Embassy of Ukraine in the Republic of Nigeria

, Kyiv 21:14

Council of Europe

Actual state of cooperation of Ukraine with the Council of Europe

On the 9th of November 1995 Ukraine has joined to the Council of Europe becoming the 37 member of organization.

In accordance with the Statute of the Council of Europe Ukraine is represented in all three main bodies of the Council of Europe.

At present, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko defends the interests of the state in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe - the principal department of this organisation. Ambassador Mykola Tochytskyi is the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe.

In the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which defines the main directions of activity of the Organisation and has a consultative status, our country is represented by the Permanent Delegation consisting of 24 national delegates (12 main members and 12 their deputies). The Ukrainian delegation in the Assembly is headed by the deputy I.Popescu.

Also 24 representatives of Ukraine under the leadership of Dnipropetrovs’k mayor Ivan Kulichenko form the Delegation of Ukraine in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the main task of which is to improve local governing in the member-states of the European Council.

Owing to the membership in the Council of Europe and the corresponding quota, assigned for our state, Ukraine has the right to elect a person for the post of a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights. The main task of the Court is to provide absolute observance and fulfilment of the norms of European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The field of its competence includes consideration of cases based on individual claims of natural persons, groups of persons or non-governmental organisations, respondent for which are countries.

For the first time since its accession to the Council of Europe in 1995, Ukraine chaired the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from 11 May to 7 November 2011. Ukraine considered its Chairmanship as a practical opportunity to contribute to the developments of modern European processes in which the Council of Europe plays a significant role. This is especially important today when the Council of Europe is rethinking its role, functions and tasks that will allow it to remain politically relevant organisation and continue its mission of protecting and promoting European democratic values.

Aiming to promote the Council of Europe activities, Ukraine presented a programme of its Chairmanship which focused on the implementation of the following main priorities:

  • protection of children’s rights;
  • human rights and the rule of law in the context of democracy and stability in Europe;
  • strengthening and developing local democracy.

The agreement reached between the Ukrainian, United Kingdom and Albanian chairmanships on the implementation of shared priorities in advancing the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights reforms as well as developing local and regional democracy should be considered as the three consecutive chairmanships’ integrated approach towards the further implementation of the Council of Europe principal goals.

The Ukrainian Chairmanship remained vigilant in ensuring complementarity and synergy between the Council of Europe and its international partners, particularly with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The activities of the Ukrainian Chairmanship were designed to strengthen the role of the Organisation in the European political architecture as an effective forum for co-operation in the promotion of democracy, the protection of human rights and upholding the rule of law.

Ukraine highly values close and mutually beneficial interaction between the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in promoting the core values of the Council of Europe. During its Chairmanship, Ukraine further promoted such a dialogue.

The Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko has also provided an active visibility by reacting to events that were taking place in the Council of Europe member States and beyond.

Nowadays the main point of the cooperation of Ukraine with the Council of Europe contains following elements: reformation of existing legislation, elaboration and implementation of the new one according to the standards of the Council of Europe at the branch of human rights and superiority of law; cooperation at the branch of ensuring the freedom in functioning of mass media; development of tolerant democratic society, which would be based on European standards, including those concerning social rights and rights of national minorities, equality of rights between men and women, protection of children, etc; unification of efforts to increase the efficiency of fight against terrorism, corruption and organised crime.

Cooperation between Ukraine and the Council of Europe

On November 9, 1995 Ukraine joined the Council of Europe and became the 37th member of Organization.

In accordance with the Statute of the Council of Europe Ukraine is represented in all three main bodies of the Council of Europe (CoE).

Currently, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko defends the state interests in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe - the СoE principal body.

In May-November 2011 Ukraine will assume Chairmanship in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe with the following priorities: protection of children’s rights, promotion of the rule of law and local democracy. This Chairmanship is a great honor that also imposes a great responsibility on our country.

In the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which specifies the main directions of Organization‘s activity and has a consultative status, our country is represented by the Permanent delegation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine consisting of 24 national delegates (12 main members and 12 their deputies). The Ukrainian delegation in the Assembly is headed by Mr.Ivan Popescu.

24 representatives of Ukraine headed by Dnipropetrovs’k mayor Mr.Ivan Kulichenko also represent Ukraine in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, the main task of which is to improve local governing in the CoE member-states.

Owing to the membership in the Council of Europe and under the assigned quota, Ukraine has the right to elect a person for the post of a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In April 2010 Mrs G.Yudkivska was elected on behalf of Ukraine as the Judge of the ECHR. The main task of the ECHR is to provide absolute observance and fulfilment of the standards and norms set forth in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Its competence also includes consideration of the cases handling the individual claims of natural persons, groups of persons or non-governmental organisations, respondent for which are countries.

The main outlines of Ukraine’s present activity in the Council of Europe are the following:

  • reform of national legislation in compliance with the standards of the Council of Europe;
  • cooperation in the field of freedom of the media;
  • development of tolerant democratic society;
  • protection of rights of national minorities;
  • gender equality;
  • protection of children;
  • fight against terrorism, corruption and organised crime.

The main areas of Ukraine’s cooperation in the framework of the Council of Europe are:

  • implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine (the overall budget – € 25.3 million) aimed at strengthening the democratic stability in Ukraine;
  • implementation of the programmes of cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Central and Eastern European countries to guarantee the human rights and the rule of law;
  • implementation of the CoE programmes aimed at preparing the countries to join the European Union;
  • continued efforts of the Ukrainian state authorities to fulfil Ukraine’s commitments and obligations under the Opinion of the Parliamentary Assembly №190 (1995);
  • joint efforts with the Council of Europe and the European Union to solve such important problems as providing freedom of travel on the continent, regulation of the migratory flows, fight against trafficking of human beings;
  • involvement of Ukrainian professionals as the experts of the Council of Europe into elaboration and implementation of actions performed within the above mentioned programs;
  • active participation of Ukrainian representatives in the working groups of the CoE Committee of Ministers.

Being an active participant of the CoE activities, Ukraine makes a significant contribution in organizing of the pan-European events under the CoE auspices. In particular, among the most important CoE recent events which took place in Ukraine were the 8th Conference of Ministers for Migration (September 2008), the 8th Conference of Ministers for Youth (October 2008) and the Forum for the Future of Democracy (October 2009).

Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe Mykola Tochytskyi is a member of the Bureau of the Ministers' Deputies. Since November 2010 the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the Council of Europe has been chairing the CM meetings (DH). The main feature of Ukrainian Chairmanship in the CM (DH) is an elaboration of details of a new supervision system for execution of judgments passed by the European Court of Human Rights under the Interlaken Declaration on the ECHR reform.

Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine 2011 - 2014

Action Plan for Ukraine (AP) is a joint strategic initiative of the Council of Europe and the Ukrainian authorities to support Ukraine in fulfilling its statutory and specific obligations as a Council of Europe Member State, to consolidate achievements since accession in 1995, and to help Ukraine meet new challenges. It renews the Organisation’s commitment to support Ukraine’s ambitious and important domestic and European agenda for reform in the areas of expertise of the Council of Europe – Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy.

The foundations for further progress were laid by the previous action plan (2008-2011), with its forty-three projects and budget of 18 million Euros.

AP focuses action on areas where Council of Europe expertise is available and where its monitoring and standard-setting bodies present a comparative advantage:

  • Protection of human rights within the context of the European Convention on Human Rights,
  • Support to the reform of the judicial system and the reform of the criminal justice system
  • Strengthening local democracy and support for local government reforms in Ukraine
  • Fight against ill-treatment and impunity
  • Strengthening and protection of children’s rights
  • Promotion of European standards in the Ukrainian media sector
  • Implementation of the Revised European Social Charter and reinforcement of social cohesion
  • Reinforcement of good governance and the fight against corruption
  • Support to free and fair elections.

Funding from the Organisation’s Ordinary Budget, European Union - Council of Europe Joint Programmes, and Voluntary Contributions from individual Council of Europe Member States will be combined under a single Action Plan for Ukraine.

The AP 2011-2014 was prepared in conformity with the principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, to allow Ukraine to exercise effective leadership over its development policies and strategies, and to encourage Ukraine to co-ordinate development actions. Designed in close collaboration with the Ukrainian authorities to better align national legislation, institutions and practices with European standards, the AP supports the Ukrainian authorities in their efforts to meet their commitments towards the Council of Europe and to fulfil the country’s European ambitions.

Sound consultation with the Ukrainian authorities and a good level of dialogue between dedicated co-operation structures on priority areas have ensured a good level of ownership by the Ukrainian authorities of the AP as a whole. They have also allowed the partners to integrate in a satisfactory manner the recommendations addressed to Ukraine by CoE monitoring bodies.

Taking these recommendations into account when identifying and conceiving programmes and projects ensures that CoE actions contribute to enabling Ukraine to honour its commitments and obligations.

This is the third AP for Ukraine, combining Council of Europe expertise with financial resources from the Organisation’s ordinary budget, JP funding, and voluntary contributions from member and observer states to a target value of €24 million. The first two APs covered the periods 2005-2008 and 2008-2011 and were of a similar size.

The AP rests on three pillars of strategic action that mirror those of the Organisation.

Human rights interventions aim to address a number of key issues identified as priorities by CoE monitoring bodies and in judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, to reinforce human rights protection and improve execution of judgments. The specific objectives are:

  • To strengthen the capacity of the judiciary and the Governmental Agent’s Office
  • To raise awareness and disseminate knowledge on the Convention and case law in respect of Ukraine to national authorities and the judiciary
  • To train judges, prosecutors, legal professionals, law enforcement agencies and prison staff
  • To prevent inhuman and degrading treatment
  • To promote equality and diversity
  • To improve protection of the rights of the vulnerable and social rights.

Rule of law interventions aim to develop the democratic institutions and procedures at national, regional and local level and to promote respect for the rule of law. Specifically:

  • To ensure justice
  • To promote an efficient and transparent judicial system
  • To develop common standards and counter threats to the rule of law

Democracy interventions aim to strengthen democratic institutions at national, regional and local level, expanding democratic culture, to build cohesion, increase tolerance and widen participation of key social and civil actors in the decision-making process. Specifically:

  • To promote regional and local democracy
  • To reinforce democratic governance
  • To build and promote democratic culture and civil society.

The new plan will cost € 24 million to implement.

Stocktaking of the Ukrainian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

Ministers’ Deputies
Information documents

CM/Inf(2011)40


 

Stocktaking of the Ukrainian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
(11 May – 7 November 2011)

Table of contents

Summary

1. ..... Protection of children’s rights
2. ..... Human rights and the rule of law in the context of democracy and stability in Europe
3. ..... Strengthening and developing local democracy
4. ..... Social cohesion
5. ..... Education, culture, youth and sport
6. ..... Other issues

6.1. Specific co-operation
6.2. .................................................... Organisational development and reform, programme and budget
6.3. Co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly.............................................................................
6.4. ......................................................................................... Co-operation with the European Union
6.5. .................................... Co-operation with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

7. Conclusions

Appendix 1 Calendar of the main events

Appendix 2 Statements made by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding important events

Summary

For the first time since its accession to the Council of Europe in 1995, Ukraine chaired the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from 11 May to 7 November 2011. Ukraine considered its Chairmanship as a practical opportunity to contribute to the developments of modern European processes in which the Council of Europe plays a significant role. This is especially important today when the Council of Europe isrethinkingits role, functions and tasks thatwill allow it to remainpoliticallyrelevantorganisation andcontinue its mission ofprotecting and promoting European democratic values.

Therefore, having received on 11 May 2011 the symbolic key to the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, Ukraine found itself at the centre of these historical processes.

Assuming this honorable and, at the same time, responsible mission, the Ukrainian Chairmanship set itself practical goals, with the aim of obtaining concrete results that could contribute to developing a new approach to the implementation of key priorities and the basic principles of the Council of Europe - democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The importance of the tasks Ukraine faced during its Chairmanship was influenced by the need to further promote the Council of Europe reform. The Ukrainian Chairmanship fell within the most active period of the second phase of the Council of Europe reform, the main objective of which was to determine the strategic priorities of this Organisation in the current decade as well as their future practical implementation on the basis of new instruments and methods to be elaborated by the Council of Europe member States.

Achieving this goal required proper coordination efforts of all members of the Organisation.

That is why Ukraine has chosen “Common values – joint efforts” as the slogan for its Chairmanship.

This meant that for the Ukrainian Chairmanship was very important to maintain an atmosphere of mutual trust and constructive dialogue between all member States, without exception, to ensure their effective co-operation in promoting the Council of Europe goals and values. It was also concerned by the strengthening of the institutional interaction between the main Council of Europe statutory bodies in the development and adoption of decisions that would have a determinant influence on the future of the Organisation.

Aiming to promote the Council of Europe activities, Ukraine presented a programme of its Chairmanship which focused on the implementation of the following main priorities:

  • protection of children’s rights;
  • human rights and the rule of law in the context of democracy and stability in Europe;
  • strengtheningand developing local democracy.

At the same time, the commitment of the Ukrainian Chairmanship in implementing its main priorities tied up with the Council of Europe priorities identified during the 121st Session of the Committee of Ministers (Istanbul, 10-11 May 2011).

The agreement reached between the Ukrainian, United Kingdom and Albanian chairmanships on the implementation of shared priorities in advancing the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights reforms as well as developing local and regional democracy should be considered as the three consecutive chairmanships’ integrated approach towards the further implementation of the Council of Europe principal goals.

During the last six months, the Ukrainian Chairmanship has organised a number of special events aimed at pursuing the core objectives of the Organisation in the areas of human rights; rule of law and judicial co-operation; social cohesion; education, culture and sport.

The Ukrainian Chairmanship remained vigilant in ensuring complementarity and synergy between the Council of Europe and its international partners, particularly with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The activities of the Ukrainian Chairmanship were designed to strengthen the role of the Organisation in the European political architecture as an effective forum for co-operation in the promotion of democracy, the protection of human rights and upholding the rule of law.

Ukrainehighly values close and mutually beneficial interaction between the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities in promoting the core values of the Council of Europe. During its Chairmanship, Ukrainefurther promoted such a dialogue.

The Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko has also provided an active visibility by reacting to events that were taking place in the Council of Europe member States and beyond.

1. Protection of children’s rights

— The Chairmanship contributed to the implementation of the Council of Europe campaign to stop sexual violence against children by disseminating best European experiences and practices in the implementation of integrated national strategies on children's rights and the elimination of violence against them;

— The Chairmanship contributed to developing a common European strategy for children's rights to health care in the context of the implementation of the decisions of the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Health Ministers “Child-Friendly Health Care: Building a Healthy Future for and with Children” (Lisbon, 29-30 September 2011);

— The Chairmanship summarised existing experience and good practices on the introduction of European standards for the protection of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers;

— The Chairmanship contributed its proposals and provided its full support to the process of preparing the new Councilof Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child 2012-2015 (Monaco, 20-21 November 2011).

1. In the framework of the Ukrainian Chairmanship, an international conference “Combating violence against children: from isolated actions to integrated strategies” was organised in Kyiv on 24-25 May 2011. This conference confirmed that holistic strategies were needed to combat violence against children in Europe. The discussions, which were focused in particular on reforming child protection systems and on developing support services and improving national child care standards and policies, stressed also the need to fight the roots of violence against children, i.e. poverty, absence of democracy and human rights and social stereotypes. The conference was a part of a series of Council of Europe actions to promote – with the support of governments and other partners – zero tolerance to violence against children.

2. The Ukrainian Chairmanship paid special attention to children's rights to health care. Therefore, Ukraine participated actively in the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Health Ministers (Lisbon, 29-30 September 2011) which focused on child-friendly health care. The promotion of the effective implementation of the decisions of this Conference was a main topic of an international workshop on “The child’s right to health” within the VII Congress of Ukrainian pediatricians, which was held on 12 October 2011 in Kyiv. This event provided the possibility for an exchange of experiences and good practices in implementing integrated national strategies that guarantee children's rights to health care at the European level.

3. The Ukrainian Chairmanship has particularly welcomed the adoption by the Committee of Ministers of the Guidelines on Child-friendly Health Care, which were a major input text for the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers of Health.

4. In the framework of the Ukrainian Chairmanship, existing experience was disseminated and relevant recommendations were drafted concerning the introduction of European standards for the protection of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers. In this perspective, it organised in Kyiv on 26-27 October 2011 a conference on “Standards for the protection of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers”. This provided an important opportunity for the exchange of positive practices and experience between European countries.

5. The consultation process for the preparation of a new Council of Europe Strategy on the Rights of the Child for 2012-2015 was launched in the framework of the Ukrainian Chairmanship. Taking into account the protection of children’s rights as one of the key priorities for the Chairmanship, Ukraineprovided its proposals for the draft document.

2. Human rights and the rule of law in the context of democracy and stability in Europe

— The Chairmanship promoted the process of joining the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights, which should give impetus to creating a common European legal area and activate the process of reforming the European Court of Human Rights;

— The Chairmanship contributed to the reform of the European Court for Human Rights by developing proposals for the effective implementation of preventive measures of the human rights protection with an emphasis on strengthening the mandate and capacity of relevant human rights organisations and national courts in the Council of Europe member States;

— The Chairmanship contributed to developing priority directions of the Council of Europe policy on ensuring gender equality, especially in the context of the Committee of Ministers’ Declaration: Making gender equality a reality (Madrid, 12 May 2009) and the Action Plan for achieving de jure and de facto gender equality (Baku, 24-25 May 2010);

— The Chairmanship promoted reviewing the Council of Europe conventions system towards its further optimisation;

— The complete abolition of the death penalty remained the Chairmanship priority.

6. European Union accession to the European Convention on Human Rights was a priority for the Ukrainian Chairmanship and the Committee of Ministers. The Steering Committee for Human rights (CDDH) prepared a draft accession agreement during an extraordinary meeting on 11-14 October 2011, together with draft amendment to the Rules of the Committee of Ministers for the supervision of the execution of judgments and the terms of friendly settlements. These documents have now been sent to the Committee of Ministers, which will decide on the next steps of the procedure.

7. Proceeding from the necessity to continue the Interlakenprocess, the Ukrainian Chairmanship has organised three important events, namely:

  •  the international conference on “The Role of Prevention in Encouragement and Protection of Human Rights” (Kyiv, 20-21 September 2011);
  •  the Round Table on “The role of the Supreme Court in Protection of Human Rights on the National Level” (Kyiv, 22 September 2011);
  •  the international Conference “The Protection of Human Rights by Bodies of Constitutional Justice: Possibilities and Problems of Individual Access” (Kyiv, 16 September 2011).

8. These events contributed to developing proposals for the effective implementation of preventive measures of the human rights protection with an emphasis on strengthening the mandate and capacity of relevant human rights organisations and national courts in the Council of Europe member States.

9. The complete abolition of the death penalty is a priority for the Council of Europe. On 22 July 2011, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers expressed the deep concern of the Ukrainian Chairmanship as regards two reported executions in Belarus. He recalled that the abolition of capital punishment had remained one of the main priorities of the Organisation for 30 years and that the death penalty be banished across Europe and abolition made a universally accepted value. The Chairman noted that Ukraine has successfully abolished capital punishment and offered its positive experience to Belarus, the only country in Europe which still uses capital punishment, to initiate practical steps to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its complete abolition.

10. The Committee of Ministers has also, on two recent occasions, issued statements calling for two executions to be commuted in one of the Observer States of the Organisation, first in July before the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia and then in September before that of Troy Davis.

11. On the occasion of the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, marked on 10 October, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers reiterated the Council of Europe’s determination to continue to act for the complete eradication of the death penalty, by appealing to all countries where such a practice still exists to abandon it without delay. It also underlined that the death penalty degrades the civilised principles of justice and contradicts the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights.

12. In the field of media and new communication services, the Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation CM/Rec (2011)7 to member states on a new notion of media, a Declaration on Internet governance principles, Recommendation CM/Rec (2011)8 to member states on the protection and promotion of the universality, integrity and openness of the Internet, and a Declaration on the protection of freedom of expression and information and freedom of assembly and association with regard to Internet domain names and name strings. The Council of Europe presented these documents for discussion with other Internet stakeholders at the Internet Governance Forum held in Nairobion 27-30 September.

13. The International expert Seminar “Digital Broadcasting in Europe: Technical, Legal and Regulatory Aspects” organised by the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine in co-operation with the European Union and Council of Europe Joint Project “Promotion of the European Standards in the Ukrainian Media Environment” was held in Kyiv on 27 October 2011. This seminar focused on discussing and analysing applicable solutions to a number of regulatory and legal challenges of the switchover, such as managing the digital dividend and implementing the principles of state aid applied across Europe. International experts also discussed the future of regional broadcasting in the digital environment.

14. The Ukrainian Chairmanship contributed to developing priority directions of the Council of Europe policy on ensuring gender equality, especially in the context of the Committee of Ministers Declaration: Making gender equality a reality (Madrid, 12 May 2009) and the Action Plan for achieving de jure and de facto gender equality (Baku, 24-25 May 2010). Acknowledging the importance of equality between men and women and of the elimination of discrimination against women, the international conference “Current Trends of Development of National Gender Mechanisms in European Countries” (Kyiv, 25-26 October 2011) was organised in the framework of the Ukrainian Chairmanship.

15. The European Social Charter celebrated its 50th anniversary on 18 October 2011. Given the importance of the Charter, the Ukrainian Chairmanship took an active part in the ceremony of organised on this occasion by the Council of Europe. Under the Ukrainian Chairmanship, the Committee of Ministers held substantial debates on the Charter and its control mechanism and adopted a political Declaration on the 50th anniversary of the Charter. In this Declaration, the Committee of Ministers reaffirmed that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated as well as reiterated its determination to build cohesive societies by ensuring fair access to social rights.

16. In June, the Committee of Ministers held an exchange of views with the President of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and took note of its general activity report for 2010.

17. With respect to standard-setting, in accordance with the decision which the Committee of Ministers adopted in June, the Council of Europe Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health was opened for signature on 28 October 2011 on the occasion of a high-level thematic conference in Moscow. This Convention is the first international treaty which establishes as offences the manufacturing, the supplying and the trafficking of counterfeit medical products. Twelve countries, including Ukraine, have paved the way for the implementation of the Convention by signing it during the conference.

18. The Committee of Ministers also adopted terms of reference for a committee of experts on trafficking in human organs, tissues and cells to prepare a draft criminal law convention against trafficking in human organs and, if appropriate, a draft additional protocol to the aforesaid draft criminal law convention against trafficking in human tissues and cells.

19. In September, the Committee of Ministers held an exchange of views with the President of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and took note of its annual activity report for 2010. It also held an exchange of views with the vice-chair of the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) and took note of its activity report for 2010.

20. The Committee of Ministers invited Uruguay to accede to the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data (ETS No. 108) and to its Additional Protocol (ETS No. 181).

3. Strengthening and developing local democracy

 The Chairmanship contributed to the further strengthening democratic processes at local and regional level in Europe aiming at developing co-operation between civil society and the relevant authorities.

— To implement this priority, the Chairmanship focused on the following key areas:

  • Ensuring the effective implementation of the principles of local self-government in European countries, using the potential of the Council of Europe as an Organisation that sets standards in this area;
  • Promotion of good governance at local and regional levels, development of innovation strategies in response to challenges faced by communities;
  •  Facilitating co-operation among Council of Europe member States to overcome the negative impact on local governments of the global financial crisis.

21. A meeting of the Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe was held in Kyiv on 16 September 2011. It was preceded by an international colloquy on improving pubic ethics standards at local and regional level (Kyiv, 15 September 2011) and followed by the international municipal hearings on good governance at local and regional level (Kyiv, 1-2 November 2011).

22. A Recommendation to the Council of Europe member states on the funding by higher-level authorities of new competences for local authorities was adopted by the Committee of Ministers at the 1123rd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies on 12 October 2011.

23. Following the Ministers' Deputies’ examination of the question of possibly establishing a partnership between the Committee of Ministers and the Ministers responsible for local and regional government, the respective letter was sent by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers to the Finnish Minister of public administration and local government on 3 October 2011.

24. The 17th Session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government was held in Kyiv on 3-4 November 2011. The conference focused on analysing the implementation of the Utrechtagenda with respect to the establishment of good governance at the local level. It also examined the issue of human rights at local level, transfrontier co-operation and co-operation between member States to overcome the negative impact of the global financial crisis on local governments.

4. Social cohesion

— The Chairmanship contributed to reducing the risk of vulnerability of elderly migrants and improving their welfare;

— The Chairmanship contributed to developing practical recommendations for implementing the second phase of the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015 to promote the rights and full participation of people with disabilities in society.

25. Regarding the elderly, the Ministers’ Deputies adopted on 25 May 2011 Recommendation CM/Rec(2011)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on reducing the risk of vulnerability of elderly migrants and improving their welfare. This text recommends that governments undertake a holistic assessment of the situation of elderly migrants in the member states and take appropriate action at national, regional and local levels to promote their welfare, including the prevention of abuse and the reduction of their vulnerability, social isolation and marginalisation, drawing upon the principles and guidelines set out in the Recommendation.

26. With regard to migrants, on 15 June 2011, the Ministers’ Deputies examined of the Secretary General’s proposal for the framework for the Council of Europe work on migration issues and noted that this would form the basis of the Secretary General’s proposal for the transversal programme in this area in the draft Council of Europe Programme and Budget 2012-2013. They recalled that some aspects of migration represent a challenge for all European states that requires a common response and stressed that the Council of Europe activities should be closely coordinated with those of other international organisations and focus on aspects for which it has recognised expertise.

27. As far as people with disabilities are concerned, a conference organised in Odessa on 30 and 31 May 2011 as part of the Ukrainian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers highlighted best practices in seeking to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and their integration and active participation in society and to strengthen equal opportunities and non-discrimination. The conference aimed to support Ukrainein implementing an effective policy on disability, but also to contribute to the second component of the Council of Europe Disability Action Plan 2006-2015.

28. In the field of social cohesion, the Committee of Ministers last month adopted a Recommendation on fostering social mobility as a contribution to social cohesion which calls on the governments of member states to introduce into their policy and practice all appropriate measures to increase opportunities for social mobility, through addressing issues such as income redistribution and equality of opportunity in relation to education, social services, access to quality health care and the labour market.

5. Education, culture, youth and sport

— The Chairmanship paid special attention to the Council of Europe activities in the youth field;

— The Chairmanship contributed to the comprehensive development and establishment of intercultural dialogue in Europe;

— The Chairmanship gave impetus to the implementation of the recommendations of the Group of Eminent Persons set forth in the report “Living together – combining diversity and freedom in 21st century Europe”, aimed at promoting a tolerant and peaceful Europe;

— The Chairmanship facilitated the development of the Council of Europe policy on relations with neighbouring countries, oriented at promoting democracy and protecting human rights outside the Council of Europe borders.

29. On 26 and 27 May 2011, the Ukrainian Chairmanship held an international conference in Yalta on “The Kyiv Initiative and the Eastern Partnership – co-operation and synergies”. This event was part of the Kyiv Initiative Regional Programme which encompasses Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The discussions provided an opportunity to take stock of the considerable progress achieved in the field of democracy and culture and to identify prospects for future action in line with regional priorities.

30. The Ukrainian Chairmanship has devoted special attention to the Council of Europe’s activities in the youth field, particularly as regards intensifying youth participation and youth access to social rights. The Chairman of the Committee of Ministers mentioned this commitment when speaking to the participants at the “Enter!” Youth Meeting (Strasbourg, 14-18 September 2011) and also in his statement on the occasion of International Youth Day on 12 August 2011.

31. The Ukrainian Chairmanship organised a High-level Education Forum in Kyiv from 22 to 24 September 2011 on the theme of “Education systems in Europe in the 21st century: Kyiv Initiatives”. This event provided an opportunity for holding an exchange of experience and best practice in order to pinpoint and promote, through education, the means of building a culture of living together in diversity-oriented societies in Europe.

32. Moreover, in the conviction that learning about cultural heritage is a major vehicle for knowledge and mutual understanding, the Ukrainian Chairmanship backed the 4th European Heritage Forum on the theme of “Value the Heritage! European Heritage and Economic Development” (Wroclaw, 10-11 October 2011).

33. The Ministers' Deputies held their first thematic debate on the report of the Group of Eminent Persons “Living together – combining diversity and freedom in 21st century Europe” on 29 June 2011. The Deputies noted that the report centres on an essential question faced by all member states particularly related to the ways of reconciling diversity and social cohesion, the rights and responsibilities of all, nationals and non-nationals, and that it proposes useful pointers for the ongoing debate on this matter. They resumed their discussion on 26 October on the basis of an assessment of the Council of Europe’s achievements hitherto and a more in-depth discussion paper prepared by the Secretary General. The discussion on this matter will be continued.

34. In the framework of the 8th Yalta Annual Meeting, held on 15-18 September on the theme “Ukraineand the World: Common Challenges, Common Future”, the Chairmanship organised a presentation of the report of the Group of Eminent Persons.

35. On 6 July 2011, the Committee of Ministers decided to organise the Council of Europe Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue at the invitation of the Luxembourg authorities (Luxembourg, 28-29 November 2011).

36. In the field of sport, the Ministers' Deputies held an exchange of views with Mr Platini, the President of the Union of European Football Associations, and Ms Samardžić-Marković, Serbian Minister for Youth and Sport (28 September 2011). On this occasion, the Committee of Ministers adopted a Recommendation to member States on the promotion of the integrity of sport against manipulation of results, notably match fixing (see CM/Rec(2011)10).

6. Other issues

— The period of the Ukrainian Chairmanship was marked by crucial decisions regarding the reform process of the Organisation. These steps will allow the Council of Europe to enter into the new phase in 2012, having a new budget and Financial Regulations, and a new programme of activities, based on consensually adopted priorities, and structures adjusted accordingly;

- The Chairmanship remained vigilant in ensuring complementarity and synergy between the Council of Europe and its international partners, particularly with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

6.1 Specific co-operation

37. The President of UkraineViktor Yanukovych visited Strasbourg on 21 June 2011, thus clearly highlighting Ukraine’s strong commitment towards building a stable and pluralistic democratic society. This visit was also especially significant since it took place at the very start of the Ukrainian Chairmanship. This showed the strong political commitment of Ukraine to the Council of Europe’s democratic values.

38. Particular attention has been paid to the implementation of the electoral assistance programme put in place by the Council of Europe for the preparation of the local elections held in Albania on 8 May 2011, as well as to the support provided by the Council of Europe for the local elections in Moldovaon 5 June 2011.

39. With regard to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Ministers Deputies’ Rapporteur Group on Democracy (GR-DEM) held on 17 May an exchange of views with Mr Valentin Inzko, High Representative and European Union Special Representative and Mr Gary Robbins, OSCE Head of Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

40. The Council of Europe’s activities in Georgiahave continued in recent months. At the end of October 2011, the Secretary General presented his new six-monthly report regarding the human rights situation following the August 2008 conflict.

41. In June, the Ministers' Deputies held a discussion with Mr Hrair Tovmas, the Minister of Justice of Armenia, which focused on reforms in areas such as justice, the prison system and the fight against corruption.

42. A sub-group of the Rapporteur Group on Democracy also met in July on the question of the implementation of the undertakings entered into by Armeniaand Azerbaijan when they joined the Council of Europe.

43. The Committee of Ministers has continued to closely monitor the situation of human rights in Belarus. In line with the Declaration adopted by the Committee of Ministers in January, the Chairmanship continued supporting the establishment of closer relations between the Council of Europe and Belarusonly on the basis of respect for European values and principles.

44. Co-operation between Moldova and the Council of Europe was reviewed in July. The Deputies encouraged the further development of co-operation programmes, in particular for the reform of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, pre-electoral assistance and confidence building measures.

45. The Deputies approved in June a three-year Action plan to support Ukraine’s European agenda for reform in the areas of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. The Action Plan was officially launched in Kyiv on 16 September in the presence of the Secretary General and the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers.

6.2. Organisational development and reform, programme and budget

46. In June, the Deputies examined proposals submitted by the Secretary General regarding the reform of the Council of Europe engagement with civil society and invited him to present them, at one of their forthcoming meetings, with proposals for the follow-up to be given for their implementation. They have also adopted a revised framework for Council of Europe conferences of specialised ministers.

47. On 29 June, the Deputies adopted the revised Financial Regulations introducing biennial budgeting in the Organisation. On the same date, the Deputies agreed the overall budgetary framework for 2012-2013.

48. In June 2011, the Deputies approved the revised Council of Europe Secretariat General organisation chart, which now consists of 2 operational Directorates General instead of 4. A post of Director General of Programmes responsible for the coordination of all the operational activities of the new Directorates General and for the external presence of the Organisation, was also created.

49. The crucial steps taken by the Ukrainian Chairmanship regarding the reform process of the Organisation will allow the Council of Europe to enter into the new phase in 2012, having a new budget and Financial Regulations, a new programme of activities, based on consensually adopted priorities, and structures adjusted accordingly.

6.3. Co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly

50. In September 2011, the Embassy of Ukraine to Tunisia, representing the Ukrainian Chairmanship, provided full assistance in preparation of the pre-election visit of PACE observers for the election of a Constituent Assembly that took place later in October, 2011. It was the first election held in Tunisia since the start of the “Arab spring”.

51. The Embassy of Ukraine to Egypt, in close co-operation with the Parliamentary Assembly, also organised the visit in Cairo, on 23-26 September 2011, of Mr Jean-Charles Gadetto, Rapporteur on “Co-operation between the Council of Europe and the emerging democraties in the Arab world” and Mr Konstantinos Vrettos, Rapporteur on “The situation in the Middle East”.

6.4. Co-operation with the European Union

52. Intense dialogue has continued at political level with the European Union in recent months. On 5 July, the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers and the Secretary General held a high-level meeting with Ms Catherine Ashton, Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. On that occasion, they reviewed a number of topical political issues and discussed co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union.

53. On 6 July 2011, the Ministers’ Deputies held an exchange of views with Mr Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy. This exchange of views was followed by the signature of an agreement between the Secretary General and Ms Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, whereby the European Commission provides financial support to the Council of Europe’s training programme for Roma mediators.

6.5. Co-operation with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

54. With regard to co-operation with the OSCE, a high-level meeting between the Chairs and Secretaries General of both organisations was held in New Yorkon 21 September 2011. This meeting was an opportunity to discuss a number of political issues of common interest and to look at ways of enhancing synergies between the two organisations.

55. In addition, a meeting of the Co-ordination Group between the two organisations was held in Vienna on 21 October 2011 to take stock of co-operation in the fight against terrorism and human trafficking. The importance of continued co-operation and mutual contributions to legal co-operation in criminal matters related to terrorism, combating financing of terrorism and money laundering, and the protection of human rights was particularly underlined.

7. Conclusions

56. Fully committed to the achievement of the Council of Europe’s key goals and objectives, Ukraine has spared no effort to live up to the high expectations placed in the Council of Europe by all Europeans. The priorities which have been implemented during its Chairmanship are Ukraine’s meaningful contribution to the efforts towards building the united Europe on a time-tested foundation of the Council of Europe norms and principles.

57. Ukraineassures the United Kingdom of its full support as the consecutive Chairmanship, expressing its confidence that continuity and consistency in the Organisation’s activities will be properly ensured and the efforts made by the previous chairmanships will be taken forward.

58. After completing its Chairmanship, Ukraine will continue taking an active part in implementing the priorities of the Council of Europe.

59. Achieving greater levels of stability and security in Europe through the further development of the core values of the Council of Europe, providing a clear definition of the Council of Europe role in the European political architecture as well as promoting democracy and sustainable development beyond the borders of Europe will remain priorities for Ukraine within the framework of the Council of Europe.

60. The successful implementation of these priorities will enable the Council of Europe to overcome the vitally important period of changes and to become the undisputed leader in building a stable, secure and democratic Europe.

Appendix 1

Calendar of the main events

1st Ukrainian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
11 May to 7 November 2011

May

11 May

Istanbul – 121st Session of the Committee of Ministers - Transfer of the Chairmanship from Turkey to Ukraine

24 - 25 May

Kyiv – International conference on "Combating Violence against Children: from Isolated Actions to Integrated Strategies"

26 - 27 May

Yalta – International Conference “The Kyiv Initiative” and “The Eastern Partnership” – Co-operation and Synergies

26 - 27 May

Kyiv – Session of the Bureau and Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

30 - 31 May

Odesa – European Conference on Implementation of the Council of Europe Plan of Actions on the Assistance to Rights and Full Participation of the People with Limited Abilities in the Society for 2006 - 2015

June

20 June

Strasbourg – Communication from the Committee of Ministers to the Parliamentary Assembly presented by Mr Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers

21 June

Strasbourg – Address by Mr Viktor Yanukovych, President of Ukraine, to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

27 June

Strasbourg – Participation of Mr Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, in the inauguration ceremony of the 6th Summer University of Democracy

July

5 July

Strasbourg– High Level Political Dialogue Meeting between the Council of Europe and the European Union

September

14 September

Strasbourg – Participation of Mr Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, in the “Enter! Youth Meeting”

16 - 17 September

Kyiv – International Conference “The Protection of Human Rights by Constitutional Justice Authorities: Possibilities and Problems of Individual Access”

16 September

Kyiv – Session of the Bureau of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe

20 - 21 September

Kyiv – International Conference “The Role of Prevention in Encouragement and Protection of Human Rights”

21 September

New York – 20th High-level “2 + 2” meeting between the Council of Europe and the OSCE

22 September

Kyiv – Round Table “The Role of the Supreme Court in Protection of Human Rights on the National Level”

22 - 23 September

Kyiv– High level Education Forum on “Education systems in Europe in the 21st century: Kyiv initiatives”

29 September

Kyiv– Celebrations on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter (revised)

29 - 30 September

Lisbon – Participation of Mr Oleksandr Anischenko, Minister of Health of Ukraine, in the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Health Ministers under the theme “Child-Friendly Health Care: Building a Healthy Future for and with Children”

October

3 October

Strasbourg – Communication from the Committee of Ministers to the Parliamentary Assembly presented by Mr. Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers

12 October

Kyiv– International workshop on “The child’s Right to Health” in the framework of the VII Congress of Ukrainian Paediatricians

13 October

Limassol (Cyprus) – Participation of Mr Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers, in the 7th Session of the Forum for the Future of Democracy “The Interdependence of Democracy and Social Cohesion: Strengthening representation and Democratic ParticipationThrough Public Dialogue and Civic Engagement”

18 October

Strasbourg– Participation of Mr Sergiy Tigipko, Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, in the Ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter

20 October

Strasbourg– Participation of Mr Anatoliy Blyzniuk, Minister for Regional Development and Construction of Ukraine, in the 21st Plenary Session of the Congress of Local and Regional authorities of the Council of Europe

21 October

Vienna – 14th meeting of the Coordination Group between the Council of Europe and the OSCE

25 - 26 October

Kyiv– Conference on “Current Trends of Development of National Gender Mechanisms in European Countries”

26 - 27 October

Kyiv – European Conference on “Standards for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers”

26 - 27 October

Kyiv – International Conference on “Digital Broadcasting in Europe: Legal, Administrative and Technical aspects”

November

1 - 2 November

Kyiv– International Municipal Hearings on “The European Strategy for Innovation and Good Governance”

3-4 November

Kyiv – 17th Session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Local and Regional Government

7 November

Strasbourg – Transfer of the Chairmanship from Ukraineto the United Kingdom

Appendix 2

Statements made by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,

Minister for Foreign Affairs Kostyantyn Gryshchenko
11 May to 7 November 2011

22 July 2011 - statement regarding executions in Belarus.

23 July 2011 – statement on terrorist attacks in Norway.

11 August 2011 – statement on the International Youth Day.

26 August 2011 – statement in connection with the terrorist attack against the United Nations Offices in Abuja (Nigeria).

7 September 2011 – joint statement with the Secretary General and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, the United States of America.

21 September 2011 – statement regarding the International Day of Peace.

21 September 2011 – statement following the bombing in the capital of the Republic of Turkey, Ankara, and in the city of Siirt on 20 September 2011.

10 October 2011 – statement on the European and World Day against Death Penalty.

24 October 2011 – joint statement with the President of the Parliamentary Assembly following the earthquake in Turkey.