For debate in the Standing Committee — see Rule 15 of the Rules of Procedure
16 July 2003
The Council of Europe’s North-South Centre and
its contribution to development co-operation in the
Committee on Economic Affairs and Development
Rapporteur: Mr Frey, Switzerland, Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
The Council of Europe’s North-South Centre in Lisbon has for over a decade served as the Organisation’s “window” to the developing world - working both to raise awareness among the European public about the situation in the world’s poorer countries and to serve as a vehicle for spreading Council of Europe values internationally. Especially since 11 September, this mission has become even more important, as witnessed for instance in the Centre’s organising a Europe-wide “Global Education Congress” in Maastricht in 2002.
The report also observes, however, that only twenty of the Council of Europe’s forty-five member states have so far opted to join this particular Partial Agreement and goes on to argue that prospects for a larger membership will depend vitally on the Centre’s manifesting a clear will to engage in profound reform. Only in this way, the report concludes, can the Centre realise its true potential and meet its unique mission in favour of greater solidarity and understanding between the world’s “haves” and its “have-nots”.
I. Draft Recommendation
1. The Council of Europe’s European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity in Lisbon, commonly known as the North-South Centre, is a noble expression of Europe’s desire to assist the world’s poorer countries in their development, and to spread the Council of Europe’s universal values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law beyond the continent’s confines. Especially after the events of 11 September 2001, the Centre’s unique mission of fostering European awareness of development issues and of the root causes of world poverty, as well as the need for a genuine North-South dialogue on these issues, has taken on added urgency.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly, against this background, welcomes the holding, in 2002, of a Europe-wide Global Education Congress in Maastricht, The Netherlands, which established parameters for school education on development issues for the coming decade and recalls the need for the Centre’s work to focus on its unique calling to raise awareness in this field in Europe, basing itself additionally on the United Nations Millennium Goals established in 2000 and the Implementation Plan for Sustainable Development agreed at the United Nations World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002.
3. The Assembly also recognises, however, that especially since 11 September, the Centre can make an important contribution in its contacts with developing regions close to Europe, such as North Africa and the Middle East, in order to build a new dialogue based on an assertive and undiluted promotion of Council of Europe values and policies. It welcomes the efforts made by the Centre under its Trans-Mediterranean and Policy Dialogue programmes to engage these regions, and recommends that it essentially limit its extra-European activities to these nearby regions, which are of such immediate importance to Europe.
4. Considering that the Centre forms an integral part of the Council of Europe in its capacity as one of its Partial Agreements, it is essential that it follow strictly the goals and policies pursued by the Organisation, and that it remain in close operational contact with the Council’s various parts under the guidance of the Directorate General for Political Affairs. The Council and Centre member states should also become more active in using the Centre’s potential to further various of their projects that have, or could be given, a North-South dimension.
5. The Assembly is also aware of the symbolic importance of the Centre’s annual North-South Prize. It believes that the Prize should in future be awarded in the first place to individuals who are little known or unknown and who in their personal capacity have made extraordinary achievements in the field in developing countries or, in the second place, to those who have made major contributions to furthering European awareness of North-South relations, rather than to persons widely known and honoured.
6. In order to ensure the future of the Centre, the Assembly recommends to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to urge the Centre’s member states yo undertake the following reforms:
i. render the Centre’s objectives more operational and concrete;
ii. reduce the number of projects engaged in by the Centre while making them more focussed and better coordinated internally;
iii. revise the Centre’s statute with a view to defining more clearly the responsibilities of the Centre’s different organs and the decision-making procedure to be followed, including the timing of budgetary and project planning and in the implementation of decisions;
iv. have the Centre observe greater precision and concreteness of language, as well as economy of expression, in its written output;
v. ensure that the Centre engages in working relationships with outside interests only
after express approval by the competent bodies.
7. The Assembly against this background welcomes recent initiatives by the Committee of Representatives of the Member states of the Centre in this direction and its intention to accompany the Centre’s work more closely. It looks forward to learning about the results of their work in this regard.
8. The Assembly notes with regret that, over a decade into the Centre’s existence, only twenty of the Council of Europe’s forty-five member states have chosen to join this Partial Agreement. Taking into account the clear will to undertake the necessary reforms, the Assembly recommends to the Committee of Ministers to urge remaining countries to join as early as possible, and recommends that annual financial contributions by the least wealthy among them be made more modest.
9. The Assembly, recalling its own determining role in creating the Centre in 1992 and its numerous Resolutions devoted to it, states its conviction that a reformed Centre will be able to make an important contribution to a Europe more aware of global relationships, and to a fairer and more equitable world made more receptive to European values.
II. Explanatory Memorandum by the Rapporteur
I. Introduction. The origins of the North-South Centre.
II. Mission and structure
III. The case for a wider membership.
IV. Bringing Centre policies fully into line with Council of Europe policies and values
V. Global education as a Centre priority
VI. Africa and the Mediterranean as new priority regions
VII. The Centre’s media activities
VIII. Educational activities on the basis of the Johannesburg commitments, the Maastricht Global Education Declaration and Council of Europe values: A new way forward for the Centre?
IX. The Centre’s facilities and operational efficiency.
X. Streamlining the Centre’s activities.
XI. Concluding remarks: the need for inner reform and a revised statute
I. Introduction. The origins of the North-South Centre
1. As the Rapporteur prepared a first version of the present report in the autumn of 2002 on the Council of Europe’s North-South Centre and its contribution to development cooperation in the 21st century, the United Nations’ World Summit on Sustainable Development had just concluded its work. In reading the Johannesburg conclusions, he was struck by how farsighted and ahead of its time the Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly had been in establishing the Centre over ten years before, in 1990, in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The creation followed years of work toward this goal of, first, the Parliamentary Assembly, and notably its Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, and, subsequently, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, under whose direct authority the Centre today sorts.
2. The Rapporteur, who either alone or with other Assembly colleagues (most recently Mrs Durrieu of France) has written earlier reports on the Centre, is happy to have been given a renewed opportunity to fulfil this task at a time when development cooperation in all its forms is more vital than ever for the world’s future.
3. The Rapporteur in this connection thanks the staff of the Centre for their availability in providing him with information about the institution during and following visits he carried out to Lisbon over the months of his work. He is also grateful to several Permanent Representatives of Council of Europe member states belonging to the Centre for various comments, as well as to his Portuguese Assembly colleague Mr Antonio Braga on the Centre’s Executive Council, who accompanied him on one of his visits to the Centre on behalf of the Committee on Culture, Science and Education. For the contents of this report, however, the Rapporteur alone is responsible;
4. It is the report’s purpose firstly to take critical stock of the Centre’s developments up to the present day and, secondly, to examine how the Centre may adapt so as best to make a contribution to a better future for the world’s poorer countries in the years to come. It is, by contrast, not within its ambition to give a complete picture of the Centre’s entire range of activities. For this, the reader is asked to consult the Centre’s website at www.nscentre.org.
5. The present version of the report succeeds an earlier introductory memorandum, which contained a number of critical viewpoints. Some of these concerned the language and style of used in the Centre’s publications which the Rapporteur found could be made more concise and more in conformity with classical Council of Europe values. Other criticism was reserved for one particular project – Dignity International, to be briefly referred to further on - whose origin, aims and natural belonging within the Centre were not obvious. After discussion with the Centre, it now looks as if these particular complications have been cleared.
6. The North-South Centre (NSC) was born out of a growing concern in the 1970s and 1980s for the fate of what was then called the Third World, that is, developing countries and especially the poorer among them. Numerous reports had been presented to the Assembly and many texts adopted by it, but it was felt that some type of organisational structure was needed to raise European awareness of the plight of developing countries, the need for Europe to assist them - and more generally to bring the two groups into a more constructive dialogue with each other. Indeed, in the 1970s, what was then the Assembly’s Committee on Economic Affairs changed its name into the Committee on Economic Affairs and Development, the better to reflect this concern.
7. In 1984 the Portuguese Parliament hosted a Conference organised by the Assembly on the theme of “North-South: Europe’s Role”. The so-called Lisbon Declaration launched the idea of a European Public Campaign on “North-South Interdependence and Solidarity”. The Campaign, held in 1988, culminated in a Conference in Madrid. The Conference issued the so-called “Madrid Appeal”, which, apart from spelling out a new strategy for North-South cooperation, also proposed the creation of a Council of Europe North-South Centre. The Portuguese Government offered to act as host to the Centre, to be placed in Lisbon, and the
proposal was adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in 1989. The Centre, with the official name “The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity”, started work the following year.
II. Mission and structure
8. The aims of the North-South Centre, according to its Statute (Appendix to The Committee of Ministers Resolution (89) 14) are to “provide a framework for European cooperation for the purpose of increasing public awareness of global interdependence issues and to promote policies of solidarity in conformity with aims and principles of the Council of Europe” (Article 1.1).
9. Furthermore, the Centre is to :
- “help in maintaining and enhancing the process of communication and cooperation between parliamentarians, governments, non-governmental organisations( ‘NGOs’) and local and regional authorities …” “
“provide a framework, a sounding board and a launching platform for, and give a European dimension to, initiatives by member governments and other actors in the are of multilateral cooperation for sustainable development”
“improve education and information on the fundamental issues of global interdependence and solidarity, and promote liaison between the competent government departments and services of the member countries as regards their public awareness work on interdependence ….”
“strengthen ties between NGOs from the North and the South ….”
“create an interface between Europe and the South to generate new ideas and proposals for constructive relations and to act as a think-tank on interdependence problems”
“develop working relations with the United Nations system, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and other international organisations active in relation to global interdependence”;
Finally, the statute instructs the Centre to “help to avoid duplication of effort among and within its member countries …”
10. In spite of the Centre’s being an intergovernmental structure sorting under the Directorate General of Political Affairs of the Council of Europe, the Assembly nevertheless has an important monitoring role in its regard, as illustrated, for instance, through the present report and the several preceding it. It is a so-called Partial Agreement, meaning that it can function even if not all Council of Europe member States join. At present, the Centre has 20 member States: Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
11. The functioning is built on a so-called ‘quadrilogue’, a term which stands for a dialogue between four partners: governments, parliaments, local and regional authorities and NGOs. These are represented on the Centre’s Executive Council, which adopts the budget, assesses past activities and determines the future work. The 27-member Executive Council – on which also the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the European Commission are
represented - elects a Bureau, which follows the Centre’s activities even closer. The President of the Executive Council and the Bureau is Mr Miguel Angel Martinez, a former President of the Parliamentary Assembly and currently a member of the European Parliament (and notably its Committee on Development and Cooperation).
12. The Centre’s staff of about twenty is headed by an Executive Director. The 2003 budget amounts to a total of about € 2 million, of which somewhat over € 1.1 million are obligatory contributions by the member States of the Partial Agreement, with much of the rest (around € 0.9 million) consisting of voluntary contributions. (To this should be added sometimes considerable contributions in kind, such as in the form of hosting seminars.) The European Commission is a particularly generous contributor, providing close to € 450,000 in 2003, even though a contribution of this order in 2004 appears highly unlikely. On the spending side, staff expenditure amounts to approximately a third of the ordinary budget, office, travel and other expenditure to around 12%; and translation, interpretation and the preparation of documents to around 3%.
13. It is not satisfactory that the Centre should depend to such a large extent on voluntary contributions. Often these are paid in the course of the budgetary year for which they are foreseen. This makes planning difficult, since activities cannot be scheduled with certainty out of fear the contribution may not materialise. By the same token, implementation often becomes too hurried since, by the time the money may arrive, the event foreseen may be too close in time. There is also the risk of being beholden to voluntary donors - less so perhaps in the case of voluntary contributions from Council of Europe member States than in the case of, say, corporations. Generally speaking, the Centre’s financial situation is precarious, with ordinary income barely sufficient to pay for obligatory expenditure. Nor can it be expected to improve significantly in the harsh economic climate currently facing many countries in Europe, except of course if many more countries were to join the Centre.
III. The case for a wider membership
14. Obviously, the budget would be less dependent on voluntary contributions if more member States of the Council of Europe joined. As welcome as Germany’s joining of the Centre in 2002 is, as difficult it is to explain is the absence of such countries as Austria, the United Kingdom, Russia and Ukraine.
It is perhaps easier to explain why certain still less wealthy Council of Europe member States in central and eastern Europe have not yet joined, since the budgetary contributions to the Centre are not negligible, and this even for small countries. The Rapporteur would recommend that poor countries should be made to pay much less proportionally than richer countries would. Perhaps a more modest contribution should be exacted in the case of the least wealthy. The important thing is to participate financially at least in a token way in order to mark one’s support for the Centre and participate in its work.
16. Another way to increase the budgetary resources could be to encourage individual member countries of the North-South Centre even more strongly than at present to finance projects on which they are particularly keen. With the current heterogeneous membership of the Centre, North-South cooperation preferences of its various member states are bound to be varied, too.
IV. Bringing Centre policies fully into line with Council of Europe policies and
17. Since the Centre forms part and parcel of the Council of Europe, it has a natural duty to promote the fundamental values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the closest possible conformity with Council of Europe policy as it evolves and, importantly, in the same terms as used by the Council of Europe. After his numerous visits to the Centre, the Rapporteur is convinced of the need for the Centre, which forms an integral part of the Council of Europe, to defend strictly the same values. ( For instance, it is only recently that the Centre has begun to place the symbol of the Council of Europe – the twelve stars – alongside its own symbol, a globe cut in two, with the tip of the southern half resting on top of the northern half.) The classical human rights and freedoms as given in the European Convention on Human Rights must form the cornerstone of the Centre’s message and activities.
18. Put differently, the North-South Centre must entirely stop thinking of itself as an NGO and rather see itself as a clear and direct emanation of the Council of Europe. As such, it should, much more than at present, systematically seek the advice from all the Directorates of the Council of Europe and from all countries forming part of the Centre, asking them what projects or policies they pursue that could have, or be given, a North-South cooperation angle to them and then be entrusted to the Centre for execution.
V. Global education as a Centre priority
19. The Assembly in earlier resolutions has called on the Centre to concentrate more on the European part of its mission. Thus, both in Resolution 982 (1992) and in Resolution 998 (1993), it is said that the Centre should “focus on its central and unique mission of promoting public awareness in Europe of North-South issues and of counteracting ‘Euroegoism’ … [and to] build on human rights and democracy, the pillars of the Council of Europe – strengthening the trend toward democracy in the developing world and working toward greater tolerance in Europe”. More recently, the Assembly’s Resolution 1318 (2003) recommended that member states “promote global education to strengthen public awareness of sustainable development, bearing in mind that global education is essential for all citizens to acquire the knowledge and skills to understand, participate in and interact critically with our global society, as empowered global citizens.”
20. It is therefore heartening that the Centre now treats global education in Europe as one of its top priorities. The focus is on having education focus on long-term solutions to global problems and on mobilising greater European public support for them. Close cooperation is sought with national ministries responsible for development cooperation and public education - especially around the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in 2000. The idea is that, to the extent that these can be persuaded as to the need to include global education in their teaching systems, public support for development cooperation will increase. A related goal is to have national administrations in these fields cooperate closer with each other – or engage in “networking” in the Centre’s own jargon – around new strategies for global education.
21. Acting on earlier Assembly recommendations and external evaluations1, the Centre’s Global Education work has been reduced from twelve to six core areas. One is the Global Education Network Europe (GENE), established in 2001 and now involving eight countries. The national agencies involved include the NCDO in the Netherlands, the B.M.Z. in Germany and the Swiss Foundation Education and Development. One of these areas of work, Improving the Practice and Theory of Evaluation in Global Education, has been progressing well, with an expert meeting in Nurnberg held in the spring of 2003, to be followed in September 2003 by an International Conference in London on the same topic. Expert papers are available on the website.
22. Another core area is the Global Education Week, for which the Centre serves as a facilitator since 1999. It is now a network of 38 national coordinators who lead global education week activities at national level. In some countries - such as Ireland, the United Kingdom and France - these activities have been developing for over a decade and involve hundreds of thousands of participants. In other countries, Global Education Week is more recent. Still, in countries like Romania and Lithuania, the borrowing of strategies used in other countries has led to significant integration of global education into the national curricula in a short space of time. In 2002, the Global Education Week network chose three areas of common international networking to strengthen their own national work. The Global Education Week network agreed, at their meeting in Brno, the Czech Republic in April 2003, that the annual selection of themes should be based on a more long-term perspective, as outlined, for instance in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
23. Other areas are the annual World Aware Education Awards to people who have participated to this purpose and the Global Youth Work Training programme, which also involves the Centre’s partnership with the Council of Europe’s Youth Directorate on “Euro-Med Youth Training”.
24. The Europe-wide Global Education Congress took place in Maastricht in November 2002. It involved parliamentarians, governments, local and regional authorities, and civil society representatives from Council of Europe member states and adopted the so-called “Maastricht Declaration”, setting out a “Europe-wide Strategy Framework for Increasing and Improving Global Education to the Year 2015”. The “Maastricht Declaration”, set out in Appendix 2, is also meant to lead to the formulation of national strategies. A clear process for national reporting, peer monitoring and peer support between member states is foreseen.
25. Youth has consistently been identified as a particular partner and target of the Centre’s activities. Strengthening youth global education has been a recognised as a priority and as a largely successful element of the Centre’s programme. This has been achieved through a training programme, which includes global youth training (most notably the Summer University on Youth and Development), and inter-regional youth training (including the NSC/Youth Directorate/European Commission partnership on Euro-Med youth training). The youth dimension will also involve the sharing of Council of Europe models of youth research and youth policy development with other regions.2
VI. Africa and the Mediterranean as new priority regions
26. Work in Europe in no way signifies forgetting about the rest of the world. It seems highly desirable, for instance, at the present time to focus on Africa and trans-Mediterranean cooperation, given the proximity of these regions to Europe and their political relevance to our continent. The Rapporteur warmly welcomes, therefore, that these have now become priority areas for the Centre and recommends that the Centre reduce its work dealing with other more distant continents, such as south-east Asia. This is in no way to belittle such regions, but only to highlight the need for the Centre to concentrate on world regions with which Europe’s own development and future are more immediately linked. Priorities should include promoting peace in these regions, addressing migration, environment protection and the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law capable of leading to greater political stability in Africa and on the southern and eastern shores of the Mediterranean.
27. The Centre’s work on Northern Africa and the Middle East is done mainly under its Trans-Mediterranean programme. Established in 1994, it aims to promote inter-cultural dialogue, especially in the field of migration, education and youth. Several events have been held in the region, for example in Alger, Rabat, Cairo and Alexandria. Cooperation is pursued with the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the European Parliament and various academic institutions such as the University of Lugano. New impetus was given to the Trans-Mediterranean programme following the events of 11 September. The priorities for 2003 and 2004 include the strengthening of the democratic process, promotion of human rights (especially those of women) and the role of the media.
28. The Rapporteur in particular commends the Centre’s efforts to work through the European Parliamentary Association for Africa to establish contacts with local authorities in the Maghreb countries, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Here, the Centre focuses on the promotion of human rights, education, migration and intercultural dialogue. It cooperates with various committees of the Parliamentary Assembly, such as the Committee on Culture and Education and the Committee on Migration and Demography, and also with organisations such as the OSCE, the OECD and the European Commission.
29. Work on these two regions is also pursued within the Centre’s Policy Dialogue Unit, on two main themes: intercultural dialogue and the promotion of peace; and the protection and promotion of human rights. Working via expert meetings, workshops, open fora and editorial activities, the Political Dialogue Unit works in liaison with the Directorate General of Political Affairs of the Council of Europe as regards the political aspects. On human rights issues it bases itself on the Council of Europe Human Rights Convention as well as the Organisation’s European Social Charter as regards social norms. In its editorial and media work, the Political Dialogue Unit is trying to establish “theme sheets” aimed at the two regions in question. The main event of the year for the Political Dialogue Unit is of course the Lisbon Forum - traditionally held in the autumn on a theme related to human rights. The theme for the 2003 Lisbon Forum will be “Migration and Human Rights: North-South Dialogue”
VII. The Centre’s media activities
30. The work of the Centre is brought to the attention of the outside world through the Multimedia Unit, which is in charge of the Centre’s website and public relations. This part of the Centre seems to be functioning well. The website if now fully integrated into that of the Council of Europe and can be consulted under www.nscentre.org.
31. There is also a Centre publication, the monthly “The Interdependent”. It forms part of the website but is also distributed to about 9,500 addressees in hard copy form at an estimated annual cost of about € 50,000. This includes only printing and distribution costs, but not staff time (such as for translation) used in preparing it in the two languages English and French. Perhaps the real cost is therefore more in the vicinity of € 100,000 rather than the €50,000 mentioned above. This money could presumably be put to better use elsewhere.
32. Nor does “The Interdependent” cover all the activities of the Centre, since the latter’s two ‘Units’, that on ‘Global Education” and that for ‘Political Dialogue’, issue ‘Newsletters’ of their own. A questionnaire recently sent out to the 9,500 addressees for “The Interdependent” has caused the Centre consider the core of the active readership to be only something between 600 and 1,000 recipients. This raises the question even more strongly as to whether “The Interdependent” ought to continue to exist in hard copy form in future. Perhaps a decision to stop publication should have been taken a long time ago.
33. Meanwhile, the Centre’s other publication, the monthly Terra Viva, has been discontinued. Similarly, a monthly Dossier Terra Viva produced by the International Press Service (IPS) – an outside association of journalists – used to be included as a special section in “The Interdependent” but no longer is. (The Rapporteur’s criticism of the earlier state of affairs was that, since the articles in the Dossier Terra Viva were prepared by the IPS, the North-South Centre was in fact assuming editorial responsibility for material not produced by it, but rather by an external news agency altogether unrelated to the Centre, or for that matter the Council of Europe.)
34. The Centre’s “North-South Prize” must also be counted as one of its media activities. It is traditionally given each year to two personalities, one from the ‘North’ and one from the ‘South’, “who have actively contributed to the development of the defence of the rights of the individual, pluralist democracy, and the partnership between north and South”. The 2002 Prize was awarded to the President of East Timor, Mr Xanana Gusmao and to Mrs Albina du Boisrouvray, President of the Association Franšois-Xavier Bagnoud. However, the award ceremony could not take place until June 2003 due to the unavailabity of Mr Gusmao in Europe at any earlier time.
35. This is a pity, for it does not add to the reputation of the Prize if it is handed out half way into the year following that for which it was intended. Furthermore, it would be preferable for the Prize to be given, not to statesmen or celebrities, but rather to people in the field who make significant contributions to the poor in developing countries, far from the limelight or the “People” columns. Examples abound of such unknown heroes, whether they originally be from ‘The North’ or ‘The South’.
I. Edu cational activities on the basis of the Johannesburg commitments, the “Maastricht Global Education Declaration” and Council of Europe values: A new way forward for the Centre?36.
36. The Centre was set up by the Council of Europe and joined by a number of its member States for a certain highly valid purpose, namely to assist developing countries in their development on the basis of Council of Europe values. However, the mission has never been very well defined operationally, and it is high time that the Centre’s member States, acting through the Centre’s Executive Council, proceed to the task.
37. We have to ask ourselves this fundamental question: If the North-South Centre did not exist, what would we then have been missing? Furthermore, what precisely do we want it to do? Two million euros is a significant sum of money, and it comes from taxes from member States that often face budgetary difficulties. We therefore need to shape the Centre in such a way that it is as relevant as ever possible to the needs and lacunae we perceive in the field of development cooperation.
38. The Rapporteur turns to the argument he made at the outset. Let us use the North-South Centre, and notably its Global Education unit, to organise educational events and networking on each of the fourteen main areas where action was called for at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. These themes are described in somewhat greater detail in Appendix 1. They are: desertification, water, energy, cities, corporations, renewable energy, chemicals, fish, climate, biodiversity, forests, trade, debt and partnerships. The commitments entered into have the advantage of being concrete and of being binding on all the Centre’s member states, all the other member states of the Council of Europe and all developing countries. They could bring together North and South in a common quest for solutions. Similar action could be taken as regards the United Nations Millenium Goals of the year 2000. A further source of inspiration could be the Maastricht Global Education Declaration discussed previously and appearing in Appendix 2.
39. Furthermore, we know that, due to the Summit’s worldwide membership, very little was said in the Johannesburg Agreement about human rights, democracy and the rule of law as we in the Council of Europe understand them. So let us add these to the above list and incorporate them into each one of them. When organising the events on these themes – say, two or three well prepared events per year - the Centre must also identify the most promising target groups it wants to reach.
IX. The Centre’s facilities and operational efficiency
40. The Rapporteur was also able to discuss with the Centre’s staff a number of other issues, some of them practical. The first concerns the Centre’s premises. It is now located on the top two floors of a relatively old building on one of Lisbon’s main and most prestigious avenues, the Avenida da Liberdade. The host country, Portugal, generously offers these premises free of charge and in addition to its statutory contribution. It has held out the prospect of new premises.
41. It is becoming urgent to find a solution to the many problems and risks facing the staff of the Centre at its present premises. In the winter there is little heating, forcing the staff to use gas heaters with the resulting risk of fires. An inspection of the premises by the competent Council of Europe services are foreseen and urgently called for by this Rapporteur, who hopes that a satisfactory solution can soon be found via the Portuguese government.
42. The Rapporteur also raised various complaints made by many of the Centre’s partners and member States. These concern meetings that are announced too late and, once announced, see their dates changed anew. There is also the feeling that preparations are improvised and that there is no follow-up. The minutes of the Executive Council also often arrive late. There is furthermore the criticism that more meetings should be held in Europe rather than in far-away places such as South America or Bali. The Centre promises improvements on all these points, but also raises difficulties of a practical kind related to the timely issuing of documents, such as that of ensuring translation into the Centre’s two official languages, English and French.
X. Streamlining the Centre’s activities.
43. In an earlier version of the present report, the Rapporteur devoted some considerable attention to a particular outgrowth in the Centre’s activities, the so-called “Dignity International” project. “Dignity International” arose from the “Globalisation Without Poverty” Campaign carried out by the Council of Europe between 1998 and 2000, and more specifically from the Campaign’s “Forum on poverty eradication, held in October 1999.3
44. The Forum recommended that an international network be set up to promote the indivisibility of human rights - including social, economic and cultural rights - and their implementation. It also recommended that the implementation be coordinated by the North-South Centre as part of the follow-up to the Campaign. The network was eventually given the name of Dignity International, which between 2000 and 2002 organised a whole series of initiatives, such as the “ Expert Reflection on Pathways to Social Development” in May 2001 together with the United Nationals and the Council of Europe’s General Directorate for Social Cohesion. Another event was the Seminar on “Globalising Human Dignity”, held in February 2002 at the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre in Brazil.
45. However, the Rapporteur wondered why this whole series of events, inevitably drawing on the Centre’s scarce staff and financial resources, should be held under a label different from that of the Centre, and somehow unassociated with it. One explanation given was that the “Globalisation without Poverty” Campaign had been decided by all the member states of the Council of Europe rather than the more limited number of member states of the Centre. It was therefore necessary, the Centre felt, that the project be given a status independent from the Centre. However, the Rapporteur objected that no Council of Europe member state was likely to object to the Campaign’s follow-up being run under the more restricted membership of the North-South Centre. He also felt unease at the thought that the activities and mandate of Dignity International would “float around” somewhere partly or wholly outside the Centre’s control.
46. The Rapporteur was therefore all the more heartened by the decision of the North-South Centre’s Executive Council at the end of 2002 to disassociate itself from the Dignity International project as from 2003, and to leave all activities under that label to be developed by an independent Dutch NGO already operating under that name. The Dignity International and the Europe-Africa Civil Society Forum experiences, as well as the previously mentioned, now terminated, editorial association with the International Press Service, all highlight the need for the Centre to be highly attentive in its choice of partners. This being said, the Centre’s cooperation with, for instance, the OECD Development Centre is welcomed by all sides.4
47.The Centre represents a noble idea and one fully in line with the Council of Europe’s mission of promoting democracy, human rights, the rule of law and social betterment not only in Europe but also beyond. The Council of Europe, including its Assembly, must support politically and materially what it created a decade ago in an act of remarkable foresight.
48. Furthermore, after the Centre has reorganised its activities and inner functioning, the efforts to get more countries to join must be intensified. Such a development would come about naturally to the extent that the Centre manages fully to realise its potential after reorganisation, which makes the task of carrying it out soon all the more important. Not only should more longstanding Council of Europe member States in western Europe join, but so should also the more recent member States in central and eastern Europe. For the latter, there should be reduced contributions to the Centre’s budget, and even more or less symbolic ones for the least wealthy.
49. In order to ensure efficiency in its operations, each organ of the Centre has to carry out its specific responsibilities as defined by the Centre’s statute. However, the statute - even after a revision carried out in 19937 - is vague and sometimes confused, and should be revised in order better to define these responsibilities and the precise procedures to be followed in the decision-making process, including on the budget.
50. The need for a clearer delineation of responsibilities between the Centre’s organs holds in particular for the Executive Council and its Bureau. Also, the Centre’s Consultative Assembly has not met for several years. Presumably this is so for perfectly legitimate reasons, since the Consultative Assembly was, in the Rapporteur’s remembrance, a rather too vast and unwieldly body to serve its intended role. The recommended revision of the statute ought to take this into account. Furthermore, budgetary planning needs to proceed apace with the practice followed in the Council of Europe as a whole. At this writing, however (June 2003), no detailed presentation of projects and their budgeting have been made by the Centre, whereas in the Council as a whole, budgetary and project planning for the following year is presented in March and are well advanced already in the early part of the summer. Finally, the different units and programmes of the Centre often seem to operate too independently of each other and without the necessary coordination. An internal audit ordered by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to address these issues is under way and the Rapporteur looks forward to its conclusions.
51. The Centre should also focus on fewer but more efficiently carried out activities. The main part of the activities have to be concentrated on Europe and the Centre’s new, welcome emphasis on the two nearby regions of Africa and the Middle East must be pursued further, including in the Centre’s youth activities, considering these regions’ major political significance for, and proximity to, Europe.
52. The Centre’s “Global Education” programme for greater awareness of the interdependence between the world’s rich and poor countries holds particular promise. Care must be taken to avoid any ‘politicisation’ of the contents in educational projects on, for instance, such a wide topic as globalisation. While it is difficult to pinpoint precisely what global education should encompass, the problem will become less acute as the Global Education Unit limits itself mainly to facilitating contacts between others and lets educational content develop as a result of such networking. Global education could be usefully linked up not only with the Maastricht Conference on Global Education referred to previously but also with various commitments by the international community, such as the March 2002 Monterrey Conference on “Financing for Development”, the United Nations 2000 Millennium Goals and the commitments entered into at the Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development in September 2002, where the Centre indeed organised a “Workshop” involving some 300 participants around the theme of “Human Rights and Sustainable Development”. The Centre should link its work in this field closely with the Council of Europe’s values, and do so in the closest possible cooperation with the Council of Europe as such.
53. Moreover, the Centre needs to continue its effort to find a niche where nobody else is active. This means fewer major conferences and fewer bulky reports resulting from them, and more emphasis on a more discreet role as facilitator, intermediary and catalyst between other actors – whether it be national administrations dealing with development cooperation or education, or international organisations. It also has to see itself not as an NGO but as the direct emanation of the Council of Europe – which it in fact is in its capacity as a Council of Europe Partial Agreement. Its operational goals have to be stated more clearly and operationally, and flow more directly from its statute – and those of the Council of Europe - in their daily applications.
54. The style used the Centre’s various publications needs to be more concise and concrete A good beginning has been made on the Centre’s website and in its retrospective Activities Report for 2002 and should be carried further, since the language elsewhere is still often far too verbose and vague. Vagueness of language often betrays vagueness of thought and absence of purpose. The counterargument by the Centre has been that its quadrilogue nature obliges it to adapt its style to that of, for instance, many NGOs. However, economy of expression and concreteness in language must be a virtue and a goal for anybody, carried out in the interest of the reader. The style of the Council of Europe - when it is at its best, that is – should be the norm also for the Centre.
55. As for meetings of the Centre’s various bodies, not only are they often announced at too short notice, but their dates are then frequently changed. This makes it much more difficult for participants, whose agendas may be filled up months in advance, to attend. Minutes of meetings are often late in appearing, sometimes several months after the event, making actions on their contents more difficult.
56. A major reason behind the frequent change of meeting dates seems to be that they are often - such as in the case of Executive Council meetings or the Lisbon Forums - linked up with dates foreseen for North-South Prize Award ceremony. As award recipients announce that the dates selected no longer suit them, the meeting dates of the other bodies are changed as well. Thus, the meeting date of the spring 2003 meeting of the Executive Council was changed twice, less than a month before the dates announced. Similarly, the exact date of the Lisbon Forum, to be held in October 2003, was not yet known in June of that year, again because the date for the North-South Prize Award ceremony had not been fixed. The meetings must therefore be decoupled from each other, and the dates for the meetings of the Executive Council in the coming year must be irrevocably fixed at the latest at that body’s autumn meeting in the year under way.
57. In a welcome development, the Committee of Representatives of the Member States of the North-South Centre at a meeting in Strasbourg in March 2003 announced its intention to accompany the Centre’s work more closely. It also for the first time elected a Chairperson to lead it, in the person of Ambassador Ago, Permanent Representative of Italy to the Council of Europe, with as his Vice-Chairperson Ambassador De Grandes Pascual, Permanent Representative of Spain to the Council of Europe. The Committee on this occasion, in line with the Rapporteur’s own suggestion, agreed to look into the responsibilities and the timetable for the work of each of the North-South Centre’s statutory bodies. The Rapporteur would also suggest that the Committee in question establish a questionnaire addressed to the capitals of the countries belonging to the Centre, enquiring what the Ministries most directly concerned would want the Centre to do.
58. The Centre should also look into its media activities, especially as regards the future of its flagship publication “The Interdependent” as discussed above. It should also be particularly vigilant in choosing its media partners to ensure that any editorial responsibility it assumes takes place with the full approval of the Council of Europe and especially the Centre’s member states. The Centre should also not shy away from asking for payment for its various advisory services, say in the educational field. Such income would in fact be a good indication of the Centre’s ‘market value’, as it were.
59. The Lisbon premises of the Centre must urgently be improved, especially as regards heating and security against fires, and the possibility of moving to other premises must be actively pursued with the assistance of the Portuguese government.
60. In sum, after much consultation with all those involved in the Centre’s work, the Rapporteur believes that the North-South Centre needs to undergo considerable reform as regards its inner structure and functioning. It also needs to determine its objectives more strictly and in perfect conformity with Council of Europe goals and policies, and for a geographically more limited part of the developing world, namely the regions closest to Europe.
Summary of the implementation plan adopted by the United Nations
World Summit on Sustainable Development held in
Johannesburg from 26 august to 4 September 2002
■ Desertification: Combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought and floods.
■ Water: Halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of people who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water and the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation.
■ Energy: Improve access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services and resources, taking into account national specificities and circumstances.
■ Cities: By 2020, achieve a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers.
■ Corporations: Encourage industry to improve social and environmental performance through voluntary initiatives, including environmental management systems, codes of conduct, certification and public reporting on environmental and social issues.
■ Renewable energy: Develop and disseminate alternative energy technologies with the aim of giving a greater share of the energy mix to renewable energies, improving energy efficiency and greater reliance on advanced energy technologies, including cleaner fossil-fuel technologies.
■ Chemicals: Achieve by 2020 that chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment.
■ Fish: Maintain or restore stocks to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield with the aim of achieving these goals for depleted stocks on an urgent basis and where possible not later than 2015.
■ Climate: Enhance cooperation at the international, regional and national levels to reduce air pollution, including transboundary air pollution, acid deposition and ozone depletion.
■ Biodiversity: Achievement by 2010 of a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity. Provide financial and technical support to developing countries, including capacity-building, in order to enhance indigenous and community-based biodiversity conservation efforts.
■ Forests: Enhance political commitment to achieve sustainable forest management by endorsing it as a priority on the international political agenda.
■ Trade: Promote open, equitable, rules-based, predictable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading and financial systems that benefit all countries in the pursuit of sustainable development.
■ Debt: Encourage exploring innovative mechanisms to comprehensively address the debt problems of developing countries, including middle-income countries and countries with economies in transition. Such mechanisms may include debt for sustainable development swaps.
■ Partnerships: Enhance partnerships between governmental and non-governmental actors, including all major groups, as well as volunteer groups, on programs and activities for the achievement of sustainable development at all levels.
Final Declaration adopted by the “Europe-wide Global Education Congress”,
held in Maastricht, 15 – 17 November 2002
A European Strategy Framework for Improving and Increasing Global Education in Europe to the Year 2015.
We, the participating delegations of the Europe-wide Global Education Congress, Maastricht, November 15th – 17th 2002, representing parliamentarians, governments, local and regional authorities and civil society organisations from the member states of the Council of Europe, desiring to contribute to the follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and to the preparations for the United Nations’ Decade for Education for Sustainable Development.
ě International commitments to global sustainable development made at the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development, and to the development of a global partnership for the reduction of global poverty as outlined in the UN Millennium Development Goals.
ě International, regional and national commitments to increase and improve support for Global Education, as education that supports peoples’ search for knowledge about the realities of their world, and engages them in critical global democratic citizenship towards greater justice, sustainability, equity and human rights for all (See Appendix 1).
ě The Council of Europe’s North-South Centre definitions of Global Education (2002)
- Global Education is education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all.
- Global Education is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; being the global dimensions of Education for Citizenship.
2. Profoundly aware of the fact that:
- Vast global inequalities persist and basic human needs, including the right to education (as mentioned in the Dakar declaration on Education For All), are not yet met for all people;
- Democratic decision processes require a political dialogue between informed and empowered citizens and their elected representatives;
- The fundamental transformations of production and consumption patterns required to achieve sustainable development can only be realised if citizens, women and men alike, have access to adequate information and understand and agree to the necessity to act;
- Well conceived and strategically planned Global Education, which also takes account of gender issues, should contribute to understanding and acceptance of such measures.
3. Recognising that:
- Europe is a continent whose peoples are drawn from and are present in all areas of the world.
- We live in an increasingly globalised world where trans-border problems must be met by joint, multilateral political measures.
- Challenges to international solidarity must be met with firm resolve.
- Global Education is essential for strengthening public support for spending on development co-operation.
- All citizens need knowledge and skills to understand, participate in and interact critically with our global society as empowered global citizens. This poses fundamental challenges for all areas of life including education.
- There are fresh challenges and opportunities to engage Europeans in forms of education for active local, national and global citizenship and for sustainable lifestyles in order to counter-act loss of public confidence in national and international institutions.
- The methodology of Global Education focuses on supporting active learning and encouraging reflection with active participation of learners and educators. It celebrates and promotes diversity and respect for others and encourages learners to make their choices in their own context in relation to the global context.
4. Agreeing that….
A world that is just, peaceful and sustainable is in the interest of all.
Since the definitions of Global Education above include the concept of Education for Sustainable Development, this Strategy can be included in follow-up to the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development and serve as a preparation for the UN decade for Education for Sustainable Development starting in 2005.
Global Education being a cross-sectoral obligation can significantly contribute to achieving these commitments. Access to Global Education is both a necessity and a right. This will require:
ě Increased and improved co-operation and co-ordination between international, national, regional and local level actors.
ě The active participation and commitment in the follow-up to this Congress of all four categories of political actors – parliamentarians, governments, local and regional authorities as well as civil society (the quadrilogue) which are involved in the on-going useful political discussion in the framework of the North-South Centre.
ě Significantly increased additional funding, on national and international levels.
ě Increased support across Ministries of Development Co-operation, Foreign Affairs, Trade, Environment and particularly Ministries of Education to ensure full integration into curricula of formal and non-formal education at all levels.
ě International, national, regional and local support and co-ordination mechanisms;
ě Greatly increased co-operation between North and South and between East and West.
5. Wish to commit ourselves, and the member states, civil society organisations, parliamentary structures and local and regional authorities that we represent to….
5.1 Take forward the process of defining Global Education and ensuring that a rich diversity of experience and perspectives (e.g. Southern, Minorities, Youth and Women’s’ perspectives) is included at every stage.
5.2 Develop, in cooperation with the competent authorities and relevant actors, (or build on existing), national action plans, starting now and to 2015, for increased and improved Global Education towards the target date of the Millennium Development Goals.
5.3 Increase funding for Global Education.
5.4 Secure the integration of Global Education perspectives into education systems at all levels.
5.5 Develop, or where developed, improve and increase national structures for funding, support, co-ordination and policy-making in Global Education in all Council of Europe member states, as appropriate to national conditions.
5.6 Develop, or where developed improve strategies for raising and assuring the quality of Global Education.
5.7 Increase support for Regional, European, and International networking of strategies for increased and improved Global Education; between policymakers and practitioners.
5.8 Test the feasibility of developing a peer monitoring/peer support programme, through national Global Education Reports, and regular peer reviews, in a 12-year frame.
5.9 Contribute to the follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and to the preparations for the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development.
We, the participating delegations of the Europe-wide Global Education Congress, Maastricht, November 15th – 17th 2002, representing parliamentarians, governments, local and regional authorities and civil society organisations from the member states of the Council of Europe, commit ourselves to an ongoing dialogue with the South about the form and content of Global Education.
Reporting committee: Committee on Economic Affairs and Development
Reference to committee: Standing mandate.
Draft recommendation unanimously adopted by the committee on 24 June 2003.
Members of the committee: Mrs Zapfl-Helbling (Chairperson), Mr Kirilov, Mrs Burbiene, Mrs Pericleous-Papadopoulos (Vice-chairpersons), Mr Ašikg÷z, Mr Adam, Mr Agramunt, Mr I. Aliyev, Mr Anacoreta Correia, Mr Andov, Mr Arnau, Mr Assis Miranda, Mr Ates, Mr Berceanu, Mr Braun, Mr Brunhart, Mr Budin, Mr ăavusoglu, Mr Cosarciuc, Mr Crema, Mr Dimic, Mr Djupedal, Mr Duivesteijn, Mr Eyskens, Mr Figel, Mr Floros, Mr Galchenko (Alternate: Ms Yarygina), Mr Galoyan, Ms Griffiths, Mr Grignon, Mr Gusenbauer, Ms Hakl, Mr Haupert, Mr H÷gmark, Mr Jonas, Mr Kacin, Mrs Kestelijn-Sierens, Mr Klympush, Mr Korobeynikov, Mr Kraus, Mr Krivokcapic, Mr Lachnit, Mr Le Guen, Mr Leibrecht, Mr Liapis, Mr Makhachev (Alternate: Mr Tulaev), Mr Masseret, Mr Melcak, Mr Mikkelsen, Ms Milicevic, Ms Muizniece, Mr Naumov (Alternate: Mr Umakhanov), Mr Íhman, Mr O’Keeffe (Alternate: Mr Howlin), Mr Opmann, Mrs Patarkalishvili, Mrs Pintat Rossell, Ms Petursdottir, Mr Podgorski, Mr Popa, Mr Puche, Mr Ramponi, Mr Reimann (Alternate: Mr Frey), Mr Riccardi, Mr Rivolta, Lord Russell-Johnston, Mr Rybak, Mr Sasi, Mr Schreiner, Mr Severin, Mr Seyidov, Mr Slakteris, Ms Smith, Mr Stefanov, Mr Tepshi, Mr Torbar, Mrs Vadai, Mr Walter, Mr Wielowieyski, Mr Wikinski, Mr Zhevago, Mr Zvonar.
N.B. The names of those members present at the meeting are printed in italics
Head of Secretariat: Mr Torbi÷rn
Co-Secretaries to the committee: M. Bertozzi, Ms Ramanauskaite and Ms Kopaši-Di Michele
1 “External Evaluation of the Global Education and Youth Programme” of 1997 and the “KommEnt Evaluation of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe” of 1999.
2 In its educational work the Centre is intensifying its cooperation with the Council of Europe’s Youth Centre, especially on trans-Mediterranean projects, and with the Council’s Directorate General on Education, Culture and Heritage, Youth and Sport, not least on the follow-up to the Maastricht Conference on Global Education in November 2002. Cooperation is also close with the OECD Development Centre, the UNDP and the World Bank, especially on public attitudes and support for development co-operation in the light of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.
3 The official name of the Campaign was “Council of Europe Campaign on Global Interdependence and Solidarity: Europe against Poverty and Social Exclusion”.
4 See for instance the interesting study on “Public Opinion and the Fight against Poverty”, published jointly in 2003 by the Centre and the OECD Development Centre.
Committee of Ministers Resolution (93) 51 confirming the continuation of the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarit