995th meeting – 16 May 2007

Appendix 2
(Item 6.1c)

Terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on social policy for families and children (CS-SPFC)

1.

Name of Committee:

Committee of Experts on Social Policy for Families and Children
(CS-SPFC)

2.

Type of Committee:

Committee of Experts

3.

Source of terms of reference:

Committee of Ministers upon the proposal of the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS)

4.

Terms of reference:

 

Having regard to:

-

Resolution Res(2005)47 on committees and subordinate bodies, their terms of reference and working methods (adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 14 December 2005 at the 951st meeting of the Ministers' Deputies);

-

the Declaration and the Action Plan adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe at their Third Summit (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005), in particular Chapter III (Building a more humane and inclusive Europe);

-

the Council of Europe’s conventions, resolutions and recommendations relevant to social cohesion, family and childhood policies – particularly Recommendation Rec(2006)19 on Policy to support positive parenting – and the intergovernmental co-operation strategies and programmes in these fields;

-

the revised Strategy for Social Cohesion, approved by the Committee of Ministers on 31 March 2004;

-

the Final Communiqué and Political Declaration of the 28th session of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Family Affairs (Lisbon, 16-17 May 2006);

-

the decisions of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in the field of social cohesion, family and childhood policies and bearing in mind the criteria set out in document CM(2006)101 final;

-

the replies of the Committee of Ministers to the recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in the field of social cohesion, family and childhood policies.

 

Under the authority of the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS), and in relation with the implementation of Project 2007/DG3/1139 “Rethinking family patterns in the best interests of the child” of the Programme of Activities, the Committee is instructed to:

i.

carry out activities concerning family policies, particularly with a view to providing follow-up to the 28th session of the Conference of the European Ministers responsible for Family Affairs (Lisbon, 16-17 May 2006) and to Recommendation Rec(2006)19 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on policy to support positive parenting;

ii.

serve as a framework for the exchange of information, views and experience on policies and good practice on issues relating to family policies with Council of Europe member states, as well as with relevant international organisations, and identify and assess ways and means of further enhancing co-operation in this field;

iii.

identify new approaches and specific challenges in the field of family policies – such as regarding rights and needs of children, for instance when facing new family conditions (family breakdown, divorce, …) – by analysing these policies and their development in Europe, and develop the corresponding guidelines;

iv.

identify problems and opportunities posed by the present demographic situation and develop and promote integrated multidisciplinary responses to challenges posed by family formation and birth rates and find ways of improving them in the future ;

v.

improve visibility and awareness-raising in this area, including at the level of civil society, and ensure that the results of the work carried out under the revised Strategy for Social Cohesion with regard to family policies are widely disseminated;

vi.

act as an intermediary between the CDCS and the Committee of Liaison Officers of the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Family Affairs;

vii.

make proposals for consideration by and report to the CDCS on all important issues concerning family policies raised by its members in pursuance of these terms of reference.

5.

Composition of the Committee:

5.A

Members

 

Governments of all member states are entitled to appoint representatives of the highest
possible rank with the relevant qualifications and expertise in the field of family policy, particularly on demography, new family models, specific family situations, reconciliation of working and private life and positive parenting.

The Council of Europe budget will bear the travel and subsistence expenses for 14 experts, appointed by the governments of the following member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Portugal, Russian Federation, Switzerland and Ukraine.

5.B

Participants

i.

With a view to securing across-the-board participation, the following committees may each send a representative/representatives to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the charge of the corresponding Council of Europe budget sub-heads:

- European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS);
- European Committee for Social Rights (ECSR);
- Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH);
- European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ);
- Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG);
- European Committee on Migration (CDMG);
- Steering Committee for Education (CDED);
- European Health Committee (CDSP);
- Committee of Experts on Family Law (CJ-FA);
- European Co-ordination Forum for the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 (CAHPAH);
- Partial Agreement Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs (Pompidou Group).

ii.

The Parliamentary Assembly may send representatives to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the charge of its administrative budget.

iii.

The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe may send a representative to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the charge of its administrative budget.

iv.

The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights may send a representative to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the charge of its administrative budget.

v.

The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe may send representatives to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote and at the charge of the sending body.

5.C

Other participants

i.

The European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) may send representatives to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

ii.

The states with observer status with the Council of Europe (Canada, Holy See, Japan, Mexico, United States of America) may send a representative to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

iii.

The following international organisations may send a representative/representatives to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses:

- United Nations and UN agencies and funds:
* International Labour Organisation (ILO);
* United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO);
* World Health Organisation (WHO);
*United Nations United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF);
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD);
- Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS).

iv.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe (UNICE) (“social partners”) may send a representative to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

5.D

Observers

 

The following non-member states :
- Belarus;
- Australia;

and the following non-governmental organisations:
- European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC);
- National Family and Parenting Institute (NFPI-UK);

may send representatives to meetings of the Committee, without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

6.

Working methods and structures:

 

In carrying out its terms of reference, the Committee shall:

- work in plenary as well as in workshops sessions during its two meetings per year;
- within the limits of available budgetary appropriations and to expedite the progress of its work, the Committee may, where necessary, call on the services of scientific experts;
- ensure appropriate participation by parents and children in aspects of its work which concerns them through specific consultations, including by electronic means;
- work in close co-operation with other relevant Council of Europe bodies and international institutions.

7.

Duration:

 

These terms of reference will expire on 31 December 2008.



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