on Council of Europe conferences of specialised ministers
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 15 June 2011
at the 1116th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers,
Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve greater unity among its members;
Considering that the efforts of the Council of Europe in pursuit of this aim can be facilitated by direct consultation within the framework of Council of Europe conferences of specialised ministers;
Considering the need to ensure that the work of conferences of specialised ministers be co-ordinated with that of the Council of Europe, particularly with regard to the choice of subjects dealt with and the convening and preparing of a conference;
Considering in particular that the proceedings and the texts agreed at such conferences can make a particularly useful contribution to the achievement of the objectives of the Council of Europe and of its Programme of Activities;
Recalling the ongoing reform of the Organisation aimed at focusing its activities on areas where it plays a leading role and at enhancing the Organisation's flexibility and responsiveness in the face of a rapidly changing world;
Considering, in this respect, that a Council of Europe conference of specialised ministers should meet in order to facilitate the action of the Council of Europe in accordance with its priorities, to provide high level input for intergovernmental activities in its particular field or to react to particularly serious events having repercussions for human rights, the rule of law or democracy;
Considering that there is no longer any need to draw a distinction between Council of Europe conferences of specialised ministers with which the Council of Europe has a special working relationship and other conferences,
Decides to repeal Resolutions Res(71)44 and Res(89)40 as well as the conclusions on Council of Europe Conferences of Specialised Ministers adopted by the Ministers’ Deputies at their 1055th meeting (22-23 April 2009),1 and to replace them with the present resolution;
Agrees on the principles set out in the appendix to the present resolution, intended as guidance for the organisation of Council of Europe conferences of specialised ministers.
Appendix to Resolution CM/Res(2011)7
1. When the government of a member state of the Council of Europe or the Secretary General considers that a high-level political meeting (hereinafter “Council of Europe conference of specialised ministers” or “the conference”) might significantly contribute to the achievement of the Organisation's strategic objectives or is necessary so as to react to important events having repercussions for human rights, the rule of law or democracy, they shall submit, at any time, a proposal for such a conference to the Committee of Ministers, stating the dates, location, budgetary implications for the Organisation,2 subject, objectives and expected results of the conference and the link with the Organisation's priorities.
2. The Committee of Ministers shall examine the proposal and decide on the holding of such a conference taking into account the Council of Europe’s priorities, programmes and budgetary resources.
3. The government of the member state hosting a conference of specialised ministers shall bear the costs of organising and holding the conference. When a Council of Europe conference of specialised ministers is convened upon the proposal of the Secretary General, the corresponding costs shall be met out of the budget of the Council of Europe. Each delegation shall bear the costs of its participation in the conference.
4. When a government hosts a conference, invitations to the conference shall be signed jointly by the host government and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. When a Council of Europe conference of specialised ministers is convened in Strasbourg upon the proposal of the Secretary General, invitations shall be signed jointly by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
5. The Secretariat General is authorised to provide secretariat services for the conference.
6. Ministers of Council of Europe member states having responsibility for the matters to be discussed at the conference shall automatically be invited to participate in the conference. Council of Europe institutions having specific expertise in the matters to be discussed shall also be invited.
7. High representatives of the European Union having responsibility for the matters to be discussed at the conference shall be invited to participate in the conference.
8. Ministers of states enjoying observer status with the Council of Europe shall also be invited to participate in the conference as observers, as shall high representatives of international organisations already participating, by right or as observers, in activities in the field covered by the conference, unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise. Ministers of any other non-member state or high representatives of any other international intergovernmental or non-governmental organisation may be invited to participate in the conference as observers after having obtained the consent of the Committee of Ministers, which shall determine the conditions of such participation.
9. The preparation of the conference shall be entrusted to the relevant intergovernmental committee or committees set up under Article 17 of the Statute of the Council of Europe in the fields covered by the conference, the membership of which may be modified in the light of paragraphs 6, 7 and 8 relating to participants, or to the Secretary General. The Committee of Ministers may decide to entrust the preparation of a conference to any other competent body.
10. The committees or, as the case may be, the Secretary General or any other body referred to in the previous paragraph shall ensure that each conference they are responsible for organising is consistent with the Programme and Budget of the Council of Europe and provide the Committee of Ministers with an analysis of the impact that the conference would have for the future Progamme and Budget of the Organisation. In due time, they shall present to the Committee of Ministers a progress report on the preparations for the conference, which shall also include information on the criteria set out in paragraph 1 and indicate the draft agenda of the conference.
11. The Committee of Ministers shall hold an exchange of views on this report and address any observations to the relevant committees, the Secretary General or any other body referred to in paragraph 9, as the case may be, who shall take them into account without prejudice to the conference's prerogatives.
12. The Secretary General shall submit to the Committee of Ministers as early as possible (normally four to six weeks before the conference) any draft document to be submitted to the conference for consideration. The Committee of Ministers shall hold an exchange of views on such documents and address its observations to the Secretary General, the relevant committees or any other body referred to in paragraph 9, who shall take them into account without prejudice to the conference's prerogatives.
13. The Secretary General shall present to the Committee of Ministers, in a timely manner, a report on the holding of the conference and the texts agreed by it. The Committee of Ministers shall decide on the follow-up actions, including those with budgetary implications, to be given by the Council of Europe to the texts agreed at the conference, which it shall forward, as appropriate, to all relevant bodies including intergovernmental committees, other international organisations and other Council of Europe bodies for information.
14. The above provisions shall apply mutatis mutandis to ministerial level meetings to be held under the partial agreements of the Council of Europe without prejudice to the prerogatives of such agreements.
2 To be provided by the Secretary General.