Council of Europe

PARTICIPATORY STATUS WITH THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Aware of the importance of INGOs across its territory, the Council of Europe grants participatory status to those renowned particularly for their expertise and qualifications. Thus, the FEDE is endowed with this prestigious status since 1987.

The FEDE contributes its expertise before the Council of Europe with regard to the higher and professional education sector, training and more generally in education.

To date, only 325 INGOs, are endowed with participatory status with the Council of Europe.

Their contributions can occur in various forms ranging from a simple consultation to real cooperation on specific projects. Experts from these INGOs (including those from the FEDE) participate in various projects as consultants, contribute to the works of inter-governmental committees, draft notes directed at the General Secretary of the Council of Europe, present oral or written declarations before the commissions of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress, or speak at seminars organised by the Council of Europe.

The FEDE’s contribution to the works of the Council of Europe took on a new form on 29 June 2017. Claude Vivier Le Got, Chairwoman of the FEDE, was elected as Chairwoman of the Education and Culture Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.

On 22 March 2018 Claude Vivier Le Got was also elected as an observer representing NGOs on behalf of the Conference of INGOs at the Office of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Educational Policy and Practice (CDPPE).

“The FEDE wishes to demonstrate its commitment in the values conveyed through Education as the basis of raising awareness of the cultural identity of Europe, its diversity and its democracies. Bolstering respect for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, is not a mere wish… It is a cry that Civil Society must voice. I strongly feel that the European idea is still a young and progressive idea that Civil Society should firmly seize,” explains Claude Vivier Le Got.

THE FEDE’S CONTRIBUTIONS

The INGOs holding participative status at the Council of Europe regularly meet in Strasbourg (France) for the Conference of INGOs.

The work of the Conference is shared between a number of committees, each with a different thematic focus. The FEDE is a member of three committees but is particularly active in two of them: the Education and Culture Committee and the Human Rights Committee.

The FEDE brings to these committees not only its educational expertise but also the vast experience of its 500 member institutions, its teachers, its researchers and its affiliated professionals and international experts.

Claude Vivier Le Got, Chairwoman of the FEDE, has also chaired the Education and Culture Committee since June 2017.

The Education and Culture Committee focuses on strengthening the fundamental values underpinning harmonious living in Europe. Composed of a group of experts, it has considerable influence on national and European policies. It aims to act as a relay between the Council of Europe and European INGOs, both communicating the Council of Europe’s values to the INGOs and, in turn, communicating the INGOs’ practices to the Council of Europe.

In February 2018 the Committee adopted its 2018-2020 roadmap. Given the rise of populism, fuelled by the search for identity, mass urbanisation, digitalisation, and the increasing influence of economics on politics, the Education and Culture Committee has established four working groups whose goal is to raise awareness and generate policy proposals. The themes addressed by the working groups cover contemporary educational, cultural, artistic, social and civilisational issues and are part of a broader project to construct, enact and reinforce European cultural identity.

The work of the Education and Culture Committee is currently based on the following four themes, each of which is addressed by a different working group:

  • Intercultural cities
  • The right to lifelong education
  • Heritage and creation in Europe
  • Digital citizenship

The overall objective of the Education and Culture Committee’s working groups is to produce, by June 2020, a multifaceted publication – a white paper – proposing a modern definition of European cultural identity. This definition, generated from within civil society, is intended to give new life to our shared European values.

The white paper aims to set out preliminary ideas that everyone (individuals, teachers, towns, States and institutions) will be able to adopt. It aims to detail a range of unique, open-minded approaches that are tolerant of diversity in our contemporary intercultural world.

To this end, the Education and Culture Committee has initiated dialogue between the Council of Europe’s INGOs and various European and international political actors (ambassadors, politicians, diplomats, experts and local representatives) on how we might construct the modern foundations of European identity. The first consultation took place on 27 June 2018 and involved European political actors. The second, held on 9 April 2019, was attended by educational experts from UNESCO. And the third consultation, to be held on a date between 28 and 31 October 2019, will be attended by local representatives and political actors.

The Human Rights Committee focuses on promoting human rights in Europe. In February 2018 the Committee adopted its 2018-2020 roadmap.

The Committee concentrates on the following four areas:

  • freedom of expression and freedom of the media;
  • cyberspace, privacy rights and data protection;
  • the monitoring role of INGOs;
  • poverty.