How to be certified "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe"?
The certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” is a guarantee of excellence. Every year, the certification is awarded to legally constituted networks, working on a European theme and implementing activities in at least three Council of Europe member States.
The certification gives visibility to European initiatives which bring to life the Council of Europe values, such as cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and mutual exchanges across borders. Through the Cultural Routes programme, the Council of Europe offers a model for transnational networks working on European heritage promotion. The Cultural Routes bring together, among others, heritage sites, universities, national, regional and local authorities and socio-economic actors such as SMEs and tour operators.
The development of a Cultural Route requests to:
- Define a theme that is representative for European values and common to several European countries;
- Identify heritage elements, that can be tangible and intangible;
- Create a network with a legal status, involving at least three European countries;
- Coordinate common activities in the main field of actions (see certification's criteria below);
- Ensure a common visibility and coherence of the project across Europe.
The rules for the award of the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certification are defined in the Committee of Ministers Resolution CM/Res(2013)67.
You will find below a summary of the certification criteria, which may be granted to projects that deal with a European theme (I), comply with the priority fields of actions (II) and are presented by a single network (III).
I. Themes criteria
The themes must satisfy all of the following criteria:
- Be representative of European values and common to at least three countries of Europe;
- Be researched and developed by groups of multidisciplinary experts from different regions of Europe;
- Be illustrative of European memory, history, and heritage and contribute to an interpretation of the diversity of present-day Europe;
- Lend itself to cultural and educational exchanges for young people;
- Permit the development of initiatives and exemplary projects in the field of cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development;
- Lend itself to the development of tourist products in partnership with tourist agencies and operators.
II. Field of action
Projects must pertain to all the following priority fields of action:
1. Co-operation in research and development: projects must play a unifying role around major European themes and show how these themes are representative of European shared values
2. Enhancement of memory, history and European heritage: projects must enhance tangible and intangible heritage, especially in lesser know areas, and explain their historical significance through Europe
3. Cultural and educational exchanges for young Europeans: projects must organise activities with young people in order to promote the concept of European citizenship
4. Contemporary cultural and artistic practice: projects must encourage activities and artistic practice which explore the links between their European theme and contemporary culture
5. Cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development: project must promote dialogue between urban and rural cultures, developed and disadvantaged regions, and between majority and minority. They must actively involve media and seek partnerships with tourism organisations to draw attention on their European heritage and be part of the sustainable territorial development
III. Network criteria
Project initiators shall form multidisciplinary networks located in several Council of Europe member States. Such networks must:
- present a conceptual framework based on research carried out into the theme chosen and accepted by the different network partners
- involve several Council of Europe member States (at least three) through all or part of their project(s)
- ensure that the projects proposed are financially and organisationally viable
- have a legal status, either in the form of an association or a federation of associations
- operate democratically
Every year, applications are submitted in view of obtaining the certification. A cycle last approximately ten months, from the call for applications (July - Year 1) to the notification regarding the decision on the certification's award (May - Year 2).
YEAR 1: Call for application and conformity’s review by the EICR
- Call for application for certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”.
September – October
- Deadline for submitting the application form for certification.
- Conformity’s review of the dossier by the European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR). Attribution when applicable to an independent expert for review.
November – December
- Independent expert review: contact with the candidate projects.
- Field visit and preparation of the evaluation report.
YEAR 2: Assessment by the EPA on Cultural Routes and certification award
January – February
- Submission of the evaluation report by the independent expert to the EPA on Cultural Routes secretariat.
- Examination by the EICR and recommendations to the EPA Bureau.
- Experts’ auditions during the EPA Bureau Meeting.
March – April
- Communication to the candidate projects of the conclusions of the EPA Bureau meeting.
- Examination by the EPA Governing Board of the evaluation reports and the recommendations made by the EICR and EPA Bureau.
- Audition of the selected projects at the EPA Governing Board meeting.
- Decision by the EPA Governing Board concerning the certification.
- Notification letter by the EPA Executive Secretary to the auditioned candidates concerning the results of their application for certification of their network as “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe”.
Two main bodies are involved in the certification process. The European Institute of Cultural Routes (EICR), the technical agency set up as part of a political agreement between the Council of Europe and the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, carries out the first assessment of the application and the follow-up of the independent experts' reports. The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (EPA) is supported by member states, mainly represented by Ministries of Culture, Tourism and Foreign Affairs. The EPA takes the final decision on the award certification every year during its April's meeting.
Are you ready to be certified?
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