The Conference of INGOs, 4th pillar of the Council of Europe

Civil society

The Conference of International Non-governmental Organisations is the voice of European citizens, providing direct representation for them at the Council of Europe. It is part of what is called the "quadrilogue", representing cooperation between governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities, as well as civil society organisations.

Around 400 INGOs have been granted participatory status up to the present, bringing their contribution to vital areas, such as human rights, education, culture, social welfare, environment, labour, science and humanitarian aid.

All other Council of Europe institutions co-operate with the Conference of INGOs. NGOs may address memoranda to the Secretary General or the Commissioner for Human Rights, provide expert advice on policies and programmes in their field of action, make oral and written statements to the Parliamentary Assembly's Committees, attend public sittings of the Congress, and participate in seminars, conferences, colloquies. They also played an important role in the preparation of numerous conventions and charters, including the Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers, the Convention for the Prevention of Torture, and the European Cultural Convention.

The Conference of INGOs enables efficient mutual communication between the Organisation and the civil society.

Jean-Marie Heydt re-elected President of the Conference of INGOs

Members of the Conference of International NGOs of the Council of Europe showed their confidence in President Jean-Marie Heydt’s ability to steer them through challenging reforms by re-electing Mr. Heydt for a second term of office of three years on 25 January 2012. Mr Heydt will push forward reforms to modernise the Conference and invigorate the NGOs’ role as representatives of organised civil society at the Council of Europe.

In addition to promoting NGO participation in political discourse and action throughout Europe, priorities in 2012 for the Conference – which gathers almost 400 international NGOs – includes work for the Council of Europe’s inaugural “Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy” in October, which will assemble some 2,000 high ranking political officials and public figures to address challenges to the development of democracy throughout the world.

"Living Together: Combining diversity and freedom in the 21st-century Europe"

At the two day Forum organised by the Conference of INGOs on 13 and 14 November 2011, civil society representatives and authorities discussed new multicultural challenges facing European societies and exchanged best practices to promote diversity.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Rapporteur of the Group of Eminent Persons presented the report of the Group. (more ...)

"New multicultural challenges: how can NGOs play their part"

Within the framework of the Turkish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the Conference of INGOs held a Civil Society Forum in Istanbul on 24 and 25 March 2011. The Forum aimed to familiarise participating NGOs with the Council of Europe’s White Paper on intercultural dialogue and to identify good practice of NGO action in the field of intercultural dialogue. (more ...)