Upholding and defending democracy and human rights

How can we uphold and defend democracy and human rights in Europe? This is the main theme of this year’s European Conference in Kristiansand on Monday, May 6.

The 2024 European Conference on Democracy and Human Rights is the fifth in a series and is organized annually by Kristiansand Municipality in collaboration with the Council of Europe, KS (the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities), and a strong regional partnership.
”This year’s conference is highly relevant and addresses topics such as “how to defend fundamental human rights in a time of war and crises,” explains project manager Gro Kvanvig from Kristiansand Municipality. 

75th Anniversary

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Council of Europe, and a significant celebration is planned during the conference. The Council of Europe was established in London in May 1949, following Winston Churchill’s initiative. Norway was among the 10 countries that participated from the beginning.
“The Council of Europe has been a cornerstone in the work for democracy and human rights," says Mathias Bernander", the mayor of Kristiansand. “Now more than ever, it is crucial to stand united on these principles. “They are in fact essential for us to live in safe and prosperous societies,” he adds. 

The image shows the mayor of Kristiansand, Mathias Bernander

Mayor of Kristiansand, Mathias Bernander

Reunion with Ukraininan Mayorfrom Mykolaiv

Mayor Oleksandr Syenkevych is from Kristiansand’s sister city, Mykolaiv, in Ukraine. He will be bringing a delegation of Ukrainian youth to the conference. Syenkevych signed a cooperation agreement with Kristiansand last year during the Europe Conference and will participate in a panel discussion alongside Mayor Mathias Bernander. The panel will focus on collaboration for the reconstruction of Ukrainian municipalities.

“For Kristiansand Municipality, it is essential to follow up on the cooperation agreement we signed last year with our sister city, Mykolaiv. Ukraine still needs our support,” emphasizes Mathias Bernander.

The image shows two mayors signing a cooperation agreement

From last year's signing of the cooperation agreement between Kristiansand and our twin city, Mykolaiv in the Ukraine.

High International Level

As in previous years, the Europe Conference hosts speakers and panel participants from various Nordic and European countries. Representatives from the Council of Europe, the European Union (EU), other international organizations, as well as Norwegian authorities will be in attendance.

Among the speakers are former EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström from Sweden and the President of the Nordic Council, Bryndís Haraldsdóttir, from the Icelandic Althing (the national parliament), along with the Deputy Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, Bjørn Berge.

Russia’s military actions in Ukraine significantly impact the entire European situation. One of the conference’s themes will be the newly established war damage registry for Ukraine by the Council of Europe in The Hague.

Additionally, the situation in the Middle East and the conflict in Gaza will be discussed in a conversation between NRK reporter Sidsel Wold and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland.

Another topic is the launch of new European regulations on artificial intelligence and human rights, jointly developed by the EU and the Council of Europe.

Publisert: 9. april 2024 8:47
Oppdatert: 9. april 2024 10:04