INGOs Conference of the Council of Europe

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Between the 26th and the 29th of January, I attended the Council of Europe (CoE) Conference of INGOs. This conference main purpose was to ensure and to debate the accessibility and transversal presence of human rights in society, as well as to promote and develop democracy and active citizenship in Europe by fostering the work of INGOs.

During these days, a lot of issues were debated (for more insight, please visit this link: http://www.coe.int/t/ngo/ ), such as the involvement of INGOs on islamophobia, in light of the recent events that took place in France; the threats posed by climate and the necessity for engagement from European institutions; and the social crisis in Ukraine among many others.

I had the chance to do an intervention during the presentation of the Human Rights Committee’s Working Groups Reports, raising awareness for the need of increasing the health-based approach in the Conference itself. Health in Europe is currently challenged many several situations affecting the Region, such as:
  1. The advent of the TTIP and the potential negative impact on access to health;
  2. The health work force migration demographics and its impact on access to healthcare in many European countries;
  3. The need for humanization of healthcare an investment on primary care in order to improve the prevention of non-communicable diseases;
  4. The current and future negative impacts of climate change on health issues.

The feedback that I’ve received after my intervention was very positive. I believe it impacted many other sessions as youth is somehow underrepresented in this conference, and as people are realizing the need to tackle health issues.
In the last day the conference elected the new board of the CoE. It was also a very good opportunity to liaise with some CoE’s directors as well as to present IFMSA to the new board. As follow-up, after discussing that with some board members, I will work to increase IFMSA participation within this institution, and surely more news and opportunities will come in the future.

Entry written by Alberto Abreu da Silva, Regional Coordinator for Europe 2014-2015

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