Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
GR-C
Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport,
Youth and Environment

GR-C(2006)8 revised14 March 20061
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Guidelines for the drawing-up of the
“White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention”


Item to be considered by the CM-SUIVI3 at its meeting on 14 March 2006

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Introduction

1. This document sets out the conceptual basis of the “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention” and the envisaged working methods.

Conceptual basis of the White Paper

2. The concept is based on the view that intercultural dialogue is one tool – among several others – contributing to the democratic management of (cultural) diversity within European societies and Europe’s relations with neighbouring regions, and an important contribution to the prevention of conflict. The White Paper is thus placed in a larger political context and will mark the beginning of a reflection process, which the Action Plan, adopted at the Third Summit, invites the Council of Europe to elaborate and concentrate upon in years to come, in order to build “a more humane and inclusive Europe”.2 The White Paper will be an important occasion to define the role of the Council of Europe and the added value of its activities in the area of intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention.

3. Basic references of the White Paper are the universally recognised human rights as well as the “Faro Declaration on the Council of Europe’s Strategy for Developing Intercultural Dialogue” and its related instruments. The White Paper will review the conceptual and operational achievements of the Council of Europe that are relevant to intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention from an intersectoral, multi-disciplinary point of view, and will propose orientations for future action. Interreligious dialogue will be given appropriate attention as a specific aspect of intercultural dialogue. The White Paper will, in particular:

i. Identify ways and means to respond to the need for intensified intercultural dialogue within European societies, so as to enhance the ability for everyone to contribute to, and benefit from, the cultural diversity of our continent in daily life and to promote active citizenship especially among young people;

ii. Identify ways and means to respond to the need for structured dialogue between Europe and its neighbours as a means to further co-operation and to prevent conflict;

iii. Provide policy makers, local and regional authorities and civil society organisations with guidelines for the development and implementation of intercultural dialogue, and with the necessary analytical and methodological tools and standards of successful practice.

4. At its meeting on 25 November 2004, the GR-C held a thematic presentation on intercultural dialogue, one of the current political priorities of the Council of Europe. At this meeting, three experts presented the work of the Council of Europe on the theme of intercultural and interreligious dialogue in the areas of culture, education and youth. In the ensuing discussion, the GR-C concluded that a “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Prevention”, as foreseen in the 2005 Programme of Activities, was a timely and advisable initiative.

At the GR-C meeting of 14 June 2005, the Group considered the draft terms of reference for the White Paper Drafting Committee and made comments of a general and technical nature.3

5.The Third Summit of Heads of State and Government in May 2005 decided that a Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue be appointed for the Council of Europe.4 This function has been entrusted by the Secretary General to Gabriella BATTAINI-DRAGONI, Director General of DG IV, in late 2005.

6. The European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs, meeting in Faro, Portugal on 27-28 October 2005, set down the Council of Europe’s Strategy for the promotion of intercultural dialogue in the “Faro Declaration”. In this document, the Ministers asked the Council of Europe to prepare a White Paper on integrated policies for the management of cultural diversity through intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention, in order to provide the Council of Europe with a coherent policy document required to facilitate the implementation of the “Faro Strategy”.5

7. Following the Faro Conference, the Committee of Ministers debated the issue of intercultural dialogue at its 115th Session (Strasbourg, 16-17 November 2005). The relevant part of the communiqué adopted at the session reads: “The Ministers welcomed the Strategy to promote intercultural dialogue in European societies which was adopted at the Conference of European Ministers responsible for Culture in Faro on 27 and 28 October 2005. This also translates into practical measures the desire for openness towards the rest of the world which was expressed at the Warsaw Summit. The White Paper to be drawn-up by the Council of Europe on integrated policies for the management of cultural diversity through intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention, and the Faro Platform for promoting co-operation between institutions towards intercultural dialogue, constitute advances on this front. The Ministers asked that these be effectively followed up. The Ministers strongly encouraged the member states and the competent bodies of the Council of Europe to contribute actively to the pursuit of these initiatives. These activities will have to be co-ordinated with those of UNESCO and aim to promote, in particular, the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.”6

Working methods

8. Intercultural dialogue within Europe and with neighbouring regions is a complex task, to which recent and future international and local events add a sense of urgency. The working methods chosen for developing the White Paper must meet both challenges.

9. To ensure a transversal approach and achieve practical results within a relatively short time span and at acceptable costs, it is proposed that the work on the White Paper be undertaken by an Intersecretariat Task Force led by the Co-ordinator for Intercultural Dialogue. Where necessary, consultant experts may be used for assisting the process. The Secretary General will submit the draft document to the Committee of Ministers for approval.

10. The Intersectoral Task Force will ensure close co-ordination with other relevant on-going activities of the Council of Europe in the same areas (including the North-South Centre and EURIMAGES) and relevant Steering Committees. The Secretariat will consult member states on their views and experiences in the field of intercultural dialogue in writing. The Secretariat will also consult with the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in Europe and the INGO Conference. The work of the European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest will be adequately reflected.

The Secretariat will consult, where necessary, in particular on the occasion of hearings or by means of written consultations, the institutional partners of the Council of Europe (including UNESCO, the European Commission, the OSCE, ALECSO and the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures) with a view to providing an open and integrated approach for the future Council of Europe work in this field, as well as other experts, representatives of national governments, members of different ethnic and religious communities and relevant civil society organisations.

11. The Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment (GR-C) will be regularly informed in writing about the work progress. Interim reports will be submitted as appropriate.

Timetable

12. Work on the “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue” will begin as soon as the concept has been approved by the Committee of Ministers.

13. The draft White Paper will be submitted to the Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport, Youth and Environment (GR-C) in the second half of 2007. Following approval, the Secretariat expects to be able to publish the White Paper before the start of the planned “European Year of Intercultural Dialogue” of the European Union in 2008.

14. Work on the White Paper will be structured as follows:

    · Preparatory phase: formation of the Secretariat Task Force (February 2006) and the Drafting Team; preparation of the survey among member states; discussion of the contents structure of the White Paper; selection of consultant experts for closely defined tasks: March to June 2006;

    · Analytical phase: analysis of the survey among members states; analysis of the results of past and current Council of Europe programmes, declarations and publications promoting intercultural dialogue: July to December 2006;

    · Recommendation phase: hearings and discussions with institutional partners, civil society and other organisations; development of draft recommendations: November 2006 to February 2007;

    · Consultation phase: discussion of draft recommendations with Steering Committees and other bodies of the Council of Europe: February to May 2007;

    · Final drafting phase: conclusion of editorial tasks: June 2007;

    · Submission to the Committee of Ministers: first GR-C meeting after the summer recess 2007; adoption by the Committee of Ministers in November 2007;

    · Publication: November 2007.

Appendix

Explanatory note of the Secretariat in answer to the specific requests formulated at the GR-C meeting of 14 June 2005

The proposed White Paper concept reflects the specific suggestions of the GR-C (meeting of 14 June 2005) in the following way:

    · Role of the White Paper in the enhancement of intercultural and interreligious dialogue: Paragraph 3 describes the function of the White Paper as providing “guidelines and analytical and methodological tools to promote intercultural dialogue. The White Paper will thus have a multiplying effect, drawing on the results of recent Council of Europe action, on national good practice and literature, and will reflect the experience with their practical implementation.

    · Target groups: Paragraph 3 defines the two main target groups as policy-makers and practitioners at national, regional and local level.

    · Role of local and regional authorities: Local and regional authorities are among the target groups. Representatives of local and regional authorities are specifically listed as resource persons to be consulted during the drafting process.

    · Universally recognised human rights: A reference is included in paragraph 3 of the Terms of Reference.

    · Equality between women and men: The Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG) will be consulted by the Secretariat.7

    · Limitation of the number of experts: The number of consultant experts and their contract conditions will be limited by the budgetary means available in 2006 and 2007.

    · Format of the White Paper in two parts: A reference is included in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Terms of Reference.

The initially foreseen duration of the mandate of a drafting committee was 18 months. The time set aside for the survey, the drafting and all consultations has now been reduced to less than 15 months. The draft final document is expected to be available on 31 July 2007 at the latest.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 Document CM(2005)80 final, Chapter III – Building a more humane and inclusive Europe, Section 6.
Note 3 The Chair summarised the discussion by inviting the Secretariat to: (i) revise the draft terms of reference in the light of the debate held at the meeting; (ii) present an alternative to them (one option would cover only the DGIV work on intercultural/interreligious dialogue, second option - the whole organisation); (iii) prepare a document on the overview of EU/OSCE/UNESCO work in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue with the purpose of comparison which would allow overlapping with these structures to be avoided and to define the role of the Council of Europe, and (iv) prepare a short explanatory paper replying to the questions raised. An explanatory paper (Appendix) replies to the specific questions raised at the GR-C meeting of 14 June 2005. The comparative analysis of the roles and activities of the European Union, the OSCE and UNESCO in the field of intercultural dialogue, equally requested by the GR-C at its meeting of 14 June 2005, is provided as a separate document.
Note 4 Document CM(2005)80 final, Chapter III – Building a more humane and inclusive Europe, Section 6.
Note 5 Document CM(2005)164 (“Faro Declaration”). A similar strategy had previously been formulated in the “Declaration on intercultural dialogue and conflict prevention”, adopted by the European Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs at their meeting in Opatija (Croatia), 22 October 2003 (document CM(2004)18).
Note 6 Document CM(2005)160 final.
Note 7 Other Steering Committees to be consulted include: Steering Committee for Education (CDED), Steering Committee for Higher Education and Research (CDESR), Steering Committee for Culture (CDCULT), Steering Committee for Cultural Heritage (CDPAT), Joint Council on Youth (CMJ), Ad hoc Committee for the Agreement on Sport (CAHAS), Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), European Committee on Migration (CDMG), European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS), Steering Committee for Equality between Women and Men (CDEG), Steering Committee on the Media and New Communication Services (CDMC).


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