First part, Thursday 29 June 2017

1.         Opening of the meeting by Anna Rurka, President of the Conference of INGOs

2.         Agenda: unanimously adopted

3.         Appointment of the Rapporteur of the meeting: Jean-Michel CAUDRON

4.         Synopsis of the meeting held on 27 January 2017: unanimously adopted.

5.         Election of the chairs and vice-chairs of the thematic committees

The Chair of the Verification and Dispute Committee informed members of the election procedure. Each candidate would have two minutes to introduce themselves during the plenary and could also send further information to the Conference with appendices of their choice (in addition to the details of their candidature put on line on the conference website. Candidates with an overall majority on the first ballot would be elected. If a second ballot was required, those with a relative majority would be elected.

Outcome of the ballots (number of registered voters: 95):

·         Democracy, social cohesion and global challenges committee:

o    Chair (number of votes cast: 89):

§  Thierry MATHIEU: only candidate, elected, 8 ,

o    vice-chairs:

§  Gerhard ERMISCHER:elected, 71 ,

§  Alexandra-Luminata PETRESCU: elected, 82,

§  Liviu-Romel OLTEANU: not elected, 14,

·         Education and culture committee:

o    Chair (number of votes cast: 89):

§  Claude-Vivier LE GOT: only candidate, elected, 67,

o    vice-chairs:

§  Karl DONERT: elected at first ballot, 50,

§  Julianne LAGADEC: elected at 2nd ballot, 44 in 1st ballot, 34 in 2nd ballot,

§  Lilia BENSEDRINE-THABET: not elected, 32 in 1st ballot, 27 in 2nd ballot,

§  Arleen PIMENTEL: not elected, 28 in 1st ballot, 19 in 2nd ballot,

§  Katarzyna SOKOLOVSKA: not elected, 13 in 1st ballot, 4 in 2nd ballot,

·         Human Rights Committee:

o    Chair (number of votes cast: 89):

§  Simon MATHIJSEN: only candidate, elected, 81,

o    vice-chairs:

§  Miguel CABRAL: elected, 47,

§  Iamvi TOTSI: elected, 51,

§  Gilles BLOCH: not elected, 46,

§  Aycke SMOOK: not elected, 14.

The newly elected members were invited to the Standing Committee meeting to be held on Friday 30 June at 2 p.m.

6.         Text to be adopted: “Human rights and business”

The draft recommendation on “Human rights and business” presented by the Human Rights Committee, had been unanimously adopted. Thanks were extended to the “Human rights and business” working group, which had proposed the text.

The President of the Conference put Christoph SPRENG in charge of monitoring the development of this theme at the Council of Europe and in a number of member states. In accordance with the progress made, members of the Conference of INGOs would take over specific tasks.

Following a request by Anne NEGRE, the Conference Gender Equality Expert, a working group would be entrusted with the task of considering a draft “language” charter on the use of the French expression “droits de l’homme” and other possible more gender-neutral terms that might be used. The group would submit its work at the January session.

7.         Activity reposts at the end of the term of office of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the thematic committees

The outgoing Chairs of the three thematic committees, Michel AGUILAR, Human Rights Committee, Anne-Marie CHAVANON Democracy, Social Cohesion and Global Challenges Committee, and Sabine ROHMANN, Committee on Education and Culture, presented the work done by their respective committees (see activity reports).

8.         Expert Council on NGO Law– information and discussion

The core activities of the Conference of INGOs was freedom of association in the different sectors of public policies and in all Council of Europe member states, which was the underlying principle of its work. The right to freedom of association was not restricted to setting up associations, but including their functioning and their dialogue with public institutions, among other things thanks to the work of the Expert Council on NGO Law, chaired by Cyril RITCHIE.

Cyril RITCHIE informed the Conference of the latest legislative changes and of the situation of NGOs in Hungary, Poland, the Russian Federation, Turkey, etc. and of the work currently being carried out by the Expert Council.

9.         Communication strategy and visibility of the activities carried out by the Conference of INGOs within the Council of Europe and elsewhere

Didier SCHRETTER gave detailed information on the three specific stages of the draft strategy for communication and the visibility of the activities carried out by the Conference of INGOs within the Council of Europe:

·         Developing and implementing tools;

·         Working together on relevant content;

·         Co-ordinating the social networks used by the Conference of INGOs and making them more professional.

10.        Appointment of the members of the Verification and Dispute Committee

The President of the Conference thanked and congratulated the members of the Verification and Dispute Committee for their work.

The current members were re-appointed, with the exception of Martine Schmelck, who did not wish to be re-appointed and was replaced by Jean-Bernard Marie. The Committee was therefore made up of the following members: Salomon Lévy, François Debrowolska, Jack Hanning, Philippe Grolleau, and Jean Bernard Marie. It was for these members to choose the Committee Chair.

11.        Reception offered by the Mayor of Strasbourg to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Conference of INGOs

The delegations of all the INGOs were invited to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Conference.

12.        Information concerning INGO-Service

It should be possible to maintain the provisional budget of €19 000 but only 92 INGOs had to date paid their subscriptions (125 had done so at the same date last year). A reminder had been sent to the other INGOs.

The term of office of the members of INGO-Service would expire in June 2018.

13.        Coming events

·         World Day Against the Death Penalty (10 October)

In close collaboration with the FIACAT (International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture), the Conference of INGOs would be holding a half-day event on the risk of a return to the death penalty in Europe.

·         International Day for the eradication of poverty (17 October)

Since the nineteen nineties, the Conference organised an event to make this international day with an event and a ceremony on the forecourt of the Council of Europe.

The Co-ordinating Committee of the Turin Process had proposed a statement calling for support for the European Union’s initiative for recognition of the European Social Charter as the “social constitution of Europe”  and calling on member states to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights (20 principles drawn from the Charter).

·         World Forum for Democracy (8-10 November)

Once again, the Conference proposed a workshop (lab) in the context of the forthcoming•           World Forum for Democracy, which would take place from 8 to 10 November and the theme of which would be “Is populism a problem?” The theme of the workshop, proposed by Jean-Michel CAUDRON and Anna RURKA, would be “Participative democracy as an antidote to populism”.

14.        Other business and participants’ questions

No specific questions were put forward for discussion.

15.        Date of the next meeting

The next meeting would take place on 26 January 2018, during the Winter Session of the Conference.