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The Council of Europe

Communities and Local Government and the UK are committed to the Council of Europe's (CoE) programme of work in the field of local and regional democracy.

The CoE's core mission is to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law. Since 1989 the CoE has been particularly concerned with assisting the countries of central and eastern Europe in carrying out and consolidating political, legal and constitutional reform; and providing know-how in areas such as human rights and local democracy.

  • For more information about the work of the CoE see the 'Council of Europe in brief' link on the right.

Communities and Local Government is an active member of the CoE's Steering Committee on Local and Regional Democracy (CDLR). The CDLR is an intergovernmental forum for exchanging information and best practices in the field of local and regional democracy. It plays a key role in the formulation of relevant conventions, recommendations and good practice guides dealing with local and regional governance issues.  CDLR also prepares bi-annual Conferences of Ministers responsible for local and regional governance. The last Conference, which Local Government Minister Rosie Winterton attended, was on 16-17 November 2009 in Utrecht.

At this Conference Rosie Winterton, Minister for Local Government, signed, on behalf of the UK, an Additional Protocol to the European Charter of Local Self-Government. The Protocol sets out that citizens in States across the Continent should be engaged at every stage in local affairs from voting in their elected representatives to being consulted on local policy that matters to them. This builds on the commitment of the UK and others to strengthening local democracy and creating strong effective councils that can represent their communities' needs.

Communities and Local Government is also responsible for drawing up the procedure for UK nominations to the CoE's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities - the body which represents local and regional interests across the CoE. The nominees are drawn from elected local councillors and also, elsewhere in the UK, from Members of the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly Members, and Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The procedure (see below) is designed to ensure that the delegation is fully representative in terms of political affiliation, gender, and ethnic background and will be updated in as necessary in 2010.

  • For more information about the work of the CDLR see the link on the right.

This Council of Europe website also includes links to all relevant CoE international treaties and recommendations in the field of local and regional democracy.

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