I would like to address 3 points in this progress report:
1. The ACTIONS Project
2. The Annual Presentations on 17th October
3. Future Projects
Point 1. The ACTIONS Project
This is a research project that the Conference of INGOs has joined in with various Universities to apply for funding from the Horizon 2020 from the European Commission. Since the Conference of INGOs doesn’t have a formal legal status, the connection is done via the INGO Service as it has a formal NGO status. The aim of the research project is to develop innovative ways of promoting social rights and protecting citizens against social risks.
This will be done by a Europe-wide study of the actions taken by
citizens, communities, NGOs, activists, practitioners and state agencies to implement social rights and make them accessible for citizens at risk of poverty, social exclusion and discrimination. Individual workpackages in the project will focus on: citizens’ understandings of social rights; life histories; citizen, NGO and activist work; practitioners in state agencies; courts and legal systems; policy makers. A final work package will synthesize findings and develop indicators, practice manuals, theory and recommendations for practitioners and policymakers.
The project would run for 3 years from late 2019 until late 2022 and involves university partners from six countries across Europe: Aalborg (DK), Lisbon (PT), Lincoln (UK), Paris Nanterre (FR), Warsaw (PL) and Thrace (GR). The application is for Horizon 2020 funding, so all direct costs related to the research project would be covered by the European Commission.
It was just an application so far, and the results will only be known around August. If the project gets funded we will receive additional resources that can be used for the work of the Transversal Working Group since it is the one that is the most connected to the topic of the project. However, even we don’t get funded this is still a moment to celebrate as it was a courageous step for the Conference to take and I would like to thank Anna Rurka for bringing this opportunity to the Standing Committee, to have decided in January that we should try this new approach and to the team of the INGO Service that accepted this challenge.
We will wait with confidence for August.
Point 2: 17th October 2018 & 17th October 2019
In the last 17th of October, a part of the Working Group successfully organized a seminar on the Right to Decent Housing for All.
There were about 50 participants from several INGOs, testimonials from different countries and a discussion on this topic and how to work towards this vision of decent housing for all. I would like to thank the group of people that worked actively on this,but particularly Elisabeth Marie and Hélène Rozet.
From this event 2 products were started to be developed, one we will discuss shortly:
the draft Recommendation and the other one is still being developed: a synthesis of the examples collected at the meeting.
However, it is not a closed document at this point, If your INGO or your members do work within the field of housing, please reach out to us so that we can also feature your work in it.
Point 3: Future projects:
Yesterday, the Working Group was able to meet and a couple of ideas on actions were discussed.
First, as the September/October will be full of high level meetings, it was considered that this year there will not be a big event on the 17th of October. We will try to see if a small ceremony can still be done as a symbolic gesture.
However, since in September there will be a workshop under the French Presidency of the Council of Europe that will motivate Member States to ratify and commit themselves to social rights, we will explore, together with the Turin Committee how can the INGO Conference contribute to this important outcome.
Finally, we also have decided to already put our eyes on the 17th October 2020, in order to prepare it with proper time. We also decided that it will belinked with the cycle of evaluation of the Social Charter, so, as during that year the Public Report will be on the Group of Rights about children, families and migrants, we will try to make a connection with the different INGOs and structures in the Conference to assure a transversal approach.
To finish I would like to thank to all members of the Group for their work and I invite anyone that might be interested on the topic to reach out to me to get involved.
Miguel Cabral Pinho, Vice-President Human Rights Committee, Conference of INGOs