Conference of International NGO’s – EUROPARC wins vote for new “Environment” committee

Gerhard Ermischer take over as newly elected President of the Conference of INGOs from Anna Rurka

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EUROPARC has enjoyed International Observer (INGO)status with the Council of Europe since 2013, and has been an observer to the Bern Convention since the 1970s! As an INGO we are a member of the conference of INGOs, which can offer advice, support and comment to the other formal bodies in the Council of Europe.

A new committee for the Council of Europe!

Last year saw much welcome reforms to the Conference of INGOs paving the way for greater diversity and participation. There are few environmental NGOs with INGO status and hence topics around biodiversity loss, climate change and health rarely had space, despite the importance of the Bern Convention within the Council of Europe. EUROPARC therefore took the opportunity to propose a new thematic committee, working with colleagues in the heritage sector within the Conference of INGO’s to address these critical issues.

Voting for the president, vice president and standing committee of the conference as well as those for the creation of new committees took place this week.

EUROPARC is pleased to announce we were successful in that vote and our Executive Director was elected to chair this new Environment, Climate Change, Heritage and Health committee.

With the foundations of the Council of Europe being Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of law, we want to bring the environmental consciences to these issue as well as highlight the relevance of these to the biodiversity, climate change and health debates.

With excellent support from CivilScape, European Association of Archaeologists EAA, European Environment Bureau, European Confederation of Youth Club Organisations (ECYC), European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers, and Friends of the Earth/ProNatura (who are EUROPARC members), we have formed the core of the committee and are yet seeking others to join us.

We will of course bring the experience and voice of our members into this committee, especially those members (i.e. those outside the EU27) for whom the Council of Europe and the Bern Convention is our main convening platform for matters of nature conservation.

Work will begin now to bring more members of the committee on board, but we will be looking to bring the issues from the nature conservation world, into the decision -making of the Council of Europe.

Executive Director Carol Ritchie highlighted the importance and need for a new committee addressing Environment, Climate Change, Heritage and Health in the Conference.
The conference voted for the committee with a large majority and MS Ritchie as it chair