Currently, the work of NGOs is impacted by various factors which shrink civic space and impede the collaboration between NGOs and public authorities in different sectors of public policies. The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe works relentlessly to support and reinforce the contribution of INGOs to the development of international standards. NGOs are unavoidable players in democratic societies. To accomplish their work, they need a supportive legal framework respecting their independence and international standards. The latter are in constant evolution thanks to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and new recommendations elaborated by the Council of Europe.
In 2008, the Conference of INGOs created the Expert Council on NGO Law (Terms of Reference) to ensure the best possible articulation between Council of Europe norms and NGO Law. Through its opinions, the Expert Council advises the Conference of INGOs, NGOs and national authorities, while ensuring a democratic oversight when the national legal framework or legal regulations compromise the rights of NGOs.