COUNCIL OF EUROPE
COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
Status of partnership between the Council of Europe and national non-governmental organisations
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 19 November 2003
at the 861st meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers,
Recalling the Council of Europe statutory aim to achieve closer unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are their common heritage, and facilitating their economic and social progress;
Bearing in mind the missions entrusted to the Council of Europe by the Vienna and Strasbourg Summits and by the Budapest Declaration for a Greater Europe without Dividing Lines;
Considering that the achievement of this goal and the fulfilment of these missions cannot be realised without constant sensitivity to public opinion and to the driving forces in European society, which are constantly evolving;
Considering that the existence of an active civil society and its non-governmental organisations (hereafter NGOs), which are a vital component of European society, is an important and indispensable element of democracy;
Considering the essential role of counterbalance played by NGOs in a pluralist democracy, to intensify the active participation of all citizens in conducting public affairs, and promoting responsible democratic citizenship based on human rights and equality between women and men;
Convinced that initiatives, ideas and suggestions emanating from civil society can be considered as a true expression of European citizens;
Recalling that, in this spirit, the Council of Europe has, over the years, developed fruitful working relations with NGOs since it first created a consultative status for international non-governmental organisations in 1952;
Considering the need to support the development and consolidation of a strong civil society attached to democratic values;
Recognising that a number of activities in the Council of Europe's Programme of Activities have been carried out in partnership with national and international NGOs, reflecting not only a general effort to strengthen a democratic and open society, but also the extent to which civil society itself has developed in those countries;
Wishing, through the present rules, to take account of the active and constructive role of national NGOs in the implementation of the Council of Europe's Programme of Activities, and to recognise this co-operation, in particular by underlining its partnership character;
Wishing, therefore, to complement Resolution Res(2003)8 on participatory status for international NGOs at the Council of Europe;
Hereby decides to adopt the rules for the partnership between the Council of Europe and national NGOs, as appended to this Resolution.
Appendix to Resolution Res(2003)9
Rules for the partnership between the Council of Europe and national NGOs
1. The Council of Europe may establish working relations with national NGOs by concluding partnership agreements.
Conditions to be met by national NGOs
2. Partnership agreements may be established by the Council of Europe with national NGOs:
a. which are particularly representative in the field(s) of their competence, fields of action shared by the Council of Europe;
b. which are able, through their work, to support the achievement of that closer unity mentioned in Article 1 of the Statute of the Council of Europe;
c. which are able to make known the work of the Council of Europe in their country.
Modalities of co-operation
3. Partnership agreements may be concluded by the Council of Europe with national NGOs:
a. which are capable of contributing, through a specific project or programme, to the implementation of its programme of activities, in particular those aimed at the development and consolidation of democratic stability;
b. which are capable of contributing, through a specific event or manifestation linked to a Council of Europe field of activity, to public awareness-raising and/or strengthening of the European idea;
c. which are capable of providing, through their specific activity or experience, expert advice on the definition of Council of Europe policies, programmes and actions.
4. The national NGOs with which partnership agreements have been concluded:
a. have the possibility to attend the public sittings of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe;
b. have the possibility to attend seminars, conferences and hearings of interest to their work according to the applicable Council of Europe rules;
c. regularly disseminate information to their members on the standards, activities and achievements of the Council of Europe in their own field(s) of competence;
d. furnish, either spontaneously or at the request of the Council of Europe's different bodies, information, documents or opinions relating to their own field(s) of competence.
Procedure for partnership agreements
5. The Secretary General keeps the list of national NGOs with which partnership agreements have been concluded.
a. He or she may enter on this list all national NGOs with which the Council of Europe has specific agreements for the implementation of programmes, projects or events falling within the Council of Europe's programme of activities, and in particular those aiming at the development and consolidation of democratic stability.
b. The list shall be updated every two years and shall be communicated to the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Liaison Committee of the International NGOs enjoying participatory status with the Council of Europe.
c. The Secretary General may remove from the list those national NGOs having ceased their partnership relations with the Council of Europe or not fulfilling their obligations under the above- mentioned agreements.
6. The present rules will enter into force following their adoption by the Committee of Ministers for an initial period of five years after which the implementation of this Resolution shall be evaluated.