other bodies inside the Council of Europe, eg., the Steering Committee on Social Policies (CDPS).
32. Monitor the preparation of the Campaign "The Year 2001 - the Springtime of Towns" in the manner described in the Appendix to Recommendation CPL (5) 3.
33. Encourage the inclusion of social cohesion as one of the key elements in such a future campaign.