Doc. 8597

16 December 1999

Draft convention on the promotion of a transnational long-term voluntary service for young people

Report

Committee on Culture and Education

Rapporteur: Mr Cristian Dumitrescu, Romania, Socialist Group

Summary

The Assembly welcomes the draft convention on the promotion of a transnational long-term voluntary service for young people and encourages the member states of the Council of Europe and other states party to the European Cultural Convention to sign and ratify the convention so that it can enter into force in 2001.

I.        Draft opinion

1. The Assembly welcomes the draft convention on the promotion of a transnational long-term voluntary service for young people, which will provide a legislative framework for voluntary activities of young people undertaken all over Europe.

2. The draft convention is a recognition de jure of transnational long-term voluntary service as an effective way of providing non-formal education and training opportunities for young people and the people with whom they collaborate.

3. The Assembly welcomes the fact that the draft convention does not permit any reservations.

4. The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers introduce the following amendment:

5. Recalling the fact that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the year 2001 as the International Year of Volunteers, the Assembly urges the Committee of Ministers to open the convention for signature as soon as possible and encourages the member states of the Council of Europe and other states party to the European Cultural Convention to sign and ratify the convention so that it can enter into force in 2001.

II.       Explanatory memorandum by Mr Cristian Dumitrescu

1.       The idea of the promotion of a voluntary service for young people and the recognition of a relevant legal status for this service was initiated by the European Ministers responsible for Youth at their Vienna Conference in April 1993. In May 1995 at their Luxembourg meeting the European Ministers responsible for Youth launched the preparatory work. The European Steering Committee for Intergovernmental Co-operation in the Youth Field (CDEJ) and the Secretariat of the Council of Europe carried out several revisions of the text of the draft convention before the Committee of Ministers decided to bring it to the attention of the Parliamentary Assembly.

2.       The aim of the draft convention is to serve as a legal instrument on the promotion of transnational long-term voluntary service for young people at the European level. The innovative nature of the convention should be stressed, as it is the first agreement to be established by the Council of Europe creating a legislative framework for the voluntary activities of young people undertaken all over Europe. It also complements the work carried out by the European Union in its European Voluntary Service Programme.

3.       The draft convention consolidates the partnership between young volunteers, non-governmental organisations, youth organisations and local public authorities that constitutes an essential element for the functioning of civil society.

4.       Transnational long-term voluntary service is an effective way of providing non-formal education and training opportunities for young people and the people with whom they collaborate. Through their participation in voluntary service, young people prepare themselves for their transition to active adult life. The value of this experience should be officially recognised and the draft convention proposes in its appendix a first model for an international certificate, which can be used for the certification of non-formal educational activities at European level.

5.       The draft convention is a practical implementation of several recommendations of the report on non-formal education, which is presented to the Assembly together with the present report. Apart from the official recognition of voluntary service as a non-formal educational activity, the draft convention makes provision in Article 8 for the appropriate training of volunteers in their chosen fields. Article 14 foresees multilateral consultation on application of the convention through co-ordination of the work of different parties to the convention. In this respect the adherence of the European Community to the convention is highly desirable.

6.       The Assembly welcomes the draft convention and expresses the hope that it will soon be finalised by the Committee of Ministers and opened for signature and ratification by member States.

7.       To highlight the non-formal educational role of a transnational long-term voluntary service an amendment should be proposed by the Assembly to the preamble of the draft convention:

Reporting committee: Committee on Culture and Education

Budgetary implications for the Assembly: None.

Reference to committee: Doc. 8491 and Reference No. 2429 of 20 September 1999

Draft opinion: unanimously adopted by the committee on 10 December 1999

Members of the committee: MM. Roseta (Chairman), Zingeris, de Puig (Vice-Chairmen), Arzilli, Bartumeu Cassany, Bauer, Baumel, Billing, Cherribi, Chiliman, Cubreacov, Diaz de Mera, Dumitrescu, Fayot, Mrs Fehr, Mr  Glotov, Mrs Granlund, MM. Hadjidemetriou, Haraldsson, Hegyi, Henry, Hornhues, Irmer, Mrs Isohookana-Asunmaa, MM. Ivanov, Jakic, Kalkan, Mrs Katseli, MM. Kiely, Kofod-Svendsen, Lachat, Mrs Laternser, MM. Legendre, Lemoine, Libicki, Mrs Lucyga, MM. McNamara (Alternate: Colvin), Mezeckis, Monfils, Mrs Moserova, Mr Nagy, Mrs Nemcova, MM. O’Hara, Pereira Marques, Pinggera, Polydoras, Mrs Poptodorova, MM. Pullicino Orlando, Radic (Alternate: Domljan), Ragno, Risari (Alternate: Gnaga), Mrs Saele, Mr Sağlam, Mrs Schicker, Mr Shaklein, Mrs Stefani, MM. Sudarenkov, Svec, Symonenko (Alternate: Khunov), Tallo, MM. Urbanczyk, Valk, Wilshire, Xhaferi.

NB: The names of those who took part in the vote are in italics

Secretaries to the committee: Mr Ary, Mrs Theophilova-Permaul, Ms Kostenko