Ministers' Deputies/ Working Parties
Working Party on Institutional Reforms
GT-REF.INST(2008)10 11 September 20081
Meeting of 25 September 2008
1. Rationalisation of intergovernmental committees – a review of Resolution Res(2005)47 and document CM(2006)168
1. At their 951st meeting (14 December 2005) the Deputies adopted Resolution Res(2005)47 on committees and subordinate bodies, their terms of reference and working methods and noted that it would be reviewed after two years. This Resolution sought to introduce efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility in the functioning of the Council of Europe intergovernmental committees.
2. At their 1024th meeting (23 April 2008), on the basis of the study on the efficiency and effectiveness of committees commissioned at the initiative of the Secretary General, the Deputies took a number of decisions concerning the work of intergovernmental committees:
“2. took note of the study on the efficiency and effectiveness of committees (document DD(2007)548) and of the proposals for follow-up action (document GT-REF.INST(2008)3) and
- invited the steering committees to regularly review the priorities and the work in their field of competence, as well as their working methods, in contributing to the core objective of the Organisation as decided at the Warsaw Summit and, in this respect, recalled the importance they attach to the document CM(2006)101 final on establishing criteria for projects;
- in this light, invited the GT-REF-INST to regularly examine the follow-up to be given to the document CM(2006)168 on the rationalisation of intergovernmental committees, and to put forward suggestions for their further rationalisation, as necessary;
3. invited the Secretary General, in the light of the observations made during the meetings of the GT-REF.INST (26 February and 27 March 2008), to give follow-up to the study taking into account the need to:
- constantly assess whether the structure and terms of reference of the committees are in line with the priorities set by the Committee of Ministers and make proposals as appropriate;
- propose ways and means for increasing efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility in the functioning of committees whilst ensuring the representation of the diversity of views of all member states in their work;
- consider how communication between the Secretariat, permanent representations and experts of the steering committees on issues concerning the effective functioning of committees could be improved, in particular with regard to transparency and communication flows;”
3. In the light of these decisions, the Secretariat has prepared document GT-REF.INST(2008)9 which
- sets out the follow-up given to the document CM(2006)1682 on the rationalisation of intergovernmental committees;
- reviews the implementation of Resolution Res(2005)47 on committees and subordinate bodies, in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility in the functioning of the Council of Europe intergovernmental committees, as well as communication flows. In this connection, it is recalled that the Deputies called for a review of the Resolution two years after its entry into force on 1 January 2006, allowing for further revision to take place, if necessary (decision CM/Del/Dec(2005)951/1.6.). The Secretariat does not propose further revision of the Resolution at this stage, but does suggest practical improvements, notably to enhance transparency and access to information concerning committees;
- shows the evolution of intergovernmental committees since January 2006 to the present date;
- sets out conclusions and perspectives.
4. The GT-REF.INST is invited to examine this item, in the light of the information provided in document GT-REF.INST(2008)9, and possibly put forward suggestions for further rationalisation. When doing so, the GT-REF.INST might also wish to assess how the rationalisation of intergovernmental committees has so far contributed to further streamlining activities in order to better focus on the core objectives of the Organisation as decided at the Warsaw Summit.
2. Presentation of the Council of Europe database related to committee work.
5. The Secretariat will make a brief presentation of the database on committees and terms of reference which is part of the overall Programme of Activities database3.
3. Any other business
4. Date of the next meeting
Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 Document approved by the Deputies at their 975th meeting (11 October 2006): cf. CM/Del/Dec(2006)975/1.8.